Farewell Montana: Rounding Up the Final Day of #AEC2022

Sunday at the USEA American Eventing Championships was all about the Beginner Novice riders, as all six divisions crowned their champions as the final competitors of the weekend at Rebecca Farm.

Here’s a look at all final scores from #AEC2022:

$60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final: Helen Alliston and Ebay (32.8)
USEA Intermediate Championship: Tommy Greengard and Joshuay MBF (32.9)
Bates USEA Jr./YR Preliminary Championship: Maddie Smith and Versace (44.2)
Bates USEA Preliminary Horse Championship: Nicole Aden and Illustrator (26.8)
Bates USEA Preliminary Rider Championship: Eileen Galoostian and Ardeo Lord Lancelot (34.5)
Bates USEA Preliminary Amateur Championship: Amy Haugen and Ebenholtz (31.2)
Festival Open Preliminary: Kelly Groot and Super Nova (23.4)
Festival Open Modified: Sarah Sullivan and La Copine (26.4)
USEA Open Modified Championship: Madison Langerak and Normandy Kivalo (20.6)
Festival Open Training: Stephanie Goodman and Esmèe (23.8)
USEA Training Amateur Championship: Amber Pearson and Chosen One DF (27.6)
USEA Training Horse Championship: Tommy Greengard and Shannondale Farm (25.8)
USEA Training Jr. Championship: Lizzie Hoff and HSH Limited Edition (24.8)
USEA Training Rider Championship: Sarah Ross and Fernhill Heart Throb (28.6)
Festival Open Novice A: McLaine Mangum and Grantstown Mr. Big (32.9)
Festival Open Novice B: Teresa Harcourt and Csongor (26.4)
USEA Novice Amateur Championship: Kyla Tovar and Kilcoltrim Jacko (28.3)
USEA Novice Horse Championship: Tommy Greengard and Cappachina (26.4)
USEA Novice Jr. Championship: Olivia Keye and Oso Mighty (27.2)
USEA Novice Rider Championship: Alyssa Cairo and Paddington (25.4)
Festival Open Beginner Novice A: Louise Leslie and Cnick Cnack JJM (32.2)
Festival Open Beginner Novice B: Kelly Schwisow and Redfield Out Of The Blue (26.3)
USEA Beginner Novice Amateur Championship: Jenna McFadden and Take a Shot (28.3)
USEA Beginner Novice Horse Championship: Madeline Backus and Slew the Blues (26.6)
USEA Beginner Novice Jr. Championship: Bridget Kelly and Windover Tarragon (27.8)
USEA Beginner Novice Rider Championship: Mandy Collins and Vatino (29.2)

A Lasting Impression Lands Beginner Novice Winners in the Ribbons at #AEC2022

The USEA Beginner Novice Championship took an early and fiery start to the day with ponies, horses and riders ready to leave their best round in the show jump arena, signaling the final phase on the final day of the American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. The smokey skies gave way to a cloudless, picturesque backdrop as the sun shone bright on new winners through each level of this division.

USEA Beginner Novice Horse Championship

Madeline Backus aboard Brad Ray’s 9-year-old Quarter Horse Thoroughbred Slew the Blues (Slews Gold x Only Blue Crystal) took home the win in the USEA Beginner Novice Horse Championship after a stellar show jump round. A big smile for Backus and a big pat on the neck for Slew the Blues complimented the epic finish.

“I’m super proud of her—this is the first big show she’s been to and the first time she’s been in temporary stabling. She had a little meltdown the first couple of days but she’s just settled in and got to work every time I put my foot in the stirrup. I’m super impressed with her,” said Backus. “I was the first person on her back last July so she’s come along really quickly in a year and she’s just taken all the steps and keeps showing up for it.” The pair have plans to move up to the novice division this fall.

USEA Beginning Novice Junior Championship

Proudly celebrating a birthday and the first place finish in the USEA Beginner Novice Junior Championship is Bridget Kelly aboard her perky 13-year-old Connemara Quarter Horse mare named Windover Tarragon (Irish Parks Caraway finn x Del Poco Princess). An absolute ringside treat to watch in the arena, Windover Tarragon is undoubtedly a happy competitor.

“The AEC has been a long-time dream of mine. I’ve had this pony for two years, so when we first got this pony she was very stiff and just not at the level she is now so it’s been a challenging journey to bring her up—especially with the dressage. We’ve had a lot of problems with the dressage but dressage is my favorite things so I really like to work on it a lot. Getting that personal best score of ours and leaving from start to finish was just incredible. The show jumping was definitely nerve-wracking. Jumping last is a lot more stressful than it seems. It’s just an incredible feeling. I’m so happy and so proud of my pony.”

USEA Beginner Novice Amateur Championship

With a first place finish under her belt today, Jenna McFadden took the leading position of the victory gallop aboard Mackenzie Johnson’s 6-year-old Thoroughbred called Take a Shot (Grindstone x Easy Elegance). With unexpected but welcomed riding suggestions, McFadden finished on her dressage score to bring home an impressive win.

“Show jumping is definitely our hardest phase so it’s hard to leave that for last, especially when the pressure is on, but I’m very happy with how he was,” said McFadden. “I stress before [show jumping] but then I remember that I’m having fun. My trainer was going Preliminary this week so I was lucky to tag along for a course walk with Ian Stark. He definitely thought I was going Preliminary so he was telling me to ‘ride forward!’ I tried to use that same mentality, just smaller and slower, and it worked perfectly. He was fantastic.” He was better than I could have asked for for dressage and cross-country. In show jumping I had to fight for a couple of the turns but I just got scrappy and just rode like Ian Stark told me to.”

USEA Beginner Novice Rider Championship

Mandy Collins piloting Lillian Thiel’s 20-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Vatino (Patino x Inta) celebrated a first place win today finishing on her dressage score. After what seems like a few lifetimes. Collins is in tears having the lead in today’s victory gallop aboard a horse she clearly adores.

“I grew up as a kid riding outside of Atlanta and then I went to college and started my career, and I always thought I was going to get back into it but then 10, 15 years kind of passed. A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to start riding again and I saw pictures online of this event—that I never got to go to—and I’m here, on this horse, and it feels like an immense privilege,” said Collins. “He tries so hard for me. You come back with a new mentality as an adult rider and he just always looks out for my best interest. Going into the dressage arena, I was able to feel him relax and he just gave me that confidence to go in there and try my best because he put on his game face, too. He’s 20-years-old so he’s been around the block a little bit. To feel that confidence from phase to phase to phase when I’m not sure has just been a gamer changer for my confidence and progressing with my riding.”

[Read the full Beginner Novice Recap]

Let’s hear it for all of our winners! We were with you in spirit all week and can’t wait until we’re back at AEC. Until then, safe travels home to all and #goeventing.

USEA American Eventing Championships (Kalispell, MT): [Website] [Ride Times/Live Scores] [Livestream] [Shannon Brinkman Photography] [Ride On Video]