Sep 28, 2021

The Young Rider Programs of the USEA

By Claire Kelley - USEA Staff
Area III Young Rider Grace Smith and Sir Saulsford Nazar. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

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.

  • Eligibility: USEA members who are currently enrolled in a university or college that is an affiliate of the USEA.
  • Age limit: Not age-specific.
  • Participation in other YR programs: Yes, Collegiate members are also encouraged to participate in the USEA Young Rider Program. However, collegiate members are not allowed to participate in the USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL) at the same time.

Homepage: USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program

USEA/ KTB Creative photo.


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.

  • Eligibility: USEA members in the 7th-12th grade.
  • Age limit: Not age-specific.
  • Participation in other YR programs: Yes, Collegiate members are also encouraged to participate in the USEA Young Rider Program. However, IEL members should not participate in the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program at the same time. IEL members are encouraged to graduate from the IEL program and then become a USEA Collegiate member.

Homepage: USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL)

IEL Team Wilmerding. Hilary Murphy Photography LLC Photo.

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.

  • Eligibility: USEA members that are 25 years of age and younger of all levels of riding. **In 2021, the USEA increased the YR program age from 21 to 25.
  • Age limit: Up to 25 years old
  • Participation in other YR programs: Yes, young riders of the USEA Young Rider Program are encouraged to also participate in either the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program or the USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL).

Homepage: USEA Young Rider Program

Area VIII Young Rider Heather Morris and Jos UFO de Quidam. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.
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