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Stories: Opening Ceremonies || 2008 N.A. Young Rider Endurance Ride || Young Rider Wrap Up


Friday August 1 2008 - Young Rider Wrap Up

"Very impressed," were the words echoed by the veterinarians, Vonita Bowers, Dinah Rojek, and John Crandell, of the girls' performances in the ride. "It's the best ride I've seen - adults included - where everybody rode according to their own horse's ability," John commented.

Best Condition Judging was at 8 AM, and instead of doing it anonymously, the girls and horses gathered together and, behind their YOUNG RIDERS ENDURANCE banner, looking smart and very team-like, paraded in a line across the grounds, among the dressage and jumping horses and riders getting ready to go in the rings. A nice touch.

Six horses showed for BC; everybody got a cheer when they were finished.

After the horses were put back in their stables, everyone gathered in one of the buildings for a wrap-up APEX clinic and the awards.

The girls were all congratulated on the great job they had done. They all listened attentively as Dinah Rojek and John Crandell walked the girls through their observations from yesterday: vet presentations, trotting out, pacing; future tips such as don't overtrain (Cowboy Mark Dial offered, "It takes twice as long to fix a horse than it does to rest a horse") or bore your horse ("take him on a foxhunt or or do some arena work with him!"); and most importantly, take care of yourself. If you start hurting and you have to start adjusting your position in the saddle to compensate for the pain, then you will affect your horse's way of going. Toughing it out is not the right way to go: "'Toughness' is awareness and early intervention. Eat and drink well, take care of any aches ahead of time, before it becomes a problem." Dr Hounsel, Vonita Bowers, and Cowboy added their compliments and observations.

Carolyn Hock asked the girls for input on how to improve this ride for next year, "but say it in a positive way." Many suggestions were helpfully given, the most important of which was - more water on trail, (and possibly crewing) for horses and humans.

The awards, donated by sponsors Gulf Coast 4 Star Trailers (an embroidered chair for Best Condition), the Arabian Horse Association (Goodie bags and vests), Specialized Saddles (Tracy and David Kaden donated a saddle), and Anne Pfeiffer (handmade artwork) were handed out to the riders. First place rider Jessica DiCamillo received a free membership to APEX; Frances Chase-Dunn, whose horse Dixie Love had high vet score received a hand-painted framed mirror by Anne Pfeiffer, and Jessica's horse Crestwind Premiere won Best Condition. Kirsten Kimbler won the Kadens' Specialized Saddle in a random drawing of the riders.

LeeAnn Corey of the Arabian Horse Association, who attended an endurance ride for the first time yesterday, and who jumped in during the day as a vet secretary, handed out Goodie bags and AHA vests to the riders, saying she was also very impressed with what she saw. "I think endurance may be the future of AHA!"

This first time Young Rider Endurance Ride was a sort of trial run event, with the goal of offering an official Junior/Young Riders National Championship event to stand on its own in the near future. Unlike some other countries, the US doesn't have a Junior program - yet - but there are hopes that a young rider program will develop and that this ride will return next year as a CEI 4-star, 100-mile event, with an open invitation to other countries' participation.

"Whether you win or lose, complete or don't complete, you'll remember the rides that you learned something from - that's why we're here, to learn," said John Crandell. Though small in size, this year's ride was a great learning experience - for riders, officials, organizers - and can only contribute to the growth, and success, of next year's Young Rider's Championship.