Adult Riders Show Off Spirit at Area VI Twin Rivers Team Challenge

Area VI Adult Riders

The West Coast has a secret – we’re spoiled.

Sure, we might not have one-day events every weekend or Advanced divisions that need to be split into two (at least, not yet!), but to steal a line from taunting high school cheerleaders everywhere – we’ve got spirit, how ‘bout you? From summer camps to trailer caravans that start in the dark and end in the even darker, not only are we “fine, fresh, fierce” – we love to have fun.

The Area VI Adult Team Challenge is just one of the ways the West Coast gets all its members involved. For those that have aged out of eligibility for Young Riders, there is the ATC – an event scheduled and designed for maximum accessibility, learning, and celebrating the sport of eventing, with all its ups and downs.

At the heart of the program, and this event, is the knowledge that adult amateurs are what keep the USEA going. Celebrating the fact that it’s perfectly normal to walk your Novice course and look over at some of the bigger obstacles and just shake your head, the Team Challenge gives those populating the lower levels a chance to compete for big ribbons.

Annie Desmond arrives at Twin Rivers to give new meaning to "Horse Driving". Photo courtesy Annie Desmond.

Annie Desmond arrives at Twin Rivers to give new meaning to “Horse Driving”. Photo courtesy Annie Desmond.

Dawn Robbins, the Area VI Adult Riders co-coordinator, started prepping for the 2015 season early. In the winter, members were polled on various venues for the ATC to increase participation. In January, teams were already starting to form.

Since Area VI Adult Riders also helps teams head to the AEC upon qualification, it was important to have the event earlier in the year (in addition, the summer calendar was already quite full with Adult Rider activities, like the ever popular camps!). The beautiful Twin Rivers Ranch was chosen for its more central location, allowing riders as far as Washington an opportunity to participate.

The Adult Team Challenge rules are as follows: Each ATC team has a maximum of four riders and all must be over the age of 21. One member is allowed to be a professional, but the remaining members must be amateurs (Got to love ATC Training Team “We’ve Got a Ringer!!”’s honesty!).

Area VI membership is not required. In fact, ATC Team “Area VII Yahooligans” are currently leading the Preliminary division! Scratch teams are also made so that everyone can participate. While the Team Challenge goes from Beginner Novice through Preliminary, this year the adult one-star riders will also receive prizes for top finishes.

That’s right, there are prizes! In addition to ribbons, there are custom embroidered coolers, gift certificates from Devoucoux and bottles of Auburn Labs’ APF Pro up for grabs. For the one-star riders, Area VI’s own Ride on Video is pairing with Athletux and Area VI Adult Rider Frankie Theriot-Stutes to interview the top finishers.

ATC Training Team "Fearsome Foursome" of Ronnie Thielmann, Kari Scoggins, Leslie May-LaBraque and Tristen Hooks. Photo courtesy of Dawn Robbins.

ATC Training Team “Fearsome Foursome” of Ronnie Thielmann, Kari Scoggins, Leslie May-LaBraque and Tristen Hooks. Photo courtesy of Dawn Robbins.

With over 30 teams entered, the fun began on Thursday night, with a wine and cheese party for all participants. Dressage day was possibly actually fun on Friday, as teammates watched each other’s rides, gave high fives and planned for the next day.

BN Team “Officer Simmons and the Pot Pies” may not have had their finest day yesterday in stadium, but had a blast nonetheless. Made up of Annie Desmond, Theresa Simmons, Aine Minihane and Maayan Schoeman, this team hails from the barns of David Adamo, their “long suffering and beloved trainer.”

According to Annie, Aine’s and Maayan’s mounts were rather “shocked and awed to find themselves in the middle of a show jump course.” Theresa is riding a borrowed horse she’s only ridden maybe seven times, and Annie had a clear round to trade places in the standings with Theresa.

Their spirits are flying high. “We are having SO much fun!” Annie said. Currently in second place, they are ready to move up and win their coolers!

ATC members at all levels: Coach David Adamo, David Tarpinian, Aine Minihane, Maayan Schoeman, and Heather Bo supporting all the athletes. Photo courtesy Annie Desmond.

ATC members at all levels: Coach David Adamo, David Tarpinian (T), Aine Minihane (BN), Maayan Schoeman (BN) and Heather Bo (N) showing support on dressage day! Photo courtesy Annie Desmond.

Dawn says the goals of the ATC are “to provide a high quality adult amateur focused competition, provide a location to focus and recognize our adult riders for their skills and dedication to the sport and to have fun – all at an international venue.”

This year’s event has certainly exceeded expectations, with many riders on wait lists. So if you thought your junior years of competition were over or found the joy of eventing later in life, have no fear. The Adult Team Challenge is going strong, and remember the Area VI Adult Rider motto -“If  you’re 22, we want YOU!” (I think the “and older” is implied!)

Go Adult Riders, Go West Coast, and Go Eventing!

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