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#AEC17 Sunday Roundup: One Last Look at the Week That Was

First order of business: a shout-out to the final round of national champions crowned on Sunday at the American Eventing Championships!

Adequan Gold Cup Advanced Final: Matt Brown and BCF Belicoso (33.5)

Meet your new Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion Matthew Brown and BCF Belicoso. #goldcup #AEC17

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Boehringer Ingelheim Open Intermediate: Jennie Brannigan and FE Lifestyle (30.3)

Jennie Brannigan went in the Boehringer Ingleheim Intermediate with Nina Gardner’s FE Lifestyle and Twilightslastgleam #AEC17

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Master Beg. Novice Amateur: Carrie Griffen and Feuertanzer ES (23.3)

Carrie Griffen and Feurtanzer ES are your Beginner Novice Master Amateur Champions!! #AEC17

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Beg. Novice Amateur: Leah Backus and Diamond of Truth (29.3)

Leah Backus just rode her homebred, Diamond of Truth to victory in the Beginner Novice Amateur division.

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Beg. Novice Horse: Holly Payne Caravella and Benjamin Button (25.8)

Beg. Novice Rider: Kathleen Bertuna and Millye’s Mojave (27.0)

Jr. Beg. Novice: Brynn Hershbine and Cadenza Aria (24.3)

Brynn Hershbine and Cadenz Aria just rode to victory in the Junior Beginner Novice #AEC17

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Jr. Beg. Novice 14 and Under: Ashley Stout and Deo Volente (19.8)

Congrats to the winners, and to all competitors at large! From riders and their crews to spectators and officials, everyone who attended the 2017 AEC left with the feeling that they’d witnessed something special.

“It’s hard to explain the feeling of the American Eventing Championships when you’re not here, but I think when you watch the smiles of the kids and the pros, and everybody across the board, it’s a really special experience, and I think the word is getting out,” says USEA CEO Rob Burk. “With 755 starters, that’s almost a hundred more than we had last year, and last year was the largest horse trials in the United States by starters in history.”

Showcasing Advanced show jumping as TIEC’s “Saturday Night Lights” feature was a brilliant move.

“Last night under the lights, that for me, for the upper level division, was kind of a dream come to reality, so that was pretty amazing, and at the same time, watching the Novice division finishing up right before that with the stands packed and roaring – it’s kind of that dichotomy of the upcoming rider and at the same time these professionals and upper level amateurs that we want to put in a position of success,” Rob says.

The event also allowed us all a behind-the-scenes sneak peak at the venue of next year’s World Equestrian Games.

“We just love our partnership with the USEA, and hosting the AECs for the second year now is just a real honor,” said Sharon Decker, COO of Tryon Resort and Tryon International Equestrian Center. “This is one of our most special weeks of the entire season. We love eventing and to see our Advanced group today on our FEI WEG course is very exciting. I was standing out there today and thinking about a year from now, we’ll have some of the same riders out there along with many from around the world.”

“We’re thrilled with how the course held up, even in the midst of a tremendous amount of rain, and very pleased with how it was prepared for today’s competition, as well as how the field held up and how the course performed over the last two days in the middle of all the rain,” she says. “So we’re just grateful for a magnificent team here that makes things happen, but so thankful for the relationship we have with USEA and our partnership going forward. I want to thank Allyn (Mann) and the good folks at Adequan and our friends at Land Rover and Nutrena who have made this event possible.”

A big thank-you, once again, to everyone who made this thing possible: the heroes of USEA for putting it all together, TIEC for being such an incredible host, the event’s generous sponsors who showered competitors with prizes, and all the other myriad turning wheels that made 2017’s “feel-good event of the year” the best feeling event in recent history.

As we head back into our daily lives (hopefully with a little cushion — thanks, Labor Day!), let’s enjoy a parting glimpse at the week that was:

I’m having horse show withdrawals

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That last day of AECs feel

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WHAT A FREAKING WEEKEND YOU GUYS…. The Tryon International Equestrian Center is the most immaculate venue I’ve ever been to… it was perfect for the AEC’s. It’s like a whole ‘nother world! I have more pictures than I know what to do with but here are a couple from my phone.. I seriously can’t wait to share with you the beautiful moments from my Nikon. I’m so exhausted from being here for the last 5 days working for my friends but man! Was it worth it! So dang proud of @rusticator for her spectacular rides in all 3 phases. If there was anyone out there who deserved that ribbon, it was you! I feel so lucky to be able to work for someone so talented and giving! Now let’s practice our diagonals so we can bring home the blues!!!! It was so cool to be around so many people from our horse community here in Georgia, and professionals from all over the country. Despite the INSANE amount of Chardonnay involved, this was definitely a trip I will never forget! I can’t wait to sleep the next two days. #tryoninternationalequestriancenter #tryon #AEC #Americaneventingchampionships #americaneventingchampionships2017 #weg2018 #reservechampion #3dayeventing #eventing #eventingnation #crosscountry #dressage #showjumping #trakehner #trakehnersofinstagram #usea #equestrian #horsecrazy #shithorsepeopledo

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And … a cat on a leash, just to keep it real:

Go Eventing.

AEC: WebsiteScheduleRide Times & Live ScoringEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

Matt Brown and BCF Belicoso Clinch USEA Adequan Advanced Gold Cup Final Victory

Matt Brown and BCF Belicoso. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Matt Brown and BCF Belicoso have been steadily stalking their way up the USEA Adequan Gold Cup Advanced Final leaderboard here at the AEC throughout the week. They sat eighth after dressage on a score of 33.5, rose to fifth after a faultless show jumping round, then sailed straight to the top on the wings of a clear, fast cross country trip this morning.

The top of the leaderboard saw a big shift when show jumping leader Marilyn Little fell from RF Scandalous at fence #16 and third-placed Angela Bowles withdrew Bliss III before cross country. Doug Payne and Vandiver finished in the penultimate spot, having moved from 9th to 6th to 2nd throughout the competition. Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda picked up 4.8 time on cross country to drop from 2nd after show jumping to 3rd overall. Cross country was run in reverse order of standing, creating an exciting, down-to-the-wire championship finale.

Matt Brown, Doug Payne and Jennie Brannigan in their awards presentation ceremony. Photo by Sportfot.

Matt and Doug stopped by the media center after the awards ceremony to tell us about their rides.

“He had three really good phases,” Matt says of Belicoso, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Lux Z x Catcher Berezina) owned by Blossom Creek Foundation. “In the dressage I was very happy with him. There were some little things I could have cleaned up about the test, but the thing that is remarkable about the horse to me is that he just steps up every time and is willing to give me more and more and more.

“At the beginning of the week I joked with my wife (Cecily) that riding him is like riding an electric golf cart that is slightly running out of batteries all the time — he doesn’t have much blood to him, but he’s always willing to go when I ask him to and he showed me the same thing in the show jumping and the cross country.”

The golf cart analogy is quite fitting here at Tryon International Equestrian Center, as today’s Advanced cross country test ran along former golf course fairways which will be further developed to host WEG cross country next year. Check out our AEC Advanced course preview here.

In 2015 Matt and Cecily uprooted themselves from a comfortable business in California and moved to Cochranville, Pa., to have access to bigger events and the best possible training. Matt’s success here at the AEC is yet another indication that their risk is paying off.

“The thing I’ve found really great about being on the East Coast, in coming out here, is that in order to do well at a competition like this, with Doug and Phillip and Marilyn and Jennie, you really have to be on the inside line and you have to not give away those little points. I feel like being back here is pushing me and pushing my horses, and I feel like Belicoso really stepped up in all three phases and is constantly improving so I am really happy with him.”

For his win in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series, Brown took home $20,000, the lion share of the $40,000 prize money. He was also the recipient of the Jack LeGoff trophy as winner of the USEF Open Horse Trials National Championship.

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The AEC was a perfect bon voyage prep for second-placed Doug Payne and Vandiver, as the horse is flying to England on Wednesday to contest Blenheim.

Vandiver, 13-year-old Trakehner gelding (Windfall II x Visions of Grandeur) owned and bred by Debi Crowley, has been at TIEC since last Wednesday, contesting some jumper classes in advance of the AEC. This venue has a home turf advantage for Doug and his horses, who are here every second or third week doing jumper shows.  “I think it’s a real advantage that he was able to get into this ring three times in the last week,” Doug says.

The big crowds and bright lights affected some of the Advanced horses, who show jumped as TIEC’s “Saturday Night Lights” feature yesterday evening. “(Vandiver) gets a little worried but he’s the most genuine creature I’ve ever been able to work with and I’m very lucky that Debi has trusted me with him,” Doug says.

“The dressage is still coming,” Doug says of their test, which scored a 33.7. “Where it’s lacked in the past is that he just needs a little more engagement, more power making him go a little bit. We had a couple bobbles but looking to the future it’s very bright.”

“The jumping was good last night, and today he was like a seeing eye dog — I just sit there and enjoy,” Doug says.

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Sportfot.

The pair came in second last year and second at The Fork CIC3* this spring. Last year, Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP), jokingly gave Doug the pole that cost him the win; this year, to continue the tradition, Mark presented him with a dressage marker as he lost by a mere 0.2 to Matt.

Safe travels and best of luck at Blenheim, Doug and Vandiver!

Props to 3rd placed Jennie as well, who had an enormously successful weekend. In addition to her very respectable Advanced finish, she won the Boehringer Ingelheim Open Intermediate division with FE Lifestyle as well as the Prelim Horse division with Balmoral Oakey. And she managed it all with a broken hand, incurred after jamming it into the neck of Cambalda during their Saturday night show jumping warmup. Eventer tough!

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Sportfot.

Today’s cross country course caused a couple spots of trouble: Marilyn fell at fence #16, “The Stick Pile,” when RF Scandalous added a step before the fence that wasn’t quite there. Both horse and rider were OK.

Kylie Lyman fared less well when her first of two rides in the division, Lup the Loop, had a heavy fall over #5D water complex. The horse tried to squeeze a stride into the bounce between up-bank and skinny brush and chested the latter. Kylie clearly got the wind knocked out of her but remained conscious throughout the incident. She was transported to Spartanburg Regional Hospital in Spartanburg, SC, where she was diagnosed with a concussion and broken clavicle. Lup the Loop was examined by the veterinary team on-site and led back to the stables unharmed.

Courtney Cooper and Who’s A Star picked up 20 at the water complex as well.

A couple videos from Advanced cross country:

Caroline Martin and Danger Mouse make the Advanced water look easy-peasy at #AEC17.

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USEA Adequan Advanced Gold Cup Final Top 15:

What’s In Your Arena? Presented by Attwood: AEC Edition

Fence #6 on the Intermediate AEC show jumping course. Fence #6 on the Intermediate AEC show jumping course.

What’s in Your Arena? is an EN series sponsored by Attwood Equestrian Surfaces in which riders share their favorite jumping exercises. It’s easy to get stuck in a training rut, and we hope this will inspire you with fresh ideas that you can take home and incorporate into your own programs. This week, however, we’re here at the American Eventing Championships and we’re taking a slightly different tack! Let’s have a look at the show jumping fences that appear on today’s Intermediate course.

Intermediate was the first division out of the gate on Sunday morning at the AEC.

The first Intermediate competitor waits at the in-gate. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Jennie Brannigan both won and placed second in the class, on FE Lifestyle and Twilightslastgleam respectively, both owned by Nina Gardner.

Jennie Brannigan and FE Lifestyle. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The course, designed by Chris Barnard, rode beautifully. Here’s a look at it, jump by jump!

Chinch presides over the Intermediate awards ceremony. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

AEC Intermediate Final Top 10: 

AEC: WebsiteScheduleRide Times & Live ScoringEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

Do you have an exercise to share or is there an eventer you would like to nominate for the “What’s in Your Arena?” series? Email [email protected]ngnation.com.

#AEC17 Quotes from the Top: Novice/Prelim Horse Winners & BN/Intermediate/Advanced Leaders

The action continued Saturday at TIEC, with another round of 2017 American Eventing Championship crowns distributed among deserving athletes. Saturday saw the coronation of Novice and Prelim Horse divisions, with Beginner Novice, Intermediate and Advanced divisions competition to continue on Sunday.

Once again we have the hardworking USEA/TIEC press team to thank for chasing down the winners and leaders of each #AEC17 division at day’s end yesterday to collect ride reflections and thoughts going forward.

Adequan® USEA Advanced Gold Cup

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Sportfot.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous produced a double clear show jumping round to keep a tight hold on their lead in front of an enthusiastic crowd, as they head into the final phase of cross-country tomorrow in the Adequan® USEA Advanced Gold Cup division. The pair made easy work of the track underneath the lights to remain on their score of 27.8.

“I’ve jumped a lot of classes in this ring, and it’s been a lucky ring for me so far,” said Little. “I hope I get luckier, but it’s been a great experience. It’s special to get to bring Scandalous in here to take center stage; she deserves this so it’s cool for me.”
In preparation for jumping under the lights, Little arranged for RF Scandalous, a 12-year-old Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Richardia) owned by Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Phoebe & Michael Manders, to travel with her show jumping string to Balmoral Park in Chicago, IL, to contest an evening class.

“I actually drove her to Chicago so I could do a night class. I was really glad that I did because it also affected her quite seriously in the warm-up area. She’s just a smart horse and she was a little nervous in the ring under the lights last time, so I didn’t know if she was still going to be that way, but, she’s such a smart horse and she’s a good partner, so she took what she learned and came out really solid
tonight.”

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Sportfot.

Jennie Brannigan continues to sit in second place aboard her longtime and veteran mount Cambalda, a 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse by Balda Beau out of Cathy’s Lady and is owned by Nina Gardner. Brannigan, who managed an unusually sensitive “Ping” in the warm-up, encountered some trouble before heading into the ring, but produced a nearly foot perfect round to hold their placing on the leaderboard.

“I had an interesting warm-up. I don’t think I’ve ever jumped that horse under the lights before. He was quite fresh and I thought that was going to be a good thing. I warmed up with Phillip and he was building square oxers. I don’t know if it was the combination of the lights, but I crashed into a jump and fell on my hand,” she explained.

“I know that horse well and I haven’t had a bad warm-up like that ever, but he jumped well, so that’s good. He’s consistent, so I was a little worried about what he was going to do, but he jumped great once we got out in the ring.”

Angela Bowles and Bliss III. Photo by Sportfot.

Angela Bowles traveled all of the way from the state of Texas to contest the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena® and was thrilled with her rise up the leaderboard on Bliss III, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Corland x Lenja) owned by Alyssa Phillips. The pair were holding fifth place following dressage, but a strong show jumping round propelled them up the leaderboard where they now occupy third place.

“I’ve been helping Alyssa with Bliss since we imported the horse about three years ago, and I’ve ridden her on and off throughout that time as Alyssa has been transitioning from high school to college. I recently retired my upper level horse and Alyssa has been super busy with school. She has two other horses to ride, so she was really gracious to let me have the ride on her,” explained Bowles. “We targeted this because we were qualified, so we came and I’ve show jumped the horse a lot. I like to do ‘A’ shows in Texas and I’ve done a couple of grand prix classes on the mare. I did the Wellington Eventing Showcase on the mare, so I know her very well and it’s a big atmosphere.”

The pair’s last Advanced level outing together was at The Colorado Horse Park earlier in the month, so Bowles is excited to test the track at TIEC to better gauge where their blossoming partnership stands. She added, “I’m going to go have another look around the course tomorrow. I don’t know the mare as well at this level, so our first Advanced cross-country was a month ago in Colorado. I’m going to get out there in the morning and then make a plan from there.”

The cross-country phase for the Adequan® USEA Advanced Gold Cup division will begin at 9:45 a.m. at the White Oak Complex at TIEC. Public parking will be available at 4099 Pea Ridge Road.

Boehringer Ingelheim Open Intermediate

Jennie Brannigan and FE Lifestyle. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

Jennie Brannigan has been busy gathering top finishes across multiple divisions throughout the week, and called this afternoon’s cross-county run a success. “Today was good. I ate some Mexican food, took a nap and woke up to watch Lynn and Donner ride at Burghley on the replay, and I was like, ‘Alright, let’s go fast.’ And they’re both cool horses. They’re both only seven years old.”

“I’ve always believed in Twilightslastgleam. He loves cross-country and is a Thoroughbred, so he’s quite natural at it. He’s got a smaller step, so there’s a lot of options for doing different strides on this course, so I actually did one set of strides on one horse and one on the other, which is different for me,” she commented.

