Thursday #AEC2019 Quotes From the Top: All We Do Is Win, Win, Win No Matter What

Julia Spatt & 5o1 Macintosh, winner of the Bates Preliminary Rider division. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The first batch of 2019 American Eventing Championship crowns have been distributed! Thursday saw the coronation of Intermediate and Preliminary divisions, as well as cross country for Training and dressage for Novice and Advanced. I’d say it’s a three-ring circus around here at the Kentucky Horse Park, but in fact many more rings than that are in action.

Once again we have the hardworking USEA press team to thank for chasing down the winners and leaders of each #AEC2019 division at day’s end to collect ride reflections and thoughts going forward. Scroll down to catch up with the final top three riders from …

… as well as the cross-country leaders from …

… and top-5 dressage leaderboards from …

… with six divisions of Beginner Novice still to kick off tomorrow!

#AEC2019: WebsiteScheduleRide TimesLive ScoringLive StreamEN’s CoverageUSEA’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram

Boyd Martin and Long Island T, leader of the Advanced Final. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

$60,000 ADEQUAN USEA ADVANCED FINAL

🏆1st: Boyd Martin & Long Island T

On their dressage test: “‘Ludwig’ was brilliant today in the dressage. He’s such a fantastic mover, and he’s always full of expression and he’s very well trained and experienced at this level now so he’s quite fun to ride. And he’s sort of got that mixture of good energy without getting too explosive. He’s very good, a couple little things we can always improve on, but overall it’s lovely to have a horse with this phenomenal talent for the dressage because you just have to sit there and everyone thinks you’re a good rider.”

On the cross country course: “I think unfortunately Derek di Grazia is practicing for building Burghley. He’s coming out here and he’s gotten all excited because he’s got the Burghley job — it looks huge to me. If you break it down and you really look at it, it’s a great course — great footing, obviously it’s a nice open galloping course. So my plan, I mean obviously there’s a bit of prize money on the line so I’d love to have a bit of a crack, but this is also Ludwig’s first Advanced in a while so I’ve just got to ride a little bit smart and make sure I don’t go wild and crazy and go for broke too much. He can get quite strong and hard to turn especially towards the end of the course so my plan would be to keep him open and fast but keep him settled and keep his mind the whole way around.”

On putting the AEC on his schedule: “Kentucky is obviously one of the greatest equestrian venues in the world. It’s a huge honor and thrill to ride here in April, and I jumped at the opportunity to bring horses here for the AEC. It’s just a great event. I think the biggest thing is the cross country course design at all levels is big, bold and flowing with every question that needs to be asked for every horse. It’s a really good education for every horse at every level. And to do dressage and show jumping in this stadium is a great opportunity to get mileage on these horses that are coming through.”

🏅2nd: Mara Depuy & Congo Brazzaville C

On their dressage test: “Congo is getting better and better. I’m thrilled with the fact that he was rideable, which he has not been in atmosphere this spring. [They did the test ride at GMI in preparation for the AEC, to practice in a bigger atmosphere without the pressure.]”

Looking ahead to cross country: “I think the course looks great. I think it looks like the reason we all came here: for fantastic footing and a great, challenging course. I’m excited about it. I think it will suit Congo — the bigger the better — I just have to ride it well and stay sharp.”

🏅3rd: Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Singapore

On their dressage test: “Parts of it were good. The flying changes were still not great, but he’s such a quality horse that the judges want to score him because he looks the part. He’s coming along.”

Looking ahead to cross country: “It’s a strong course. It starts right from the beginning, there’s a lot to do. It’s as strong as you’d see at a four-star.”

Top 3 after dressage (view full scoreboard here): 

INTERMEDIATE

🏆1st: Tamie Smith & En Vogue

On their show jumping round: “I got on her [this morning] and I went so fast yesterday that I wasn’t certain how she’d feel fitness-wise, but she was shaking her head and almost gave me a little buck so I knew she was feeling really good. She really rose to the occasion. She’s taken some time to trust me and I feel like today the rail I had was my rail, which I’m really happy about, because she has been tricky in the show jumping. The rail I had was more because of how she’s been in the past and I rode her instead of the way she feels now. I’m ecstatic.

