After a brief rant about riding fashion, McKenna Oxenden writes about being an off-the-radar Young Rider who could use a little help getting where she wants to go.
So, I’d like to know if I’m the only one who does this. Am I the only one who spends an extremely long time picking what polo to go with your breeches for a lesson? Because I do. It’s kind of a problem, actually. Should I go for the green one or the white one? Well, I was thinking I was going to go with the tan FITS and a navy polo but I wore that last time and I can’t have them thinking I only have one outfit… I mean, come on. Honestly, I highly doubt they’re going to be like, “Oh man, she wore an Old Navy navy polo and tan FITS last time and now she’s wearing the same pants and a navy Joules polo, THE HORROR!!” No, chances are *hopefully*, they think, “Oh my, they look very well put together.” Please tell me I’m not alone!
This week, I’m not going to be rambling on about me, myself, or I (I know, I know, you probably just let out a big sigh of happiness!). Today we are going to have a “Let’s Discuss” post. So put on your thinking and debate caps and let’s get it on!
As a Young Rider, I have hopes and dreams of competing at the North American Junior Young Rider Championships (it’s like the junior Olympics) but right now, I’m not at that caliber of riding. Hopefully by next year (stretching it) or the year after I will be ready for it but again for now I am not ready. However, I do want to get my name out there, as do others who are in my position, for others to know who I am–I’m not out there winning every event I compete in, but just because you don’t win doesn’t mean you’re not good.
Currently, in order to get “noticed” you have to be going Preliminary, at least, but us lower-level riders want to be noticed too! Of course this is an ongoing effort that our sport is trying to do, promote eventing as a whole and simultaneously help lower- and upper-level riders–much easier said than done.
I think we are taking steps in the right direction. PRO is now offering the Junior/Amateur Scholarship for Training level riders and I think the fact that events have added Novice T3DE is FANTASTIC! A few more programs we have are the USEA leaderboard and–I think this is great–the Mark Phillips Pony Award, which is offered at the American Eventing Championships. But we need MORE! Where is the Novice and Beginner Novice recognition?
I, for one, would love to see more Young Rider opportunities such as having a mock young rider Chef D’Equipe. Obviously it wouldn’t be the same as team USA’s, but an upper-level rider. The program could run on people submitting applications and be based on how you rode in competition with results being a slight factor. I believe it would be super, and most certainly help with developing riders not yet qualified to make the actual developing list. I also believe that more scholarships could be beneficial.
So guys, let’s hear your opinions and thoughts. Are we doing enough for our Young Riders and lower-level event riders? Yes, no, maybe so, LET’S HEAR IT! Let’s get a nice discussion and some ideas flowing in the comment section but as always keep it appropriate.
Go Eventing, Go Young Riders, and Go you.