Brannigan learned that Twilightslastgleam had risen the ranks to first place while she was already on course with FE Lifestyle. “You’re always wondering whether to go for time or not. On FE Lifestyle I knew I was tied for first, but on Twilightslastgleam I wasn’t sure, and then I decided to have a crack at it anyway,” she said. “So we’ll see how tomorrow goes. Both of these are exciting horses for the Gardiners, because we need the future, and they are the future, and it’s cool to see them stepping up to the game and into the spotlight,” she concluded.

Charlotte Collier, aboard Parker Collier’s Clifford M, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cristo x Naomi IV), sits in third after finishing with 3.6 time penalties on cross-country, improving her first day rank by two.

Novice Horse

Booli Selmayr and Kildare’s MHS Tampa. Photo by Sportfot.

The Novice Horse division saw Booli Selmayr and Thomas Duggan’s Kildare’s MHS Tampa, a 5-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Quintender x Lady Ligustra)remain in first place throughout all three phases of competition to finish on top of the division.

The course today was so nice,” said Selmayr. “It flowed so nicely, made you think a little and not just gallop around. It tests the obedience and the stamina of the horse.”

Despite only working with this horse since the spring, Selmayr says that the young mare has taken to the atmosphere of Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) remarkably well.

“We got here Monday after a 15.5-hour drive from NY, so I was interested in seeing how she was going to be this weekend. It’s such a big atmosphere and she’s just five, but she’s been so calm the whole time. She’s such a competitor and she’s such a workhorse. She doesn’t really get flustered by anything,” she explained.

Next, the pair will finish off the year with Young Horse Championships at Fair Hill. “After that we will take her down to Aiken, and I definitely think she can do a 1* next year. She’s a classy mare and she has the breeding to be a top-level horse, and as long as she’s still happy doing that, that’s what we are going to do.”

Ashley Giles and her own Chayenne, a 6-year-old Trakehner mare (Elfado x Charima), also stayed consistent throughout all three phases to finish in second place. Giles explained that she qualified for this week’s competition aboard Chayenne after competing and winning their first show together with a broken back.

“I got this mare back in November and I was coming back from a three-year eventing hiatus. I started bonding with her, and then we entered our first horse trial. The day beforehand, I broke my back and didn’t figure it out until after I’d competed. She’s a fabulous horse and won that horse trial, and then we qualified, which was our goal all along.”

Coming into today’s course, Giles was feeling the pressure, she said, but her mount performed beautifully nonetheless. “She was fabulous yesterday, and I thought the cross-country course was super fun, and I loved [how it twisted]. It was super fun to ride. I had never been sitting in this position before going into the final phase, so I was pretty nervous going into show jumping, but she went in, and she did her job. She’s a brilliant horse. Every day that I get to sit on her, I feel lucky,” she concluded.

Jennie Brannigan rode Justine Dutton’s Arctic Tiger, a 5-year-old British Sport Horse, to a third-place finish, moving up from their previously-held fourth place rank and posting two double clear rounds.

“Unfortunately Justine is hurt, so she asked me to take the ride. I had only sat on him twice before this week, and it’s his first AEC, so I know that she was really happy. I’m happy that she trusts me enough to take him out,” said Brannigan. “He’s a great mover, and this was a lot, since it’s a big atmosphere. He was a little nervous out on cross-country, but I was really impressed with him today. He went out and stepped up to the plate,” she concluded.

Novice Amateur

Bailey Snyder and Corina. Photo by Sportfot.

Bailey Snyder and her own Corina, a 7-year-old Holsteiner mare (Acorino x Phaedre), cruised through the show jumping phase to remain at the top of the Novice Amateur division, maintaining the first-place slot they had occupied since Thursday’s dressage test.

“Going into dressage she was just being a star, despite the weather and the rain, and she put in a really good test followed by a super confident cross-country round, so today there was definitely some pressure,” she said. “It’s a great division and scores were all really high, so my goal was to just go in and do the best we could. It was awesome and she was a super star.”

The pair has been climbing the ranks in eventing since Corina came to Snyder as an unbroken four-year-old, and she’s excited to see where they go from here.

“I’m going into my senior year of college, so my goal with her is to just keep her happy and healthy. I’m up for whatever she is confident enough to do. We’ve got an easy fall planned after this, and then we will look to the spring to get to some good shows that we can travel to and see some more exciting venues. We will definitely come back to Tryon to see what she can take on. She’s still a young horse so we are trying to get her more confident and ready to move up,” she concluded.

Savannah Welch and her own Langcaster, an 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Languster x Galiffi), maintained her second-place status throughout the week despite a hectic effort to save her horse from the path of Hurricane Harvey. “We are from Houston, so we kind of just threw the horse in the trailer and say ‘we are leaving NOW,’ two days early,” she said.

“It takes him a while to get used to everything because he is also young and is still learning how to settle in with situations like this. With dressage, he did everything right, and I couldn’t have asked more of him,” she commented. “We bought him as a four-year-old that didn’t really know anything and my trainer and I have taken him along, improving his scores and working on his confidence. Now we are just taking his education step by step.”

As a senior in college, Welch said it’s sometimes difficult to keep a strict competition schedule, but she plans to end her fall strong, adding, “Maybe we’ll compete in more Novices and hopefully move up to Training next year,” she concluded.

Krissy Smith Shellenberger and her own Invictus, a 7-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Ibisco x Viness SH) rose from fourth place to claim the third-place slot with a four-fault show jumping round.

Novice Rider

Ryan Hall and Way Jose. Photo by Sportfot.

Ryan Bell and Way Jose, a 14-year-old Thoroughbred (Jose x Riverside Charmer) owned by Karen Czarick, climbed to the top of the leaderboard in the Novice Rider division at the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena®. Bell, a dressage competitor that recently began eventing, won the division on his dressage score of 25.8.

“I was a dressage rider and I got bucked off a couple of dressage horses, so I got a little nervous riding my own horses and I thought ‘Okay, I really need to push myself out of my comfort zone.’ So, what’s more out of a dressage rider’s comfort zone than eventing? So here we are,” commented Bell. “It feels amazing,” he continued. “I’m a little shocked because I didn’t think it would happen. I think I got lucky, but I tried really hard and did the best I could, so I’m really happy that it all paid off.”

Lenora Evan Hollmann moved up in the standings following cross-country and rode a double clear round aboard her own Christian Grey, a 7-year-old PMU gelding. “He’s such a trier,” said Hollmann, “He’s always there for me. I want to move up to Training with him, but for now we are just having so much fun together enjoying the moment.”

Hollmann adopted the gelding as a 3-year-old from LastChance Corral in Ohio. “LastChance Corral got him at about a week old and so he was a bucket fed baby, and he was sold to me only with the description, ‘has done parades.'”

Liza Bunce and Gail Bunce’s 17-year-old Appendix Quarter Horse gelding, Chance, started out the competition in ninth and made a climb throughout the weekend to end up in third place, adding nothing to her dressage score of 27.3. Of her experience at AEC, Bunce said, “It’s been a great weekend. It’s wonderful for my horse to get this exposure. The course was incredible; the footing was amazing. We really don’t get too much of the opportunity to go from the arena to grass back to the arena. It was so different but so worth coming here to compete.”

Master Novice Amateur

Megan Northrop and Fleur De Lis. Photo by Sportfot.

Megan Northrop maintained her first-place position throughout the phases aboard her own Fleur De Lis, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred mare, to finish on top of the Master Novice Amateur division.

“Show jumping tends to be my weakest phase, and I felt a little rattled coming in on the top. My mare jumped so great yesterday,” she said. “She has grown so much this year. I knew she was brave and I knew that if I just left her alone a little bit, she would go. She got a little too forward on me a couple of times today, and I had to correct that, but for the most part, she did what I asked and I’m really proud of her for that.”

Sarah Wildasin and James Wildasin’s Totally Awesome Bosco, a 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, improved their third-place spot to finish in second. “I was just very happy to remember where I had to go,” she commented. “My horse is amazing and does everything. I just have to steer and go along for the ride!”

Jenny Brinkley and her own Guinness X, a 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, rose from fifth place after cross-country to collect third in the division final. “I have one of those once in a lifetime horses,” she said. “I did the first AEC that they ever held, and then topped out at Preliminary level with him. He was so talented that my trainer took him through Advanced, and then my daughter took him out at Intermediate and was very successful at Young Riders with him,” she continued. “[My daughter] went off to college and then I got him back, and my goal was to get back here to AEC. Now, I’m just happy to be here.”

Junior Novice

Sunny Courtwright and Around Midnight. Photo by Sportfot.

Sunny Courtwright and her 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, Around Midnight, were crowned the final champions of the 2017 AEC. Courtwright lead the Junior Novice division from start to finish on her dressage score of 23.5.

“Marble was really good today. I just can’t believe this,” said an awestruck Courtwright. “I loved the course. I was just worried about the distractions, but she was perfect. This whole week has been so fun. It’s gone by so fast and I’m sad it’s going to be over soon.”

Courtwright and third place finisher Suzanne Stevens both ride out of Mike Huber’s Gold Chip Stables in Fort Worth, TX. “It’s really fun to be here with Sonny and my other barn mates from Texas,” commented Stevens.

Kira Cibak and her own October Tryst had a clear round in the show jumping to move them from fourth to second. She and the 11-year-old Morgan gelding finished on their dressage score of 27.8. Cibak said, “This was my first AEC so I was really happy with my horse. We are going to try to move to Training, we are going to try to move up and see where that goes!”

Suzanne Stevens and her own Smokin’ Boots, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred mare (More Smoke x Miss Boot Scoot) ended in third on a 28.8. “This is the biggest show my horse has been to, so it’s been a great experience for the both of us. She’s come so far,” Stevens concluded.

Beginner Novice Horse

Amanda Ruane and Bally Lord Who. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

Amanda Ruane and her own Bally Lord Who, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, maintained their lead in the Beginner Novice Horse division, mastering the track and continuing on their original dressage score of 22.3 to hold top honors heading into show jumping tomorrow.

“He felt so good today. Cross-country is always his favorite phase,” said Ruane. “The biggest thing with him is that he’s 17hh. He’s a big horse, so we need to work on not eating up the time so quickly. A couple of times I had to check my watch and then say ‘Okay, let’s take a breather and tone it down a notch.’ He’s bold and brave, and he’s a really fun ride.”

Beth Stelzleni and Mighty Handsome, a 5-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Mighty Magic x SPS Whitney) kept their second-place position with a score of 25.8, while Holly Payne-Caravella piloted Benjamin Button, a 4-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Classic Alliance x Lively Lady) owned by Kathleen Hall, also maintaining their 25.8 score to remained tied with Stelzeni for second place.

The Beginner Novice Horse division will conclude tomorrow, as horse and rider combinations complete the final phase of competition at 9:50 a.m. in the George H. Morris Arena.

Beginner Novice Amateur

Leah Backus and Diamond of Truth. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

After moving up from third place, Leah Backus and her own Diamond of Truth, a 5-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Salute the Truth x Mainways Queen of Diamonds), have taken the lead in the Beginner Novice Amateur division heading into tomorrow’s show jumping phase.

Backus bred Diamond of Truth and has enjoyed bringing him along for the past few years, she said, and was excited to achieve her goal of making it to AECs this year. “I liked going up on the hill so that you could look out over the [cross-country] course,” she said about today’s ride.

“When we got up there, my horse kind of looked out over the field, and our course was going pretty well at that point, so it was pretty exciting. For tomorrow, he’s never been in a ring that big, so I think he’ll be excited. He’s enjoying the show scene, so I think he’ll like it, and maybe he’ll perform extra well.”

Despite two time penalties, Diane Zrimsek aboard her own Coronado Charlie, an 8-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Bwana Charlie x Pleasure Hunt), sit tied for second place with Nicole Thomas and her own Here N’ Now, an 18-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding.

Beginner Novice Rider

Kathleen Bertuna and Milye’s Mojave. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

After two phases Kathleen Bertuna and her own Millye’s Mojave, a 12-year-old OTTB gelding (Mojave Moon x Slew the Dragoness) have moved from third to first place in the Beginner Novice Rider division following their clear cross-country round.

Bertuna was happy with her mount’s focus on the fences and said the course encompassed the many tests of horse and rider she’s seen all year. “There were a lot of tests, from the changes in terrain to riding towards and away from the warm up area, towards and away from the barn area, and the difference between the ring and the wet, sometimes muddy grass, up and down the hill-it definitely tested all those facets that we’ve been working on all year in all the different courses and put them all into one big course,” she explained.

After nineteen years away from the sport and wanting to return on a safe horse, Bertuna connected with Millye’s Mojave last November. The Seattle Slew-bred gelding is “just a prince,” she said, and the pair will likely move up to Novice.

“He is wonderful. He takes care of me and has gotten me back into the business very nicely. At the beginning of this season Beginner Novice was looking really big, but now it’s looking more manageable, so I’m hoping that there will be a nice move up in the spring.” For now, she’s just looking to put in an accurate and forward course tomorrow in the show jumping phase.

Kymberly Pullen and Sara Webb’s Homer, a 15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Golden Missile x Zaza), currently sit in second place 1.5 points behind Bertuna, while Amber Duncan and her own Renegade, a 10-year-old paint gelding (Reflecting Merle x Windy’ Rascal Dottie), hold third place.

Master Beginner Novice Amateur

Carrie Griffen and Feuertanzer ES. Photo Leslie Mintz/USEA.

Carrie Griffen continues her lead going into the show jumping round tomorrow, clutching first place aboard her own Feuertanzer ES, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Nicholas x Daybreak) on their original dressage score of 23.3.

Robin Barr and her own Tout Fini, a 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Purge x Firehouse Waltz), maintain their second-place spot with a score of 24.8, while Cindi Moravec and her own Holloway have a new hold on third place after receiving a 27.3. The Master Beginner Novice Amateur division will conclude tomorrow with their final phase of show jumping.

Junior Beginner Novice Fourteen and Under

Ashley Stout and Deo Volente. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

Ashley Stout and her own Deo Volente, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, remain on top of the Junior Beginner Novice Fourteen and Under division following their clear round in the cross-country phase.

Stout commented that today’s ride was a huge improvement from the pair’s two most recent cross-country runs, so she’s pleased with her mount’s effort. “I felt like it went really well. We were a little looky at some fences, but we managed to get over them and push through it and he was very willing with everything.”

“We were actually a little fast-we had a minute left at the third to last jump, so we ended up doing some circles and making it through with four minutes and thirty seconds. I’m super proud of him,” she explained. “My plan [for tomorrow] is to get through without knocking anything down. I’ve looked at the course, and it’s challenging, but not too bad,” she concluded.

Avery Cascarino remains in second aboard Gloria Cascarino’s Dudley Do Right, a 13-year-old gelding, with a score of 20, while Viktorija Petraitis and Our Little Secret, a 15-year-old Arabian gelding owned by the Petraitis Family, continue to hold third place with a score of 25.

Junior Beginner Novice

Rowan Edmonds and Liberty Bell. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

Brynn Hershbine and Rowan Edmonds both went around the cross-country today without a hitch, so they remain tied for first in the Junior Beginner Novice division. If they both jump double clear tomorrow in show jumping, it will be Hershbine who is named champion as she crossed the finish line closer to the optimum time of 5:02 with Julie Hershbine’s Cadenza Aria, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare (Turnofthecentury x Whisper).

Edmonds, riding Liberty Bell, a 9-year-old Thoroughbred mare (Hellion x Beth) owned by Michelle Jones was eight seconds faster.

Sydney Lee accrued 1.2 time penalties with Sweet Georgia Brown, dropping her from third to fourth. Carson Birdsong moved up into third with Ballygrace Laralai, an 11-year-old Irish Draught mare (Glenlara x Significadre) owned by Brooke Birdsong.

Brynn Hershbine and Cadenza Aria. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

First through sixth are all within a rail of each other, so show jumping could prove to be quite influential as the riders head into the George Morris Arena at 3:25 p.m. tomorrow.

Preliminary Horse

Jennie Brannigan and Balmoral Oakey. Photo by Sportfot.

Jennie Brannigan moved up from second place to finish on top of the Preliminary Horse division concluding with a clear round in the show jumping phase aboard Grayson Wall’s Balmoral Oakey, a 10-year-old Australian Warmblood mare (Falchrich x Diamond Sea Road).

