September 2016 - NAJYRC Report: Dressage
Written by Alison Burt-Jacobs
Thursday, 01 September 2016 05:14
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Region 7 riders inspire their leader as athletes and excellent young people.

by Alison Burt-Jacobs • photos by Cassidy Gallman

I arrived at the Colorado Horse Park as a first time chef d’equipe. In the days leading up to NAJYRC, I swung between terror and excitement! Once there I entered into an experience I will remember with joy (and fatigue!)

Photo: Cassidy Gallman

Photo: Cassidy Gallman

Between all of the conference calls leading up to NAJYRC and the constant back and forth e-mails full of information between all of the chefs and the USDF/USEF, I felt very confident in my support system. I also felt very fortunate to have the riders, coaches and parents that represented Region 7 this year. Everyone had a common goal: to ensure that the welfare of the horse and rider was the top priority and to encourage good sportsmanship and teamwork during the Championships.

This year Region 7 had Kate Cassidy as our only Young Rider. She was put on a combined team with Regions 4, 5 and 7. The team earned the bronze medal in the team competition and Kate went on to finish in the top 18 in the individual, which then qualified her for the Freestyle! This was Kate’s first and last year as a Young Rider, so watching her throughout this journey has been amazing. There wasn’t a dry eye in our group as she went down her final centerline in the freestyle!

Our junior team was made up of Ben Ebeling, Christian Simonson, Nila Venkat and Annie Ray. This was the entire team’s first year at NAJYRC. We had a big disappointment early on when Ben’s horse did not pass the jog due to an acute and short term injury. I was so proud of how our team rallied behind him to show that he was still an important and needed part of the team.

Kate Cassidy. Photo: Cassidy Gallman

Photo: Cassidy Gallman

Ben handled himself incredibly well and pulled himself right back up and jumped in to help support his fellow teammates in whatever they needed. Each one of the juniors went in to the ring and rode like young professionals. Both Christian and Annie made it into the freestyle and threw down some amazing dance moves with their horses! Each one of them was ringside to support the rider in the ring and could be heard cheering across the show grounds!

An Inspiration

My riders inspired me. In a very short time, I saw them arrive as individuals and come together to support and rely on each other. I saw young people set goals, work hard and achieve those goals. When adversity presented a challenge they supported each other and pushed forward. I experienced all of them grow and learn as the week went on and for me that is what NAJYRC is all about.

This didn’t all happen without some fun in the mix. The first night at the Opening Ceremony was our first time being presented as a team and that set the tone for the week to follow. The competitors danced, laughed and even volunteered to go in the dunk tank!

Photo: Cassidy Gallman

Jan and Ben Ebeling. Photo: Cassidy Gallman

My personal favorite event was the golf cart parade. My entire team did an amazing job decorating it to look like a cool little race car, complete with eyes, a smile and white twinkle lights! The entire team was in it for the parade, which eventually turned into an all-out water fight: Ben even got glitter bombed by an unknown team! I am not sure why I felt I needed to shower before this event as I was soaked from head to toe. We worked hard and played hard!

I am looking forward to seeing what these riders do in the years ahead. Each one was always respectful and represented themselves and their sport in the best possible way. Each acted like young professionals and the future of dressage is looking very bright with all the talent I saw over the week!

As for myself, I hope I can return and do it all over again in the years to come.

Lastly I can’t sign off without thanking all of our riders, coaches, parents, families, Tracy and Cassidy Gallman (coordinators), and all of our many sponsors: W Farms, Shockemohle, California Dressage Society, California Riding Magazine, Cauleen Glass and everyone who donated to our silent auction and GoFundMe account. NAJYRC is an amazing program and an experience I was very fortunate to be a part of.

Go Region 7!


Photo: Cassidy Gallman

Author and Region 7 chef d’equipe Alison Burt-Jacobs is assistant trainer at Iron Horse Ranch Dressage in Malibu.


Dressage Medals

Young Rider Team
Gold: Reg. 1
Silver: ON/MB/AB (Canada)
Bronze: Regions 4/5/7 (including Reg. 7’s Kate Cassidy)

Junior Rider Team
Gold: Reg. 3
Silver: Reg. 4
Bronze: Combined Regs 1/6
7th: Region 7

Young Rider Individual Freestyle
Gold: Nicholas Hansen/Reg. 1
Silver: Emily Ferguson/Canada
Bronze: Rachel Robinson/Reg. 3
11th: Kate Cassidy/Reg. 7

Junior Rider Individual Freestyle
Gold: Jenna Upchurch/Reg. 4
Silver: Vanessa Creech-Terauds/Ontario
Bronze: Jackson Gillespie/Reg. 5