“I just feel now that this weekend we really are on the same page. I wasn’t sure what she’d feel like in the show jumping, that would probably be the biggest track that she’s done and she’s really spooky … that’s part of why I had the rail, because I rode too forward in and I almost should have put five in the first line instead of six. That’s what I love about mares – as soon as they start to trust you then they give you 110 percent. I feel like she’s really doing that.”

🏅2nd: Tamie Smith & Danito

On their partnership: “He and I have been together longer and you can see that we have a good partnership now. He really trusts me now and he was really relaxed. I love that horse, he’s so my ride and he’s little but really mighty and strong.”

On their show jumping round: “He tried super hard. He’s a funny horse because when he’s bored he doesn’t try quite as hard. At the last event he jumped clean but it was a little by braille so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the jumps are impressive here so he actually gave it some effort and jumped really beautiful.”

On the AEC atmosphere: “I think the best top horses rise to the occasion for something like this. They might not to the normal horse trials, but you want a horse that when it gets in this kind of atmosphere, because this is a championship atmosphere like the Olympics Games or WEG or the Pan Ams, you want them to rise to the occasion. You learn whether your horse can do this and it was really helpful because I know those two both can.”

🏅3rd: Hallie Coon & Cooley Sos

On her mount: “He’s quite a small horse but with a gigantic ego. It gets to be a struggle sometime in the dressage – he thinks he’s a little bit too important to be doing what he’s doing. But he has the most incredible stride and jump on the cross-country and in the show jumping, he just eats it up. I mean, [he has] twice the stride of any of my other horses and he’s by far the smallest. So that can be challenging in itself, knowing where I am, but he tried his heart out yesterday.”

On recovering from cross country: “He did get quite tired out on course yesterday because I pushed him quite a bit – he left strides out everywhere, as he always does – so I was curious to see how he was this morning. But, usually after a big effort like that he comes out and he jumps even better than usual and he stayed true today. I’m really thrilled with him.”

The take-away: “I didn’t come here to be competitive, honestly. I came here to test the waters and I think he told me that he’s ready.”

Final top 5 (view complete results here): 

BATES PRELIMINARY HORSE

🏆1st: Bobby Meyerhoff & Lumumba

On their show jumping round: “She was great. She came out a little fresh, and I worked her quite a bit on the flat, getting her nice and loose and she started right off the bat jumping super. [After putting the pedal to the metal yesterday] it was interesting to me to see how she’d be and she came out the best she’s ever come out. It was really cool.”

What’s next: “She’s ready to step up to the next level, so thinking about going to Plantation and doing the three-star short, and we’ll go from there. The last two shows now I’ve really put the pressure on her to win, so I’d like to go cruise around.”

Her pre-AEC preparation: “The coolest thing about her is that I know she’ll go to places like this with all this atmosphere and she’ll perform, and I can tell she wants it. So I don’t have to do a ton of outside preparation other than working at home and keeping her fit. And with her blood she gets pretty fit pretty fast, so I don’t overdue it because it comes pretty natural to her.”

On her Arabian blood: “It’s nice that she has that and she has the endurance and then at the same time she has the mind to contain it in the cool personality of being calm and being able to take the pressure. A lot of times it looks like she’s being really nice and calm and presentable but I can feel the tension and the anxiety a little, but she hides it really well so that works to her advantage.”

The value of the AEC experience: “My goal is to jump around a five-star here with her, so to able to jump in the stadium with her here and to go around the cross country as many times between now and then, it’s going to make her feel at home. So the first time they come here isn’t in the five-star and it’s all that pressure. It’s nice to be able to come here and do that in this type of competition in preparation for the big five-star.”

🏅2nd: Kyle Carter and Galliard’s Lancer

On riding ‘the best horse I’ve ever sat on’: “He made the time well, and he’s been nothing but fantastic in show jumping for me. This horse has just been Mr. Reliability in there — you can be a bit wrong and he finds his way out of it. This horse in the Prelim is the best horse I’ve ever sat on in my life. Maybe not all my horses were the top horses in the world, but I’ve had enough good ones, and this one in all three phases is close to the top in all of them but he shows nothing but what you need for that level. When he finished cross country, he blew out immediately; this morning I got on him and he was full of himself and fresh.

