Category Archives: Championships

Entry Deadline Approaching for National Horse Show 3’3” Equitation Championship

Photo: Geoff Teall, Chairman of the Equitation Committee for the National Horse Show.

Lexington, KY – Sept. 25, 2017 – Entries for the inaugural National Horse Show 3’3” Equitation Championship close on September 29, 2017.

The Championship will take place on Sunday, October 29, in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park and will not require riders to be prequalified to participate. The prizes that will be awarded at the end of the class will include a trophy for the winning rider, the winning rider’s name inscribed on a commemorative trophy that will be proudly displayed at the Kentucky Horse Park Museum, as well as a commemorative cooler for the top 10 finalists. A Trainer’s Award will also be presented to the trainer of the winning rider.

“I am very excited for the National Horse Show 3’3″ Equitation Championship class,” said Geoff Teall, Chairman of the Equitation Committee for the National Horse Show Association. “Not only does this class help a whole new tier of riders utilize the equitation division as it was intended, as a learning tool, but it also exposes these same riders to the history and tradition of both our sport and the National Horse Show. Going forward I anticipate this class will become a great and comfortable stepping stone for our young riders of the future.”

While no qualifying classes will be held for the 2017 event, qualifying classes for the 2018 Championship will begin September 1, 2017.

Please email Cindy Bozan at cindy@nhs.org with any questions.

For 84 years, the National Horse Show has hosted the ASPCA Maclay National Championship competition, the most important event in equitation. These finals consistently highlight the country’s top junior equestrian athletes who will go on to be the future professional American equestrians. With the addition of the National Horse Show 3’3” Equitation Championship, riders who have dreams of becoming the next winner of the ASPCA Maclay National Championship will have the opportunity to hone their skills in the same ring as their 3’6” counterparts.

“We are thrilled to support the National Horse Show 3’3” Equitation Championships in its maiden year,” said Jennifer Burger Senior Vice President of the National Horse Show. “This class represents a wonderful opportunity for young riders to compete at our event and we are excited to see the competition grow to become an integral part of the equitation legacy at the National Horse Show.”

With $810,000 in prize money offered, this year’s show has been designated a CSI-W 4* show by the FEI and the International Open Jumpers will compete for almost a half a million dollars in prize money. For the sixth year in a row, The National Show Hunter Hall of Fame has named the CP National Horse Show the ‘Horse Show of the Year’. In 2017, the top-rated hunter sections have a total purse of $195,000.

For information regarding the National Horse Show 3’3″ Equitation Championship competition and its rules and regulations, click here.

Mills, McCutcheon, Reynolds Crowned at USEF Reining National Championships

Photo: Matt Mills and Wimps Cool Breeze (Waltenberry)

Lexington, Ky. – Three 2017 USEF Reining National Championship titles were up for grabs at the Tulsa Reining Classic at Expo Square in Tulsa, Okla. Matt Mills and Wimps Cool Breeze claimed top honors in the Adequan $10,000 Added USEF Open National Championship presented by Markel Insurance. In the $2,000 Added USEF Youth National Championship, Kalena Reynolds and Gun Whiz It won the 13 & Under division, while Cade McCutcheon and REF Sturgis were crowned the champions in the 14-18 division.

In the Adequan $10,000 Added USEF Open National Championship presented by Markel Insurance, Mills (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Wimps Cool Breeze performed a great round across the board to impress the judges as they performed pattern nine. Mills and Janice Dickson’s seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion earned a score of 221.5 to win the championship.

“I think the horse really circled well. It felt like a round where nothing stood out more than anything else. It was a really solid round from start to finish, but if I have to pick something, I would say the circles were very good,” Mills said of his ride on Wimps Cool Breeze. “I have had this horse going for quite a while, and he has always been good in the show ring.”

Mills last won a USEF national championship title in 2006 and was happy to add another accolade to his resume. “It feels great and feels great for the owners. This is their second experience with an FEI/USEF horse. … We are aiming for the WEG [the FEI World Equestrian Games] next year.”

Casey Deary (Weatherford, Texas) finished second and third after finishing one point apart on his two mounts. Deary and Reeboks Rerun, his son Owen Deary’s 15-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, took the reserve champion title with a score of 219.5, while he and Who Dat Hot Chic, Neiberger Performance Horses LLC’s seven-year-old Quarter Horse mare, finished third with a score of 218.5.