Brannigan explained that Balmoral Oakey is for sale, and that this horse has the potential to move past the Preliminary division. “I knew [coming into today] that she hadn’t had a rail in like two years or something like that, so I was a little bit nervous thinking ‘Wow,’ I’m going to be the one to mess that up,’ but she jumped great. She’s obviously a super horse so I just trusted her to do her job, and she obviously knows what that job is.”

Brannigan has been winning across multiple divisions this week and currently sits in second place in the competitive Adequan® USEA Advanced Gold Cup division aboard her longtime mount Cambalda.

“I was joking around [earlier] because last year I brought a bunch of horses and I think only placed 15th with one of them, so I’d say this year has gotten off to a better start. I’m really grateful for that and I just hope that I can continue to keep things going in the right direction,” she commented.

Leslie Law and Beatrice Rey-Herme’s LCC Vogue, a 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Kroongraaf x Clear Cavalier), rode to a second-place finish, and he said that LCC Vogue has only done a handful of Preliminary level competitions so far. “We could have gone at this at training level, but I thought that the Prelim would be a decent challenge for him, and would be much more educational,” he said. “He’s a lovely horse and he has an incredible future. I’m excited that he was second. I think that this facility is a wonderful experience for the younger horses, and I think in the end it was all done very well,” he noted.

Third place went to Alexandra Knowles aboard Katherine O’Brien’s Business Class, a 7-year-old Selle Francais gelding, moving up from sixth place after cross-country. Business Class was imported from Ireland at the beginning of this year.

“I actually haven’t done a lot with him due to an injury in March, but he’s an absolutely fantastic horse. He’s cool as a cucumber, and all of the pressure is on me to do it right because if I do it right, he’ll definitely step up to the plate. He cruised around cross-country this week, and was great. I really enjoy riding him and am looking forward to moving up to the next level with him,” she commented.

“I thought the course was very fun, and it was very different from anything that I have done before. I really enjoyed it. The facility is second to none-it’s been a great experience. I never want to leave! Everything you need is here, and it’s beautiful. It doesn’t get much better than this,” Knowles concluded.

[Marilyn Little Maintains Lead in Adequan® USEA Advanced Gold Cup Division Heading Into Cross-Country Tomorrow]

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2017 Rolex Central Park Horse Show to Feature $50,000 Arena Eventing Class

Photo: Sportfot.

A $50,000 arena eventing class has been added to the 2017 Rolex Central Park Horse Show, to be held Saturday, Sept. 23. It takes the place of the dressage CDI component of the event, which was canceled due to unexpected horse and rider withdrawals.

The competition will several top national and international horse and rider combinations, including Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton. “I’m very excited to be a part of the Arena Eventing competition at the 2017 Rolex Central Park Horse Show,” says Phillip, who is contesting the Adequan Advanced Gold Cup Final at the American Eventing Championships this weekend. “It will be an action packed evening and is an unrivaled opportunity to promote our sport and our riders to a new audience.”

An official rider list will be announced mid-week, and general admission tickets will go on sale next week as well.

Arena eventing, a two-round competition that incorporates both show jumping and cross country elements, has been growing in popularity here in the U.S. as a spectator-friendly exhibition platform to showcase our sport. At the Central Park Horse Show riders will contest an Intermediate/CCI 2* level track designed by Capt. Mark Phillips. Riders who complete the first round track under the time allowed without incurring any jumping penalties will move on to the final round of competition.

The show’s management team canceled this year’s dressage competition, originally scheduled for Sept. 22-Sept. 23, after its top international competitors were forced to withdraw.

“Due to a number of unexpected and unrelated circumstances preventing the top four top riders from participating, we were forced to make the difficult choice with the sponsor, Axel Johnson Group, to cancel the dressage portion of the event. The riders are just as disappointed as we are with the outcome, as they believe this show provides an unprecedented platform for the sport of dressage,” said Mark Bellissimo, CEO of International Equestrian Group, LLC (IEG). “While we are not able to host dressage this year in Central Park, we are incredibly excited to unveil an innovative arena eventing competition and welcome one of the most inspiring group of riders I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”

The Rolex Central Park Horse Show (Sept. 20-24) is in its fourth year of operation at Wollman Rink in the heart of New York City’s Central Park. In addition to arena eventing, the week will feature U.S. Open competition for the Arabian, show jumping and hunter disciplines, as well as host its popular Family Day on Sunday, Sept. 24.

For more information on the 2017 Rolex Central Park Horse Show (RCPHS), visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com.

[Innovative $50,000 Arena Eventing Competition Added to Official Schedule at 2017 Rolex Central Park Horse Show on Saturday, September 23]

 

 

#AEC17 Saturday Roundup: We Are the Champions, My Friends

Another batch of national champions in the house! Shout-out to …

Preliminary Horse: Jennie Brannigan and Balmoral Oakey (26.1)

Jennie Brannigan and Balmoral Oakley are your Preliminary Horse Champions #AEC17

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Jr. Novice: Sunny Courtwright and Around Midnight (23.5)

Sunny Courtwright and Around Midnight make easy work of the Junior Novice cross-country course at #AEC17 Amber Heintzberger

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Master Novice Amateur: Megan Northrop and Fleur de Lis (24.5)

Novice Amateur: Bailey Snyder and Corina (20.5)

From center line to finish line, Bailey Snyder led the Novice Amateur with Corina #AEC17 Amber Heintzberger

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Novice Horse: Booli Selmayr and Kildare’s Mhs Tampa (24.3)

Meet your Novice Horse #AEC17 champion, Kildare’s MHS Tampa ridden by Booli Selmayr. Amber Heintzberger

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Novice Rider: Ryan Bell and Way Jose (25.8)

Extra big congrats to Ryan, who has been chronicling his journey to the AECs for via his “Adventures of a Rogue Dressage Rider” blog series. Welcome to the dark side, Ryan!

Well-done, riders! We saw another fantastic day of competition across the board, culminating in tonight’s “Saturday Night Lights” headliner, Adequan Gold Cup Advanced Final show jumping. Between the bright lights and the boisterous crowd, TIEC’s big atmosphere that gave even the most experienced horses a unique challenge.

The top two Advanced spots, held by Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous in first and Jennie Brannigan in second, remained unchanged, with both pairs turning in a double-clear show jumping round.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Angela Bowles and Bliss III moved from 5th to 3rd when the two pairs tied for third place, Phillip Dutton/I’m Sew Ready and Jordan Linstedt/Revitavet Capato, dropped rails. Cross country takes place Sunday beginning at 9:45 a.m. on the White Oak Complex. In addition to parking at TIEC, where shuttles will be available, spectators can park at the Complex itself, located at 4990 Pea Ridge Road in Mill Spring, NC.

Here’s a glance at the new Advanced top 10 lineup:

The between-rounds entertainment was on-point. Will Faudree losing his glasses after his second rotational = the best:

Recognize any of these bouncy horse jockeys? #aec17

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Per tradition, I’ve been closing these roundup posts by handing the mic to you guys. Because, well, you’re what this thing is all about. Take it away, EN!

Bubbles!!!!!! #adulting at #tryon

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Lost little unicorn.

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Yesterday we had a rainbow; seems only fitting that today we have a unicorn. What will tomorrow bring to #AEC17? Who even knows. Go Eventing!

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#AEC17 Not-So-Live XC Updates: Jr. Beginner Novice 14 & Under Faceoff Showdown

Me watching the Burghley cross country live stream this morning: “They’re live streaming this, but they aren’t live streaming AEC Jr. Beginner Novice 14 & Under?!”

Move over Burghley, it’s time for Jr. Beginner Novice 14 & Under cross country at the American Eventing Championships! This is the division to watch, as the country’s most adorably cutthroat junior riders face off over the toughest yellow numbered jumps in the land.

Our dressage leaders, Ashley Stout and Deo Volente, brought the heat in the sandbox yesterday, posting a 19.8 — the lowest dressage score of the entire event. Second-placed Avery Cascarino and Dudley Do Right are nipping at their heels on a score of 20.0. These kids aren’t even old enough to drive a car and they’re already riding every adult at the AECs under the table.

Clearly, they’re packing ice in those veins. Can they keep it up through cross country? We’re about to find out!

AEC: WebsiteScheduleRide Times & Live ScoringEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

2:08 p.m.: Our first pair is on course. Let’s do this thing, y’all!

2:10: Hannah Fischer and Monster trailblaze a double-clear round, followed by second-placed Avery Cascarino and Dudley Do Right. What time is it, Avery?

Avery Cascarino and Dudley Do Right. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

That’s right, girl. It’s your time to shine. Double-clear, boom. Keep that red ribbon on lock.

2:31: Drama at fence #5! Cassie Sanger hits the deck when Ultra Violet slams on the brakes, the first of several casualties at fences #5, #6 and #7.

2:18: Emma Drury and Mr. Tuxedo finish clear with 3.2 time faults. Those heels, tho. #GeorgeMorrisApproves

Emma Drury and Mr. Tuxedo. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

2:24:  Awwwwwwwwwwww squee.

Maddie Malmstrom and Jitterbug Dancer. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

2:26: Maggie Proffitt and Wallstreet Melody put the pedal to the metal.

Maggie Proffitt and Wallstreet Melody. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Reporter: “Your horse is fast!”

Horse: “Allow me to run over you.”

2:27: Samantha Schultz’s You Stole My Heart has an actual heart on its butt, omg.

Samantha Schultz and You Stole My Heart. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

2:28: Mackenzie Vaneffen and her horse have basically the same facial expression over the last fence.

Mackenzie VanEffen and Mambo to the Rescue. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Don’t worry, Mackenzie, you made the time!

Mackenzie VanEffen and Mambo to the Rescue. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

2:30: Samantha Schultz fell from You Stole My Heart early on the course, but she landed on her feet and mounted back up. Go heart-butt, go!

Samantha Schultz and You Stole My Heart. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

2:32: Samantha is passed by Abigail Brawley and Work of Art, but she’s still in the hunt.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

2:34: Despite picking up 105.2 time penalties, Samantha and You Stole My Heart steal our hearts when they cross the finish line.

Samantha Schultz and You Stole My Heart. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

2:34: Julianna Pohoski and Keiki O Ka Aina are #stoked about their double clear round.

Julianna Pohoski and Keiki O Ka Aina. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

What’s the story behind that hashtag?

2:48: Meanwhile Vienna Allport is winning the warmup with her pompom helmet and on-point color scheme.

Vienna Allport and Caramel Macchiato. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

2:46: Vienna and her brother Luke have back to back start times. Double clears for them both!

Luke Allport and Mighty Mississippi. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Vienna Allport and Caramel Macchiato. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Who are you wearing, Vienna? Are pom poms making a comeback?

2:50: Ella Robinson and Champagne have their game faces ON.

Ella Robinson and Champagne. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

2:54: Darcy Dean and Skybound Skittles are goin’ for ittttt.

Darcy Dean and Skybound Skittles. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Whoa, Skittles!

Darcy Dean and Skybound Skittles. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

3:04: Another example of matching facial expressions.

Lawsyn Clements and Tanqueray With a Twist. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

3:06: So. Much. Fierce.

Darcy Drury and Amicor. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

3:08: Fence #6, the double brush, was eating horses alive out there. Despite some ferocious riding on her part, Crockett Miller’s horse didn’t like the look of it their first go round …

Crockett Miller and BW Docs War Hawk. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

… but they cleared it on second attempt in style.

Crockett Miller and BW Docs War Hawk. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

3:10: We became Hannah Sullivan fans forever after hearing her whisper to her horse en route to jump #3, “I know this is a little weird, but it will be fine.”

Hannah Sullivan and Nebraska. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

And, true to her word, it was fine.

Hannah Sullivan and Nebraska. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

3:12: Um how adorable is this pony?

Lilah Frank and Flying Diamond Anticipation. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

3:14: And also this one?

Mya Poulos and Merrylegs. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

3:16: Massive congrats to Madeline Mogridge! Unscripted, a Wellington jumper pony turned eventer, is as fancy-pants as they come but apparently can be a little bit of a stinker. Madeline seems have gotten him figured out, though: “I’m not putting up with your garbage, pretty boy!” A well-earned double clear.

Madeline Mogridge and Unscripted. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

3:22: Dressage leaders Ashley Stout and Deo Volente posted a double-clear to keep hold of their place atop the scoreboard. If anyone spots a lost helmet cover out there …

Ashley Stout and Deo Volente. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Job well done to all! Here are your Jr. Beginner Novice 14 & Under top 10 after cross country:

Go Eventing.

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#AEC17 Quotes From the Top: Training/Prelim Winners & BN/Novice/Intermediate Leaders

Watch the throne, EN: The first batch of 2017 American Eventing Championship crowns have been distributed! Friday saw the coronation of most Prelim and Training divisions, with Beginner Novice, Novice, Intermediate and Advanced divisions continuing on today. Once again we have the hardworking USEA/TIEC press team to thank for chasing down the winners and leaders of each #AEC17 division at day’s end yesterday to collect ride reflections and thoughts going forward.

Boehringer Ingelheim Open Intermediate

Jennie Brannigan and FE Lifestyle are tied for first place with Molly Kinnamon and The Diesel Boy in the Boehringer Ingelheim Open Intermediate division on a score of 27.9. Leslie Law piloted his own Call The Law, an 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding to third place on a score of 28.2

Jennie Brannigan and FE Lifestyle. Photo by Sportfot.

Brannigan, speaking about her test aboard the 7-year-old German Sport Horse (Leo von Faelz x Berina A) owned by Tim and Nina Gardner, Brannigan said, “He was good. He’s young, only seven so, we recently moved up to Intermediate and this is his fourth one. Our partnership is definitely growing in itself, but he’s also still very new to this level. I think the strength and the canter work is still a little bit hard for him, but at the trot he’s just so natural. He’s a beautiful horse.”

The pair put in a lovely test to tie an equally beautiful test performed by Molly Kinnamon and The Diesel Boy, a 9-year-old American Warmblood (Lyracist x Fleur) owned by Kinnamon, which Brannigan noted would not have been possible without the help of her dedicated team.

“I owe a ton to my girls Steph Cauffman and Alexa Lapp who have been riding Ping and this horse this past week while I was in in Ireland,” she elaborated. “I was thrilled with how he went today and that’s a testament to them. He just keeps getting better. I had a mistake in the canter work and I was previously having multiple mistakes there, so I’m happy that he’s been improving. I was thrilled that it scored so well and I saw Molly’s test and thought it was awesome, so I was maybe even a little bit surprised. I know the future is bright for him.”

Molly Kinnamon and The Diesel Boy. Photo by Sportfot.

Kinnamon has been partnered with The Diesel Boy for most of his career and she is thrilled to be sitting atop the leaderboard in an intense Intermediate division. The Diesel Boy was nervous with the oncoming storm approaching, but held his composure for the lay down one of the best tests of the week.

“I was extremely pleased with our ride today. He doesn’t really like storms, and he could tell that it was getting stormy, so at the beginning of our warm-up we couldn’t even go by someone without him jumping in the air. It’s pretty cool that he got in the arena and was very professional. When we left the arena we were back to jumping up in the air! He kept it together when he knew he had to and that’s pretty exciting.”

As for tomorrow, Kinnamon will look to give The Diesel Boy a strong run in attempt to maintain their quest for the lead heading into the divisions final day of competition, which will be on Sunday.

“For cross-country, to be honest, I have a pretty long-term partnership with this horse now, so I know what I need to do. It’s sort of a matter of getting it done, and if I give him a good ride he’s always there for me, so I have to make sure I’m very positive into all the combinations. He goes a little bit like a smaller pony, so I have to make sure I jump in with enough scope to get him across the distances. That I know I’ve got to do.”

Preliminary Amateur

Cindy Buchanan and Flying Candles. Photo by LeslieMintz/USEA.

Yesterday’s cross-country was very influential in the Preliminary Amateur division, which gave Cindy Buchanan the opportunity to climb up the leaderboard into first. Once Buchanan had the lead, she wasn’t letting go of it and a double clear show jumping round secured her the win. Riding her homebred, Flying Candles, an 11-year-old ¼ Clydesdale and ¾ Thoroughbred mare (Icognito x Flying Pidgeon), Buchanan finished on her dressage score of 35.1.

“She was a little tired today,” said Buchanan. “We went fast yesterday. She jumped really well, and I was very pleased with her. She was a little flatter than usual, but she was keen enough to complete it.”