“Everything about him screams that he could be here and pull this off in a much bigger environment. His trot is really really good, he’s a very good canter, but he has the best canter and as you know the higher you go the canter becomes more of a priority so I expect him to be able to tip into the under-25 marks.”

🏅3rd: Boyd Martin and Fernhill Prezley

On his mount: “Heidi White produced the horse and has done an amazing job. He’s a spectacular animal. I took over the ride a couple months ago and was very impressed with him. He did very well at Bromont and now here, and I think he’s a horse for the future. He’s a proper jumper. He’s French bred, even though he has an Irish prefix, and he’s just a big, scopey, careful jumper.

“He has a bit of a long canter so I’ve been working hard to try to keep him together and balanced, and I was very pleased that he came out and jumped well today. Same in the cross country, he’s a big galloper and a bit hard to adjust, and same with the dressage, he has great big paces so it’s harder with the collection work. But we’re still getting to know each other and he’ll be ready to move up to Intermediate soon.”

Final top 5 (view complete results here): 

BATES PRELIMINARY AMATEUR

🏆1st: Arden Wildasin & Watch Out

Two in the top three: “Both horses went in there and did fantastic. It was a partnership that we were building throughout the summer and we were able to perform it today. It was great going in knowing that I’m first and second – you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

On her mount: “The Watch Out horse, I’ve had him for almost 10 years and he only goes Preliminary. Preliminary is his height. He’s been one of my kids – I can’t sell him. He’s been with me since everything and each time I sit on him I continue to learn even though I’ve had him for so long. Yes we’ve had that partnership, but it’s continuing to develop it.”

🏅2nd: Arden Wildasin & Southern Sun

On her second mount: “The Southern Sun horse, he’s a little bit spooky and he did kind of spook at the coin jump, but he jumped it awesome and we’ve had the nemesis of the liverpool – never had anything bad – but he jumped that the best in there which made me really happy.”

A good day at the office: “It’s pretty surreal – it’s unbelievable. I’m pretty proud of those two for always showing up and doing their best and thankfully I was able to participate in doing my best too.”

🏅3rd: Maggie Fearon & Brando

A well-rounded weekend: “He was really good on the flat for him, and was really just relaxed out there which I was happy about – it’s a big atmosphere out there. Cross-country he was absolutely perfect he in the past has been a little sticky and yesterday he was just all out and really good so I was very proud of that. Today he came in and jumped his socks off and was really good so I was very proud of him for his weekend.”

 On their partnership: “I got him when he was four from a hunter jumper trainer and I’ve been bringing him up myself. He is really careful so we’ve taken it pretty slow with him. He’s eight now and he’s coming along really well so I’m excited.”

Final top 5 (view complete results here):

BATES PRELIMINARY RIDER

🏆1st: Julia Spatt & 501 Macintosh

On their show jumping round: “He was a little keen in warmup, I think he was a little excited after going fast yesterday so I kind of had to work on toning him down, keeping the rideability and getting him to listen, but once we got in the ring he really stayed with me, he was really listening and its one of our best show jumping rounds together to date so I’m just thrilled.”

A deserving win: “We got very lucky last year it just kind of happened and wasn’t expected. This year I thought my preparation was a lot better and the hope was a top five finished so I’m just beyond thrilled he made such improvements in all three phases. I’m just blown away by the horse, he deserves the win more than anything.”

On their partnership: “It’s one of the longest partnerships I’ve had with a horse so it’s been really cool to produce him through the levels and I just know him like the back of my hand and he knows me so well so it’s cool looking at the course to see how challenging they are and know that I’m sitting on the horse I want to be on to tackle these challenges and that I can trust him to stay with me pretty much no matter what.”