Fresh off his trip to the 2017 SVAG FEI World Reining Championships for Juniors and Young Riders, McCutcheon (Aubrey, Texas) rode REF Sturgis to the win in the 14-18 division of the $2,000 Added USEF Youth National Championship. He and Anne-Marie Burns’s five-year-old Quarter Horse gelding had a solid performance of pattern 12 to receive a score of 219.0.

“He was really good. Easy. His circles were good, he stopped well, and the whole round was pretty dang good,” McCutcheon said of his first-ever ride on REF Sturgis. “It feels good. This was my first time in this division, so it was fun to do something new.”

Dani Latimer (Marietta, Okla.) was McCutcheon’s teammate on the Platinum Performance U.S. Young Rider Team at the world championships, and she was not far behind him. She and Sparklin Nite, Elaine Latimer’s five-year-old Quarter Horse stallion, scored 217.5 to be named the reserve champion. Blair Thompson (Amarillo, Texas) and Whiz N Chica Dee, her own eight-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, finished third with a score of 214.0.

In the $2,000 Added USEF Youth National Championship 13 & Under division, Reynolds (Whitesboro, Texas) and Gun Whiz It laid down a good run of pattern 12 to finish atop the leaderboard. Reynolds and Tammy Reynolds’s six-year-old Quarter Horse mare won with a score of 212.5.

“It was very good; we were together on all maneuvers. She was really with me,” Reynolds said. “It’s really amazing! I’m very thankful. I haven’t had this mare very long, but we have gotten along well together.”

Carlee McCutcheon (Aubrey, Texas) and Whatta Royal Vintage, Tom and Mandy McCutcheon’s eight-year-old Quarter Horse mare, were the reserve champions with a score of 208.0.

Find more information at www.tulsareining.com.

By Kathleen Landwehr, US Equestrian Communications Department

Marilyn Little Maintains Lead in USEA Advanced Gold Cup Division

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – September 2, 2017 – The fourth day of the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena® saw another large group of divisions conclude with impressive show jumping rounds, while the remaining horse and rider combinations tackled their cross-country courses at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Riders from the Novice divisions and a single Preliminary division were honored and recognized with final awards, while the Beginner Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced divisions will conclude Sunday, September 3.

Adequan® USEA Advanced Gold Cup

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous produced a double clear show jumping round to keep a tight hold on their lead in front of an enthusiastic crowd, as they head into the final phase of cross-country in the Adequan® USEA Advanced Gold Cup division. The pair made easy work of the track underneath the lights to remain on their score of 27.8.

“I’ve jumped a lot of classes in this ring, and it’s been a lucky ring for me so far,” said Little. “I hope I get luckier, but it’s been a great experience. It’s special to get to bring Scandalous in here to take center stage; she deserves this so it’s cool for me.”

In preparation for jumping under the lights, Little arranged for RF Scandalous, a 12-year-old Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Richardia) owned by Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Phoebe & Michael Manders, to travel with her show jumping string to Balmoral Park in Chicago, IL to contest an evening class.

“I actually drove her to Chicago so I could do a night class. I was really glad that I did because it also affected her quite seriously in the warm-up area. She’s just a smart horse and she was a little nervous in the ring under the lights last time, so I didn’t know if she was still going to be that way, but, she’s such a smart horse and she’s a good partner, so she took what she learned and came out really solid tonight.”

Jennie Brannigan continues to sit in second place aboard her longtime and veteran mount Cambalda, a 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse by Balda Beau out of Cathys Lady and is owned by Nina Gardner. Brannigan, who managed an unusually sensitive “Ping” in the warm-up, encountered some trouble before heading into the ring, but produced a nearly foot perfect round to hold their placing on the leaderboard.

“I had an interesting warm-up. I don’t think I’ve ever jumped that horse under the lights before. He was quite fresh and I thought that was going to be a good thing. I warmed up with Phillip and he was building square oxers. I don’t know if it was the combination of the lights, but I crashed into a jump and fell on my hand,” she explained.

“I know that horse well and I haven’t had a bad warm-up like that ever, but he jumped well, so that’s good. He’s consistent, so I was a little worried about what he was going to do, but he jumped great once we got out in the ring.”

