Natalie Lamping has taken part in the North American Young Riders Championships as a coach, Chef d'Equipe, and as a judge. This esteemed character has also been on the judges' panel at the Olympic and Pan-Am Games and for most of the major selection trials in the past few years, including selections for this year's World Equestrian Games.
Over the years Lamping has watched the NAYRC develop and change. "The quality of the horses is a noticeable change," she said. "In the beginning there were lots of Juniors and Young Riders on backyard horses." She cites one of her former students who was extremely competitive on a homebred Anglo-Arab. Today many of the horses are top-quality Warmbloods imported from first-rate breeding programs in Europe and trained by the experts.
The experts are also coaching the riders. "It's nice to see some the top riders here coaching and giving back and helping Young Riders progress," she said. Top dressage riders who acted as coaches this year included Steffen Peters, Cesar Parra and Karen Lipp, among others. The disciplines of show jumping and three-day eventing also attracted coaches from their top ranks of competition.
"Lots of Young Riders have gone on to promote the sport," she said. "Working with horses is a hard way to make a living and it's nice that they continue to do it." The list of riders who competed at the NAYRC and went on to represent their countries in international competition is a long one. Greg Best, Karen Lende O'Connor, Martina Pracht, Kathleen Raine, and Heather Mason are just a few Young Riders who went on to successful careers in the horse world
As a judge and as a trainer, Lamping herself continues to give back to the sport. "I enjoy teaching clinics and helping people at any level, because they are so hungry to learn and appreciative," she said.
Here Natalie takes part in the long time annual tradition, the Judges' and Officials' Saturday Night Costume contest and golf cart races.
By Amber Heintzberger for Dressagedaily.com