LEXINGTON, Ky. — Applications are open for the 2018 USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships, which will again offer individual medalists the opportunity to earn the title Gold Star Emerging Jumper Rider.

The Zones 1 and 2 championships will be held at Princeton Show Jumping, in Princeton, N.J. Aug. 22 to 26.

The 2017 Championships were also held in Princeton.

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The USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships provide riders with a competitive team experience in a Nations Cup-style format, and an opportunity to earn Zone Horse of the Year points in Children's and Adult Amateur (1.10/1.15m), 1.20/1.25m Junior/Amateur and 1.30/1.35m Junior/Amateur Jumper sections.

The qualifying period runs Sept. 25, 2017 to July 9, 2018. Applications close on July 9.

"These championships are an opportunity for our talented zone Jumper athletes to shine in a unique team and individual event while also serving as an outlet to discover riders who have exceptional talent and skill in the jumper ring," Larry Langer, chair of the USHJA Jumper Working Group Emerging Jumper Rider Task Force, said. "We look forward to seeing the very best from each Zone represented at these championships, and we are excited to support these athletes as they advance in the sport."

Competitors at the Championships are considered USHJA Emerging Jumper Riders for the year(s) for which they participate. They have the opportunity to earn the title of USHJA Gold Star Emerging Jumper Rider and a coveted spot at a USHJA Gold Star Clinic by winning an individual medal at the Championships. As part of the USHJA Emerging Jumper Rider Program, key sport leaders, including the US Equestrian Youth Chef d' Equipe DiAnn Langer, will be monitoring each set of Championships to assess talent among Championship competitors.

Richard Spooner led the two USHJA Gold Star Clinics in 2018 and was supported by numerous high performance athletes and top clinicians including Kirsten Coe, Rich Fellers, Lillie Keenan, Anne Kursinski, Will Simpson and Callan Solem.

"If I described the clinic in one word, it would be extraordinary," said Spooner following the conclusion of the first clinic. "What a job the USHJA has done with this. This is exactly what all riders need."

For a chance to qualify for the Championships, an interested rider must complete an application and earn a minimum of 20 points in the permitted sections run at the designated fence heights during the qualifying period. In 2018, the qualifying periods for all championships will run from the day after their 2017 Championships to 45 days prior to each zone's 2018 Championships.

Riders must also ensure they do not jump higher than the fence heights permitted for their section and that they and their horse meet all the other requirements. This information is detailed in the championship specifications.

To apply or for more information, visit www.ushja.org/ZoneJumper.

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