Angela Bowles traveled all of the way from the state of Texas to contest the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena® and was thrilled with her rise up the leaderboard on Bliss III, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Corland x Lenja) owned by Alyssa Phillips. The pair was holding fifth place following dressage, but a strong show jumping round propelled them up the leaderboard where they now occupy third place.

“I’ve been helping Alyssa with Bliss since we imported the horse about three years ago, and I’ve ridden her on and off throughout that time as Alyssa has been transitioning from high school to college. I recently retired my upper level horse and Alyssa has been super busy with school. She has two other horses to ride, so she was really gracious to let me have the ride on her,” explained Bowles. “We targeted this because we were qualified, so we came and I’ve show jumped the horse a lot. I like to do ‘A’ shows in Texas and I’ve done a couple of grand prix classes on the mare. I did the Wellington Eventing Showcase on the mare, so I know her very well and it’s a big atmosphere.”

The pair’s last Advanced level outing together was at The Colorado Horse Park earlier in the month, so Bowles is excited to test the track at TIEC to better gauge where their blossoming partnership stands. She added, “I’m going to go have another look around the course tomorrow. I don’t know the mare as well at this level, so our first Advanced cross-country was a month ago in Colorado. I’m going to get out there in the morning and then make a plan from there.”

Boehringer Ingelheim Open Intermediate

Jennie Brannigan has been busy gathering top finishes across multiple divisions throughout the week, and called this afternoon’s cross-county run a success. “Today was good. I ate some Mexican food, took a nap and woke up to watch Lynn and Donner ride at Burghley on the replay, and I was like, ‘All right, let’s go fast.’ And they’re both cool horses. They’re both only seven years old.

“I’ve always believed in Twilightslastgleam. He loves cross-country and is a Thoroughbred, so he’s quite natural at it. He’s got a smaller step, so there’s a lot of options for doing different strides on this course, so I actually did one set of strides on one horse and one on the other, which is different for me,” she commented.

Brannigan learned that Twilightslastgleam had risen the ranks to first place while she was already on course with FE Lifestyle. “You’re always wondering whether to go for time or not. On FE Lifestyle I knew I was tied for first, but on Twilightslastgleam I wasn’t sure, and then I decided to have a crack at it anyway,” she said. “So we’ll see how tomorrow goes. Both of these are exciting horses for the Gardiners, because we need the future, and they are the future, and it’s cool to see them stepping up to the game and into the spotlight,” she concluded.

Charlotte Collier, aboard Parker Collier’s Clifford M, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cristo x Naomi IV), sits in third after finishing with 3.6 time penalties on cross-country, improving her first day rank by two.

Novice Horse

The Novice Horse division saw Booli Selmayr and Thomas Duggan’s Kildare’s MHS Tampa, a 5-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Quintender x Lady Ligustra)remain in first place throughout all three phases of competition to finish on top of the division.

“The course today was so nice,” said Selmayr. “It flowed so nicely, made you think a little and not just gallop around. It tests the obedience and the stamina of the horse.”

Despite only working with this horse since the spring, Selmayr says that the young mare has taken to the atmosphere of Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) remarkably well.

“We got here Monday after a 15.5-hour drive from NY, so I was interested in seeing how she was going to be this weekend. It’s such a big atmosphere and she’s just five, but she’s been so calm the whole time. She’s such a competitor and she’s such a workhorse. She doesn’t really get flustered by anything,” she explained.

Next, the pair will finish off the year with Young Horse Championships at Fair Hill. “After that we will take her down to Aiken, and I definitely think she can do a 1* next year. She’s a classy mare and she has the breeding to be a top-level horse, and as long as she’s still happy doing that, that’s what we are going to do.”

Ashley Giles and her own Chayenne, a 6-year-old Trakehner mare (Elfado x Charima), also stayed consistent throughout all three phases to finish in second place. Giles explained that she qualified for this week’s competition aboard Chayenne after competing and winning their first show together with a broken back.

“I got this mare back in November and I was coming back from a three-year eventing hiatus. I started bonding with her, and then we entered our first horse trial. The day beforehand, I broke my back and didn’t figure it out until after I’d competed. She’s a fabulous horse and won that horse trial, and then we qualified, which was our goal all along.”

