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
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.