“Candles” won four of her last five events (she finished second at the fifth), so Buchanan decided this would be a great year to bring her to the AEC and then she turned it into a family affair with her two daughters competing as well. “I had never been to AEC before,” continued Buchanan. “My whole family is here and this is the first time for all of us. We figured this was the time to go. We are here until the end of this competition, and then we are going to drive home and make it to the opening fox hunting meet on Monday, because I’m a field master [for Chesire Hunt] and have to be there.”

Buchanan paid ode to her great partner who is by the same stallion as Colleen Rutledge’s four-star partner, Covert Rights. “[Candles] has the greatest personality ever. I fox hunt her; I ride side-saddle on her; she goes in hunter horse shows at Devon; she’s just an all-around great mare and I love her.”

Like Buchanan, Kathy Cain, had moved up in the standings following cross-country and maintained her overnight placing with a double clear round aboard her own Legal Limit, a 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Secret Prince x Cheese Blintze).

“I was thrilled with my horse,” said Cain. “He was wonderful. He’s used to jumps on grass so this [show jumping] was a little bit different for him, but he had lots of energy and the warm-up went well, and we went in there and he was amazing. I couldn’t be happier with him.”

“The week was fantastic,” continued Cain. “It was so nice to come out to such a beautiful facility, and it’s wonderful that you’re riding in the same facility that the WEG is going to be held in, and get to ride around on a similar track on the golf course side. My horse was wonderful in all three phases. I was a little slow on cross-country, but it was a great weekend.”

Leah Snowden and her own Ivy League, a 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Seattle Syn x Don’t Even) started out the competition in 12th and made an impressive climb throughout the weekend to end up in third place in the Preliminary Amateur, adding nothing to her dressage score of 37.3.

“I had a fabulous weekend,” said Snowden. “I had never ridden a course like this before, but I live in Kentucky, so I get to ride at the Kentucky Horse Park all of the time. The course rode so much better than expected.

“My trainer rode before me and came back and said that we needed to stud up a little more so we did,” continued Snowden. “And we went out and my horse really galloped; we had a ball. I had a good time. The place is beautiful.”

Preliminary Rider

Coti Hausman and Quantico. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

Four months ago Coti Hausman was lying in the ICU in a hospital with a grade 5 liver laceration caused by a horse kick. Today she was crowned the champion of the Preliminary Rider division.

“I remember one of the first things I thought [after I was kicked] was, ‘I can’t do AEC this year!’ because I had already qualified,” said Hausman. “The second day, the doctor came in and told me that I wouldn’t be able to ride for two and a half months and I started crying.”

Bobby Meyerhoff kept Quantico, a 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Quite Easy I x Little Black) in work and Hausman rook back the reins in early July. Hausman worked towards her goal of competing in the AEC and her determination paid off.

“He’s just so awesome,” continued Hausman. “Whenever I’m not completely right he says ‘it’s okay little lady, I got this!’ Otherwise he felt good, I wasn’t as anxious as I thought I would be. Usually I get very nervous, and I was quite calm in warm-up, I was very workman like and didn’t freak out mentally. That definitely played a role going into the ring. Last year riding in that ring was a lot, and I kind of lost my nerve but this year I held it together which definitely helped him get around clean.”

Caitlin Silliman rode two horses in the division and they swapped positions after show jumping with Q-brook Stables LLC’s Monbeg Myth moving above stable mate, Ally KGO. A 6-year-old Trakehner mare, Ally KGO (Hirtentanz x Anabel Lee), had one rail down to maintain her third place finish. Monbeg Myth, a 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Capitalist x Piltown Precious) made a steady climb throughout the weekend to finish from seventh to second to finish on his dressage score of 34.0.

“They were great,” said Silliman. “They’re both awesome. [Monbeg Myth] is a little more experienced, and so it was great to go out with him first, especially yesterday, and kind of feel out the course. He’s really fast – he’s like a little pocket rocket, so it was great to have him around before Ally.”

“The show jumping courses rode great. It’s awesome to get young horses in the atmosphere of a big stadium today, and have them perform well, to keep that in mind for future big events. I’m going to Plantation [Field International] with both of them in two weeks, and this was a really good tune-up for them because there won’t be as much atmosphere there. They’ll really be on their toes because of this experience.”

As for yesterday’s cross-country course, it was a good experience for Silliman. “This is definitely a different style of cross-country riding than I’m used to in Pennsylvania. You have to think fast, ride fast, be quick on your feet and make quick turns, have the horses focused, so it was fun and definitely educational for me.”

Junior/Young Rider Preliminary

Katherine Knowles and Cillnabradden Ceonna. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

Katherine Knowles didn’t have a rail in hand heading into show jumping in the Junior/Young Rider Preliminary division, however it wasn’t Knowles who felt the pressure, but rather Caroline Martin. “[Caroline] gets very competitive, which is pretty funny. She was more nervous this morning than I was! It’s really great having her support,” Knowles said of Martin, who she worked for during her gap year between high school and college. “[Working for her] really got me into it. I had been eventing, but not that seriously. I saw what it could be and that got me hooked on it even more.”

Knowles rode her own 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, Cillnabradden Ceonna (Creevagh Grey Rebel x Willow Garden) who she found in Ireland while grooming for Martin a few years back.

“I thought she was great today,” said Knowles. “I didn’t ride the best round, but Ceonna was perfect. She’s a good jumper, so as long as I don’t mess up too badly I’m usually all right,” she said. “She helped me out there. This was definitely the biggest atmosphere I’ve ever ridden in. The course rode beautifully.”

Throughout the competition, Knowles added just 0.8 time penalties to finish on a 28.2 – one point over second-placed Ali Scannell and her own Faolan, a 13-year-old Irish Draught Sport Horse gelding.

“I thought the course rode well, and yesterday I didn’t mess up which was nice,” Scannell said. “He was calm. He tends to get a little up and excited in this atmosphere and usually that creates more nervous energy and less constructive energy. We’ve had some down time while I was away at college, so we’ve just been working on getting better over the last couple of months.”

Rounding out the division was Abby Dubrawski and Cobble Creek, a 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Storm Creek x Dance Moccasin) owned by Beth Dubrawski. “I thought it was a great course, my horse was really great. We had a relaxing dressage test, cross-country also went nicely. I thought the course rode well.”

Professional’s Choice Training Rider

Jordan Good and Danito. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

Jordan Good led from start to finish this week in the Professional’s Choice Training Rider division aboard Danito, an 8-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Dancier x Wie Musik) owned by Ruth Bley, concluding their three-phases of competition on their dressage score of 28.0. Erin Liedle and her own Fernhill Boodle, an 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding finished in second on their original dressage score of 30.7, while Brynn Littlehale and her own Lagerfeld, a 6-year-old German Sport Horse (Last Man Standing x Bonja), completed their show jumping phase on their first phase score of 30.9.

Good spoke of her round today aboard Danito saying, “My horse was listening really well today. Usually I have to ride with a lot of half-halts because he’s really forward, but he was really good and came back really well. He just stayed super consistent.”

Danito is a bit of a different ride for Good, who only took the reins a year ago. The gelding is flashy and talented, but was also an adjustment due to his laid-back nature. “I’ve always had sort of hotter Thoroughbreds, but he’s super talented and I can actually go do a dressage test and ride it. He’s super brave, so it’s been really good. We are going to continue on and see how far he goes. I think he has all of the talent in the world.”

Liedle jumped up the leaderboard following cross-country and was proud of the show jumping round the pair produced to secure second place. “My horse is fantastic. My other horse in the Preliminary division has been my main focus this year, so he’s hasn’t been out since March and he really stepped up to the plate. I was very proud of him. He was great.”

Littlehale traveled all of the way from California to compete at this year’s championship event and was thrilled with the performance of Lagerfeld. She stated, “Charlie was really great today. He’s pretty young, so I thought he would be a little spooky, but he went in there, and was super laid back. He put in a really great round.”

“It was well worth the drive. They really make it feel like a special occasion. It’s fun for all of the horses and it’s fun seeing all of my friends from California again, so it’s been great.”

Professional’s Choice Training Amateur

Brittany Hebets and MTF Bugatti. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

The Professional’s Choice Training Amateur division concluded with Brittany Hebets moving up from second place to finish on top, aboard LeighAnn Hazel-Groux’s MTF Bugatti, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Wisconchin x Jessica) after clear rounds in both cross-country and show jumping phases of competition.

Hebets, who has been a working student under Skyeler Icke Voss for three years, says that her first AECs experience is a dream come true. “Today’s ride felt so good-he can be kind of a spooky horse sometimes so it was nice to go out and feel his confidence and it gave me confidence to go and ride each fence that came. I was thrilled.”

Ruth Bley and her own Frankfurt, an 8-year-old Hanoverian gelding (For Edition x Charen) took second place, also posting clear cross-country and show jumping phases after earning sixth place in the dressage phase. She said she loves competing at Tryon and is pleased with Frankfurt’s performance, especially in the show jumping.

“He’s a little bit green, so it was a challenge to get him through cross-country, but he’s such a good jumper. He’s so balanced and he’s just been wonderful about that,” she commented. “We didn’t get to do as much eventing as we wanted to this year. I broke my arm and separated my shoulder, and then I broke my leg and I had to re-qualify to get here. We’re happy just to be here and to get it done,” she concluded.

Sandra Holden and her own Cano Cristales, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Conteur x Hauptstupbuch konny), took third after posting a four-fault run in show jumping-a ride she’s proud of.

“I was happy with my ride today because I actually made it through the course. I spent this entire year preparing mentally, to conquer my issues with show jumping,” she explained. “It’s my weakest of the three and he’s so sensitive that if I don’t soften my mind, he reacts. I’m so happy that I made it through-that was the biggest accomplishment for me.”

Professional’s Choice Junior Training

Madeline Hartsock and Prinz S.W. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

Madeline Hartsock led from start to finish aboard her own Prinz S.W., an 8-year-old German Sport Horse Pony (PR H. Principal Boy x St. Pr. St. Hauptstutbuch Bienchen) in the Professional’s Choice Junior Training division, as the pair finished their competition on a score of 25.0 to secure the top title. Isabella Gunningham and her own Leroy, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Lucio Silla x Hetty) earned second place on a score of 26.8, while Claire Howard and her own Fernhill Euro Star, an 8-year-old Warmblood gelding by Qredo van de Kampenhoeve out of Panama, captured third place with a total score of 28.7.

“I’m feeling really excited right now. I had two lessons before I came down here, and then I rode with Sharon White on cross-country when we stopped in Virginia, which I think really helped,” explained Hartsock. “When we got here I did a flat ride, and then I went right into competition and he felt really good.”

Hartsock has enjoyed every moment competing Prinz, who she purchased two years ago from Germany. She explained, “We imported Prinz two years ago, and brought him to Florida because that’s where I was riding at the time. We started competing down there. He’s really great to handle and is quite the personality.”

Gunningham, who drove all of the way from Washington state to test her skills at the event this year, was thrilled with her finish aboard Leroy and commented on the progress the pair made this week, as well as how her horses handled the travel.

“I’m really happy and excited to be here. We came down from a very long drive from Washington. Because of that, my horses were fairly tired after the trek, but I thought they were fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome for us.”

Howard, a Georgia native, expressed her excitement and love for Fernhill Euro Star, who she feels has changed her riding career and goals in the best of ways.

“I came in and he was great on the flat, the cross-country he was solid, really focused and the show jumping was probably one of the best rounds we’ve had so far. It was really good. He’s my dream horse. We have a great bond and he trusts me. That’s more than anything you can ask of a horse!”

Professional’s Choice Training Horse

Chris Talley and Aura CF. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

Chris Talley and Aura CF, a 6-year-old Oldenburg mare (Belissimo x Aussprache) have been a force in the Professional’s Choice Training Horse division as the duo finished the week on their original dressage score of 24.1, completing a strong competition in all three phases.

Courtney Cooper and Caia Z, a 6-year-old Zangersheide mare (Calato Z x Djerba Z) owned by Caia Z Group, finished in second place with a score of 24.8, while Megan Sykes and her own Classic’s Mojah, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chabertin x Hauptstutbuch Senna), collected third place honors with a score of 25.1.

“My horse jumped really well. My stirrup broke after fence three and I wasn’t quite sure how that was going to go, but she’s a really careful horse and she’s been really super, so I’m happy with her,” said Talley. “This is my first time at AECs and my first time competing at Tryon. The courses were really good. There was a lot of water and the footing held really well. I thought the show jumping rode well, but was also challenging.”

“Caia is a lovely mare. We did have a few discussions about things, but she is going to be a great athlete. She was great,” said Cooper.

Second and third place were very close, capping an exciting competition for the riders in the division. Sykes commented that she was very proud with her gelding’s ability to finish the competition on such a positive note.

“Mo was awesome. He did his best jumping, and unfortunately my inexperience did show through on that last combination. I got a little too excited and we had that last rail, but I’m super happy with how he went and he jumped great all the way around the course,” she concluded.

Novice Amateur

Bailey Snyder and Corina. Photo by Sportfot.

Yesterday, Bailey Snyder of Fort Worth, TX, aboard her own Corina, a 7-year-old Holsteiner mare by Acorino out of Phaedre, earned the lowest score of the Novice level, a 20.5, for first place in the Novice Amateur division. They jumped clear and inside the time today on cross-country to maintain their impressive score.

“She felt great,” said Snyder. “I was a bit interested to see how she’d be with a different type of course than she’s used to back in Texas, but she started out great and by the time we got into the next field she was really just in her groove. I could feel that she clicked in and by the time we came to the derby field and some of the more galloping questions she was just taking me on to the fences.”

While Snyder’s family is from the northern part of Texas and were not affected by recent flooding in that state, she said, “But, we have lots of friends down there and our hearts go out to everyone in Houston.”

Snyder competed previously in the Beginner Novice Championship two years ago at the Texas Rose Horse Park and said that coming to Tryon is a very different experience. “The course designer here did a great job and they have beautifully intricate jumps, even on the Novice course, which was super exciting for everyone. It was a different feel, but I think it was a good test.”

Eleanor Wassenberg and her own 18-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Matapeake, who finished second in the Beginner Novice Master Amateur here last year, and Savannah Welch and her own Langcaster, an 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Languster x Galiffi), were tied for second place on a score of 21.8. Wassenberg added 4.8 time faults and fell to sixth place, making room for Krissy Smith Shellenberger and her own Invictus, a 7-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Ibisco out of Viness H, to move into third on 23.3 with a double clear round.

Novice Master Amateur

Megan Northrop and Fleur De Lis. Photo by Sportfot.

Once again in the Novice Master Amateur division, the top three riders held on to their placings. Megan Northrop and her own Fleur de Lis scored a 24.5 yesterday to lead the division. Northrop said she felt very pleased with the 7-year-old Thoroughbred mare, who she originally purchased as a resale project.

“It went terrific,” said Northrop. “I was concerned about the turns and how that would impact my time. My mare can bulge out on the right side, so I thought we might have a little trouble turning, but she was on it. I just made sure she saw everything when we got there and knew what we were doing. She was fantastic.”

Regarding the pressure of being in first place she said, “It’s hard to be on the top, for sure. It’s a little pressure! It got to me before my course, I have to admit, but once I got in the start box and headed out with her over jump number one, I knew she was on it, and we just had a great time. That’s the part of the sport that keeps you coming back over and over again.”

Annette Reals and Knight’s Tale, her own 16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, sit in second place on a score of 26.3 and the third-place pair, Sarah Wildasin and James Wildasin’s 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Totally Awesome Bosco, by Coever’s Diamond Brigade out of Flying Brigade are half a point behind on a 26.8. Totally Awesome Bosco previously competed from Beginner Novice to the Advanced/CCI2* level with the Wildasin’s daughter, Arden before Sarah took over the ride in 2014.

Novice Rider

Lauren Chumley and Nikolas. Photo by Sportfot.

Lauren Chumley and Melissa Dowling’s 6-year-old Sport Pony, Nikolas (Novalis T x Capina Mia) jumped around clear to lead the Novice Rider division to stay on their dressage score of 23.8.

Chumley imported Nikolas from Germany as a 2-year-old, broke him herself, and has been competing him all his life. She usually competes him in dressage but brought him to the AEC last year and finished third in the Beginner Novice.

