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Competition Underway at CN North American Junior and Young Riders' Championships
Lexington, VA, USA

Young equestrians from across North America are getting their first feel for what it's like to compete in the Olympic Games with the opening of competition in the 2007 CN North American Junior and Young Riders' Championships (NAJYRC), presented by Gotham North and Merial, the makers of UlcerGard, at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, VA. The Championships continue through Sunday, August 5.

This year marks the third consecutive appearance in the mid-Atlantic region for the NAJYRC, the premier equestrian competition in North America for Juniors and Young Riders, age 14-21. Young equestrians come from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean Islands to vie for team and individual medals in the three Olympic equestrian disciplines of show jumping, dressage, and eventing.

For many competitors, the NAJYRC is their first experience riding on a team, as well as their first time competing under the rules of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body for equestrian sport. At the CN North American Junior and Young Riders' Championships, more than 200 riders are slated to compete in one of the three distinct equestrian disciplines.

Tuesday marked the official start of this year's Championships with veterinary inspections of most horses and opening day briefings. Actual mounted competitions begin on Wednesday, August 1, for show jumping and dressage, while eventers will have their first horse inspections. Show jumpers will compete in warm-up rounds, and the team championship for Young Riders begins in dressage and continues through Thursday.

Competition in the USHJA Show Jumping Division continues on Thursday with individual qualifying rounds that lead up to Friday's Nations' Cup-style competition that determines the team medals. Saturday, August 4 features a farewell competition for riders who have not qualified to compete in Sunday's individual championship. Those that have qualified will compete for individual medals in the championship rounds on Sunday.

The USDF/Platinum Performance Dressage Division sees the team competition for Junior riders on Thursday and Friday. Young Riders have individual Prix St. Georges tests on Friday, followed by a musical freestyle championship on Saturday for those who qualify. Juniors compete for the individual championship on Saturday and a freestyle competition for qualified riders on Sunday.

The USEA Eventing Division includes dressage tests on Thursday and Friday, followed by cross-country on Saturday. All eventing competitors then ride in the final show jumping phase on Sunday when both team and individual medals are awarded.

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