Young Rider Kelli Newton couldn't help but smile after riding in the stadium. "I was here to watch the World Equestrian Games last year, and all I could think as we walked down the ramp into the stadium was that this was the same place that Steffen Peters and all the other amazing horses and riders from around the world competed last fall." Region 7 (California) riders couldn't help but be impressed after their first official schooling session this morning in the Rolex Stadium, where the dressage portion of the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) will be contested. The first walk down the rubber-paved runway into the grand stadium is awe-inspiring. "Sure, I was a little nervous, and the arena is definitely intimidating at first," admitted Morgan Wolfe of the Junior team. "But I have to remind myself that we've done all we can to prepare, and now it's just about enjoying the experience."
"I'm so excited," said Junior team member Maggie Charbonnet. "My horse was a little tense at first. But I stayed focused on him, and our session went really well."
This afternoon's focus was on the veterinary inspection, beginning at 3:30pm ET with all Young Rider teams, followed by Juniors. Region 7 team members looked to have stepped right off the red carpet with matching blue shirts and smart white pants, and all horses presented themselves beautifully for Ground Jury members and Veterinary Delegates. After the jog and an introductory meeting for all competitors, it was time for fun as elaborately decorated golf carts carried teams across the beautiful fields of the Kentucky Horse Park and the neighboring Spy Coast Farm for the evening's exhibitor party.
Team competition gets underway at 7am ET in the Rolex Stadium, where Junior and Young Rider competition will be run simultaneously in adjoining rings. Region 7 Juniors drew fifth in the team rotation, and the Young Riders drew a very favorable ninth position. The first Region 7 rider in the ring will be Junior team member Morgan Wolfe at 7:40am. While USEF reports that webcasting will not be available for this competition, scores will be updated "live" via this link: http://www.youngriders.org/Results.aspx.