Coming into the course, Giles was feeling the pressure, she said, but her mount performed beautifully nonetheless. “She was fabulous yesterday, and I thought the cross-country course was super fun, and I loved [how it twisted]. It was super fun to ride. I had never been sitting in this position before going into the final phase, so I was pretty nervous going into show jumping, but she went in, and she did her job. She’s a brilliant horse. Every day that I get to sit on her, I feel lucky,” she concluded.

Jennie Brannigan rode Justine Dutton’s Arctic Tiger, a 5-year-old British Sport Horse, to a third-place finish, moving up from their previously-held fourth place rank and posting two double clear rounds.

“Unfortunately Justine is hurt, so she asked me to take the ride. I had only sat on him twice before this week, and it’s his first AEC, so I know that she was really happy. I’m happy that she trusts me enough to take him out,” said Brannigan. “He’s a great mover, and this was a lot, since it’s a big atmosphere. He was a little nervous out on cross-country, but I was really impressed with him today. He went out and stepped up to the plate,” she concluded.

Novice Amateur

Bailey Snyder and her own Corina, a 7-year-old Holsteiner mare (Acorino x Phaedre), cruised through the show jumping phase to remain at the top of the Novice Amateur division, maintaining the first-place slot they had occupied since Thursday’s dressage test.

“Going into dressage she was just being a star, despite the weather and the rain, and she put in a really good test followed by a super confident cross-country round, so today there was definitely some pressure,” she said. “It’s a great division and scores were all really high, so my goal was to just go in and do the best we could. It was awesome and she was a super star.”

The pair has been climbing the ranks in eventing since Corina came to Snyder as an unbroken four-year-old, and she’s excited to see where they go from here.

“I’m going into my senior year of college, so my goal with her is to just keep her happy and healthy. I’m up for whatever she is confident enough to do. We’ve got an easy fall planned after this, and then we will look to the spring to get to some good shows that we can travel to and see some more exciting venues. We will definitely come back to Tryon to see what she can take on. She’s still a young horse so we are trying to get her more confident and ready to move up,” she concluded.

Savannah Welch and her own Langcaster, an 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Languster x Galiffi), maintained her second-place status throughout the week despite a hectic effort to save her horse from the path of Hurricane Harvey. “We are from Houston, so we kind of just threw the horse in the trailer and say ‘we are leaving NOW,’ two days early,” she said.

“It takes him a while to get used to everything because he is also young and is still learning how to settle in with situations like this. With dressage, he did everything right, and I couldn’t have asked more of him,” she commented. “We bought him as a four-year-old that didn’t really know anything and my trainer and I have taken him along, improving his scores and working on his confidence. Now we are just taking his education step by step.”

As a senior in college, Welch said it’s sometimes difficult to keep a strict competition schedule, but she plans to end her fall strong, adding, “Maybe we’ll compete in more Novices and hopefully move up to Training next year,” she concluded.

Krissy Smith Shellenberger and her own Invictus, a 7-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Ibisco x Viness SH) rose from fourth place to claim the third-place slot with a four-fault show jumping round.

Novice Rider

Ryan Bell and Way Jose, a 14-year-old Thoroughbred (Jose x Riverside Charmer) owned by Karen Czarick, climbed to the top of the leaderboard in the Novice Rider division at the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena®. Bell, a dressage competitor that recently began eventing, won the division on his dressage score of 25.8.

“I was a dressage rider and I got bucked off a couple of dressage horses, so I got a little nervous riding my own horses and I thought ‘Okay, I really need to push myself out of my comfort zone.’ So, what’s more out of a dressage rider’s comfort zone than eventing? So here we are,” commented Bell. “It feels amazing,” he continued. “I’m a little shocked because I didn’t think it would happen. I think I got lucky, but I tried really hard and did the best I could, so I’m really happy that it all paid off.”

Lenora Evan Hollmann moved up in the standings following cross-country and rode a double clear round aboard her own Christian Grey, a 7-year-old PMU gelding. “He’s such a trier,” said Hollmann, “He’s always there for me. I want to move up to Training with him, but for now we are just having so much fun together enjoying the moment.”

Hollmann adopted the gelding as a 3-year-old from LastChance Corral in Ohio. “LastChance Corral got him at about a week old and so he was a bucket fed baby, and he was sold to me only with the description, ‘has done parades.'”

