Young Equestrians to Get "Taste of the Olympics"

Young equestrians from all reaches of North America will get a feel for what it's like to compete in the Olympic Games when they compete in the CN North American Junior and Young Riders' Championships (NAJYRC), at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, VA, August 1-6, 2006.

This will mark the second appearance in the mid-Atlantic region for the NAJYRC, the premier equestrian competition in North America for Juniors and Young Riders, age 14-21. Young equestrians come from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean Islands to vie for team and individual championships in the three Olympic equestrian disciplines of show jumping, dressage, and eventing.

"We are excited and proud to host this year's Junior and Young Riders' Championships at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington for a second year," said Event Director Penny Ross. "The Championships have become such a special event over the years and we look forward to expanding them with the addition of full championships in all three disciplines for junior riders. We intend to do our best to further the success of this already wonderful event."

For many competitors, the NAJYRC is their first experience riding on a team, as well as their first time competing under the rules of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body for equestrian sport. At the CN North American Junior and Young Riders' Championships, more than 200 riders will compete in one of three distinct equestrian disciplines.

Tuesday, August 1 is the official start of this year's Championships with veterinary inspections of all horses and opening day briefings. For all three disciplines, the mounted competitions begin on Wednesday, August 2. Show jumpers will compete in warm-up rounds, eventers will begin their dressage phase and dressage riders will begin their team championship.

Competition in the show jumping division continues on Thursday with qualifying rounds that lead up to Friday's Nations' Cup-style competition that determines the team medals. Saturday, August 5 hosts individual qualifying rounds and Sunday brings the completion of show jumping division with competitors riding for individual medals in the championship rounds.

Dressage finishes the team championship rides on Thursday and then competitors move on to the individual rounds. On Friday, individual tests will be ridden followed by the consolation ride on Saturday. Those qualifying to advance to the musical freestyle will do these rides on Sunday. These are rides choreographed to music within the general guidelines of required movements and a 5-minute time limit. The results of the freestyle determine the individual medals.

The eventing competition includes dressage tests on Thursday and Friday, followed by cross country on Saturday. All eventing competitors then ride in the final show jumping phase on Sunday when both team and individual medals are awarded.

The Championships' eventing division will include a CCI** Championship for young riders age 16-21. There will also be a CCI* Championship for junior riders, age 14-18. Both of these FEI Championships will be run under the Olympic, or modified, format.

The NAJYRC began in 1974 as an eventing challenge between the United States and Canada. A Dressage Championship was added in 1981, and Show Jumping debuted in 1982. The first complete NAJYRC was held in British Columbia, Canada in 1982. This year's addition of full championship divisions in all three disciplines marks the first NAJYRC.

For more information on the 2006 CN North American Junior and Young Riders' Championships, please visit www.youngriders.org, call 540/348-1152 or e-mail vht@cfw.com.

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