The United States Eventing Association (USEA) has three programs for the juniors and young riders of three-day eventing - the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program for college-aged students, the new USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL) for junior high and high school-aged students, and the USEA Young Rider Program for juniors and young riders under the age of 25.
Each program has its own set of rules and regulations, and it’s important to know the differences between each one. Read below to understand the basics of the three programs best suited for the juniors and young riders of three-day eventing.
USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program
In 2014 the USEA Board of Governors approved the creation of the Intercollegiate Eventing Program as an official program of the USEA. Since its establishment, the Intercollegiate Eventing Program has consistently realized its goals of expanding student involvement, retaining membership numbers for college students, growing the fan base, and encouraging event organizers to host Intercollegiate Team challenges. The program has experienced steady growth in both the number of students participating and in the number of colleges and universities that have joined as Affiliate members.
Any individual who is a current undergraduate student at a university or college that is an affiliate of the USEA is eligible to receive a $25 discount on their annual USEA membership. In order for students to receive the USEA Collegiate Membership discounted rate, the official team rosters and Collegiate Team Application must be received by February 15 of each year. Alumni and graduate students are not eligible for a collegiate membership discount and should be left off the team rosters.
The annual USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships, held for the first time at Virginia Horse Trials in May of 2016, is a year-end destination for intercollegiate eventing teams. Participation is strongly encouraged. To be eligible for the Championships, a rider needs to be 1) enrolled in a college or university that is a current USEA Affiliate member and 2) a current USEA Collegiate member. The 2022 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships will be held at Chattahoochee Hills H.T. in Fairburn, Georgia in May 2022.
Homepage: USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program
USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL)
The most recent addition to the USEA program, the IEL program was approved in 2020 by the USEA Board of Governors. The mission of IEL is to bring together junior riders with a common interest and provide a supportive community through which students can continue to pursue their riding interests. This program will encourage team camaraderie and will give junior members a chance to compete in a team atmosphere. This program will also help provide a pathway for those riders who seek to be part of a collegiate eventing program as they graduate high school. The goal of the IEL is to increase membership, education, and engagement in riders on a national level who are in 7th through 12th grade.
USEA Young Rider Program
The purpose of the program is to encourage younger members to become involved in the sport of eventing and continue this involvement into their adult lives. This program is divided into 10 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 their young riders to attend.
Each Area Young Rider program is divided into two sub-programs or branches: the new USEF Youth Team Challenge and The Young Rider Advancement Program (YRAP). The Youth Team Challenge branch focuses on developing riders and horses for upper-level competition. YRAP focuses on providing lower-level young riders with the education and skills they need to progress through the levels safely or carve a pathway for education that could lead to professions as event organizers, officials, grooms, etc. The USEA also offers a Young Rider Mentorship Program, which gives young riders the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals in all realms of the sport.
Homepage: USEA Young Rider Program
A double clear cross-country round propelled Rebecca Braitling and Arnell Sporthorses' 11-year-old British Sport Horse gelding Caravaggio II (Vangelis-S x Courtesan) to their first blue ribbon together in the CCI4*-Short, and Haley Turner and her own 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Shadow Inspector (Tinaranas Inspector x Caragh Roller) continued their run of sub-30 dressage tests to win the CCI3*-Short at the 2022 Twin Rivers Fall International in Paso Robles, California.
USEA podcast host Nicole Brown chats with Interim Eventing Chef d’Equipe and Team Manager of the U.S. Eventing Team Bobby Costello about the Silver Medal Performance put forward by the U.S. Team at the 2022 FEI Eventing World Championships.
There is still time to experience the long format of three-day eventing this year, by competing in a fall USEA Classic Series Event! The USEA Classic Series offers long-format eventing at the Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, Modified, and Preliminary levels, and there are still a few left on the fall calendar in various Areas.
This story first appeared in the August 2022 issue of Sidelines Magazine.
I have had many young horses in my time, and one thing I’ve learned is that it’s rarely the perfect, easy baby that becomes the next superstar. In fact, I’ve always considered it a positive to have the well-behaved youngster throw a little bit of attitude my way, as I believe that it takes fight to become a great event horse.