The Young Rider program is offered through the USEA for riders twenty-one years of age and younger of all levels of riding. The purpose of the program is to encourage our younger members to become involved in the sport of Eventing and continue this involvement into their adult lives. Our organization seeks to promote a love of the sport, as well as an appreciation and understanding of the horse while fostering the wonderful relationship that can develop between horse and rider. Further, involvement in this program helps to instill important moral values, such as responsibility and work ethic, as young riders grow into mature adults.
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 their young riders to attend. Camps, clinics and seminars are usually offered, often with Olympic athletes like Phillip Dutton, Karen O'Connor and Bobby Costello. Each Area Young Rider program is divided into two sub-programs or branches: NAJYRC and YRAP. The NAJYRC branch focuses on developing and fronting riders and horses for the North American Junior and 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 NAJYRC.
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 Junior and 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 and friendships that often last a lifetime.