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2 students compete on Junior Olympics equestrian team

Junior Olympic equestrian competitiors (from left, on horseback) UD sophomore Alex Felsenstein, Lisa Malek of the University of Massachutsetts and UD sophomore Carly Rodgers with David O'Connor, president of the United States Equestrian Federation
Photo by Brant Gamma
3:02 p.m., Oct. 13, 2005--Sophomores Alex Felsenstein, a fine arts and visual communications major, and Carly Rodgers, a business administration major, placed fourth in the Eventing discipline of the North American Young Riders’ Championships (NAYRC) over the summer in Lexington, Va.

Felsenstein and Rodgers competed in the event as a team along with a rider from the University of Massachusetts, Lisa Malek. Their team represented Area 1 of the United States while competing in the Eventing category at the highest level of competition available to young riders, the two-star level.

“It’s a great experience for riders who want to get a feel for competing on a team,” Rodgers said. “Not only do you have to ride for yourself, you have to ride even harder for your team.”

The team trained for 10 days before the competition in South Pines, N.C., with coaches Bobby Costello and Will Faudree, both former Olympians.

Rodgers took a year off between high school and college to train with Phillip Dutton, who is a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

“I’ll keep riding and competing as long as I can pay for it!” Rodgers said.

The North American Young Riders’ Championships is the premier equestrian competition in North America for young riders ages 16-21, with competitors from the United States, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico, South America and the Caribbean islands. The riders compete in the three Olympic equestrian disciplines of show jumping, dressage and events with both individual and team entries. The broad range of competitors produces an Olympic-like atmosphere throughout the competition.

Riders are invited to compete by their country’s national equestrian federation, based on their competition records and rigorous qualifying criteria set by the USA Equestrian Executive Committee and the United States Dressage Federation Executive Board.

NAYRC is the official USA Junior Olympics-Equestrian event, with many participants going on to compete and place in the Olympics.

This year’s NAYRC took place July 26-31 at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Va.

Article by Kim Sharrah, AS ‘06

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