We saw our first AEC champions crowned today! Let’s hear it for …
Jr./Y.R. Preliminary – Katherine Knowles and Cillnabradden Ceonna (28.2)
Preliminary Amateur – Cindy Buchanan and Flying Candles (35.1)
Preliminary Rider – Coti Hausman and Quantico (32.6)
Professional’s Choice Jr. Training – Madeline Hartsock and Prinz S.W. (25.0)
Professional’s Choice Training Amateur – Brittany Hebets and MTF Bugatti (27.1)
Professional’s Choice Training Horse – Chris Talley and Aura Cf (24.1)
Professional’s Choice Training Rider – Jordan Good and Danito (28.0)
Many thanks to the USEA for capturing their moments of glory — if you don’t already follow the U.S. Eventing Association (@useventing) on Instagram, we command you to go do so right now! And, if you run into a USEA-er this weekend, be sure to slap them on the back, buy them a drink, give ’em a squeeze or straight-up kiss them square on the mouth, because they have worked so hard to pull this massive event off. And do you know why they do it? Because they believe in the sport, and they believe in YOU.
#AEC17 was in full blown three-ring — actually many more than three-ring — circus mode today. It’s the AEC’s longest day, with 19 of 21 divisions running.
As these divisions were ending others were just beginning, including seven divisions of Beginner Novice. We have been closely following The Only Division That Really Matters AKA Jr. Beginner Novice 14 & Under, the leader of which posted the lowest dressage score of the entire event! Ashley Stout and Deo Volente brought the HEAT, posting a 19.8 that barely edged out second-placed Avery Cascarino and Dudley Do Right, who scored a 20.0. I mean, what are they feeding kids these days? Geez! The Jr. Beginner Novice 14 & Under competition is bound to get even more cutthroat as the weekend wears on, but don’t you worry, we’ve got all hands on deck and will be live blogging #JBN14U cross country beginning at 2:08 p.m. Saturday. Keep it locked here!
Of note Adequan Gold Cup Advanced Final cross country was rescheduled for Sunday due to weather, and pour it did, but at least we got a nice rainbow out of the deal at the end of the day.
Of COURSE the AEC is located at the end of a rainbow — it’s the feel-good event of the year! My writerly friend Katherine McDonough really summed it up with this reflection she posted on Facebook earlier today, so I’ll let her take it from here:
This morning, I drove over to Tyron to cheer on friends competing at the American Eventing Championships. On my rainy drive home, I had a chance to think about all of the kindness and camaraderie I saw.
A stranger complimenting a dressage test. Fellow riders wishing others “Good Luck!” as they walk out to cross-country. Volunteers and jump judges helping you track down a bell boot that went flying at the water complex. Horse show moms and horse show dads mucking stalls, walking horses, and taking pictures. Fellow competitors who ask how they can help you when you run back to the barn looking for different reins because it’s raining so hard your rider who is two horses away from starting on cross-country can’t hold hers. And them giving you their can of sticky spray because you can’t find any reins and it’s faster than you figuring out where you set down your can.
The number of times I heard someone genuinely say “Have a great ride!” Competitors happily passing along advice to each others on how that combination rode or how the footing is holding up in that tricky spot. Families and friends running throughout the grounds to catch every glimpse of their person on course. The arms flung around around a horse’s neck in appreciation. Treats and ear rubs for ponies. Teams of people waiting at the finish to give hi-fives or comforting hugs and cool out horses.
Y’all. Eventing is just great. Keep being kind.
Go Us. Go Eventing