By Sydney Lowe
The final week of competition at the Desert International Horse Park (DHIP) included the first North American Youth Championship (NAYC) trial of the week. The championships is a cumulation of rider’s junior careers and creates a platform for the opportunity to compete at the international level. The trials allow riders the chance to get on the team and compete at the championships.
“It teaches them to set goals, teaches them to be team players, the importance of commitment, teaches them about their horse and how to prepare for a championship format which is unlike any regular class. A lot of elements come into play. This being the gold standard, I think all the junior riders who compete in jumpers have this as one of their major goals in their career,” explained Diann Langer, the USEF Youth Chef D’Equipe.
Winning the $7,500 Zone 10 NAYC Jr Trial 1.40m Classic was Elena Haas and Centana. Centana is a ten year old Oldenburg mare owned by Haas. The duo has only been paired for the past six months and Haas is thrilled with the mare’s performance.
“She really is such a special mare. She gives her heart every time she walks in the ring and is just so much fun to ride,” claimed Haas.
Trained by Richard Spooner and Meredith Herman, Haas understands what hard work in this sport can provide for her, “Richard is an absolute dream to work with. He has been one of my idols since I was a kid and he really focuses on executing the plan. It isn’t about winning, it’s not about the points. You make your plan and you ride it the best of your ability. If something goes wrong or you make a mistake, you learn from it and you come back stronger the next day.”
Haas has dreamed of competing at the championship for some time now. She aims to one day represent the United States in senior Nations Cups and one day attend the Olympics. Competing in the trials is the first step in Haas’ dreams one day coming to fruition.
In addition to the jumpers, Haas competes in the equitation. She aims to attend the USET Talent Search Finals and will also be competing in the R.W. Mutch Equitation Championship Saturday night, under the lights, in the Grand Prix Stadium.