Big Cheers All Around for AEC BN Master Amateur Cross Country Leaders Penny Welsch & Mr. Poppers

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Andrea Davidson congratulates Penny Welsch on an awesome cross country ride with Mr. Poppers. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Nobody had a more enthusiastic fan club on cross country today at the USEA American Eventing Championships than Penny Welsch and Mr. Poppers, who’ll maintain their lead in the Beginner Novice Master Amateur division heading into the final phase. Penny, whose big return to eventing after some 40 years she recounted in yesterday’s dressage recap, got cheers all the way around, and it didn’t hurt that she was riding something of a celebrity! Mr. Poppers, Stuart Brown’s now 13-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding, is much beloved by those who’ve followed his career — and today he was followed, literally, by his “people” including Buck and Andrea Davidson who were spotted chasing them around the course to watch.

Penny Welsch and Mr. Poppers. Photo by Shelby Allen.

The top three in the division are still holding strong following cross country. Renee Senter, of Overland Park, Kan., remains in second position with Regina, a 14-year-old Holsteiner (Regulus x Nellina).

Renee Senter and Regina. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Just behind is Amy Winnen, of Rochester, N.Y., and Galatea HU, a 15-year-old Rheinland Pfalz-Saar (Galant Du Serein x Rohmanie), on a score of 27.8.

A few notes:

  • A big congrats to Michelle Cameron Donaldson and her big red draft cross named Danny Boy. Michelle, who came to Kentucky from WAY out in Area VII, just started riding at age 44 and through some trial and error found her match in “Daniel.” She shared their story on EN a couple years ago — it’s just the sweetest. The pair is tied for 5th after cross country and looked awesome out there today. At age 20, Daniel is something of a Master, too!
  • Speaking of drafts, fun fact that there are actually two Percherons and one Belgian in the division. The most represented breed is the Thoroughbred, which makes up a little less than a third of the field, followed by Irish Sport Horses. In addition, there’s a good mix of warmbloods, an Appaloosa Sport Horse, a couple paints, two Canadian Sport Horses and one Canadian Warmblood, a couple Connemaras, three Quarter Horses, and — this is cool — a Friesian.
  • Twenty-nine horses in the 51-horse field crossed the finish line double clear; another 10 completed with time penalties only. Some trouble spots included fence #3, “The Bannister,” an imposing effort early on the course that produced a few stops; fence #11, “Ditch Surprise,” because obviously; fence #12, “Fiesta!,” the legendary multi-colored painted table that has been terrorizing Beginner Novice horses at KHP for years; and fence #13, “Open Oxer,” which jumped well for most but did tag a couple horses with a late-on-course 20.

The nail-biting final phase happens in Rolex Arena tomorrow. To all the Beginner Novice Master Amateur competitors, enjoy the moment and appreciate your journey to get here — at the end of the day, you’re all winners.

A few more pics from the division!

Lucy Patsko and InANewYorkMinute. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Stephen Fulton and DB Cooper. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Molly Adams and Caletto’s Symphony. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Debbie Knuth and Honky Tonk. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Jennifer Williams Southworth & Stand Up Stand Out. Photo by Shelby Allen.

BN Master Amateur Top 10 After Cross Country:

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