For the first time, the U.S. Equestrian Federation will field a full team for the FEI Junior and Young Rider World Endurance Championships on Dec. 10 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The following riders were chosen:
- Kelsey Russell, 16, of Williston, Fla., will ride Gold Raven. Gold Raven is a 10-year-old Arabian mare (Flaming Tigre—Halianna) owned by Valerie Kanavy. Russell and Gold Raven won individual and team gold at the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships.
- Kelsey Kimbler, 18, of Aberdeen, S.D., will ride Cody Canuck. Cody Canuck (So Nifty Snazee—Possessed) is a 14-year-old Arabian gelding owned by Kirsten Kimbler. Kelsey was the 2010 USEF Junior Equestrian of the Year.
- Steven Hay, 21, of Port Matilda, Pa., will ride Khalil Asam. Khalil Asam is a 10-year-old Arabian gelding (Holiday Kahlil—EH Neshamah) owned by Natalie Muzzio.
- Kyle Gibbon, 21, of Kingsland, Ga., will ride Misu Koran. Misu Koran (Skoran—Gratena) is a 16-year-old Arabian gelding owned by Stephen Rojek. Gibbon was part of the U.S. team that won team gold at the NAJYRC, and he won individual bronze as well.
- The traveling reserve rider is Mary Kathryn Clark, 17, of Eatonton, Ga. She rides Al Capone, a 16-year-old Arabian gelding (Ebony Masterpiece—Rabaska) owned by Cheryl Van Deusen.
The riders will negotiate a 75-mile race and will compete against participants from 35 other countries, with a total of 150 riders competing. Each rider will also compete for individual medals. Three horse-and-rider combinations must complete the course in order for the team to be scored.
Emmett Ross will act as the team’s chef d’equipe, and Dr. Dwight Hooton will accompany them as team veterinarian.