Postcard from the Young Riders

Wadsworth, Ill, August 9, 2001 — The North American Young Riders’ Championships (NAYRC), Presented by State Line Tack, held at Tempel Farms in Wadsworth, Illinois, is an event like no other in the country. Period. I could make that statement at the end of this postcard but it would leave many of you wondering what you were missing. Instead, I’ll fill you in.

Riders, trainers, officials, spectators and even the staff use terms like magical, one-of-a-kind, fabulous, and unbelievable to describe the NAYRC experience. Where else can you see the top young eventers, show jumpers, and dressage riders from throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico mingling and sharing riding experiences?

One of the most special aspects of the competition is the former competitors who return year after year to coach and work with the young rider teams. One such rider is 2000 Olympic Eventing Team Bronze Medalist Karen O’Connor. This year, Karen and her husband, David, the 2000 Olympic Eventing Individual Gold Medalist, are both here to coach different young rider teams. Also on hand to coach is Phillip Dutton, a former Olympic Eventing Gold Medalist from Australia.

Since the ages of the competitors range from 16-21, many of the show jumping riders have backgrounds as winners or runners-up in the prestigious Medal and Maclay finals. One such equitation veteran is Sarah Willeman from Massachusetts, who has gone on to a successful career as a top Grand Prix rider. The past month has seen Sarah win three Grand Prix in a row–all three during the Vermont Summer Festival.

Along with the top competition, parties and fun events like golf cart races highlight the week. At the welcome party, Pan American Games Dressage Silver Medalist Anne Gribbons, here as a coach, was dancing the night away to tunes including the old disco hit “I Will Survive” with several other officials, staff members and young riders.

But most of all, the NAYRC is really about the top young riders going head-to-head in equestrian competition while representing their Area (Eventing), Zone (Show Jumping), or Region (Dressage), as well as their country.

The first championship medals were ridden for today in the Dressage Team Championship, and it came down to a showdown between the Region 3 and Region 1 Teams. Earning the Gold Medal with a combined score of 3755 was Lesley Eden and her mount, Picasso, of Lake Mary, FL, Courtney Raiser and her horse, Our Conversation, of Lilburn, GA,and Gwen Poulin of Deleon Springs, FL with Pik Cachet. All three riders also qualified for the Individual Dressage Championship that is sure to provide many examples of great horsemanship.

The Region 3 team managed to grab the gold despite riding with only three people, leaving them without the often-important “drop”score. Teammate Bethany Peslar was forced to pull her horse out just three days prior to the competition, and alternate Jodie Kelly’s horse suffered an attack of colic making it impossible for her to compete.

The Dressage Team Silver Medal went to the Region 1 Team of Camilla Goodchild of Greensboro, NC, Kerri Sowers of Egg Harbor, NJ, and sisters Catherine and Mary Alice Malone Jr. of Coatesville, PA, while Region 2 brought home the Bronze.

Bye for now – stay tuned to for more NAYRC results and news early Monday morning!


Dressage Team Championship
USDF Region 3 — Gold
USDF Region 1 — Silver
USDF Region 2 — Bronze
USDF Region 5 — 4th
Ontario, Canada – 5th
USDF Region 7 — 6th
USDF Region 8 — 7th
Alberta, Canada – 8th
USDF Region 4 — 9th
USDF Region 9 — 10th

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