US Equestrian is pleased to announce the development of a new youth team competition format for eventing athletes competing at the CCI1* through CCI3* levels, set to be introduced during the 2021 competition season. Eventing athletes between the FEI ages of 14 and 25 are invited to apply for the USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge for the upcoming competition season, with competition opportunities spanning from early spring through late fall.
This new concept will serve as an evolution of the North American Youth Championship for eventing and will provide opportunities for more athletes to represent their USEA Area in team competition throughout the year, culminating with two bi-coastal championships.
The Challenge will include three levels with the following age requirements:
- CCI1* for FEI ages 14-18
- CCI2* for FEI ages 14-21
- CCI3* for FEI ages 16-25
The series will consist of four to six CCI-S competitions hosted at locations across the country to make the program accessible to as many qualified youth athletes as possible. It will conclude with two CCI-L competitions, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast, at the end of the competition year. The bid process for host competitions is open through December 15, 2020, and locations will be announced at the end of January 2021.
“We are very excited about the increased opportunities this new Youth Team Challenge series will provide to youth athletes. Whereas youth athletes were aiming for one summer team championship with NAYC, athletes will now have the opportunity to compete in a team for the full season leading up to a final team championship on both coasts,” said Leslie Law, USEF Development and Emerging Athlete Coach.
“The U.S. does not currently have the opportunity to compete in FEI Pony, Junior and Young Rider Championships like in Europe, so we must continue to seek new ways to give our youth athletes more opportunities to compete in a team. The Youth Team Challenge will also give athletes up to the age of 25 the opportunity to gain this valuable team experience. This is an exciting and critical new initiative in further strengthening the Eventing Pathway, which aims to develop athletes to one day represent the U.S. on the world stage.”
Each team will consist of three to four horse/athlete combinations to be chosen from qualified applicants by the USEA Area Selectors based on performance, soundness, experience, and suitability for the competition. All interested athletes must submit an area declaration and a one-time application for the upcoming competition year. The deadline for area declarations and team applications is January 29, 2021. Log in to your athlete dashboard to access the application.
Note to applicants*: FEI age is defined as the age the athlete will turn during the calendar year of the competition. Athletes born between January 1 and December 31, 2007, will be considered FEI age 14 for the entire 2021 competition year. Additionally, athletes who intend to move up to the CCI1* level in the upcoming season are invited to apply, even if they have not yet competed at the level.
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