Liza Bunce and Gail Bunce’s 17-year-old Appendix Quarter Horse gelding, Chance, started out the competition in ninth and made a climb throughout the weekend to end up in third place, adding nothing to her dressage score of 27.3. Of her experience at AEC, Bunce said, “It’s been a great weekend. It’s wonderful for my horse to get this exposure. The course was incredible; the footing was amazing. We really don’t get too much of the opportunity to go from the arena to grass back to the arena. It was so different but so worth coming here to compete.”

Master Novice Amateur

Megan Northrop maintained her first-place position throughout the phases aboard her own Fleur De Lis, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred mare, to finish on top of the Master Novice Amateur division.

“Show jumping tends to be my weakest phase, and I felt a little rattled coming in on the top. My mare jumped so great yesterday,” she said. “She has grown so much this year. I knew she was brave and I knew that if I just left her alone a little bit, she would go. She got a little too forward on me a couple of times today, and I had to correct that, but for the most part, she did what I asked and I’m really proud of her for that.”

Sarah Wildasin and James Wildasin’s Totally Awesome Bosco, a 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, improved their third-place spot to finish in second. “I was just very happy to remember where I had to go,” she commented. “My horse is amazing and does everything. I just have to steer and go along for the ride!”

Jenny Brinkley and her own Guinness X, a 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, rose from fifth place after cross-country to collect third in the division final. “I have one of those once in a lifetime horses,” she said. “I did the first AEC that they ever held, and then topped out at Preliminary level with him. He was so talented that my trainer took him through Advanced, and then my daughter took him out at Intermediate and was very successful at Young Riders with him,” she continued. “[My daughter] went off to college and then I got him back, and my goal was to get back here to AEC. Now, I’m just happy to be here.”

Junior Novice

Sunny Courtwright and her 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, Around Midnight, were crowned the final champions of the 2017 AEC. Courtwright lead the Junior Novice division from start to finish on her dressage score of 23.5.

“Marble was really good today. I just can’t believe this,” said an awe-struck Courtwright. “I loved the course. I was just worried about the distractions, but she was perfect. This whole week has been so fun. It’s gone by so fast and I’m sad it’s going to be over soon.”

Courtwright and third place finisher Suzanne Stevens both ride out of Mike Huber’s Gold Chip Stables in Fort Worth, TX. “It’s really fun to be here with Sonny and my other barn mates from Texas,” commented Stevens.

Kira Cibak and her own October Tryst had a clear round in the show jumping to move them from fourth to second. She and the 11-year-old Morgan gelding finished on their dressage score of 27.8. Cibak said, “This was my first AEC so I was really happy with my horse. We are going to try to move to Training, we are going to try to move up and see where that goes!”

Suzanne Stevens and her own Smokin’ Boots, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred mare (More Smoke x Miss Boot Scoot) ended in third on a 28.8. “This is the biggest show my horse has been to, so it’s been a great experience for the both of us. She’s come so far,” Stevens concluded.

Beginner Novice Horse

Amanda Ruane and her own Bally Lord Who, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, maintained their lead in the Beginner Novice Horse division, mastering the track and continuing on their original dressage score of 22.3 to hold top honors heading into show jumping.

“He felt so good today. Cross-country is always his favorite phase,” said Ruane. “The biggest thing with him is that he’s 17hh. He’s a big horse, so we need to work on not eating up the time so quickly. A couple of times I had to check my watch and then say ‘Okay, let’s take a breather and tone it down a notch.’ He’s bold and brave, and he’s a really fun ride.”

Beth Stelzleni and Mighty Handsome, a 5-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Mighty Magic x SPS Whitney) kept their second-place position with a score of 25.8, while Holly Payne-Caravella piloted Benjamin Button, a 4-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Classic Alliance x Lively Lady) owned by Kathleen Hall, also maintaining their 25.8 score to remained tied with Stelzeni for second place.

Beginner Novice Amateur

After moving up from third place, Leah Backus and her own Diamond of Truth, a 5-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Salute the Truth x Mainways Queen of Diamonds), have taken the lead in the Beginner Novice Amateur division heading into the show jumping phase.

Backus bred Diamond of Truth and has enjoyed bringing him along for the past few years, she said, and was excited to achieve her goal of making it to AECs this year. “I liked going up on the hill so that you could look out over the [cross-country] course,” she said about her ride.

