On Dec. 3, officials from the U.S. Equestrian Federation announced the addition of the inaugural pre-junior jumping championship to the competition schedule for the 2020 Adequan FEI North American Youth Championships hosted at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival in Traverse City, Michigan, Aug. 4-9, 2020. The pre-junior championship is open to athletes FEI ages 14-16 and will offer championship competition at the 1.30-meter height, bridging the level of difficulty between the children’s at 1.20-meter and the juniors at 1.40-meter.
“We are confident the addition of the pre-junior jumping championship will strengthen the overall mission of NAYC by providing more opportunities for youth athletes to continue their development in the sport, while also allowing a larger pool of athletes to participate in the event,” said Erin Keating, director of jumping development programs. “The jump from the children’s category to the junior category can be daunting and the inclusion of a pre-junior category will better facilitate that transition for both trainers and athletes.”
The qualifying period for the pre-junior category will begin Jan. 1 and continue through June 15. Teams will be fielded by USHJA Zones, and athletes can earn points toward their USHJA Zone Standings list by competing in jumper classes with fence heights at 1.25-meters or higher within the qualifying period. The pre-junior Jumping Championship at NAYC will not include an open water jump or distribute prize money, but will run in the same championship format as the junior category, and include team and individual competition.