North American Youth Championships Set for Traverse City, Michigan for Next Three Years Faced With Sharp Decline in Particpation

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The 2019 North American Youth Championship medals podium. © 2019n Andrea Evans/US Equestrian

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, Oct. 29, 2019–Great Lakes Equestrian Festival in Traverse City, Michigan has been selected as the host of the North American Youth Championships of dressage and jumping for the next three years faced with a sharp decline in dressage participation over the past decade.

The United States Equestrian Federation announced the selection for 2020, 2021 and 2022, the first time for the venue that is about 200 miles/320km from Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Canada and 255 miles/410km from Detroit.

The selection requires approval from the International Equestrian Federation (FEI). The United States and Canada are the major participants with dressage teams from different geographic regions in the two countries. In recent years, individual Mexican combinations have competed.

Competition will be staged at the Flintfields Horse Park in Traverse City Aug. 4-9, 2020 for the initial year.

US Equestrian said NAYC offers an elite opportunity for rising talent to build confidence in both a team and individual championship competition environment, while representing their country under international FEI rules.

“The competition format, which emulates that of senior championship competition, is essential in the continued development of athletes, while ensuring future success for US Equestrian’s Olympic programs.”

Bill Moroney, US Equestrian Chief Executive Officer, said: “This competition is essential in order to continue building our Olympic programs, as younger generations of athletes are able to gain the valuable experience they need to excel at the next level.”

Athlete applications for NAYC will open by Jan. 1, 2020.

Records of participation in dressage for the past decade show that at the Junior level the high point was 43 combinations–13 from Canada, 30 from the U.S.–in 2011 with totals of 39 in both 2013 and 2014 and 41 in 2015.

Since then, the totals for Juniors declined to 31 in 2016, 35 in 2017, 30 in 2018 and 35 this year.

For dressage Young Riders, peak participation was 41 in both 2012 and 2013.

The total dropped to a low of 28 in 2018 with 29 in 2019, the same as for 2016 and 2017.