Four-footed ‘professors’ partner with young riders at North American Youth Championships

KALISPELL, Mont. (July 19, 2018)—Sometimes the most important lessons come from an unexpected source. Such is the case for many of today’s leading riders in the first day of competition at the North American Youth Championships, which is running concurrently with The 2018 Event at Rebecca Farm.

The 2018 North American Youth Championships are host to a star-studded cast of equines and their young riders this year, featuring horses who have competed at eventing’s highest levels of competition, even the Olympics.  While this might lead spectators to believe a horse of this caliber would simplify the ride, it in fact brings a new level of complexity to the competition.

Alexandra Baugh, who currently leads the CICOY2* division after the dressage phase, describes her mount, Ballingowan Pizazz (barn name, Mango), this way: “Mango is a horse of a lifetime. He is grumpy, challenging and unbelievably talented.” Baugh and Ballingowan Pizazz are at the North American Youth Championships representing U.S. Eventing Area VIII, and her home state of Kentucky.

Ballingowan Pizazz is no stranger to the medal stand, securing the 2007 Team Gold Medal at the Pan American Games for the United States, with former rider Shannon Lilley. While his experience certainly has its merits, Baugh will tell you that it also this experience can also make the ride more challenging.

“He is wonderful when you get it right and lets the world know when you don’t,” Baugh shares.

For a horse attuned to an advanced professional’s cue, Ballingown Pizazz holds his rider to a high standard. He is responsive, bold, and constantly searching for accurate, timely direction. Because he knows the sport so well, taking the proverbial reins of leadership can be a challenge. Baugh acknowledged he is not shy about pointing out her errors and pushing her to improve. In this way, Ballingowan Pizazz has served as a faithful instructor this season and led Baugh to improve.

Baugh is hoping Ballingown Pizazz’s tutelage will pay off with a medal of her own. “We’re all here for gold,” Baugh smiles.

Tayler Stewart agrees with Baugh that there is much to learn from a horse who has competed at the highest levels. She rides her own Ideal Contini, a 15-year-old Holsteiner gelding who has competed successfully with professional riders Will Coleman and Sally Cousins. Although he comes with an impressive resume and a long list of accolades, Steward shares that he is exceedingly well suited to teaching a young rider.

“He’s just so patient. He was meant to be a young rider horse,” Stewart says. Together Stewart and Ideal Contini turned in an impressive 31.2 test in today’s dressage competition, placing them in second going into the cross-country phase.

Stewart’s Area II teammate, Alexa Lapp, secured third place on Cambalda, another four-legged professor with a multi-chapter bio. “Ping”, a 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned by Nina Gardner, performed a steady, accurate test, scoring 32.6. Lapp noted that the friendships between teammates had contributed to the success of the team. “Tayler and I met at NAYC two years ago and we’ve been close ever since.”

Currently in first place for North American Young Championship is Team II and second place is held by the combined team of Areas I, IV, & VIII. Area VI enters the cross-country phase in third place.

Tomorrow’s schedule includes an exciting day with international levels and the North American Youth Championships CCIJ1* level competing in dressage. The national levels will kick off cross-county and show-jumping for novice and training levels.

For 2018 Ride Times and Results, please visit

Admission for this family-friendly spectator event is free, with full concessions and a large multi-interest trade fair, as well as a free Kid Zone that includes pony rides, PonyUp! (Horsemanship 101 classes for kids), face painting, arts and crafts, bounce houses and more. A one-time, recommended $10 parking donation per car to support Halt Cancer at X and a full weekend pass is available with a $25 donation.

To access Rebecca Farm, from the junction of Highways 93 & 2, travel 2 miles north on Highway 93 to Reserve Loop and go west 2 miles, then south on W. Springcreek Rd. The entrance is 3/4 mile on the right.

For more information, visit

Remaining Schedule

Friday, July 20, 8 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Dressage phase all day. CCI2*, CIC3*, CCI3*. CCIJ1* (Junior Riders).

Cross-Country phase all day. Open Intermediate, Training 3-Day, Novice 3-Day. Preliminary

Show Jumping all day: Junior & Senior Open Novice.  Junior & Senior Open Training

Trade Fair & Food Vendors: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Saturday, July 21, 8 a.m. -6 p.m.

Cross-Country phase all day. All FEI levels. CH-J CCI*. CICOY2*.

Show Jumping: Open Intermediate. Open Preliminary. Junior Open Preliminary. Training 3-Day, Novice 3-Day.

Trade Fair & Food Vendors: 10 a.m. -6 p.m.

Kid Zone: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Sunday, July 22, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Show Jumping phase all day. All FEI levels. CH-J CCI*. CICOY2*.

Final Horse Inspection: 9 a.m.

Trade Fair & Food Vendors: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Kid Zone: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

For further details about the schedule of events, please visit Schedule of Events


The Event at Rebecca Farm presented by Montana Equestrian Events is held every July in Kalispell, Montana. One of the largest equestrian triathlon in the United States, The Event is also considered to have some of the world’s finest scenery. Each year it draws hundreds of riders of all levels, from amateur to Olympians.

The Event at Rebecca Farm features thirteen courses ranging from novice to Olympian qualifier, which were originally developed by world-renowned course designer, Mark Phillips. In 2012, Scottish equestrian Ian Stark redesigned the Rebecca Farm courses. Known for his immense contributions to Eventing, Stark has won multiple Olympic medals and was inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

For more information, visit

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