Teen heads for junior rider championships
Shae Lovazzano, a Woodside resident, will be competing on a regional team at the North American Junior & Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC).
She, along with four other riders, will represent the junior riders of Region 7, which includes Hawaii, California and Nevada. She competes in dressage, in which horse and rider perform a prescribed series of movements.
Now 17, she started riding at age 10, and has been training for six years, six days a week, with her horse Cinnamon. "We spend all season training and putting in effort to make the team," she said in an email. "It's a big sacrifice from my family."
NAJYRC is the premier equestrian competition in North America for junior and young riders, she said. It will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park at the end of the month. The championships are run under rules of the Federation Equestre Internationale, the international governing body for equestrian sport.
"This championship is such an honor and giant accomplishment," she said. "This means a lot for my riding career. It's just a small stepping stone for the future but it feels like such a giant leap right now."
At the championships, junior riders (ages 14-17) and young riders (18-21) from the United States, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean Islands compete in individual and team events.
To qualify for the team, various NAJRC competitions are held from July through June of the following year. "All season you compete against many other girls and try your hardest to be in the top four so there is a lot of stress on many of the girls and their horses," she said.
Next year, she hopes to be part of the "young riders" team, and has dreams of continuing on to the Olympics.
She graduated high school last year, two years early, through independent study, in order to have more flexibility and time for training. She hopes to earn an associate's degree in animal science in the future.
Go to YoungRiders.com for more information.
Visit California-Dressage.org to look at the rest of the team.