New program targets future sport stars.
Traveling around the country as coach of a two-time North American Junior/ Young Rider Championship contender, eventing trainer Christine McNabb noticed that many other areas have programs to identify and develop young riders at the earliest points in the pipeline. That observation led to the introduction of the Young Rider Advancement Program, new this year for US Eventing Association’s Area VI, which encompasses California and Hawaii. It’s an additional dimension of Area VI’s Young Rider program.
YRAP’s target is any young rider, from Introductory to Preliminary, Christine explains. The new program already has sign-ups from equestrians as young as 10, and “the earlier the better” is the modus operandi for this effort to expose and inspire youngsters to the NAJYRC track and to FEI level competition in general.
Even though Area VI teams have done well the last few years, the whole NAJYRC experience was somewhat overwhelming, says Christine, whose student Sami Clarke rode for the 1-Star Junior Championships team this year and last, contributing to a team bronze last summer. “All of the sudden they are in this big venue, doing jogs, going through the veterinary box check, etc. Other areas have programs that develop riders through the lower levels. I think the earlier we start exposing them to this type of competition, the more natural of a progression it will be.”
Better preparation and spurring more interest in the NAJYRC track are YRAP’s priorities. Currently, Christine adds, it’s a bit of a “closed community” of people who know about the NAJYRC and, as such, Area VI has not generated very many participants. Texas, she notes, had about 15 qualified kids for the 1-star Junior Rider Championships last year, whereas Area VI had just enough to fill a team.
Participation begins with filling out a YRAP form and a goal sheet found online at www.areavi.org. The idea of the latter is to identify early on who has FEI goals and facilitate coaching and mentoring relationships between lower and upper level riders. YRAP will track results for participating riders and recognize their accomplishments at individual competitions and in year-end awards.
Clinics are also set to be part of the program. The emphasis is on all aspects of preparing for and competing in a Championship and including riders who may be preparing for a run five years in the future or those already in the Championship’s age eligibility of 16-21 years old.
The YRAP also fits with sport-wide efforts to recognize accomplishments at the lower levels. “Ninety five percent of eventers will not compete beyond Training Level,” Christine explains. “Even if they are never going to make a team, they are a big part of the eventing community and we want to make them feel like it.”
As YRAP director, Christine will work closely with Christine Traynham, Area VI Young Rider Coordinator. The owner of Twin Palms Combined Training in the Sacramento area’s Loomis, Christine McNabb is a USEA/ICP Certified Eventing Instructor and she has a particularly strong track record with teen riders.
For more information on the YRAP program, as a participant or volunteer, contact Christine at 916-532-2309, e-mail her at
or find the forms on www.areavi.org, under the Young Riders tab.
Written by Kim F. Miller
Monday, 27 February 2017 23:50