Meet our NAJYRC Team Competitors

Published in RMDS

Region 5 has a large team of Junior and Young Rider competitors this year.  Read below to learn more about each team member.  Fundraising opportunities are also available to help the team.  See this Flyer for more information on how to hire some Junior/Young Riders to be your “Show Elves” and do your dirty work at upcoming dressage shows.  Braiding, set up, night check, and tack cleaning are just a few of the services these Junior/Young Riders are offering.

NAJYRC Region 5 Team Competitors

Whitney Haugen & Juliette (Young Rider)

Whitney Haugen

I love riding but I am also a major Denver Broncos fan. I enjoy watching baseball and spending time with my family and friends too. Juliette is an eleven year old, Trakehner mare, who always thinks she knows everything! I am so grateful to Sharron Sarchet for letting me have the amazing opportunity of being able to ride Miss Juliette. She has a gigantic white spot on her left side of her belly that drizzles under her belly to her right stifle. The part on her left side kind of looks like a maple leaf.

Paige Smith & Welkin (Junior)

Paige Smith

Outside of horses, I enjoy playing tenor saxophone in my high school’s wind ensemble, I was drum major for Monarchs 2015 Marching Band, and have involved myself in German studies both inside and outside of class. My horse Welkin is fairly wry in his personality. His biggest quirk is his total addiction to human food, and overall, his absolute favorite is an occasional piece of glazed doughnut.

Kate Sotiroff & Palermo (Junior)

Kate Sotiroff

Palermo is my first horse and my best friend. I met him while working as a working student for Petra Warlimont. Due to the fact that I worked so hard over the summer the owners down in Texas gave Palermo to me for free. I am so grateful and proud to call him my first horse. Though he is my first horse, I have been riding for 11 years and competing for 7. I am a senior at Silver Creek high school in Longmont Colorado and I will be attending the University of Colorado Boulder in the fall. I will continue to ride Palermo through college and compete him. I love him and riding more than anything else and I feel so grateful to be provided with these opportunities.

Jackson Gillespie & Westpoint (Junior)

Jackson Gillespie

Hi ! I am Jackson Gillespie and am trying for Juniors this year. I am 17 years old and a junior at Colorado Academy. In addition to my regular classes, I am on the Mock Trial and Golf teams. The past two years, I was selected as one of about 20 students to go down to Haiti where Colorado Academy has been helping to build a school. This show season I am lucky enough to be riding Westpoint who is 18’2 and belongs to Charlotte Bredahl. I met Charlotte when I went to NAJYRC last year to groom for my friends on the Region 5 team. While my trainer needs a 4-step mounting block to get on Westpoint, he fits me perfectly and we have a great time together!

Lexy Donaldson & Power Play (Young Rider)

Lexy Donaldson

My name is Lexy Donaldson, I am 18 years old, and will be graduating from Denver Christian High School this spring. I have a big passion for horses and dressage. I spend my days training, studying, and playing soccer on the Denver Christian varsity team. I was blessed to have made the NAJYRC Junior Team in 2015, and travel to Lexington Kentucky. My horse Power Play, aka “Player”, is an 18, almost 19 year old Oldenburg Gelding who absolutely loves attention, cuddling, kisses, and cookies!

Raissa Chunko & Rebelde (Junior)

Raissa Chunko

Hi ! I am Raissa Chunko (age 17) and I live in Fort Collins, Colorado, with my father, mother, and brother, who is also a dressage rider. I am an 11th grade student at Liberty Common High School where I enjoy math and science classes and playing the trombone in concert band and jazz band. I also enjoy tutoring math students and volunteering with my chapter of the National Honor Society. When I am not at the barn riding, taking lessons, and caring for my horses; I also enjoy many other activities such as backpacking, shooting, biking, hiking, swimming, and running. I am very grateful for the opportunities I have received in my dressage career and for the support I have received from my friends and family.

Olivia Williams & Vitet (Junior)

Olivia Williams

I have wanted to ride horses for as long as I could walk and talk. I started riding with Julie Barringer-Richers at Autumn Hill when I was seven and started showing when I was eight. I rode a pony named Liliput for 4 years and in 2014 I moved on to an 18 year-old Trakehner Gelding name Vitet or Tate. In 2013, I received my Bronze medal. I am an avid volleyball player, which I play competitively year round. I am currently a 7th grader and honors student at Boulder Country Day School in Boulder.

Maia Knowles & Tucker (Junior)

Maia Knowles

My name is Maia Knowles and I live in Boulder where I am a junior at Fairview High School. I have recently started my college search and am working hard to get into the school of my choice. In addition to riding, I am passionate about raising money for an orphanage in India that I was fortunate enough to volunteer at last summer. Dressage has been a passion of mine since moving here to Colorado. I began showing several years ago, starting with training level, and I have competed up to third level. I am currently ready to compete at the FEI Junior level and at Fourth Level. I am schooling some PSG now. My horse, Tucker, is a 17- Hanoverian gelding who has taught me so much, not just about riding, but also about patience, commitment, and the rewards of hard work. I hope to make the Region 5 Junior team this summer.

Emma Foreman & Hollister (Junior)

Emma Foreman

Hi ! I am Emma Foreman. I am 16 years old, I live in Boulder, CO, and am a sophomore at Boulder High. When I moved to Colorado about 7 1/2 years ago, I began taking dressage lessons and quickly became passionate about the sport. My horse Finest Black, a.k.a. Hollister, came into my life a few years ago and we have successfully competed at training, first and second levels and first level freestyle. Hollister is an 18 year old Westfalen gelding who is enjoying a second career as a dressage horse after being a hunter for many years. When not focusing on my riding, I enjoy traveling and time with my family and friends. When I am not busy with school or the barn, I enjoy spending time outdoors, especially hiking. Hollister and I work with Greta Vowell and are currently schooling all of the FEI Junior and Third Level test movements. We hope to qualify for the USDF Region 5 NAJYRC Junior Team this year !

Jade Thomas & Lamiro (Junior)

Jade Thomas

Hi! My name is Jade Thomas, I am 17 years old, I live in Woodland UT with my parents, Rob & Niki Thomas, & my sister, Eden. I am graduating in 2016 as a junior from South Summit High School. My equine partner is a 23yo Royal Dutch Warmblood named Lamiro, owned by John Larson. I have ridden since before I could walk, and after 6 years in Pony Club, chose the Dressage path, and never looked back. I train with Margo Gogan at Hilltop Dressage in Heber, UT. In addition to riding, I enjoy driving my truck, 4 wheeling, camping, shooting, & hiking with my dog.

Gaylen Davis & Mo (Junior)

Gaylen Davis

I am Gaylen Davis and I’m trying out for Juniors this year on my new horse Mojito RH. Mo is gorgeous and has taught me so much, but he also makes me laugh. For example, he likes to relax by resting his teeth on my head. I’m in a program called Universal High School that gives me a lot of flexibility so I can take challenging classes without being in school all day so I can spend more time with the horses. My family bought a farm a year ago so in my spare time I’m mucking stalls and chasing the baby goats.

Dallas McCullough & Bailar (Junior)

Dallas McCullough

I am Dallas McCullough and I was on the Junior Region 5 team last year. I am a junior in high school and live in Utah. I enjoy portraiture photography very much, and spend my free time away from horses taking pictures in the studio and constantly improving my skills and techniques. My horse Bailar is a rescue and sweet as can be – she loves licorice and organic fruit snacks !