Let’s Discuss: NAJYRC 2017 or Bust [Updated]

Photo by Leslie Wylie. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

When the USEF announced Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, MT, as the proposed location for NAJYRC eventing in 2017, my first thought was “Fantastic!” Pending FEI approval NAJYRC will run simultaneously with the 2017 annual event held there on July 20-23, giving young riders from around North America a supported pathway to experience a unique competition they might not otherwise have the opportunity to contest.

My second thought: “Man, those teams are going to have to throw a heck of a bake sale.” Transporting a caravan of horses, riders, grooms and coaches to Montana won’t be cheap for anyone, and we’re sorry to hear that the distance has been deemed a deal breaker for at least one team.

Yesterday the following announcement was posted on the Ontario Horse Trials Association website’s Young Rider program page:

Hey Ontario Young Riders! You may have heard that the 2017 NAJYR Eventing Championships are being held at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana. That’s a 33 hour drive (or more with a trailer!) or a very expensive plane ride from Ontario. That’s why our Ontario Young Riders Committee believes this change of venue to such a distant location for us Easterners provides a great opportunity to take next year as a time to focus even more on our skills and training. Watch for our exciting 2017 YR Clinic schedule with an emphasis on training for international competition and a new focus on our Challenge Series.

While we won’t be sending any teams to the Championships because of the distance and the cost, if there are any riders who want to qualify as an individual, we would be happy to assist you with finding out estimated costs and qualifying requirements.

Shelby Brost won individual gold at the 2016 NAJYRC CCI2* and helped lead her Ontario/Alberta team to a silver medal podium finish. The 18-year-old is based in Ocala, and while getting to Montana would be quite a haul (about 36 hours) …

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-9-59-21-am

Screenshot via MapQuest.

… she was still excited about the prospect of defending her title in 2017.

Gutted that Ontario won’t be sending a team to NAJYRC 2017 in regards to the distance and cost. This year, NAJYRC 2016,…

Posted by Shelby Brost on Sunday, December 11, 2016

This week’s edition of “Let’s Discuss” is inspired by Shelby’s parting query: “Any tips on fundraising or how to proceed to put the wheels back into motion to get a team sent is greatly appreciated.”

Thoughts, EN? Is there a way forward for Team Ontario and other Young Rider programs who may be struggling with the financial logistics of sending teams to Montana next year?

Note from the editor: Since this post’s publication we have received an update from the OHTA Young Rider Committee clarifying its statement with regard to participation at the 2017 NAJYRC competition at Rebecca Farm. As follows: 

To the Young Riders, Parents and Coaches,

It has become very clear that there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the recent email and Facebook post about the 2017 Young Riders Program and NAJYRC. We regret the confusion and will now clarify our position.

It was always the intention of the Young Riders Committee to provide the required support to those riders who wished to compete at the 2017 NAJYRC. We felt that we would not be able to send a team for two key reasons. First, we believed there was a strong possibility that we would not have enough qualified riders this year to make a team. We are not aware of any riders that are already qualified at the 1* level, and only one or two that are qualified at the 2* level.

If you are qualified to compete at either level already, please let us know. If you plan to qualify and compete in Montana, please let us know that too so we can plan more effectively. Second are the financial matters. Many riders and their parents expressed their concern that the cost to compete in Colorado was too high. Montana will be even more expensive.

If there are enough qualified riders to make up a team, we will happily send one to represent Ontario. If there are not enough qualified riders to make up a team, we will communicate with other provinces about forming a combined team. However, the economic reality is that we can no longer afford to provide the level of financial support that we have in previous years.

This means that, in addition to the normal expenses incurred by the riders and their parents, they will now also be responsible for paying their own entry fees and stabling costs to compete at 2017 NAJYRC. While we will not be sending an Ontario team coach to Montana, we have been trying to hire a Chef d’Equipe, but so far we have not received any applications for this position.

We will continue to work on finding someone to take on this important role. Perhaps a parent or travelling coach can act as Chef. We will continue to provide all other administrative assistance that was provided in prior years, such as obtaining team uniforms and ‘swag’ for the riders, making sure the entries are submitted on time, providing information on qualification criteria, etc., etc. If there are more than enough riders qualified, we will still be having a selection trial.

The decision to cut back funding for NAJYRC this year was not made hastily or lightly. There was much thought, research and input that went into this decision.  The fact that our funds are being depleted every year, combined with the fact that there are few riders qualified right now, forced us to look at the program as a whole, take a step back, and begin work on building our membership and educational pathway so we can create a larger pool of competitors for the future.

At no point did the committee simply say that we cannot be bothered to make the effort to send a team to Montana. The Young Riders committee is a very small committee and we all put in a lot of time and effort to make sure the program is as successful as it can be. We all have full-time jobs and families and we give our precious free time to help grow and improve our sport. We welcome any parents or coaches who would be willing to offer their time to help us run the program.

Since the parents and riders will be responsible for bearing the cost of going to NAJYRC, we highly recommend that you start your fundraising efforts early. While we have eliminated the $750 fundraising fee the riders were responsible for in prior years, when you add up the cost of entry fees and stabling, horse transportation, people transportation, hotel accommodation and food for riders, grooms, parents, family members, and coaches (if you are bringing your own), the total can be between $6,000 to $8,000 or more.

If there are any questions regarding the Young Riders program please contact one of the committee members.

Sincerely,

OHTA Young Rider Committee

Comments