Coach Buck Davidson and Area 1’s 2017 CH-J1* team. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The ride of a lifetime awaits young riders once again, as the eventing portion of the FEI North American Youth Championships (NAYC) is slated to be held at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana. Held in July in conjunction with The Event at Rebecca Farm, Young Rider Programs in the USEA Areas will be fundraising in full force to send teams to compete in Big Sky Country.

In most Areas, fundraising is already in full swing to help cover the cost of travel for the riders, grooms and horses. We saw an array of approaches to fundraising last year, but one in particular has stood out thus far this year and it is based on the premise of giving back in addition to receiving support.

After two years of involvement with the Area I Young Rider program as a parent, Brenda Jarrell is now in her first year as Young Rider Coordinator for the region. Two of Brenda’s children have ridden for Area 1 in the CH-J1*: Erica made the team the past two years and William made the team last year as well. The incredible experiences that the program has given her kids have inspired her to take up the mantle this year and pay it forward, encouraging connections among the kids and spreading the love of eventing.

In addition to riding and hoping to represent Area 1 at NAYC once again, Erica is now in her freshman year at Harvard University and has taken up playing Division 1 Rugby. She and her mom have been watching rugby movies together (“In no small part to learn the game she is now playing!” admits Brenda) and one in particular, Forever Strong, highlighted team building via volunteering and community service. Brenda saw the value in this and wanted to put something similar together for her NAYC rider and groom candidates starting with a day of volunteering at the Aiken SPCA, but while driving home from work one day she had the idea take community service a step further and turn it into a fundraiser.

Troublemakers or…