This weekend offers some respite from the FEI calendar, but that doesn’t make it any less busy for U.S. eventing. There’s plenty happening at the National levels, and with a number of horse trials around the country offering Intermediate and Intermediate/Preliminary divisions, it’s a fun opportunity to be on the lookout for some up-and-coming riders and horses. Here are a few to watch out for around the country.
The only USEA event in the state of Oregon, Inavale Farm celebrates its 20th year this weekend with divisions running from Intro to Intermediate. Having spent the spring running Preliminary, Maya Black’s Mowgli will be stepping up to the Intermediate level for the first time. Mowgli’s biggest test thus far has been the Galway Downs CCI* last fall, where the pair placed second.
Another familiar name in the Intermediate division is John Camlin, resident owner and trainer at Caber Farm in Onalaska, Washington, which is also home to an Area VIII USEA horse trials. Having ridden up to the CCI2* level over 10 years ago, this will be John’s first start at Intermediate again in a number of years. He’ll be riding Armed Services, a horse who stepped up to the Preliminary level in 2015.
This destination event in the heart of Area I is celebrating its 40th anniversary, kicking off with dressage today as they continue the tradition of running a three-day event. This will be something of homecoming for two Area I natives, Jeanie Clarke and Cornelia Dorr, who are both contesting the I/P division along with nine other strong competitors.
Jeanie grew up riding Groton, Massachusetts (about an hour away from Groton House Farm — don’t let the names confuse you!) and moved to Florida permanently in 2012. Jeanie hasn’t competed in Area I since 2013, but she’s making the trek up north with Head for More. Cornelia grew up riding in Hamilton and is bringing her new mount, the legendary Louis M, to Groton House for the first time.
Anna Loschiavo and Prince Renan have returned again this year to defend their title as last year’s I/P winners. Anna is riding two horses in the division this year, the other being Fernhill Swatch, who has had an excellent spring with Anna as well, placing in the top three of their last three events.
Fox River is hosting the smallest I/P division with four entries this weekend, and among the entrants are Elizabeth Scheltema and Bill Owen. Bill Owen is a former ride of Waylon Roberts, who competed the horse on the Canadian team that won bronze at the 2015 Pan American Games. Now Bill Owen is showing his new rider the ropes, taking her up to Preliminary last spring and now testing the waters of the upper levels this weekend.
Melanie Rousseau and Sullivan should give them a run for their money; this pair finished in the top 10 in the CIC2* at Fair Hill this April.
Thirteen competitors will be leaving the startbox to gallop through the bluegrass and contest this division, of which two riders have previously tackled four-star fences over the same grounds.
Sydney Conley Elliott has spent the past year getting to know Carol Stephens’ QC Diamantaire, and the pair have achieved good results at the Prelim level and at Intermediate, which they stepped up to at Rocking Horse earlier it the year. Consistently scoring in the low 30s at the National level and with very few jump penalties on their record, they’ll be a pair to watch in the future.
The second four-star rider in this division is Allie Knowles, who will be piloting Katherine O’Brien’s Ramsey as she continues to make her comeback from injuries sustained in a fall at Red Hills in March. This pair is the most experienced pair of the bunch, as Allie acquired the ride on Ramsey over the winter from Emily Hamel, who competed the horse to the CCI3* level.
Also in the mix are Alexandra Baugh and Ballingowan Pizazz, who won this division last year, placed fourth overall in the 2016 NAJYRC CH-J*, and also already have two Intermediate wins this year.
The Intermediate division at Surefire Horse Trials is easily the most competitive this weekend with 30 entrants, many of whom are professional riders. While there are too many to note, a few stick out. Phillip Dutton has two rides in this division, Fernhill Singapore and I’m Sew Ready, who is returning to competition after a 10th-place finish at Kentucky CCI4* earlier this year.
Boyd Martin has three rides in the division: Barry, Contessa and Polaris. This will be Polaris’ first competitive run with Boyd in the irons, having been competed to the CCI3* level by Sara Moore.
Also of note this weekend is the return of the Essex Horse Trials, which is being revived after a nearly 20-year hiatus. The new event will take place at Moorland Farms in Far Hills, New Jersey, and a number of well-known riders will be competing. Stay tuned for more coverage from Essex.
No matter where you are in the country, there are plenty of reasons to go eventing this weekend! Check today’s News & Notes post for all the links to entries, ride times and results at every USEA horse trials running throughout the country.