🏅2nd: Megan Edwards & Loughnatousa Reiner

On their partnership: “I feel very blessed to have the ride. I wasn’t expecting it and I’ve just formed a partnership with him this year and the owner have let me really do a good job of sticking to a plan and every show it’s showing. I had the unfortunate rail but he was such a good boy. He tries really hard – he’s a good Irish horse with a good heart.”

🏅3rd: Carolyn Wehle & Edelmann

On their show jumping round: “My ride was good, he obviously could have been better, he had two rails, it’s not really typical of him. I don’t know if he was just distracted by the atmosphere. He finished really well, he was great yesterday, he ran his little heart out, had one time penalty yesterday, his dressage was phenomenal for him it was probably his best test to date in eventing. He’s pretty green at this level and he jumped around like a rockstar yesterday and I really have no complaints. He was great.”

Final top 5 (view complete results here):

BATES JUNIOR/YOUNG RIDER PRELIMINARY

 🏆1st, Savannah Blackstock & Garryndruig Albie

On show jumping: “That horse is incredible. Show jumping is not my favorite part of this sport but I came in there and he’s such a good boy – he always knows when he’s competing and he just went in there and ate it up. He was so good. It was such a fun ride.”

On their partnership: I love the horse. He’s awesome. He knows his job, he loves his job, he goes in there and does what he supposed to. He’s just incredible. I couldn’t ask for a better partnership.

On training with Kyle Carter: “I fell in love with the program and the horses … it has been the most amazing journey. I have learned so much being with Kyle.”

🏅2nd, Isabel Finemore & Rutherglen

When your horse is your best teacher: “Riding Rutherglen is such an experience because he’s done so much and to have Andrew Hoy allow me to ride him is just the most incredible thing ever. He’s so good at teaching me what I have to learn but he’s so good at allowing me to learn and not just doing everything. It’s so unbelievable, from Young Riders in July to this, I’m just shocked.”

🏅3rd: Paige Drury & Shanagore Jenga 

On their show jumping round: “She absolutely loves to jump and so in warmup she was a little more forward than I wanted her in show jumping, but she went in there and just listened so well every time I told her to come back. She’s just been awesome all weekend.”

On their partnership: “She took me to my first Training and we did three Trainings, a Modified, and then moved up to Preliminary. She’s been amazing.”

Final top 5 (view complete results here):

EQUISTRO MODIFIED/TRAINING

🏆1st: Kendyl Tracy & Bobbie Burns

On her mount: “Bobby was good boy today. He’s a 6-year-old Oldenburg born in Louisiana. I have had him since he was 4 years old, and I am the only one who has evented him, bringing him up through the levels.

“This is his first ever away show and I wanted to bring him to some atmosphere in order to give him more experience for the future. It has been a really special week because his owner, Po Tatham, traveled with us and has been helping every step of the way. She has been so supportive throughout his entire development, and I am so thankful for her.”

 How the course rode: “I thought Derek was very clever in asking tough questions that were very fair for the horses. If you rode positively and showed them where they needed to be it rode very smoothly. I am glad that the course was at a championship level so it will prepare him for the next level.

“I think he learned a lot on the course, but he actually came out of the start box the most focused he has ever been before which is pretty exciting because he has grown up so much recently despite only being 6.”

 A horse with character: “He is an in-your-pocket personality. He is always looking for cookies and he is very sweet. He has a very big personality — you can always tell what he is thinking just by the expression on his face.”

Looking ahead to show jumping: “For tomorrow we are going to just do the best we can. He is a very good jumper if I ride to plan, he should jump well, but it is more about the experience than the placing at the end of the day.”

Top 5 after cross country (view complete leaderboard here):

TRAINING RIDER

🏆1st-T: Jackson Dillard

On cross country: “She is so game on the cross country course, she really just stepped out of the box and went for it, it was great.”

On their partnership: “Layla was my high school project. I got her as I started my freshman year of high school, before she really knew a whole lot. She’s really been the horse that’s allowed me to grow and do so much. I’m so glad I can have a horse that’s so game and willing for me. I just gradated high school and I’m actually taking a gap year, so my four-year project just turned into my four-year-plus-one project. I’m going to be a working student for Patrick McGaughan. I’m looking forward to a great year. She’s going to make the move to Prelim after this and we’re going to see where that takes us.”