“I saw a lot of people having stops early this morning,” she said. “The take-off spots were just a little bit sticky, so you had to ride really forward. My student went this morning in the Amateur division on a really good cross-country horse and had some trouble, which is unusual, so I knew I’d have to be really aggressive — which is usually not an issue! He’s a very bold horse and didn’t look at a thing. You point him at the fence and he knows what he’s supposed to do, he’s a really good boy.”

Claire Solomon and George Wintersteen’s Ballyneety, an 11-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding, cantered around to stay on their score of 25.0, followed closely by Di Stebbins and her own 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Spot On Cosmos by Travellers Gallaxy, on a 25.5.

Junior Novice

Sunny Courtwright and Around Midnight. Photo by Sportfot.

The top three spots in the Junior Novice division after dressage all went to riders who train together at Mike Huber’s Gold Chip Stables in Fort Worth, TX. Sunny Courtwright and her 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare Around Midnight jumped double clear and are leading the field of 59 on a 23.5.

Courtwright said, “She felt good today, she’s really honest and quite good to me, I love her a lot. She’s only 9, so it’s nice that I’ll have her for a while.”

In second place are Courtwright’s barn friends Suzanne Stevens and her own Smokin’ Boots, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred mare (More Smoke x Miss Boot Scoot) on a score of 24.8, and two points behind them in third place are Chloe Johnson and DaVinci, her own 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding by Byars out of Super Mount.

“We all came out to cheer each other on,” said Courtwright. “Susan and I have the same cross-country colors, too, blue and white. It’s a lot of fun.”

Looking forward to tomorrow’s show jumping test she said that her mare’s jumping ability depends on the day, but explained, “As long as I keep her straight and honest and keep my leg on she usually jumps well. We’ll just have to see.”

Novice Horse

Booli Selmayr and Kildare’s MHS Tampa. Photo by Sportfot.

Booli Selmayr of Millbrook, NY, maintained her lead in the Novice Horse division riding Thomas Duggan’s 5-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare Kildare’s MHS Tampa on their dressage score of 24.3. Duggan imported Kildare’s MHS Tampa from Ireland in January of this year, and Selmayr began riding her in April. They plan to take her to the 5-year-old USEA Young Event Horse championships at Fair Hill in October.

“She was fantastic,” said Selmayr. “She’s such a competitor and she just wants to go out there and do her job. I was wondering how she was going to be because this is more of a derby-cross kind of feel here, and there are a lot of distractions for a young horse. I really wanted to see if she could focus, and she did. She was super bold and kept looking for the next jump, and just took it on.”

Selmayr said that the back of the course was her favorite part. “I could really let her rip a little bit; she’s a fun horse and she loves to gallop, so I was able to let her take the bridle a little bit, and then I was also able to ask her to come back a little bit and just test the gears. She was awesome.”

Ashley Giles riding her own Chayenne, a 6-year-old Trakehner mare by Elfado out of Charima, remained in second place on their dressage score of 24.5 followed by Taylor Blumenthal riding Martha Woodham’s 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, Saxon Mills (Fitz x Criss Cross) on 24.8.

Beginner Novice Horse

Amanda Ruane and Bally Lord Who. Photo by Sportfot.

Amanda Ruane and her own Bally Lord Who, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, dominated the Beginner Novice Horse division today, as the pair scored a 22.3 to take a handy lead. The pair currently lead the division by over three points as the group will look to contest cross-country tomorrow.

“Today was good. He likes the atmosphere of the show a lot, which is kind of exciting,” explained Ruane. “When we got here on Tuesday late, he just liked being in the environment and I had a good feeling he was going to perform well, and he did. He likes to show off when it counts.”

Ruane noted that the gelding was started late and is really starting to come into his own in the arena after suffering a few untimely injuries at the beginning of their partnership.

“He wasn’t really green-broke until he was six, so he had quite a late start. When I first got him, he immediately injured himself and was laid up for six months, so we’re really, really behind where we should be going, but I think slow and steady right now is the best thing for me to do,” she said. “I’m looking at this horse as a long-term forever horse, so I’ll just take my time getting to where I need to get with him,” she said.

Beth Stelzleni piloted her own Mighty Handsome, a 5-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Mighty Magic x SPS Whitney) to second place with a score of 25.8, while Holly Payne-Caravella guided Benjamin Button, a 4-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Classic Alliance x Lively Lady) owned by Kathleen Hall, also earned a 25.8 to tie Stelzeni for second place.

Beginner Novice Rider

Alexandra Riddle and Now or Never. Photo by Sportfot.

Alexandra Riddle, aboard her own Now or Never, a 19-year-old pony gelding, scored 25.5 to start off in first place in the Beginner Novice Rider division. “My pony was awesome today,” she commented. “We’ve been working on our cantering transitions, and he was probably the best he’s ever been. I’m so proud of him.”

The pair has been together for ten years and have been eventing for the past three years after successful careers in both the pony hunter and jumper divisions.

Kristie Wells and her own Temple, a 9-year-old Clydesdale gelding, sit in second on a score of 26 heading into tomorrow’s cross-country phase, while Kathleen Bertuna sits just a point behind with her own Millye’s Mojave, a 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Mojave Moon x Slew the Dragoness).

Junior Beginner Novice

Brynn Hershbine and Cadenza Aria. Photo by Sportfot.

Brynn Hershbine is tied for first aboard Julie Hershbine’s Cadenza Aria, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare (Turnofthecentury x Whisper), with Rowan Edmonds aboard Liberty Bell, a 9-year-old Thoroughbred mare (Hellion x Beth) owned by Michelle Jones, after both scored 24.3.

Brynn Hershbine and Cadenza Aria

“Our ride today felt very good,” she commented. “At first she felt a little tense, so I wasn’t sure if the ride would be good, but it was. My game plan for tomorrow is to make it over all the jumps without refusals.”

The pair has been together since December, and Hershbine has plans to compete in the Novice division after this season. Sydney Lee and her own Sweet Georgia Brown, a 10-year-old Mustang mare, currently sit in third with a score of 25, as all three pairs will contest cross-country tomorrow morning.

Junior Beginner Novice Fourteen and Under

Ashley Stout and Deo Volente. Photo by Sportfot.

Ashley Stout and her own Deo Volente scored a remarkable 19.8 to lead the Junior Beginner Novice Fourteen and Under division. The 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding normally shines in dressage, said Stout.

“Today went really, really well. My horse was listening to me and wasn’t fighting, so that was very good. I feel pretty good [about cross-country] tomorrow and I’m excited,” she said. “I think I’m going to like the water. He’s great with water and I like the A-B combination for that, so I’m excited to ride it.”

Avery Cascarino sits in second aboard Gloria Cascarino’s Dudley Do Right, a 13-year-old gelding, with a score of 20, while Viktorija Petraitis and Our Little Secret, a 15-year-old Arabian gelding owned by the Petraitis Family, hold third place with a score of 25.

Beginner Novice Amateur

Jessica Weishaar and Joey Joey Joey. Photo by Sportfot.

Jessica Weishaar piloted her own Joey Joey Joey, an OTTB gelding, that she has owned for two years, to take the top spot in the Beginner Novice Amateur division.

“My horse was so good today. It’s one of the best tests he’s ridden for me. I can’t believe that we are in first! I took a look at the course and it’s beautiful. I’m so excited to go gallop around on it tomorrow. I know that my horse won’t let me down, and I’m so lucky to have him and to be here competing this year.” The pair is atop the leaderboard on a score of 25.8.

Diane Zrimsek and Coronado Charlie are trailing behind Weishaar, as the 8-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Bwana Charlie x Pleasure Hunt) scored a 28.8. Leah Backus and Diamond of Truth earned a 29.3 and are currently in third place heading into tomorrow’s cross-country competition.

Master Beginner Novice Amateur

Carrie Griffen and Feuertanzer ES. Photo by Sportfot.

Carrie Griffen holds first place aboard her own Feuertanzer ES, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Nicholas x Daybreak) with a score of 23.3.

Robin Barr and her own Tout Fini, a 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Purge x Firehouse Waltz), sit in second with a score of 24.8, while Jane Manetta and her own George, a 12-year-old cross gelding have a tight grasp on third place after receiving a 26.3. The Master Beginner Novice Amateur division will head out on the cross-country course tomorrow, and will conclude on Sunday with their final phase of show jumping.

[Divisional Winners Crowned for First Time at the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena® While Cross-Country and Show Jumping Competition Set to Continue Tomorrow]

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#AEC17 Friday Roundup: Somewhere Under the Rainbow

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)

Wire-to-wire win for Madeline Hartsock and Prinz S.W in the @profchoice Junior Training

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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

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Friday Video from World Equestrian Brands: AEC Video Diaries

You guys were superstars out there today. Here are a few of your videos from Friday at #AEC17 — thanks for sharing, and keep shining bright!

so proud of him ❤

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Scrambling to catch up on missing a week of school like #survivingandsometimesthriving

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Spartacus threw a shoe mid course but still finished strong. So proud of these two! @loganh36

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Jeanette and Panda out of the box! Both home safely with a few lessons on the way. #aec2018 #eventertough #proudcoach

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I feel like I am a jumper #dailyhorsepost

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#AEC17 Advanced Cross Country Rescheduled for Sunday Morning Due to Weather

The sun didn't last very long! 😳

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USEA and TIEC have announced that Adequan USEA Advanced Gold Cup Final cross country has been rescheduled from from its original start time of 5 p.m. today to 9:45 a.m. Sunday morning.

The remainder of the schedule will remain unchanged. Advanced show jumping will still be featured as tomorrow’s “Saturday Night Lights” competition, beginning at 8 a.m.

It sounds like organizers feel compelled to give the course a chance to dry out after the rain that came through yesterday and last night, with emergency vehicle access being a concern.

“The storm has brought a lot of rain to the region and we appreciate the focus on safety for our riders, horses and spectators. That is our very first priority,” says Sharon Decker, COO of TIEC and Tryon Resort. “The course has handled the rain amazingly and our greater concern was emergency vehicle access to the course and safety, as well as spectator movement. An extra day of dry weather will eliminate that concern and we’re looking forward to an exciting finish to great week of competition.”

Tremaine Cooper, cross country course designer for this week, says, “It’s amazing how well this track has held up with the rain. There are a few places that we will preemptively put out stone dust to make sure that there’s not any issues. Our biggest concern was getting the emergency personnel and vehicles out to the course and that was a risk we were not willing to take.

“This place dries out so well and I think being on the preemptively safe side is always the way to go. We want all of the riders to have the best going possible and the gallop lanes look fantastic now and will only improve with an extra day of sunshine tomorrow.”

While it’s partly cloudy, warm and windy on the lunch hour, a line of inclement weather looks to be headed this way with an ETA of late-afternoon. From a spectator standpoint, we’re totally cool with not having to watch Advanced cross country in a thunderstorm — this sport is thrilling enough without potential lightning and thunder in the mix.

Screenshot from weather.com.

Radar as of 1:30 p.m. via weather.com.

Trot fast! It's gonna rain! #AEC2017

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A note about Advanced cross country: The course runs on the White Oak Complex, a bit further afield than the other levels, and in addition to parking at TIEC spectators can park at the Complex itself, located at 4990 Pea Ridge Road in Mill Spring, NC.

Click here to view the updated schedule.

[COMPETITOR ALERT: Adequan® USEA Advanced Gold Cup Final Cross-Country Phase Rescheduled to Begin Sunday, September 3, at 9:45 a.m. Due To The Approach of Inclement Weather]

 

#AEC17 Quotes From the Top: Novice/Advanced Dressage & Training/Prelim Cross Country

So. Much. Going. On! The 2017 American Eventing Championships smashed the record books with a whopping 770+ starters, and it’s impossible to be everywhere at once. Kudos to the USEA/TIEC press team for chasing down the leaders of each American Eventing Championships division, of which there are 21 total, to collect ride reflections and thoughts going forward.

Novice and Advanced divisions kicked off on Friday with dressage; Training and Prelim continued with cross country. Here are quotes from the leaders of the second day of competition here at Tryon International Equestrian Center!

USEA Adequan® Gold Cup Final Advanced

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Sportfot.

Dressage leader: Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous, a 12-year-old Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Richardia) owned by Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Phoebe and Michael Manders, on a score of 27.8

On their test: “She was a little fresh today, a little more fresh than normal. It’s her first run back so it was exciting to get her back and she was very enthusiastic. The trot work wasn’t as subtle today as it could’ve been, but I was fully pleased with the effort she made with the canter and the changes were nice. It’s good to see them this enthusiastic. She’s in a bit of a transition phase and I think that we saw some of that today, but I think that in the next few months with her we can get that resolved and bring the impulsion in with the quietness that she lacks.”

Looking forward to cross country: “I’ve done a couple of schools with her (since her first four-star at Luhmühlen in June), and I was quite shocked by how bold she was, how brave she is. I’m hoping that she is going to be as rideable as I would like her to be, but there is a fine line because I also want her to continue to come out and say, ‘We got this!’ She’s really enthusiastic this week and I don’t want to take that away from her, and hopefully she continues to just let me drive.”

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

In second place: Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda, a 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Balda Beau x Cathys Lady) owned by Nina Gardner, on a score of 29.6

On having just returned from Millstreet International Horse Trials in Ireland on Monday: “It was an interesting preparation for this particular horse for this event. This is Cambalda and he’s super, but I haven’t gotten a chance to really work on the test. I flew in and did a jump school and then came straight here. I didn’t get to go over any of the movements. I always seem to run him in CIC three-stars and I’ve only done that test once on him and it was at the Wellington Eventing Showcase, so I definitely felt like I couldn’t go in and completely nail it necessarily, but he’s such a good boy.”

Phillip Dutton and I’m Sew Ready. Photo by Sportfot.

Tied for third place: Phillip Dutton and I’m Sew Ready a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lupicor x Jarda) owned by Kristine Norton, on a score of 30.7

On their test: “It went OK today. I made plenty of mistakes and there are always areas that I can improve on, but overall he’s a good moving horse with a nice outline, so when things don’t go perfectly he does still get decent scores.”

Jordan Linstedt and RevitaVet Capato. Photo by Sportfot.

Tied for third place: Jordan Linstedt and RevitaVet Capato, her own and Barbara Linstedt’s 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I x Annabelle), on a score of 30.7

On their test: “After such a great test at Bromont, and [with] his dressage getting better and better recently, the plan was definitely to go in and be very competitive, which he can be consistently. Although coming from the West Coast is exhausting on the horses and riders, and I think that took a little bit of a toll on him. I didn’t feel like he was quite as bright or it wasn’t maybe my best test yet, but with the break that he had coming back after Bromont I thought that it was still a very fairly scored test, and obviously it’s competitive, so to be up in the top three. I’m thrilled.”

Novice Amateur

Bailey Snyder and Corina. Photo by Sportfot.

Dressage leader (and lowest score of the week thus far!): Bailey Snyder and her own Corina, a 7-year-old Holsteiner mare (Acorino x Phaedre), on a score of 20.5

On their test: “She has been really good settling in all week, and she went in today feeling awesome, despite the rain, and really did her job. She had her head down and her brain turned on. It was awesome.”

On their partnership, which began Snyder’s freshman year of college when Corina was an unbroken 4-year-old: “With my trainer, Angela Bowles, we taught her everything [about eventing] once we had her saddle broken.”

Thoughts on cross country: “The course looks great! The plan is to just keep her confident and relaxed the whole way around, keep her enjoying what she’s doing, and keep her head focused.”

Rounding out the top three: Eleanor Wassenberg with her own 18-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Matapeake, who finished second in the Beginner Novice Master Amateur here last year, and Savannah Welch and her own Langcaster, an 8-year-old Oldenberg gelding (Languster x Galiffi), are tied for second place on a score of 21.8.

Novice Master Amateur

Megan Northrop and Fleur de Lis. Photo by Sportfot.

Dressage leaders: Megan Northrop and her own Fleur de Lis, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred mare, on a score of 24.5

On their test: “I still feel like there is room for improvement, she could’ve been a little more relaxed. She’s always been very obedient, she’s very deliberate with her footsteps and lets me put in an accurate test. Our time together has been a little bit inconsistent. We have one show under our belt and one this spring, but we had a little trouble this summer with training, so I’m thrilled that she’s back on top again.”

Rounding out the top three: Annette Reals and Knight’s Tale, her own 16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, sit in second place on a score of 26.3 and the third-place pair, Sarah Wildasin aboard James Wildasin’s 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Totally Awesome Bosco, are half a point behind on a 26.8.

