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USA Equestrian (formerly AHSA) announced today that the first competitions toward the individual medals in both the show jumping Championship division and the Junior-Young Rider (JY) division at the 2001 FEI North American Young Riders' Championships sponsored by State Line Tack began on Thursday, August 9, 2001. The Championships run through August 12th at Tempel Farm, Wadsworth, IL.

Thirty-five riders in the Championship division contested the challenging track set by Guillherme Nogueira Jorge of Brazil. Many riders had trouble with the combination set late in the course requiring riders to ride past the in-gate. The location, combined with the airy nature of the jumps caused a number of stops and several unplanned dismounts. Most show jumping riders in the United States are unfamiliar with FEI rules, and the riders who fell off did not realize they could remount and continue as is allowed in an FEI Championship.

Emily Williams, who rode on the 1999 Zone 5 gold medal team, took over the lead aboard Oyster. She carries no penalty points into the second and third rounds, which also serve as the team competition. Ashlee Bond representing the Zone 10 team finished in second, only .91 points behind Williams. Bond is in her first year of riding in big jumper classes and dominated the Zone 10 selection trials. Zone 1 Teammates Ashley Baker and Amanda Baird took third and fourth place respectively with scores of .99 and 1.12. Randy Sherman of Zone 10, the 2000 NAYRC Junior-Young Rider bronze medalist, qualified for the Championship division this year and finished fourth aboard Charles R with a score of 1.35. Only one rail separates the top 15 horses.

Going into the team competition tomorrow, both Zones 1 and 10 look very strong. Zone 1 had three riders finish in the top ten, Baker, Baird and Sarah Willeman. Zone 10 had four riders in the top ten, Bond, Sherman, Jennifer Williams and Kelly Fong. However, other teams cannot be discounted. Both Ontario and Quebec of Canada have some strong horses and riders, and Zones 2 and 5 are hungry for a medal. Eight teams will compete for the team medals tomorrow.

In the JY division, seventeen riders participated in the first round. Andrew Ramsay of Zone 10 threw down the gauntlet aboard Nighty and earned the blue ribbon. Chanel Creview of Quebec came closest to catching Ramsay, but remains 2.48 points behind, a much greater difference than the top six Championship riders. Once again, Zone 10 had four riders in the top standings with Natalie Rhoades in third, Travis Lubow in fifth, and Matthew Sereni in sixth. Katie Vrbicek of Ontario slipped into the fourth spot between the Zone 10 riders. Only two riders are within a rail of Ramsay, however the third through tenth horses are within one rail of one another. Five JY teams will compete for medals tomorrow.

USA Equestrian Inc., as the National Equestrian Federation of the U.S., is the regulatory body for the Olympic and World Championship sports of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, reining, show jumping, and vaulting, as well as 19 other breeds and disciplines of equestrian competition. As the country's largest multi-breed organization, the Federation has over 77,000 members and recognizes more than 2,800 competitions nationwide each year. It governs all aspects of competition, including educating and licensing all judges, stewards, and technical delegates who officiate at these shows.

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