NAYC Recap and Looking Ahead to 2019

"Thank you!" from the Area III Young Rider Team that competed in Kalispell, Montana at the North American Youth Championships this summer. Your encouragement and support were really appreciated during this journey. The list of thank you’s is very long, but I want everyone in the Area to truly understand what an undertaking this was.

The riders: Leila Saxe, Ryan Wood, Jessie Schwartz, and Grace Smith arrived at Julie Richard’s farm in Newnan, GA a few days before the horses shipped out to get final lessons before the competition. Dr. Jason McLendon came to Julie’s to give all four horses fluids so they would travel hydrated and arrive ready to go in Montana. Katie Strickland rode with the drivers of Lorraine Horse Transport for 40 hours to ensure the horses were comfortable and fed during their travels. The horses arrived around noon on Saturday, July 14th, and the riders arrived just a short time later. All of the stalls and two tack rooms were set up beautifully, and we wore the Area III Colors proudly.

The schedule for the horses worked out very well for the preparation before the show, and the facilities at Rebecca Farm are simply stunning.

Julie taught all of the riders throughout the week, and kept everyone upbeat and positive! The riders and parents were treated Monday to a lovely outing on beautiful Flathead Lake along with great burgers and wave boarding. Then after riding on Tuesday, Julie took them zip lining at the ski lodge where the riders were staying. The pictures are incredible!

Wednesday was all business with the Parade of Teams in the morning followed by the First Jog. All of the horses looked beautiful from all of the hard work of the grooms: Katie Strickland, Emma Mooney, Sara Bowman, and Wesley Ann Norton. All horses PASSED!

Thursday was a non-compete day. Friday was Dressage, Saturday was Cross Country, and Sunday had the last jog, and then Show Jumping. Area III placed fifth in the One-Star Team Competition!

The horses then stayed until Monday morning when the process started over with the hanging of fluids and the 40 hour trip home.

To say that it takes a village is an understatement. A huge Thank You must go out to the parents of these wonderful riders: Rob and Katrina Wood, Wayne and Darla Saxe, Paul and Julie Schwartz, Huck and Laura Smith.

The next Thank You’s go out to our wonderful sponsors:
Dr. Rachel Burlton, Valley Veterinarian Associates
Dr. Jason McLendon, Southern Crescent Equine Services
Angela Brackett, Enviro Equine Products
Emily Cochran, C 4 Belts
Gary and Donna Stegman
Melanie Rock, Dover Saddlery
Kerrits Breeches
I love My Horse,
Spring Creek Farm
And last but not least:
Julie Richards for being our wonderful Coach
Katie Strickland for being our most organized Head Groom
And Jade Anderson Tucker for being the best support any team could ask for!

I have already started answering calls for information on the summer camp and possibly representing Area III next year at the North American Youth Championships. We want you all! But please understand, NAYC is a very expensive endeavor, and fund raising must start now! You must realize that the money either comes from your fund raising efforts or from you as a Team Member.

I will be posting some fund raising plans shortly, and would welcome your input for fund raising ideas. Also, we are looking for a Fund Raising Chairperson to help organize all of the fund raising events this coming year. If you are interested, please reach out to me either by phone (706-332-5131 or email

We all had a wonderful time this year and created lasting friendships and memories.

Please know that Area III is committed to being there for all of the members and competitors, and we do appreciate all of the good wishes, thoughts and prayers we received during this journey.

PS: Our First Fund Raising Event: Chattahoochee Hills Event August 31st- September 2nd
Winter blankets, clippers, air vests, t-shirts, saddle pads and other Young Rider donations are being offered for sale this weekend. Please come by the Area III Tent!

Thank you to all!

Allina Bell
Area III Young Rider Coordinator