Novice Rider

Lauren Chumley and Nikolas. Photo by Sportfot.

Dressage leader: Lauren Chumley and Melissa Dowling’s 6-year-old Sport Pony, Nikolas (Novalis T x Capina Mia), on a score of 23.8

On their test: “He was a little tight in the beginning but we just hacked around and that was the ticket. He was really soft and loose and obedient. He’s been to a lot of shows and he’s been here before too, so this isn’t too busy of a venue for him.”

On Nikolas, whom she imported from Germany as a 2-year-old and broke herself: “I’ve been riding him his whole life. He’s actually a dressage horse. I brought him here last year and he did really well in the Beginner Novice, so we moved him up this year.”

On their cross country plan: “He’s a really good cross-country horse. Tomorrow I hope to go clean and fast, and I hope to not do anything stupid!”

Rounding out the top three: Second place in this division went to Claire Solomon and George Wintersteen’s Ballyneety, an 11-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding, on a score of 25.0 with Di Stebbins and her own 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Spot On Cosmos by Travellers Gallaxy), close behind in third on a 25.5.

Novice Horse

Booli Selmayr and Kildare’s MHS Tampa. Photo by Sportfot.

Dressage leader: Booli Selmayr and Thomas Duggan’s 5-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, Kildare’s MHS Tampa (Quintender x Lady Ligustra), on a score of 24.3

On their test: “She was super workmanlike. She’s always had this great workmanlike way about her, and honestly this atmosphere lifted her, so she was even more impressive, and still rideable — she’s a real competitor, and I was so happy with how today went.”

On plans for the mare, whom Duggan imported  from Ireland in January of this year and Selmayr began riding in April: “She’s going to go to the 5-year-old [USEA Young Event Horse] Championships at Fair Hill in the fall, and she’s a real class mare and could just keep going up the levels if that’s what Tom wants her to do.”

On the cross country course: “The fences are actually nice sizes for her, because she can actually jump them versus just trotting over them. She has an amazing jump so I think the way they’re decorated is going to set her up to have a nice jump over the whole course.”

Rounding out the top three: Just 0.2 points behind Selmayr and Kildare’s MHS Tampa with a score of 24.5 are Ashley Giles and her own Chayenne, a 6-year-old Trakehner mare by Elfado out of Charima. Taylor Blumenthal and Martha Woodham’s 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, Saxon Mills (Fitz x Criss Cross), round out the top three 0.3 points behind them on 24.8. Less than four points currently separate the top 15 combinations in this division.

Junior Novice

Dressage leader: Sunny Courtwright and her own Around Midnight, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, on a score of 23.5

On their test, which took place during a downpour: “Lately she’s been a little stiff, but I had my trainer’s assistant work with me to keep her moving, but it magically clicked. Then we went in and we had to go past the box a couple times, but it was really nice, and she was really great.”

On cross country: “My game plan is to go fast — I’m pretty slow on the time, so I’ll have to tell myself to be brave. It’s a pretty windy course, so I’ll just have to focus on the minute marks. When I have a chance to get going, I’ll have to go really quick.”

Rounding out the top three: The top three spots in the Junior Novice division after dressage all went to riders who hail from Texas. In second place are Suzanne Stevens and her own Smokin’ Boots, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred mare (More Smoke x Miss Boot Scoot) on a score of 24.8, and two points behind them in third place are Chloe Johnson and DaVinci, her own 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding by Byars out of Super Mount.

Preliminary Rider

Coti Hausman and Quantico. Photo by Sportfot.

Cross country leader: A new combination rise to the top of the leaderboard as Coti Hausman and Quantico, a 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Quite Easy I x Little Black), took over the lead after the second phase of competition and head into show jumping tomorrow on a score of 32.6 after cross country.

On their ride: “It started out nice and fast up top. He’s always ready to go when he leaves the start box, despite the fact that he’s pretty quiet in warm-up. He rode around the course great, I planned on doing more strides with most of the combinations, but as he rode around he got stronger and stronger so we ended up doing the faster lines. We did the five in the combinations behind the barns, so he trucked around really great. I was a little nervous about the hill, but I balanced him and he rocked it, jumping whatever was in front of him.”

Rounding out the top three: The division will conclude with show jumping tomorrow and Hausman will look to keep her grasp on the lead ahead of Denise Goyea and Highlife’s Je T’aime, a 9-year-old Oldenburg mare (Der Dollar x Jeunesse D’Or) owned by Madeline Hartsock, who are currently in second place with a 32.6 and Caitlin Silliman and Q-Brook Stables LLC’s Ally Kgo, a 6-year-old Trakehner mare (Hirtentanz x Anabel Lee), sit in third place on a 33.2 after cross-country.

Preliminary Amateur

Cindy Buchanan and Flying Candles. Photo by Sportfot.

Cross country leader: Cindy Buchanan and her own Flying Candles, a 11-year-old Thoroughbred mare (Icognito x Flying Pidgeon) climbed to the top of the Preliminary Amateur division, maintaining their dressage score of 35.1 to hold the top spot leading into show jumping tomorrow.

On their ride: “Today was awesome. My mare is pretty good in the mud because she’s done a lot of foxhunting. She’s a homebred and we live in Unionville, so she’s been doing a lot of foxhunting and showjumping. I started eventing her about three years ago.”

Rounding out the top three: Kathy Cain piloted her own Legal Limit, a 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Secret Prince x Cheese Blintze), to second in the standings, collecting an additional 1.6 time penalties for a score of 35.4. Victoria Miller and her own Like Magic, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Ghostly Minister x Dancing Trieste) secured third place after crossing through the finish to sit on a 35.6.

Preliminary Horse

Bella Mowbry and En Vouge. Photo by Sportfot.

Cross country leader: Bella Mowbray and Ruth Bley’s En Vouge, a 12-year-old Hanoverian mare (Earl x Laurena), moved up from second to first place after Thursday’s cross country run. The pair sits on a 25.5, adding two time penalties to their dressage score.

On cross country: “I had a great ride. I’m really lucky to be riding such a sure-footed horse with the weather that we had. I had a lot of fun out there. The course was awesome. It was a really forward-testing course but it rode beautifully. I have a sure-footed horse, so I was just a little more cautious downhill and on some of the turns, but everything rode to plan, definitely.”

Rounding out the top three: Jennie Brannigan moved into second place with Balmoral Oakey, a 10-year-old Warmblood mare (Falchrich x Diamond) owned by Grayson Wall, with a 26.1. Third place is currently being held by Leslie Law aboard Beatrice Rey-Herme’s LCC Vogue, a 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, on a score of 26.8 penalties.

Junior/Young Rider Preliminary

Katherine Knowles and Cillnabradden Ceonna. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

Cross country leader: Katherine Knowles and her own 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, Cillnabradden Ceonna (Creevagh Grey Rebel x Willow Garden), overtook the lead after a dashing trip around the cross country track. They move forward to show jumping on a score of 28.2.

On the mare, whom she has been riding for two years: “My horse was perfect. She’s always perfect, but this time I was able to be supportive enough to really help her out. I just keep kicking and she really helps me out. I thought the course was really fun and the footing seemed to really hold up, so I think it went well!”

Rounding out the top three: Ali Scannell and her own Faolan, a 13-year-old Irish Draught Sport Horse gelding, are currently placed within striking distance on a 29.2, while Adriana Beruvides and Consensus, a 17-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Contucci x Miss Me Not) owned by Julie Norman, secured third place with a 30.7.

Professional’s Choice Training Amateur

Carolyn Johnson and Black Label. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

Cross country leader: Carolyn Johnson held her lead aboard her own Black Label, a 6-year-old Thoroughbred (Judith’s Wild Rush x Lovely Keri), after cruising around cross country to remain on their score of 26.6.

On their round: “I think the course is great. There were definitely some trickier moments out there. I think it’s a lot for a young horse to take in, so it’s been quite the experience for him this year. I thought the jumps were very nice and it was the stuff around the fences that caught his eye. I thought that he was super honest and quite good to the fences and did his job.”

Looking forward to show jumping: “My plan is to just stay relaxed and make it a positive experience for him. I came down here to get him some experience, so that has been my goal the whole time. It’s icing on the cake that he’s doing so well.”

Rounding out the top three: Brittany Hebets and MTF Bugatti, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (W x Jessica) owned by Leigh Hazel-Groux continue to hold second place on a 27.1, while Sandra Holden and Cano Cristales, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Conteur x Konny) sit in third on a score of 28.0.

Professional’s Choice Training Horse

Megan Sykes and Classic’s Mojah. Photo by Leslie Mintz/USEA.

Cross country leader: Megan Sykes and her own Classic’s Mojah, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chabertin x Hauptstutbuch Senna), move forward to show jumping on a score of 21.1.

On their round: “Today my game plan was to go fast. I thought that was going to be the hardest factor. He’s kind of a lazy horse, but the cooler weather and the rain really helped us because it kept him a little fresh, so we were able to go out there really going for that time.”

On their show jumping strategy: “Hopefully to jump clear is the game plan! I’m excited to see the course, and he’s not always the most careful, so I’ll plan to get in there and ride well. Hopefully he’s spunky and we’ll have a good round.”

Rounding out the top three: The division leaderboard is tight as Chris Talley and Aura CF, a 6-year-old Oldenburg mare (Belissimo x Aussprache) owned by Nancy Holowesko, held their second-place position on a score of 24.1 after running their cross-country phase, while Courtney Cooper and Caia Z, a 6-year-old Zangersheide mare (Calato Z x Djerba Z) owned by Caia Z Group, are only a few tenths behind as they sit in third on a 24.8.

Professional’s Choice Training Rider

Jordan Good and Danito. Photo by Sportfot.

Cross country leader: Jordan Good and Danito, an 8-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Dancier x Wie Musik) owned by Ruth Bley, maintained their lead after a solid day of cross country competition. The pair added no time penalties or faults to their dressage score of 28.0.

On their round: “Everything pretty much rode according to plan. He was super sure-footed going down hills. He picked his spots and was awesome. Previously we’ve had a little bit of brake issue, but he was really listening today and he was bold to the fences. Everything rode wonderfully.”

Looking forward to show jumping: “My plan is to go fast again. I want to give him a really good confident ride. I think it’s really important for us to stay patient to everything. He’s a really forward moving horse. I need to stay patient and it should all go according to plan hopefully.”

Rounding out the top three: The second and third place positions saw a change as Erin Liedle and her own Fernhill Boodle, an 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, moved up from seventh place to secure second place moving into tomorrow’s show jumping competition. Brynn Littlehale and her own Lagerfeld, a 6-year-old German Sport Horse gelding (Last Man Standing x Bonja) also jumped up the leaderboard from eighth place and now are within striking distance of the lead on a 30.9.

Professional’s Choice Junior Training

Madeline Hartsock and Prinz S.W. Photo by Sportfot.

Cross country leader: Twelve-year-old Madeline Hartsock and her own 8-year-old German Riding Pony gelding, Prinz S.W. (PR. H. Principal Boy x St. Pr. St. Hauptstutbuch Bienchen) continued to dominate in the Professional’s Choice Junior Training division, jumping double clear to continue on into the final phase on their dressage.

On their round: “Out of the box he got a little sassy, but he went right out and stayed forward and didn’t even think about stopping,” said Hartsock. “At the water he jumped right in, because he is such a perfect pony. He was really consistent and didn’t feel tired. He gave it his whole heart.”

On their show jumping game plan: “Tomorrow, I really need to keep his canter up and down instead of fast and strung out, and to keep his attention on me and not on how big the arena is.”

Rounding out the top three: Second and third places in this division remained unchanged, with both Isabel Finemore and her own 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Craig Mor Tom, and Isabella Gunningham and her own 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Leroy (Lucio Silla x Hetty), jumping double clean around the track to both continue forward on their dressage scores.

[Dressage Competition Continues While First Set of Divisions Take to Cross-Country Track at 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena®]

AEC: WebsiteScheduleRide Times & Live ScoringEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram, Live Stream

 

#AEC17 Thursday Wrapup: Happiness Is Waterproof

Erin Liedle and Mick Jagger celebrate after a clear cross country round in the Prelim Rider division. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

This morning’s fine Irish mist gave way to a steady deluge in the afternoon here at Tryon International Equestrian Center. But AEC competitors worked too hard to get here to have their spirits dampened by some loser raindrops!

Thursday got a faceful of Novice and Advanced dressage, while Prelim and Training competitors headed out to tackle cross country. I could have stood by the finish line all day, watching riders celebrate successful rounds with fistpumps and assorted displays of human-horse PDA.

One more of Erin and Mick because this is what it’s all about, amiright? Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Hot off the presses, the first helmet cams of #AEC17! This one is courtesy of Nicolette Merle-Smith and Ratatouille in the Prelim Rider division. Hard to tell who is having more fun out there — those happy, pricked ears, squee!

And in this one Doug Payne and Steve Blauner’s Mr Mitchel give us the grand tour of the Training course.

The AEC’s headline division (other than The Only Division That Really Matters AKA Jr. Beginner Novice 14 & Under, which begins tomorrow) completed its dressage today. Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous lead the Adequan Gold Cup Advanced Final on a 27.8 — they won The Fork CIC3* here at TIEC this spring and no one would be surprised to see a repeat here at the AEC. Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda sit second (29.6), with third split between Jordan Linstedt/Revitavet Capato and Phillip Dutton/I’m Sew Ready (30.7).

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Here are our leaders at day’s end:

And a few Instagram photos that pack a 1,000 word punch:

The action continues to snowball tomorrow with show jumping added to the mix, plus the start of Beginner Novice dressage and more cross country action. Keep those smiles coming, EN! Rain or shine, go eventing.

AEC: WebsiteScheduleRide Times & Live ScoringEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

#AEC17 Advanced Course Walk: Déjà Vu & Crystal Balls

#9AB. Table to Corner #9AB. Table to Corner

Heading into cross country tomorrow, one would be forgiven for experiencing a touch of déjà vu from The Fork earlier this year. Not only are Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous, who clinched a wire-to-wire win at The Fork CIC3* earlier this year, in the lead here once again, the cross country tracks are quite similar. Will history repeat itself this week?

The Fork CIC3* XC Course (left); AEC Advanced XC Course (right).

Regarding future course design at TIEC (AKA the 2018 World Equestrian Games, looming just one year away), the crystal ball is giving nothing away. The course will be built on neighboring land that was once the Arnold Palmer-designed White Oak golf course, and only about half of the holes have been developed thus far. The Fork/AEC Advanced course is an enticing preview, but much more still is left to the imagination.

“Dirt will be moved,” says TIEC press officer Carly Weilminster, gesturing east toward the tall ridge where a Land Rover test drive course sits this week. “Lots of dirt.”

Indeed, the WEG is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. “Right now everything is looking forward to the WEG,” Tremain Cooper, co-designer of the course with Capt. Mark Phillips, says. The Fork next spring will be a much more developed test event for the WEG, as permanent features of the course are still being developed. As for the AEC, he says, “There weren’t a ton of changes from The Fork. Some complexes may have the same jumps but different questions, different striding, to keep people on their toes a little bit, but everything is trying to work backward from the Worlds.”

Excavation details are vague but word on the street is that the WEG track won’t be “dumbing down” the area’s legit terrain. If that’s the case, we can look forward to a serious fitness test befitting of the world’s most prestigious eventing championship. Which would be pretty cool, because as much fun as it may be to gallop on an emerald green golf course every now and again — “Hasn’t every eventer dreamed about galloping down a fairway without being shot?” Tremaine, speaker of eventing truth, says —  the heart and soul of eventing is a li’l bit more rugged than that. Do you smell what I’m stepping in, EN?

Can’t wait to see that play doh take shape. For now, though, let’s live in the moment. Here’s a glimpse at the 36-effort #AEC17 Advanced cross country track, built by ETB Construction, Eric Bull, Dylan Barry, Jake Wilson, Chris Iezzoni and Jim Troppman, and expertly decorated by Megan Murfey, who kindly snapped photos of the course before the rain started. Thank you and job well done, Megan!

The Advanced course roams furthest afield; other divisions stick closer to the Derby field, which is pretty and shiny bright-green and super spectator friendly but I HOPE Y’ALL PACKED YOUR BIG STUDS.

What am I even talking about? You people got this!

#readyforit #horsesofinstagram #AEC17

A post shared by Coti Hausman (@cotiheventing) on

Godspeed. Yeehaw. Go Eventing!

