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North American Riders Group Hosts Successful Opening Reception

Wellington, FL - March 11, 2009 - Nearly 300 riders, trainers, and owners of the hunter/jumper/equitation disciplines attended the North American Riders Group (NARG) Opening Reception on Tuesday, March 3. The event was held at the Wanderer's Club in Wellington, FL, and was deemed a success.

The North American Riders Group is led by an executive board that lists some of the best riders in the sport. President Chris Kappler and Vice-President McLain Ward are joined by Beezie Madden, Kent Farrington, Norman Dello Joio, and Jimmy Torano.

The purpose of the opening reception was to introduce the North American Riders Group, its mission, and its goals to the public in hopes of raising awareness of the group and to start the drive towards membership and participation.

The purpose of NARG is to improve the quality of competitive show jumping in North America. They will listen carefully to what active riders and the associated trainers, coaches, horse owners, corporate sponsors and others directly involved feel needs changing. They want to speak with a single, effective voice in negotiations on members' behalf, whether it is with horse show management, the national and international governing bodies of equestrian sport, or through committees.

NARG President Chris Kappler stated, "The main point is that we are in need of a large group of people to come to the aid of the NARG. When we go to show managers and organizations and say our group is strong, they will take that under consideration. Almost 300 people came to a single meeting in Florida, which I think shows there is a lot of interest in our group and that there is frustration out there. I hope people can have the confidence in our group to represent the things they would like to see happen in our sport."

While the NARG is led by high performance show jumping riders, the group is open to people from the hunter, jumper, and equitation disciplines, and NARG hopes to unite people at every level in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

"We want to be able to help everybody in the industry," Kappler agreed. "We feel that our shows are not the caliber that they should be at. There's no reason that the rest of the world shouldn't be coming to North America to compete. We would love to see the quality of events rise at every level; better standards, better conditions, and more and better educated judges, course designers, and stewards. That only makes for a stronger industry."

NARG plans to have seasoned representation on-hand at major equestrian events to serve as the eyes and ears of NARG, so that they fully understand how members would like to see their sport evolve and to allow NARG leadership to work productively with key decision makers to move the sport in that direction.

Some early objectives for NARG are to encourage the growth of equestrian sport and expand competitive opportunities by actively encouraging, assisting and recruiting new owners, trainers and riders, improve quality and cost controls associated with horse shows, monitor performance and provide constructive criticism and other input to governing bodies, organizers and others involved in the sport from a member's perspective, regulate prize money, ensure that established rules are observed and updated as required- with particular attention to the welfare of the horse, evaluate the current horse show mileage rule, and to evaluate and augment, if necessary, rider representation on USEF and FEI committees.

In addition to online and newspaper reporters, Horse TV was there to film interviews with various equestrians and the content of the opening reception. Further information about the opening reception on Horse TV will be available soon.

The NARG website is up and running for those who would like further information on the North American Riders Group or would like to become a member. Please visit http://www.narg.org to keep track of news and developments.

Photo Credit: The North American Riders Group executive board (L to R): Norman Dello Joio, Jimmy Torano, Kent Farrington, Chris Kappler, Beezie Madden, and McLain Ward. Photo 2009 Kenneth Kraus/PhelpsSports.com. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.


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