Ottawa, ON—The fourth annual Dressage Canada National Youth Championships, sponsored by the Alberta Junior/Young Riders Association and Dressage Canada, were held September 13-14, in Red Deer, AB.

In the exciting head-to-head competition, Lindsay Seidel-Wassenaar, 19, of Bluffton, AB, and her horse, Oslo, a 12-year-old Canadian-bred Dutch Warmblood gelding sired by Contango, were the champions of both the FEI Young Rider division (65.451%) and the Freestyle (64.292%). The pair were the champions of the FEI Junior division at the 2007 National Youth Championship and went on to win Team Gold at the 2007 North American Junior and Young Riders Championships.  

Jessica York, 20, of Delta, BC, and her mount Paris Consul, a 10-year-old Canadian bred Dutch Warmblood sired by Consul were reserve champions in the FEI Young Rider division and Freestyle.

In the FEI Junior division, Sara Regehr, 16, of Vernon, BC, riding Beth Regehr’s Danika (Donnerbrandt), was champion, with a total score of 64.958%, and also won, with a score of 65.958%, the Freestyle. Sara Regehr was a member of the 2008 Canada West Junior Team at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) as well as being a member of the gold medal winning Junior Team at the 2007 NAJYRC. On both occasions, Regehr rode Danika, a 10-year-old Canadian Sport Horse, who she has been riding for the past two years.

Emily Anderson, 14, of Bently, AB, riding Sheri Bresee’s Talisman, an 18-year-old Trakehner gelding sired by WERMISZEL, was reserve champion in the FEI Junior division and in the Freestyle.

The FEI Pony division and Freestyle class was won by Natalie Bell, 15, of Maple Ridge, BC, and her 12-year-old Quarter Horse pony Sub-Zero.

Anderson was also the FEI Children champion riding Gabrielle Anderson’s Canadian Warmblood Walando G, a seven-year-old gelding sired by Widukind.

The judging panel included Christoph Hess (GER—FEI I), Lisette Vega De Purcell (Dominican Republic— FEI I), Joan Macartney (CAN—FEI I), Brenda Minor (CAN— FEI I) and Anita Owen (USA Senior).

“In the past 4 years, the Dressage Canada Youth Championships has been a terrific showcase of emerging dressage talent in Canada,” noted Dressage Canada Chair Kerri McGregor. “This year proved to be no exception and Dressage Canada is very proud of the achievements of these young riders.”

Started in 2005, the Dressage Canada National Youth Championships provides a terrific platform for Canada’s emerging talent. The head-to-head format proves to be an exciting competition as riders sharpen their skills over the competition season, collecting valuable qualifying scores in order to represent their region. The Championships provide excellent training for the future as the qualifying system is structured in a similar fashion to that used for high performance senior athletes.

In the four regions of Pacific (British Columbia and Yukon), West (Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, North West Territories and Nunavut), East (Ontario and Quebec) and Atlantic (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland/Labrador), the rider/horse combinations must achieve a minimum qualifying score of 60% in the Team, Individual and Freestyle tests in order to compete at the Championships.

Successfully qualified competitors make the journey to compete against one another in what proves to be a very competitive environment. Past National Youth Championships competitors have gone on to represent Canada on the international stage at the North American Junior & Young Rider Championships as well as the FEI Young Rider World Cup Finals including Jade Deter (2008 NAJYRC Bronze and 2007 NAJYRC Gold medalist), Jamie Holland (2008 NAJYRC Bronze medalist), Amy Jager (2008 NAJYRC Bronze medalist) and Danielle McKinnon (2008 NAJYRC Bronze medalist) to name just a few.