 

#AEC17 Quotes From the Top: Prelim and Training Dressage

Prelim and Training divisions have been our trailblazers here at the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships, knocking out dressage on Wednesday and heading out on cross country today — best of luck to all!

Here’s what the dressage leaders had to say after their tests:

Mia Petersen and Parc Cooley. Photo by Sportfot.

Preliminary Amateur

Dressage leaders: Mia Peterson and Parc Cooley, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Cavalier Royale x Wellfields Allegro), on a score of 31.7

On her relationship with Parc Cooley: “I’ve had Parker since 2013 and he’s coming along very nicely. He can be a little spooky, but he’s a really sweet horse.”

On their test: “I was thrilled with the ride. Some days he struggles a bit with the tension, but today he came out and was very relaxed. It was just a matter of making sure that I had him uphill enough, but once we got that nicely in warm-up, he really had a great flow. We had a couple of bobbles, but there is always something that you want to fix. I got a little crooked with my second leg-yield, so I didn’t ride it as neatly as I should have. Overall though, I just came out and was really thrilled.”

Megan Sykes and Classic’s Mojah. Photo by Sportfot.

Professional’s Choice Training Horse

Dressage leaders: Megan Sykes and Classic’s Mojah, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chabertin x Hauptstutbuch Senna), on a score of 21.1

On their test: “I was really happy with my ride. He was very relaxed. He didn’t seem to mind the atmosphere. He used to be a dressage horse, so he does pretty well in the dressage. We usually get good scores. It was very rideable and a great ride.”

On the cross country course: “I think that the cross country course is going to be a time challenge, just observing how tight it is, but I think that he’ll handle it well. I think that it’s something he’s never seen before. It’s bright and it’s new, so it’ll be a good challenge. I’m looking forward to it.”

Denise Goyea and Highlife’s Je T’aime. Photo by Sportfot.

Preliminary Rider

Dressage leaders: Denise Goyea and Highlife’s Je T’aime, a 9-year-old Oldenburg mare (Der Dollar x Jeunesse D’Or) owned by Madeline Hartsock, on a score of 27.5

On their test: “She stayed really relaxed and forward today. She can get a little shy in the dressage arena, but she didn’t today and that was really nice to have her feel calm but still ground covering.”

On their 17-hour drive from Massachusetts: “I ride with Sharon White so I was able to stop and cross country school in Virginia before coming here, which was a nice way to break it up. We love being here at the AEC. We were here last year and right when we left, my clients were trying to make housing reservations for this year because we knew that we wanted to come back. It’s a fantastic venue and it’s a great place for the riders, as well as the spectators.”

Carolyn Johnson and Black Label. Photo by Sportfot.

Professional’s Choice Training Amateur

Dressage leaders: Carolyn Johnson and her own Black Label, a 6-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Judith’s Wild Rush x Lovely Keri), on a scre of 26.6

On their test: “I thought he was really good today. I was a little nervous about how he would react to the atmosphere. This is the first time he has been in a big atmosphere like this, and he handled it really, really well. I was pleased with all of it.”

On Black Label’s personality: “He is a ham for sure. Definitely a barn favorite — gets himself in trouble quite a bit. I’ve been taking a lot of time at the basics and spending a lot of time on his rhythm and connection has definitely been my biggest focus with him. As a 3-year-old I took him to a lot of shows just to get on the grounds and to get him to relax. He has such a great brain — he wasn’t too difficult to bring along.”

On owning an OTTB (Black Label is a CANTER Pennsylvania grad): “I bought him from Chris Talley as a 3-year-old and I have just been working with him slowly and bringing him up the levels. This is his first year out at Training, but he has been really good. He has taken to it and likes eventing.”

Holly Payne-Caravella and CharmKing. Photo by Sportfot.

Preliminary Horse

Dressage leaders: Holly Payne-Caravella and CharmKing, a 2011 Holsteiner gelding (Cassito x O-Heraldika) owned by FARM CharmKing LLC, on a score of 21.3.

On their test: “He hasn’t been in such a big atmosphere before. He was here at TIEC for The Fork in the spring, but he didn’t go in the main arena for the dressage. He’s usually pretty consistent on the flat, but today he definitely felt a little bit more up than normal. I kind of put in a conservative test for him, but he’s really obedient, tried really hard and handled the atmosphere great. I was really pleased with him.”

On their cross country plan: “I’m used to riding a lot of Thoroughbreds and he didn’t race, so he didn’t really know how to gallop. He’s a good jumper, but I’ve been taking him out with my other Thoroughbreds and making him gallop and train with them. He has a good gallop in him, it’s just wasn’t brought out as a three and four-year-old like the other horses.

“I think that this track is hard and derby-like with lots of twists and turns, so I think the course will suit him well. My goal is to go out and make the time with him. He’s at that place now where I can push him a bit, so I’m going to see how much he has matured over the summer.”

Jordan Good and Danito. Photo by Sportfot.

Professional’s Choice Training Rider

Dressage leaders: Jordan Good and Danito, an 8-year-old Hanoverian (Dancier x Wie Musik) owned by Ruth Bley, on a score of 28.0

On their test: “It was a really good ride. My horse is just really great. As soon as he goes in the box he just does his thing and does well. I just try to stay out of his way.”

On the cross country course: “I think it’s a beefy Training level course, which it should be, but the course seems really fun. He’s got a huge stride, so he’ll cover some ground. I’ll kick on, go in between the flags, and hopefully it all goes well.”

On TIEC: “It’s amazing. I absolutely love it here. The footing is amazing and it’s so cool to be on grass. The venue is a world-class facility, so it’s really awesome to be here. We came out early for the jumper show and it’s been really fun.”

Audrie Stanka and Coughar. Photo by Sportfot.

Junior/Young Rider Preliminary

Dressage leaders: Audrie Stanka and her own Coughar, a 7-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Camaro M x Cortina), on a score of 25.1

On their test: “He was perfect. He was really forward, which is good, because that’s what we’ve been working on all summer. He was super responsive and did everything I asked him to do and more.”

On the cross country course: “My goal for tomorrow is to be as accurate and quick as possible.”

Madeline Hartsock and Prinz S.W. Photo by Sportfot.

Professional’s Choice Junior Training

Dressage leaders: Madeline Hartsock and her own Prinz S.W., an 8-year-old German Sport Horse Pony (PR. H. Principal Boy x St. Pr. St. Hauptsutbuch Bienchen), on a score of 25.0

On their test: “He definitely felt a lot better — very good. He didn’t break in his lengthenings and felt more connected than normal. I’ve had him for two years now. He went up to the equivalent of Training in Germany, so that’s been my goal with him.”

On the cross country course: “My goal for tomorrow is to really get him off that drop in the water and to make the time.”

[2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena® Begin With Successful Day of Dressage at TIEC]

AEC: WebsiteScheduleRide Times & Live ScoringEN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram, Live Stream

#AEC17 Wednesday Roundup: Reporting Live From the Biggest USEF Horse Trials Ever

Chinch is our boots, er, paws on the ground at the 2017 American Eventing Championships. Photo by one of his two Leslie handlers, Leslie Threlkeld.

I’ve been to the American Eventing Championships at the past three locations (Illinois, Georgia, Texas) as well as its inaugural event at Tryon International Equestrian Center last year. I’ve experienced it in various capacities (rider, friend, coach, press), and from each and every angle from which I’ve participated, the AEC has never ceased to remind me — regardless of the role I happen to be playing at the time — why I just plain love the sport.

This is a special event, because it’s more than JUST an event. It’s a panoramic view of eventing as it exists here in the U.S. — the pyramid-shaped representation of Beginner Novice to Advanced level riders, the connective tissue that exists between amateurs and pros, the sport’s sweeping geographic scope, and the heroic roles performed by organizers, volunteers and supporters. Walking around the showgrounds feels like looking inside a clock, watching all the different-sized gears turning in tandem.

This year’s edition is one for the history books, literally. With over 760 starters, #AEC17 is the biggest USEF horse trials ever, a monumental distinction that speaks to the ever-expanding growth of our sport. (For more fun exercises in AEC number crunching, check out the USEA’s “Fast Facts: 2017 USEA American Eventing Championship.”)

Speaking of the USEA, let’s raise a glass to the smart, good-looking folks who puts countless hours into making the AEC happen. Just imagining what it takes to pull something off of this magnitude boggles the mind, but their end-game shines through in every aspect of the event. The USEA team understands how hard everyone worked to get here, and they want to make this pinnacle event an experience that competitors can cherish for a lifetime.

And, because one toast just isn’t enough, let’s raise ’em two more times: once for the event’s fantastic sponsor team, including presenting sponsors Nutrena and Land Rover, and one more time for the event’s hardworking volunteers. Southern hospitality at its finest. Salut, y’all.

We ❤️ our volunteers. Thanks for all of you hard work at #AEC17

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#AEC17 kicked off today with Training and Prelim dressage. Here are your Wednesday division leaders! See detailed results here.

Loving those smiles — what it’s all about!

Here’s what’s happening tomorrow at #AEC17. Screenshot all the thingz.

Forecast looks ah-mazing!

For eventing fans who are stuck at home …

… Chinch and the Leslies (awesome band name!) will be here at TIEC all week, bringing you the latest from the feel-good event of the year. And please do keep an eye on useventing.com for coverage, too, because — realtalk — did we mention there are over 760 starters? Um, yeah, no stuffed animal can be in 760 places at once. Plus Jenni is across the pond, reporting live from that other event … what’s it called … oh yeah, Burghley. All of which is to say, you just keep on living your best snuggie life, Amy — we’ll bring the action to YOU.

Go Eventing!

American Eventing Championships: WebsiteScheduleRide Times/Live ScoresEN’s Coverage

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: More #BurghleyPony Training

World Horse Welfare Pamela, an 8.3 hand rescued Shetland pony, is set to become the smallest-ever Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials competitor. Supported by equestrian icons with her “star rider” yet to be revealed, the #BurghleyPony’s journey to four-star fame has been documented by a series of behind-the-scenes training videos released in the leadup to the event.

Throughout the summer Pamela has been training hard under the watchful eye of legendary horseman, including Carl Hester in dressage and Mark Todd on cross country.

This week her training continued via a show jumping masterclass with Tim Stockdale, who remarked after the session: “It makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up — the majesty of her jump, the power, the grace … it’s fabulous equine magnificence.”

Yogi Breisner also stepped up with a last-minute pep talk for the horse, taking her tiny nose in his hands as he imparted his wisdom:

We can’t wait to see where all of this is going, and our own Jenni Autry will be at Burghley this week to provide a firsthand report!

Go #BurghleyPony. Go Eventing.

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Your Official AEC Social Calendar

Eats, drinks and the best company in the land at the 2016 AEC Welcome Reception. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The party never stops at the USEA American Eventing Championships! Tryon International Equestrian Center will play host to a full week’s worth of evening entertainment throughout the AECs, from competitor parties to Friday night polo and Advanced show jumping as this week’s “Saturday Night Lights” headliner.
Here’s a rundown of the action:
 
AEC Welcome Reception, Wednesday, August 30
Celebrate the commencement of the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena® at the AEC Welcome Reception in Legends Club. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served throughout the event, which will begin at 6 p.m. and continue through 7:30 p.m. All entered competitors will receive one free ticket, but additional tickets can be purchased online by clicking here.
AEC Adult Rider Party presented by Beohringer Ingelheim, Thursday, August 31
 
Thursday night activities will feature the Adult Rider Party hosted by Beohringer Ingelheim at the Silo Bar. A cash bar will be available, but riders registered for the USEA Adult Rider Program will receive drink tickets. This event is open to USEA competitors and family members.
AEC Young Rider Party, Thursday, August 31 
 
Younger riders will not be left out of the Thursday evening fun! The Young Rider Party is free to USEA riders age 21 and under, and will feature pizza and ice cream buffets. USEA competitors and their families are welcome at this event.
Brooke USA “Shelter the Donkeys” Fundraiser, Friday, September 1
 
Friday night will also feature the Brooke USA “Shelter the Donkeys” Fundraiser, which will highlight the initiatives of Brooke USA, a recognized 501c3 based in the United States dedicated to providing resources and awareness for working equines and donkeys in underdeveloped countries. From 5:30 – 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1, be sure to swing by the decorated lounge area underneath of the Announcer’s Tower for a themed cocktail made by celebrity bartenders and Brooke USA ambassadors including Boyd Martin, Sinead Halpin, Tik Maynard, Allison Springer and more. A silent auction will run in conjunction with the event and feature mini-horse appearances, too.
 
AEC Competitor Party, Friday, September 1
Enjoy Gladiator Polo™ from the Special Events Tent during the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena® Competitor Party on Friday, September 1! Beginning at 6:30 p.m. and finishing at 9 p.m., offering heavy hors d’ouvres and a cash bar for competitors, family, and friends! All entered competitors will receive one free ticket, but additional tickets can be purchased online by clicking here.
 
Gladiator Polo™ Argentine Asado Buffet, Friday, September 1
Kick-off the evening with an authentic fire-grilled Argentine Asado buffet on the Legends Club Porch overlooking the ring starting at 6 p.m. The all-you-can-eat buffet features tri-tip of beef with chimichurri, garlic Parmesan corn, roasted potatoes, Russian potato salad, smoked trout, chicken with rice, and more! A cash bar will be available. For pricing and to purchase your Argentine Asado buffet tickets click here.
“SNL” Advanced Show Jumping Legends Club Buffet, Saturday, September 2
Enjoy the highlight class of the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena® under the lights in George H. Morris Arena on Saturday, September 2. Doors open at 6 p.m. The class will begin between 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., showcasing the best of U.S. eventing, as combinations complete the final phase of this impressive discipline to crown the winner of the 2017 Adequan® Gold Cup Series. An all-inclusive buffet dinner and open bar offers a fantastic view of the main arena and a lively social atmosphere during our signature “Saturday Night Lights” evening competition. Tickets are available online. Click here to purchase.
“SNL” AEC Craft Beer Festival, Saturday, September 2
There will be a Craft Beer Festival held in the Special Events Tent during Saturday Night Lights on September 2, with private seating and viewing for the 2017 Adequan® Gold Cup Series Advanced Show Jumping competition. The festival, held from 6 – 10 p.m., will include unlimited four-ounce pours from participating craft breweries, a heavy hors d’ouvres buffet, and a souvenir cup from TIEC. Some of the featured beers from Asheville craft breweries include Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, French Broad Brewing Company, Pisgah Brewing Company, Oskar Blues, Bold Rock, Catawba Brewing, Asheville Brewing, Highland Brewing, Noble Cider, Hi Wire and more. Tickets can be purchased at the door and online by clicking here.
Edited from a press release. 
American Eventing Championships: WebsiteScheduleRide Times/Live ScoresEN’s Coverage

Tuesday Video from SpectraVet: Stuff Eventers Say

Washington state eventer Robin Loch sent us this video, several parts of which hit pretty darn close to home!

She explains the impetus behind the video’s creation. “I was sitting on my bum eating M&Ms when I started thinking of things eventers say or commonly run into and thought … heck, I have nothing to do but homework and adult activities so might as well procrastinate and make a video that I thought was hilarious. There are definitely things that happen that I forgot to include and some of these apply to all riders, but ya know, close enough!”

Robin has been riding since age five and gravitated toward eventing from the get-go, on whatever pony was available. “I always ended up with the bratty ponies no one else wanted to ride but they taught me the most, and to this day my favorite horses to work with are the difficult ones no one else wants to work with,” Robin says.

Now 20 years old, Robin is in her junior year of college and was last competing at Training level with her “spicy” little Thoroughbred mare, Trin (AKA Cool Lady Taylor). School has been keeping her busy lately, she says that eventing is always on her mind and in her heart: “Eventually I want to compete at the top of our sport and tackle the Kentucky Three-Day event as well as compete in the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover and Mustang Magic Makeover. I know some high goals, but I figure with a box of Pop Tarts and a cute pony there is no challenge I can not conquer.”

We like your style, Robin! Go Eventing.

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Weekly OTTB Wishlist from Cosequin: New Vocations Pony Club Challenge Edition

Earlier this year New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program partnered with the United States Pony Clubs, Inc. to launch an exciting educational opportunity: the New Vocations Pony Club Challenge. The incentive-based competition is designed to give Pony Club members an opportunity to adopt retired racehorses, with participants showcasing their horse management and riding skills learned through Pony Club while providing qualified homes and new careers for retired racehorses.

