A few weeks ago, we sent out “The Bat Call” requesting guest bloggers from the AECs– and Mallory Stiver was one of the first to answer. Mallory is competing at the AECs for the first time this year, at novice level. After qualifying with a second-place finish at the Area IV Championships, Mallory was heartbroken to learn her horse was starting to develop degenerative joint disease. The AECs will be their last event together, before he retires from jumping. Thanks to Mallory for writing, and thank you for reading. [AECs Live Scores]
Hey Eventing Nation! My name is Mallory Stiver and I am going to be sharing a bit about my experience at this year’s AEC’s! I will be competing my horse, Up In Flames, in the Novice Junior division. It is our last event together before he retires and my first AEC, so I’m feeling very excited and lucky to be here. Let me start out by saying that Texas Rose is a perfect venue to hold an event like the AECs– the show grounds are pristine, there is an abundance of large arenas, the stalls are some of the nicest I’ve seen, and the people are friendly and helpful. The turnout was not as big as expected, but everyone here is excited and soaking it all in, and I feel like more people will come the next two years. I know that I am definitely going to be back.
We left Kansas before sunrise Wednesday morning and made an uneventful ten hour drive, arriving at Texas Rose at 3 pm sharp. Since I don’t show until Friday, I lightly lunged and took care of my horse, set up my stall, and we came back to the hotel to clean tack and eat dinner. It was an easy day- but much needed to get settled in.
Thursday morning, my sister, my friend and I woke early to feed and watch upper level dressage. It is so exciting to be at the same event as so many talented riders. We have definitely done our fair amount of star stalking for the weekend, and have thoroughly enjoyed it. We also watched my coach, Julie Wolfert, ride her dressage test in the Intermediate. She set the bar high for the rest of the team here, scoring a 29.4 to place 6th so far in a highly competitive division. I got the time to ride my horse around the venue a bit and enjoy the warm Texas weather. We spent some time preparing for our dressage test tomorrow and I am feeling confident going to sleep. Also, we watched the annual dog show, which was cuteness overload. My sister and I entered our dogs into the costume contest, but neither of them placed. However, my dog, Lilly, got a third place ribbon for the smallest dog contest. I guess the judges weren’t feeling her shark costume. Oh well! She still thinks she won.
I’m sure Friday will certainly be a change in pace for a much more energetic day. I’m hoping to get to watch some upper level cross country and try not to fret over my dressage test. If I’m not found doing either of those things, I’m most likely hanging out my mom’s vendor booth right next to the food vendors, or filming one of the nine riders from our team riding! It’s safe to say it will be a pretty busy day. Good luck and safe rides to everyone showing this weekend, and go Julie Wolfert Eventing!