Looking ahead to show jumping: “It’s a big atmosphere out there but she can really be great. I’m looking forward to it. It’s such an honor to ride in the ring and be here and do all that so I think whatever happens it’s going to be great.”

🏆1st-T: Steph Kohr & Irisina

About her horse: “She’s young – she’s just six – and she moved up to Training earlier this year and it was probably her most confident round yet. I was thrilled with her. There was a lot to do but it was all really inviting – she handled it great and she felt awesome.

“She’s a six year old Dutch horse that I got about a year and a half ago. She didn’t really event last year but she was qualified for the 5-year-old championships but had an abscess so wasn’t able to go. Bad timing. She started eventing this spring down in Florida and has been great.”

On where she calls home: “Waredaca is a big event barn in Area II. We have a lesson program, a Pony Club program, and then I run more of the event training program there. [We have] a lot of students who event but not necessarily all of them. All sorts of levels, everything from starter up through Preliminary, is about where my students are. Most of them are adult amateurs, they do it for fun, I have four of them down here with me this weekend.”

Looking ahead to show jumping: “She’s good, she wants to be pretty careful. Show jumping is probably my weakest phase so we’ll see but she’s a very good jumper. She’s certainly never seen anything like this so we’ll just have to see how she handles it.”

On what’s next: “[She moved up to Training] at the end of March, beginning of April. I want to try to do a Modified with her – after today she certainly felt like she’s ready to move up, we both felt like we were ready move up after today. So, a Modified or maybe a Preliminary at the end of the year and then Prelim in the winter.”

Top 5 after cross country (view full leaderboard here): 

TRAINING HORSE

🏆1st: Madeline Backus and Reflektion’s Rio

On their cross country round: “He was great, he loves cross-country – it’s his favorite out of all three phases. I thought it was a really good championship course. There were some good questions out there. I was able to watch some of the cross-country this morning and it was a little looky, some of the horses were a bit sticky coming into that first water, so I rode a bit aggressively but he took right to it. He was brilliant. We had a lot of fun out there.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow: “[Show jumping] is his hardest phase. He’s not always super careful but it’s just a matter of having fun with him and keeping him happy – that’s our most important thing with him. We’re just looking for a fun weekend.”

On his owner: “Her name is Lynn Roberts, she’s actually a vet. She has been riding him, she does dressage on him. Eventually she’ll ride him more when he’s done with his eventing career but for now she helps keep him happy and healthy. She’s such a great owner – she just wants him to be happy. We get to come out and have fun.”

On their relationship: “I did his first elementary on him. He’s had a couple other riders take him to some events. Now that I’m back home more permanently I’ve been able to ride him consistently.”

Top 5 after cross country (view complete leaderboard here): 

JUNIOR TRAINING

🏆1st: Kiersten Miller & Mama Mia

On her mount: “She was absolutely amazing, each time I get out there with her I think it’s not going to get any better but it does, every single time. She runs better and better and she’s easier to maintain out there and listens so well. She was all game on from start to finish.”

Getting past nerves: “I was definitely nervous this morning because I was taking a look at the scores and seeing that it was definitely causing some trouble so I talked to my coach and he said, ‘You know, you just need to worry about yourself. Go out there and do what you know how to do,’ And then I did the first few fences and realized we were oaky. I thought it was amazing, everything rode great.”

Looking ahead to show jumping: “She’s a really good show jumper but I always struggle with show jumping mentally but she’s absolutely amazing. Once I’m riding her well and balancing her and not taking long distances and really keeping her compact and under herself she jumps amazing. She jumps her heart out over the fences. I’m looking forward to it but the format of these types of events where you have the show jumping last always makes me the most nervous because that for some reason has always been my most nerve-wracking phase.  I think I’m just going to go out there and execute the plan, have fun and relax and enjoy the moment in the Rolex Stadium.”

Top 5 after cross country (view complete leaderboard here): 

NOVICE LEADERBOARDS

Top 5 after dressage (view complete leaderboards here):

Go Eventing!

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