Wilmington’s Callie O’Connell Earns Spot In North American Young Rider Championships

SAUGERTIES, NY — Top young local dressage athlete, Callie O’Connell of Wilmington, qualified and was nominated to represent U.S. Region 8 at this year’s North American Junior/Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) to be held July 17th-23rd at HITS on the Hudson in Saugerties, NY.

At the close of the 2017 qualifying period (August 1, 2016 – June 19, 2017), 13 young dressage athletes from New York and New England have officially secured nominations to represent our region (U.S. Region 8) at the NAJYRC which will take place from July 18th-23rd at HITS on the Hudson in Saugerties, NY. After a rigorous period of qualifying competitions and rankings, each of the 10 regions of the United States is able to nominate up to 8 nominated qualifiers per age bracket (Juniors are 14-18, Young Riders are 16-21) and discipline (of which there are 4) to the NAJYRC annually, and may then send the top 4 per bracket that can attend as their regional teams. Region 8 consists of the New York and the entirety of New England. Canada and Mexico are also eligible to send teams.

The FEI Junior/Young Rider program and NAJYRC are instrumental in challenging and supporting this country’s up-and-coming elite dressage athletes in developing their skills, knowledge and overall experience competing at a national and international level. It is a gateway to the long journey of making a World Cup or Olympic team some day, and helps to inspire and prepare some of the best riders in our country.

All Region 8 Jr/YR athletes and contenders have dedicated tremendous work and passion to get to this level as riders. To become a nominated, rider needed to meet requirements and register themselves and their horses with the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) through the USDF by the spring, compete and achieve at least a 62 average (score) from different judges over at least 3 recognized qualifier shows this season on specified FEI Jr/Yr Team and Individual tests, compete and receive a qualifying Freestyle score of 62, and rank among the top 8 in their region and division with these scores. FEI Junior tests are the equivalent of 3rd/4th level dressage tests, and FEI Young Rider tests are the equivalent of FEI Prix St. Georges. Region 8 is proud to have 13 Junior and Young riders combined that completed the qualification process with enough qualifying scores to become nominated athletes for this year’s championship, and are now preparing to send the top 4 that can attend in each bracket to represent our region on our NAJYRC competition teams.

Region 8 Junior and Young Rider Nominated Athletes, ranked order from top, are as follows:

  • Young Rider Qualified Nominees: Emily Smith of Belmont, MA; Molly O’Brien of Columbia, CT; Regan Salm of Lincoln, MA; Isabelle Thompson of Cohasset, MA; Kristen Nowak of East Greenwich, RI; Callie O’Connell of Wilmington, MA; Shea Monsey of Charlotte, VT; and Eliza Gardner of Westerly, RI.
  • Junior Qualified Nominees: Gemma Starn of Larchmont, NY; Isabel Ullman Kerhonkson, NY; Leah Tenney of Yarmouth, ME; Lara Erdogus-Brady of Harvard, MA; and, Sophia Chavonelle of Windham, ME.

Please join in applauding our regional dressage riders for all of their hard work and as they represent our region on the national and international stage at this year’s North American Junior Young Rider Championships!

To support or find out more about the Region 8 Junior Young Rider Programs, please contact Jennifer Dillon, Regional Director, at jen@dilloneq.com or 508-641-3121, or check out the USDF Region 8 Youth Facebook page.

(NOTE: The above press release is from NAJYRC Region 8 Team.)

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