Youth eventing athletes from the western U.S. had their first opportunity to compete in the Adequan®/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge last weekend at Aspen Farms Horse Trials. Eight talented athletes competed as individuals in the first West Coast leg of the inaugural Youth Team Challenge in Yelm, Washington.
In the CCI2*-S division, Kayla Dumler (Enumclaw, Wash.) and her 2010 Thoroughbred gelding, Faramir, took home the top score, adding nothing to their dressage score of 29.8 to finish in first.
In the CCI3*-S division, Haley Turner (Alamo, Calif.) finished on a 46.7 with her 2010 Irish Sport Horse gelding, Shadow Inspector, to secure the top spot.
The Youth Team Challenge serves as a progression from the North American Youth Championship format for youth eventing athletes up to the age of 25. The series includes short format events across the country and will conclude with two long format finals, one on each coast.
Aspen Farms Horse Trials organizer Jonathan Elliott said that while the pool of local competitors was small at this inaugural event, the participants and their families were enthusiastic about creating a successful event.
“We had great local support from some of the parents of Area VII Young Riders here, so the athletes got coats, saddle pads, and hats when they first got here,” said Elliott. “They got really good prizes in addition to the ones from USEF. The athletes were super excited. They seemed to really like it and it was a good experience for them. Hopefully it’s a good start that will grow into getting teams from California and elsewhere in the west to compete next year.”
The next West Coast legs for the Youth Team Challenge will take place Sept. 23-26 in Paso Robles, Calif., and Oct. 7-9 in Woodside, Calif. The West Coast Final will be held in Temecula, Calif., Nov. 3-7.
“I think the focus now is on making sure we get teams at the long format [finals] at the end of the year on the East and West Coast,” said Elliott. “Then, hopefully, more team competitions happen at the shorts leading into that, because I think that’s the great aspect of what Young Riders has always been. It’s that team component to competing in eventing that you can’t get anywhere else.”
For questions regarding the USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge, contact Christina Vaughn, USEF Director, Eventing Performance and Program Support, at (859) 225-6917 or [email protected].