A NAJYRC to Re­mem­ber

Practical Horseman - - The Ride of Your Life -

This July, com­peti­tor Buck David­son at­tended the Event at Re­becca Farm in a dif­fer­ent ca­pac­ity as the Area I on­es­tar team coach for the North Amer­i­can Ju­nior & Young Rider Cham­pi­onships, which Re­becca Farm hosted in con­junc­tion with its an­nual horse tri­als.

Over 50 NAJYRC com­peti­tors from ev­ery cor­ner of the U.S. and Canada made the trip to Re­becca Farm, many of whom might never com­pete there other­wise. “It’s ex­cit­ing to see the num­ber of NAJYRC com­peti­tors on par with pre­vi­ous years and proves that Mon­tana truly is a bucket-list desti­na­tion for many riders near and far,” says or­ga­nizer Sarah Brous­sard. She says she was grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity to host the cham­pi­onships, fur­ther­ing her mother’s ar­dor for as­sist­ing young riders on their path to con­test­ing the up­per lev­els of the sport and rep­re­sent­ing their coun­try in in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

“It’s some­thing I’ve wanted to do but for one rea­son or an­other it never hap­pened,” she says. His­tor­i­cally, all the NAJYRC dis­ci­plines have com­peted at the same large venue, such as the Ken­tucky Horse Park or the Colorado Horse Park. This year, for lo­gis­ti­cal rea­sons, event­ing splin­tered off from the pack and needed a new home. “Event­ing was sort of the or­phan child, and I said ‘Oh yes, of course we’ll host it,’” Sarah says.

Sarah, a for­mer NAJYRC com­peti­tor her­self, knows first­hand what a bench­mark the cham­pi­onships can be in the lives and ca­reers of as­pir­ing even­ters. “The ex­pe­ri­ence was about so much more than just rid­ing,” she says. “Noth­ing beats the rush of ex­cite­ment while on course and that in­cred­i­ble feel­ing of sup­port one gets from both your team and those watch­ing. It is an honor to help fa­cil­i­tate that ex­pe­ri­ence for the next gen­er­a­tion of young riders.”

This year’s NAJYRC teams ex­er­cised cre­ativ­ity and de­ter­mi­na­tion in their fundrais­ing ef­forts to off­set travel ex­penses to Mon­tana. From silent auc­tions and GoFundMe cam­paigns to pan­cake break­fasts and ben­e­fit horse tri­als, the riders made it hap­pen and went home with glow­ing re­ports from their ex­pe­ri­ence.

NAJYRC two-star team gold and in­di­vid­ual sil­ver and bronze medal­ist Cor­nelia Dorr trav­eled to Re­becca Farm from Mas­sachusetts—a 2,600-mile jour­ney. “It was pretty daunt­ing, pack­ing and putting it all to­gether,” she says. “But it’s not so bad once you have it fig­ured out.”

Wil­liam Zuschlag, from South Carolina, won the NAJYRC in­di­vid­ual gold. “The trip was def­i­nitely more doable than I thought it would be,” he says.

From left: CH-J* in­di­vid­ual medal­ists, Mal­lory Ho­gan (bronze), Tosca Holmes-Smith (gold) and Alexandra Baugh (sil­ver)

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