By the Numbers: American Eventing Championships

Joe Meyer and Clip Clop at Richland. Photo by Bailey Moran. Joe Meyer and Clip Clop at Richland. Photo by Bailey Moran.

The Nutrena American Eventing Championships are upon us, and with that we will be crowning the Adequan Advanced Gold Cup Champion soon. Most of the competitors have come from Area V, with Joe Meyer bringing a pair from Florida, Barb Crabo hailing from the west, and Buck Davidson and Caroline Martin trekking from Area II. Many of these riders will be using this show as a final preparation for their fall CCI, either at Fair Hill or Galway Downs.

The dressage test will be 2014 USEF A-B. The cross country course designer is Capt. Mark Phillips, who currently only designs at this level in the U.S. for the Texas Rose Horse Park. The show jumping course designer is Marc Donovan, a change from the past two years when Richard Jeffery designed the course.

TOP FIVE

1. Joe Meyer and Clip Clop: Joe has built up quite a rapport in the past few months with this horse, and it’s beginning to show, with a recent win in the Advanced at Poplar Place. A win here would certainly set this horse up well for later fall plans.

This horse will be a bit down the order after the flat, with his average on this particular test as a 38.9. However, the quickest cross country run of the day with only 3.6 time penalties as his overall average with Joe will move Clip Clop well up the ranks. At the end of the day, a double clear show jumping round over Marc Donovan’s course will squeak this horse into first. He’ll finish with a score in the low 40s, just half a point ahead of second.

Buck Davidson and Wundermaske. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Buck Davidson and Wundermaske. Photo by Rare Air Photography.

2. Buck Davidson and Wundermaske: Buck is riding Wundermaske for a few shows while Sharon White battles a herniated disc in her back. Buck is a good match for this horse, who has some blips on his cross country record, and it would be great for “Patch” to deliver a good performance to win some prize money for Sharon.

Wundermaske averages a 32.4 on this test, which should put him at or near the top after the flat. In their only other cross country run together at Richland, Buck brought this horse home clear with only 5.6 time penalties. However, this horse does average a rail and 1 time penalty when jumping Marc Donovan courses, which will drop him down to second. Wundermaske will just barely miss top billing by half a point.

3. Joe Meyer and Sanskrit: Joe is bringing his old partner Sanskrit out to play this weekend. This horse has had a very light year, running only at Richland Park last month. Although they had an uncharacteristic stop there, this horse knows his job and should make easy work of the course this weekend.

Sanskrit averages a 33.2 on this test, which should put this pair in the top five right off the bat. A swift run across the country to match their overall average of 6 time penalties will move them right up the ranks. Sanskrit did drop one rail in his only recent Marc Donovan course at Richland, which would push him to third. These two will finish hot on Buck’s heels with a score less than a quarter of a point behind.

Jacob Fletcher and Fly Away Ferro. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jacob Fletcher and Fly Away Ferro. Photo by Jenni Autry.

4. Jacob Fletcher and Fly Away Ferro: Young rider Jacob Fletcher has a pair at this level this weekend, but it’s the less experienced of the two who will shine. Fly Away Ferro moved up to the CIC3* level at Richland, putting in a solid performance in all three phases, and if he matches that, will crack the top five here.

This pair haven’t done this test yet, but scored the USEF equivalent of a 37.4 at Richland. New to the level, this score will likely drop as the horse gains experience with the flatwork required. A middling run of 10 time penalties across the country will put these two in good stead as this horse tackles his first Mark Phillips course. At Richland, Fly Away Ferro put in a clear stadium round with only 1 time penalty over Marc Donovan’s course. Jacob and Ferro should finish fourth, with a score in the high 40s.

5. Barb Crabo and Eveready: Barb has a tradition of bringing this horse east for the American Eventing Championships, competing Eveready in three of the last four editions of this event. Eveready won in 2011, when the the AECs were held at Chattahoochee Hills.

Eveready averages a 35.8 on this test. This pair accumulated 14 time penalties while running over Mark Phillips’ course here last year, which is well above their average pace. However, they jumped a double clear round over their only go at a Marc Donovan course at the Galway Downs CCI3* in 2014. Look for this pair in fifth on a score just under 50.

Caroline Martin and Quantum Solace. Photo by Samantha Clark

Caroline Martin and Quantum Solace. Photo by Samantha Clark.

THE DARK HORSE

Caroline Martin and Quantum Solace: Caroline and her longtime partner Quantum Solace are returning to the level for the first time since their overseas trips at Tattersalls and Bramham. With their dressage score creeping downwards, they could be the surprise pair here. Caroline and this horse have gotten consistently faster across the country each year they’ve been competing at this level and have only had three rails all year. Look for this pair to potentially pop up into the top five.

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