By Amber Heintzberger
The NAYRC, presented by State Line Tack, kicked off to a good start and even the Brazilians were there for the party. Having been re-routed through both Los Angeles and New York, the team spent seven hours on the tarmac in New York before finally getting a flight to Chicago O'Hare and their final destination in Old Mill Creek, Illinois. There was no contest for which team traveled farthest to the event of the year for Young Riders.
The event includes the three disciplines of dressage, showjumping and three-day eventing. The 2002 NAYRC will host the fourth annual Mills Team Challenge, a dressage competition for young riders with disabilities who range from 16-25 years of age. The competition will be coordinated by the National Disability Sports Alliance (NDSA), the national governing body for equestrian sports for riders with disabilities.
Dressage and Show Jumpers jogged yesterday, while today it's down to serious business for the eventers as they perform their soundness jog and the cross-country course is open for inspection. The competitors briefing last night precluded the dinner and party at Tempel Farm, site of the event. The farm is home to the largest privately owned herd of Lipizzan horses in North America and is hosting the championships for the fourteenth time.
Competitors recalling last year's scorching weather at the NAYRC were relieved to arrive to pleasant temperatures in the high 70's. It was cool enough not to break a sweat until things got going on the dance floor, and warm enough for competitors to trade in their barn clothes for bright, summer party duds.
Jessica Ransehausen kicked off the evening with an inspiring speech for the next generation of equestrian athletes and then the DJ's, cranked up the music and showed the dancers a few disco-inspired moves. It didn't take long for competitors and officials to take matters into their own hands, and the dance floor could hardly hold the mob of gyrating partygoers.