Equestrian majors at The University of Findlay are noted for traveling some fairly long distances to pursue their passion for showing horses. It’s not unusual for some to take a weekend trip to Virginia or spend spring break in Florida (show jumping, not sunning!) If there’s an award for traveling the farthest, however, junior Laurel McAllister just might win.
Laurel will leave Oct. 2 to participate in a Young Rider’s Competition as part of the World Cup China Show Jumping League Circuit finale in Beijing. The event runs from Oct. 4-7 and Laurel’s trip will take 10 days. It’s not her first time out of the country, but definitely the longest distance she’s traveled.
“I spent five weeks in Calgary this summer and my family has been to Europe a few times,” she said. “I’m pretty comfortable with traveling.”
Laurel learned about the competition from former UF hunter/jumper instructor Michelle Arnold. Arnold is now working at Treesdale Farm in Carmel, Indiana where Laurel keeps her own horse.
“They are trying to promote show jumping as a big sport in China,” Laurel added. “En Garde Marketing is sponsoring this final event on the China show jumping circuit and decided to integrate a young rider competition.”
Top young riders from around the world have been invited to compete against some of the Chinese riders over fences of approximately 3’6” to 4’3”. Riders are between the ages of 18 and 25. The circuit finale itself will feature world-renowned equestrians, including Maikel van der Vleuten and Cian O’Connor, Olympic medalists.
The trip will include some sightseeing time and planned activities, such as trips to the Great Wall or Forbidden City. Young riders will stay close to the competition arena, which is located in the center of Bejiing in Chaoyang Park. En Garde Marketing is providing airfare and ground transportation at no cost to the young riders, and horses (the same ones used in the recent Youth World Olympics) will be furnished by the host facility.