For the Challenge, New Vocations will provide up to 50 free, retired racehorses, along with a $1,800 stipend, to eligible and pre-approved Pony Club members. These Pony Club members will compete for $10,000 in cash and prizes at the 2018 USPC Championships East in dressage, eventing, games, polocrosse, show jumping or western disciplines.

“By bringing together two organizations that are leaders in their fields, we will be able to provide an educational, incentive-based competition for Pony Club members that will ultimately increase the number of retired racehorses being moved into second careers,” explains Anna Ford, Thoroughbred Program Director for New Vocations. “We feel very strongly that this program will help educate the public on how much these horses have to offer once they leave the track while providing a wonderful opportunity for Pony Club members to experience equine ownership.”

Teresa Woods, Pony Club Executive Director, adds, “We are thrilled to partner with New Vocations to give Pony Club members this unique training and ownership opportunity. Education and horsemanship is synonymous with Pony Club, so what better way for members to utilize their Pony Club knowledge?”

For more information check out the New Vocations website. Here are three New Vocations Pony Club Challenge eligible OTTBs that caught our eye!

Photo via New Vocations.

Bi Light of Day (Five Star Day – Lady Bi Bi, by Lord Avie): 2010 15.2-hand New York bred mare

Bi Light Of Day, nicknamed “Lolli,” is a very elegant and refined girl with an attractive athletic build. Sired by multiple graded stakes winner Five Star Day, Lolli was a consistent runner on the track earning an impressive $185,875 in 46 career starts.

After Lolli’s 9th place finish on 6/14/17 her connections felt it was time for her to move on to her next career. Lolli has retired sound and has been transitioned into a turnout routine since arriving at the New Vocations facility. She is easy to handle on the ground and well behaved under saddle. Lolli is not spooky and a very straight forward ride. NV has been working on getting her to relax her top line and settle into a steady rhythm. She is naturally forward, but not a “hot” ride.

Lolli has made steady progress with every ride and has been more relaxed each day. She has been started over fences, and while she was uncertain at first, once she understood what was being asking of her she picked it up very quickly. Lolli is suitable for any discipline and does not have any limitations.

View Bi Light of Day on New Vocations.

Photo via New Vocations.

Tracy Island (U S Ranger – Moolakaya (FR), by Alzao): 2013 16.0-hand mare

Tracy caught NV’s eye as soon as she stepped off the trailer. She has a large intelligent eye and good looks to go with it. Tracy is a substantial, well built girl with a driven work oriented personality. She has retired after 13 career starts and is ready for her next job in life.

Tracy has been enjoying daily turnout and has buddied up with another mare in the program. They both have benefited immensely from having a companion. In the stall Tracy is well mannered, however she does prefer is you work slowly around her. She tends to get a little anxious while you tack her up but she settles once you get her into the arena. Tracy is not quite ready to stand patiently at the mounting block just yet, she relaxes more with each ride and is settling into a quieter atmosphere.

Tracy is a forward ride, with comfortable  ground covering gaits. She will make an excellent partner for an intermediate rider that will understand her desire to “go” at this time and will be patient as she continues to transition into life as a riding horse. Tracy will be suitable for flatwork and low level jumping. She is also available for the Pony Club Challenge and is recommend for a C-2 and above.

View Tracy Island on New Vocations.

Photo via New Vocations.

Issheit (Crimson Classic – Tidesinn, by Tricky Creek): 2008 16.1-hand Kentucky bred mare

“Sheila” is an elegant, leggy mare with a big heart. She has earned herself war horse status after a total of 73 lifetime starts! Sheila earned over $250,000 during her seven-year career and is ready to step into her new life as a riding horse. She is friendly, willing and likes to work!

Sheila has been enjoying regular turn out with a buddy. She is currently partnered up with a gelding and is getting along great. When they tried turning her out with another mare she was a bit too dominant.

Sheila has steady gaits and is brave in new atmospheres. She has worked happily inside and out and really enjoys hacking out. Sheila has a surprisingly soft mouth for the length of time she’s spent in race training. She is learning to relax through her top line more with every ride. Sheila has a ground covering canter stride and steadies easily in her downward transitions. She has also been started over small fences and was eager to please. Overall Sheila is a pleasure to work with and she enjoys having a job! She is suitable for most disciplines including dressage and low level jumping with an intermediate rider.

View Issheit on New Vocations.

Weekend Instagram Roundup: Show Us Your Ribbons!

You guys crushed ittt out there this weekend, and now it is time to pose for a photo opp with your good-looking horses and shiny ribbons. Here are some of your proudest moments from Town Hill Farm H.T., Richland Park H.T. and Shepherd Ranch SYVPC H.T.

@glfeventing and her mare, Calida, finished in 2nd! Congrats ladies!

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”Twas a great weekend for @cara_lavigna and Roo! Hip hip hooray! Blue looks good on you two!

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SOOO beyond proud of Oso this weekend!! He put on his big boy pants and behaved like a star every day!! Happy to say that we started iff with a decent dressage score landing us in 7th, a perfect run on XC with 1 second of time, and A DOUBLE CLEAR show jump round!! What a good bear!! Also congrats to @pointbreakfarms and brady on fifth place, Melina and @the.penceypony with a sixth place finish and @enzoeventing FOR COMPLETEING AND SLAYING THEIR FIRST SHOW TOGETHER WITH A SEVENTH PLACE – – – #traininglevelsoon #wemovinupintheworld #tailoredsportsman #oso #irishsporthorse #ish #onekhelmets #osohandsome #ogilvyequestrian #pointbreakfarms #equifit #eventer #eventing #juniorrider #jumper #novice #tailoredsportsman #california #bestpony #shepherdrancheventing #smartpak #schockomohle #thirdplace

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What?!?!? That never happens!!!

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Twinning

A post shared by Taylor Freundlich☪️ (@tay_freundlich) on

Mary and Will with their goodies #truenortheventing

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the Bean landed us a 3rd place finish in Prelim Champs this weekend!! Can’t wait for our first 1* coming up in a few weeks

A post shared by Lizzie Chamberlin (@lizzie.chamberlin) on

GREAT JOB!!! Jonathan 5th, Kora 3rd & Melina 6th!

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dreaming of red ribbons❤️❤️

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Steph and Chief bring home the 5th place finish in a big division at Richland! Capped off by a strong XC run! Go Steph, and…. the Chief is back!

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Windy day!! #fernhillchocoroyale #windy #dontmindmyhair @karlslezakeventing

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Go Eventing.

Wylie vs. the Mongol Derby, Powered by SmartPak: The Race, Part 3 – But Wait, It Gets Worse

In August 2017 writer/rider Leslie Wylie conquered her most fearsome feat of #YOLO yet: a 620-mile race across Mongolia. Riding 27 semi-wild native horses. Carrying only 11 pounds of gear. Relying on nomads for food, water and shelter. On a mission to help stop deforestation.

Held Aug. 9-19, the Mongol Derby is widely regarded as the toughest horse race in the world. Inspired by the Genghis Khan’s original “pony express,” there’s no trail or set route, just 25 GPS checkpoints/horse exchange stations to hit over the course of 7-10 days. Now that Leslie is home she is recapping her ride of a lifetime! Click here to read previous stories in the series.

New camel stirrups, check! All photos courtesy of The Adventurists/Mongol Derby.

Day 4

Day 4 dawned bright and full of naive promise at urtuu #9. A blood orange sun was yawning up from the horizon, casting sunbeams across the steppe that warmed the gers and backlit the horse line. Encircled by miles upon miles of nothing much at all, I felt like I was standing on the edge of the earth with no option but to jump.

After yesterday’s runaway horse debacle, things were looking up. It had been a pleasant night: Sleeping under a rug, in lieu of my gone-forever sleeping bag, hadn’t been half bad. And I’d gotten my first introduction to Mongolian dumplings, an absolute revelation, cloaking whatever mystery meat was on the menu in hand-rolled, pillowy dough so we didn’t have to look at it. Some of the swankier host gers even served them up with off-brand ketchup, a delicacy I liked to refer to as “wilderness ravioli.”

Another tremendous source of hope was the fact that I now possessed a pair of stirrups, or at least a couple stirrup-like objects, courtesy of crew member and acclaimed de-motivational speaker Hugh. Technically they were camel stirrups — big, rusty, medieval looking things; I’m pretty sure you could kill a man with one if you bonked him over the head with it. Hugh’s lackeys tied them onto my saddle with ratchet straps while he stood around, feeling manly.

I picked a black-and-white paint horse off the line and felt actual delight when he went bucking off with his herder. If I was going to make up for lost time today, I needed a horse with some spunk. Galloping out of the station behind Brits Cy and Paul, I felt like sticking my middle finger toward the sky: You can’t stop THIS girl, Mongol Derby puppet masters!

We’d only gone a kilometer or two before my optimism was interrupted by the clunk of a camel stirrup falling off. Well-played, puppet masters. Well-played.

I pulled up to address the wardrobe malfunction, insisting that Cy and Paul continue on and I’d try to catch up. I’d gotten off to fiddle with the stirrups when a cloud of dust came into view, heading my direction. It was Erik and the bloodwagon!

Erik is like the friend who shows up on your doorstep with pizza, wine and complete Golden Girls box set just when you need him the most. In this case he and his crew showed up with real stirrups and fenders, hand-me-downs from Julia Fisher, an American rider who sadly fell and broke a rib on day one.

I couldn’t have been more excited. Finally, something was going my way. After getting the new stirrups on, I mounted up and set back out on course. My horse picked up a brisk canter and I swiveled around to wave a cheerful goodbye to Erik and his crew. The documentary cameraman, who’d been recording #stirrupgate as it unfolded, focused his lens on us; at least this particular storyline of his film would have a happy ending.

And that was the exact moment when the paint bucked me off.

This time, I didn’t even try to hang on to the leadrope. I stood up, shook my fist at the horse as went buck-farting away, and collapsed back down to the ground in defeat. You’ve got to be kidding me.

Meanwhile, Erik sprang into action, ordering everyone back into the bloodwagon. They sped off after the horse, Erik leaning out the window while the filmmaker kept hold of his belt to keep him from falling out the door. “Get me closer!” he yelled to the driver, reaching toward the horse’s reins.

What happened next, some combination of fancy minivan maneuvering and a human wall that resulted in my horse inside a goat pen (looking not-at-all guilty for the havok he’d wrecked), still doesn’t quite add up in my mind.

Feeling like I’d just woken up from some hilarious dream, I hugged Erik and climbed back on the paint. You can’t stop THIS girl, Mongol Derby puppet masters. Although, point taken, you sure can slow me down.

But the biggest speed bump was yet to come. As the leg wore on the paint began to feel like a Walkman with a dying battery, the music playing slower and slower, its melody stretched apart like taffy until there’s nothing left but a sticky flatline drone. His reluctant canter gave way to a lethargic trot, which soon dissolved to a walk, and no amount of kicking or verbally coaxing or swinging my rope around would speed him up.

I kept hoping I’d run into another rider, and to be fair I did. Lucy and her horse pulled up a few kilometers in when her horse began having seizures, rearing up and flipping over backwards on top of her during one episode. She summoned the vets and they were there now, treating him. Unable to help, I wished them well and soldiered on.

Things got pretty bleak over the next few hours. When the paint’s walk slowed to something barely faster than a standstill, I dismounted to drag him along on foot, walking some 13 miles across the vast expanse of sand, scrubgrass and sun.

I was in trouble. It was hot, and my hydration pack was empty. I knew I should be sweating, but my skin was hot and dry. My energy was dwindling and I had no food. I knew my Garmin GPS batteries were running low (the extras had been in my saddlebag), so I only turned it on every couple miles to make sure I was still on track. If the batteries died and I was in the middle of nowhere … I avoided completing the thought. Even my senses seemed to be failing, depth perception for instance: the further we walked, the further away the mountain I was aiming for seemed to get.

At first, I wasn’t sure if it was real or hallucination when I saw a figure heading toward us across the steppe. As it got closer I realized that it was a herder on a motorcycle, and my heart clenched with fight-or-flight adrenaline. Riders have gotten robbed and even sexually assaulted during the Derby — I myself had woken up at 5 a.m. one morning during start camp to a drunk herder trying to get in bed with me — and my vulnerability in this moment especially was not lost on me. Two things that I’d kept on my person rather than in my saddle bag were pepper spray and a knife, and I clutched one in each fist as he pulled up in front of me.

Fortunately, I didn’t need them. The herder’s friendly, toothless smile quickly disarmed my defenses — he was clearly just concerned that I was off my horse and had wanted to make sure everything was OK. Unable to communicate that the paint was just a deadbeat, I handed him the leadrope to hold while I mounted back up, only to jump back off again when he was out of sight.

The miles dragged on and on. I kept my eyes forward but allowed my mind to wander, under one condition: positive thoughts only. I imagined my husband Tommy bringing me coffee in bed at home, our buff-colored kitten purring into the crook of my arm. I heard my 2-year-old blue-eyed nephew, Cade, imparting his favorite advice: “Be safe on road!” I felt my fingers in my pony Princess’ silky mane, and smelled the honeysuckle that permeates summertime in Tennessee.

Finally, we made it to the mountain, and a solid nine hours after we started we found horse station #10. The paint and I parted ways, both overjoyed to be rid of one another.

After a long day of solitude, I couldn’t believe my good fortune: Clare and Rachel, my South Carolina comrades, were at the station! They were riding the race as a team and had been clocking steady progress. When Rachel heard about my lost kit she scooped me under her wing, setting me up with some electrolytes, painkillers and chafe cream — three direly-needed items. Her kindness and generosity put a lump in my throat.

There was time enough in the day for one more leg, and I set off from horse station #10 in a much happier state of mind than I’d arrived. Trotting behind Clare and Rachel into a fresh landscape of crisp green hills, gazing out between the ears of a horse who was NOT the paint, I felt some hope creeping back in. Maybe I could do this. Maybe it was going to be OK.

Horse station #11 was one of two penalty urtuus on the course and resultingly a sizeable group of riders had stalled out there, serving time for veterinary or other infractions (my vet card was clean but I owed an hour for outside assistance).

James, Clare, Erik, myself and Rachel with herding families and crew at horse station #11.

The mood of the camp was upbeat. The smell was, em, “ripe” with the aroma of riders who hadn’t seen a shower since start camp. Dinner was a show-and-tell of battle scars and stories. We tried to piece together where we were in the field, who was in front of us and who was behind, a mental exercise akin to keeping track of swimmers in a pool full of talcum powder. Comparing notes at horse stations was our only means of making head or tail of the chaos.

Unlike the Hunger Games, the faces of the Derby’s fallen soldiers weren’t projected in the sky each night accompanied by cannonfire and dramatic music. I was surprised and terribly sorry to hear about the five riders who had already come out of the race, but excited to (gently) hug two of them at #11: Julia, patron saint of my stirrups, and Jane Boxhall, who suffered a concussion on the fourth leg. In a display of true sportsmanship, both women came back out to the field to assist in the bloodwagon and lend moral support. Jane set me up with a few odds and ends from her kit, including my new DIY saddlebag, an oversized possum-hair sock.

I think that up until horse station #11, the cold, harsh reality of the Derby hadn’t quite settled down on me. I’d been chugging along in my own little bubble, oblivious to the more serious accidents and injuries that other riders had encountered. If the worst that happened to me in this race was the loss of my gear, some heat exhaustion and a slowpoke pony, I’d be lucky. But it was still early in the race — we weren’t even to the halfway point yet. Anything could happen, and I couldn’t help but wonder when my number might be up.

There was one more heartbreaking casualty still to come that evening. I was watching North Carolina firecracker Marianne Williams approach the station, eager to give her a reunion squeeze, when her horse went down in a marmot hole just a couple hundred meters out. She lie motionless as the horse got up without her.

Luckily the medical team couldn’t have been closer and they stabilized her quickly, pitching a tent around her and making her comfortable until the ambulance could arrive later that night. A broken collarbone, it sounded like.

Feeling helpless, I walked out to Marianne at dusk with some milk tea and well-wishes. As the sun disappeared and gave way to a moonless night, I lingered outside the tent, listening as she flirtatiously cracked jokes to the doctor. Meanwhile the gers had gone quiet, everyone lying shoulder-to-shoulder in their sleeping bags, simultaneously together and alone in the dark. After an interminably long day of fighting back tears, I finally let one slip.