As a way of preparing for the rigorous future of high performance dressage, the USDF regions encourage the Young Riders competing in the North American Junior/Young Riders Championships (NAJYRC) to achieve a fundraising goal of $1,000. The upcoming NAJYRC will take place July 17th – 21st in the main stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park. Junior/Young Rider Lindsey Holleger (age 17), from Whigham, Georgia, will ride in the Junior division for Region 3 at NAJYRC for the second year. Holleger said, “This year we are being sponsored by Show Chic, 2kGrey, Animo, Fenwick Equestrian, and a few others.” In addition to Holleger, the official Junior team includes Rachel Robinson, Mallory Kent, and Jamie Doolittle as well as Hannah Hewitt and Avery-Anna Hogan for the Young Rider division. “I am so excited for Juniors this year and I can't wait to represent Region 3,” Holleger commented. Each competitor is responsible for raising $1,000, which goes to cover entry fees, stabling and other necessities. Holleger works to fundraise and said, “Fenwick Equestrian Products has donated saddle pads for the team, and Animo donated breeches. You get more no’s than yes’s. While it is not always easy to ask someone for money, it is fantastic when they say yes and it gives me the confidence to ask someone else.”
Holleger rides her 11 year old gelding, Friedensfurst (Donaufurst x Hohenstein), nicknamed Fenway, a horse she has trained with the guidance of FEI rider and coach, Erin Brinkman. Holleger commented on last years Junior/Young Rider experience, “I was just amazed at the quality of horses and riders last year. In 2012 at NAJYRC, we were 4th as a team and 4th individually. It is like the Olympics for young riders. It was a great experience, and I had a ton of fun. My favorite part was being on a team with friends. This year I decided to do juniors one more year because we are still green in the Prix St George/Intermediare I.”
Don’t be fooled by this young women’s modesty. They have a 69% average going into NAJYRC (the highest average in the nation) and won every junior class they entered including the CDI 5* in Wellington at the Global Dressage Festival.
Many riders choose to ride upper level horses that have competed at the Grand Prix level. Lindsey chose another route. “My goal when I bought Fenway wasn't to go to Young Riders. Like many people, we started at training level and worked our way up. It was my coach, Erin Brinkman, who suggested Young Riders when we were schooling a solid 2nd level or a green third level in 2011. Since then I've been riding Fenway most every day. We work hard to get better every single ride. I love the summertime when I have the opportunity to spend a few weeks with Erin as a working student, trying to absorb everything I can from her. She has taught me so much in these last few years. Last year, I tried out for Juniors and did much better than I expected. We were only showing third level for a little while. We ended up with a 68% average.”
Growing up in Budapest, Hungary, Lindsey started lunge lessons at the age of four and showed in lead-line dressage. In 2004, she moved back to the United States with her family, and her family bought a POA pony. She joined the Pony Club. When she turned 10 years old, they bought a larger "Quarter Horse" pony and she enjoyed a great deal of success with this pony at local dressage shows. At the age of 13, Lindsey outgrew the pony and the family began searching for a horse. They met Brinkman at a Tampa rated show and decided to go see her horses. Fenway was the first horse Lindsey tried and it was love at first sight. Her mom wanted to get her a horse that knew more (maybe PSG) but Erin thought it would be good for them to learn together. They purchased Fenway in August 2009. It was not easy for Lindsey in the beginning, she learned that Fenway (Friedensfurst) had quite the buck. Lindsey found herself on the ground a few times. However, when the two of them came to an understanding, they have rocketed up the levels. Together, they showed their first Intermediare 1 at a rated show this past weekend and scored 68% with two errors.
If you would like to support Lindsey and Fenway and the Region 3 team, checks can be made out to USDF Region 3 (please note on behalf of Lindsey Holleger). Mail checks to Sue Bender, Regional Coordinator and Region 3's Chef d'Equipe. 1024 Grand Prix Dr., Beech Island, SC 29842
Photos: Dayle Holleger