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The Young Riders program is offered through the USEA for riders twenty-one years of age and younger. The purpose of the program is to encourage our younger members to become involved in the sport of Eventing and perhaps continue this involvement into their adult lives. Our organization seeks to promote and create a love of the sport, as well as a true appreciation and understanding of the horse, while at the same time fostering the wonderful relationship that can develop between horse and rider. Further, involvement in this program helps to instill in young riders important moral values, such as responsibility and work ethic, as they grow into mature adults.
The program is open to all riders twenty-one years of age and younger. The program accommodates riders of all levels. Our hope is to generate involvement early on, helping our lower level riders to realize their goals and eventually achieve success at the higher levels through dedication, hard work and discipline.
This program is divided into ten Areas throughout the country, and each Area program is facilitated by a volunteer Young Rider Coordinator. Each coordinator oversees the program for his/her Area and sets up different educational and developmental activities for the young riders of that Area. Camps, clinics and seminars are usually offered, very often with Olympic athletes such as Phillip Dutton, Karen O'Connor and Bobby Costello getting involved. Each Area Young Rider program is divided into two sub-programs or branches: NAYRC and YRAP. The NAYRC branch focuses on developing and fronting riders and horses for the North American Young Rider Championships each summer. The Young Rider Advancement Program (YRAP) focuses on providing lower level young riders with the education and skills they need to progress through the levels and eventually into the ranks of the NAYRC.
In addition, each Area has a fund-raising program. The funds raised are used to help defray the costs of the program, particularly for the higher level riders that may qualify for the North American Young Riders Championship, held each year in the month of August. These fund-raising efforts foster friendships among the riders in the program, and help everyone to feel that they are contributing to the success of the program in their Area. The riders involved all say that participating in the program has helped them to develop teamwork skills, as well as friendships that often end up lasting a lifetime.