The Youth Division Rules will be added to the Saddlebred Rulebook for the 2021 competition year. US Equestrian granted a presidential modification to make this possible for the current competition year.
The Youth Division accounts for exhibitors 16 to 21 years of age in Fine Harness, Five-Gaited, Three-Gaited, Park, Pleasure, Western, Hunter Country Pleasure, Parade, Roadster, and Dressage Suitability for the 2021 competition year. The youth classes are to be judged following Amateur class specifications. If a show offers a youth division qualifier and no youth championship is offered, horses shown in the youth class will be qualified to show back in the appropriate championship for that rider’s age or in the combined amateur/juvenile championship when no youth or separate age division championships are offered at a show.
The ASHA Board of Directors established the Youth Division Task Force in 2020 to look at ways to expand the rulebook and breed offerings to attract and retain junior members. The task force was led by Elisabeth Goth (co-chair), Clif Paulsen (co-chair), Kristen Bagdasarian, and Emily Lee and received additional assistance from Fran Crumpler in developing this rulebook addition. The working group looked at other affiliate youth divisions and created the guidelines, age range, divisions it would be applied, and goals for the Saddlebred rule addition. This Saddlebred youth division aims to keep juvenile exhibitors involved and engaged in competition through their college years.
"The youth division will help to bridge the gap between a juvenile exhibitor and adult in the years where we lose many people due to early college and career commitments,” said Clif Paulsen, DVM Youth Division Task Force Co-Chair. We hope to see this division start in our local and regional level shows as a qualifier or additional expansion for divisions that make sense for the individual regions and attending barns. We encourage any members interested in utilizing this division to contact show leadership to support and sponsor these classes.
-- via American Saddlebred Horse and Breeders Association