Hannah Stohr: Area IV’s Yellow Brick Road to NAJYRC

There is no better way to experience our North American Junior and Young Rider Championships than through the eyes of an eager competitor, and so we are delighted to introduce Hannah Stohr as one of our official guest bloggers! The upcoming week is the culmination of years of hard work for the next generation of upper-level eventing riders and a unique experience that incorporates teamwork into an otherwise very individual sport. If you’ve been to NAJYRC, you know how special it is, and if you haven’t, we’re hoping to show you through this series of blogs. Thanks to Hannah for writing, and thank you for reading!

The team after a jump school. Left to right: Hannah, Melaine, Kristine, Elena, Becca, & Patrick

The team after a jump school. Left to right: Hannah, Melaine, Kristine, Elena, Becca, & Patrick. Photo by Jen Gall.

From Hannah:

Hey EN! I’m Hannah Stohr, a junior rider from Area IV, aka the Midwest. Just for the record, our horse shoes are not ruby red and we do not travel on yellow brick roads. I’ll be competing in the one-star division at NAJYRC this coming week and reporting from different parts of the country to give you a taste of what the NAJYRC is and what goes on for those of you who have never been or can’t make it to Lexington this year. It’ll be an exciting experience for all of us because this is my first time attending the championships and certainly first time competing!

Last week marked the start of a long trek for me, my horse, and my poor, underpaid, under-appreciated mom (love you!). We traveled from our home in Kansas nine hours north to Chicago for the Area IV Young Riders Camp. For the Area IV team, camp is three days of jump and flat schools with our team coach, Jon Holling, and dressage clinician Judy Walker. For me, it was my first time working with both instructors, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I also got to meet my teammates for the first time.

Representing Area IV this year on the one-star team are Elena Hengal and Zipp, a gorgeous and goofy Dutch gelding; Kristine Burgess and BFF Tiara, big-boned and large-eared and of the sweetest horses on the team; Melanie Rousseau and Menai Creek — “Minnie” is also big-boned, but very energetic and willing; Becca Gall and Can Ya Dig It, a calm and cool Thoroughbred gelding; and Hannah Stohr and Hey Jude — Pyramus is my quirky Thoroughbred!

The two-star team is Patrick Zink and Steeley Dan — Danny has one of the cutest faces on the team, and with his bushy gray tail, he’s hard to miss — and Autumn Schwiess and Oakport Strauss. This pair didn’t make it to camp, so I’m looking forward to meeting them in Kentucky.

The Area IV team and coach Jon Holling at camp jogs. From left to right: Patrick, Kristine, Elena, Jon, Hannah, Becca, & Melaine.

The Area IV team and coach Jon Holling at camp jogs. From left to right, Patrick, Kristine, Elena, Jon, Hannah, Becca and Melaine. Photo by Laura Bulgren.

Camp turned out to be very educational, from both a riding and horse care standpoint. In addition to three mounted sessions, several horse management seminars were given. The topics included cross country after-care, a lecture about horse soundness, how to present your horse for formal jog inspections and more. It was nice that the topics really pertained to knowledge every event rider wants to know and learn.

When camp ended Elena, Kristine and myself packed up and headed to Kentucky to layover at Shadey Hill Farm, just outside Lexington, for the weekend. Since we all live more than eight hours from Chicago, it made more sense for us to push through to Kentucky instead of going home. The rest of the team will join us today when we move into the horse park.

I will be posting another report once we get settled in. Until then, I will be giving off good vibes for all of our horses to stay sound and the riders to stay healthy.

Go Eventing and Area IV!

P.S. Does anyone have any good ideas for decorating two golf carts? I hear we need to be well protected against a Canadian’s team water arsenal …

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