North American J/YR Championships Kick Off Wednesday

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Young Rider Dressage Team Medal Winners at the 2008 NAJYR Championships. © 2008 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Young Rider Dressage Team Medal Winners at the 2008 NAJYR Championships. © 2008 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, USA, July 18–The 2009 Adequan FEI North American Junior & Young Riders Championships presented by Gotham North in the Olympic disciplines of dressage, jumping and eventing, plus the Western sport of reining, begins Wednesday at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Junior and young riders aged 14 to 21 from Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean Islands, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States will compete in one of the biggest events in its history with an increase in the number of entries plus demonstration events in vaulting and endurance.

International Equestrian Federation (FEI) President Princess Haya Bint al Hussein of Jordan will make her first public appearance at the championships’ opening ceremonies on Wednesday. Much like an Olympics-style event, the Opening Ceremonies will feature a procession of athletes from all over North America, along with entertainment and a small number speakers.

The Kentucky Horse Park is the venue for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, the quadrennial championships of the disciplines under the umbrella of the International Equestrian Federation. Tens of millions of dollars are being spent on facilities for WEG in 2010 that will make the Horse Park the premier equestrian show grounds in the United States with an outdoor stadium that can hold up to 30,000 spectators and an indoor arena with room for almost 6,000 spectators.

Many of North America’s best equestrians got their start at the NAJYRC including Olympic medalists Greg Best, Karen O’Connor, Chris Kappler and McLain Ward.

The NAJYRC began in 1974 as an eventing challenge between the United States and Canada. Dressage was added in 1981 and jumping in 1982.

The first complete Young Riders championship was held in British Columbia, Canada in 1982. The Championships were expanded to officially include a championship division for juniors in 2006. Reining was added to the schedule in 2008.