Charlotte, N.C. (July 15, 2012) – Jamie (18) and Nicole (15) Doolittle of Charlotte, N.C. will represent Region 3 at the FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) in Lexington, Ky., starting on July 17. Last year both sisters were on the eventing team, while this year Nicole will compete in eventing and Jamie will compete in dressage.
Jamie, who continues to compete in eventing too, qualified with her horse “Wild Tiger.” She has had Tigger, a 14-year-old chestnut thoroughbred, for three years. Her dressage coach is Diane Ritz of Hidden Spring Farm in Monroe, N.C. Jamie was recently named among 10 riders to the Eventing 18/Advancing Athletes Program sponsored by the United States Eventing Association (USEA) and the United States Equestrian Federation.
“Tigger never has a dull moment and can definitely live up to his name. As soon as I sit on his back he is ready to work. He is consistently a hard worker and willing. He is a horse that will always try his heart out to learn something new,” Jamie said of Wild Tiger. “I’m so honored to be riding for the Region 3 Junior Dressage Team. Early in the year, while my event horses were recovering from injuries, I made the NAJYRC dressage team my goal. It seemed like a long shot. But, with the help of my dressage trainer Diane Ritz and Tigger’s great work ethic, we made steady progress. Making the team is a big milestone for us. I am so proud of Tigger and thankful for the opportunity to compete with so many amazing young riders.”
Nicole will bring Tops, a twelve-year-old Irish Sport Horse, that she’s owned for less than a year. Nicole is ranked ninth in the country for Preliminary Young Riders by the USEA and seventh overall among all levels of young riders.
“Nemo is an overgrown puppy who simply wants to cuddle, yet can show a bit of his Irish attitude under saddle. He never fails to put a smile on my face,” Nicole said of Tops, whose name around the stable is Nemo. “I am overjoyed to have qualified and made the Area III NAJYRC team this year. It’s an immense amount of hard work to get here, but throughout training camp and the moment you run down the jog lane, you realize how much the hard work has paid off!”
The NAJYRC is the premier equestrian competition in North America for junior and young riders, age 14-21. Young equestrians come from the United States, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean Islands to vie for team and individual FEI medals in the three Olympic equestrian disciplines of show jumping, dressage, eventing and the FEI World Equestrian Games disciplines of reining and endurance. The competition is run under rules of the FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale), the international governing body for equestrian sport, and is the only FEI championship held annually in the United States.
Jamie and Nicole bring out each other’s competitive spirit, but agree that it brings out their best. They have grown up supporting each other at home and away at shows. “We have been riding together since we were very little, and to both be going to NAJYRC is amazing,” Jamie said. “She knows exactly what to say when I’m feeling nervous or I need to get pumped up. It will be thrilling to watch her compete and cheer her on throughout the competition.”
“It’s really an honor to compete alongside my sister, no matter what competition we are participating in,” Nicole agreed. “It’s exciting that we are both competing and will be able to support each other throughout the competition.”
“There is nothing like having your sister right beside you for support,” Jamie added. “She is my best friend and to have her there means so much to me.”
Jamie and Nicole Doolittle live with their parents Tom and Suzanne at Dream Catcher Equestrian in Matthews, N.C. They are sponsored by Stackhouse Saddles.