“When we got up there, my horse kind of looked out over the field, and our course was going pretty well at that point, so it was pretty exciting. For tomorrow, he’s never been in a ring that big, so I think he’ll be excited. He’s enjoying the show scene, so I think he’ll like it, and maybe he’ll perform extra well.”

Despite two time penalties, Diane Zrimsek aboard her own Coronado Charlie, an 8-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Bwana Charlie x Pleasure Hunt), sit tied for second place with Nicole Thomas and her own Here N’ Now, an 18-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding.

Beginner Novice Rider

After two phases Kathleen Bertuna and her own Millye’s Mojave, a 12-year-old OTTB gelding (Mojave Moon x Slew the Dragoness) have moved from third to first place in the Beginner Novice Rider division following their clear cross-country round.

Bertuna was happy with her mount’s focus on the fences and said the course encompassed the many tests of horse and rider she’s seen all year. “There were a lot of tests, from the changes in terrain to riding towards and away from the warm up area, towards and away from the barn area, and the difference between the ring and the wet, sometimes muddy grass, up and down the hill-it definitely tested all those facets that we’ve been working on all year in all the different courses and put them all into one big course,” she explained.

After nineteen years away from the sport and wanting to return on a safe horse, Bertuna connected with Millye’s Mojave last November. The Seattle Slew-bred gelding is “just a prince,” she said, and the pair will likely move up to Novice.

“He is wonderful. He takes care of me and has gotten me back into the business very nicely. At the beginning of this season Beginner Novice was looking really big, but now it’s looking more manageable, so I’m hoping that there will be a nice move up in the spring.” For now, she’s just looking to put in an accurate and forward course in the show jumping phase.

Kymberly Pullen and Sara Webb’s Homer, a 15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Golden Missile x Zaza), currently sit in second place 1.5 points behind Bertuna, while Amber Duncan and her own Renegade, a 10-year-old paint gelding (Reflecting Merle x Windy’ Rascal Dottie), hold third place.

Master Beginner Novice Amateur

Carrie Griffen continues her lead going into the show jumping round, clutching first place aboard her own Feuertanzer ES, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Nicholas x Daybreak) on their original dressage score of 23.3.

Robin Barr and her own Tout Fini, a 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Purge x Firehouse Waltz), maintain their second-place spot with a score of 24.8, while Cindi Moravec and her own Holloway have a new hold on third place after receiving a 27.3.

Junior Beginner Novice Fourteen and Under

Ashley Stout and her own Deo Volente, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, remain on top of the Junior Beginner Novice Fourteen and Under division following their clear round in the cross-country phase.

Stout commented that her ride was a huge improvement from the pair’s two most recent cross-country runs, so she’s pleased with her mount’s effort. “I felt like it went really well. We were a little looky at some fences, but we managed to get over them and push through it and he was very willing with everything.”

“We were actually a little fast-we had a minute left at the third to last jump, so we ended up doing some circles and making it through with four minutes and thirty seconds. I’m super proud of him,” she explained. “My plan [for tomorrow] is to get through without knocking anything down. I’ve looked at the course, and it’s challenging, but not too bad,” she concluded.

Avery Cascarino remains in second aboard Gloria Cascarino’s Dudley Do Right, a 13-year-old gelding, with a score of 20, while Viktorija Petraitis and Our Little Secret, a 15-year-old Arabian gelding owned by the Petraitis Family, continue to hold third place with a score of 25.

Junior Beginner Novice

Brynn Hershbine and Rowan Edmonds both went around the cross-country without a hitch, so they remain tied for first in the Junior Beginner Novice division. If they both jump double clear in show jumping, it will be Hershbine who is named champion as she crossed the finish line closer to the optimum time of 5:02 with Julie Hershbine’s Cadenza Aria, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare (Turnofthecentury x Whisper).

Edmonds, riding Liberty Bell, a 9-year-old Thoroughbred mare (Hellion x Beth) owned by Michelle Jones was eight seconds faster.

Sydney Lee accrued 1.2 time penalties with Sweet Georgia Brown, dropping her from third to fourth. Carson Birdsong moved up into third with Ballygrace Laralai, an 11-year-old Irish Draught mare (Glenlara x Significadre) owned by Brooke Birdsong.

Preliminary Horse

Jennie Brannigan moved up from second place to finish on top of the Preliminary Horse division concluding with a clear round in the show jumping phase aboard Grayson Wall’s Balmoral Oakey, a 10-year-old Australian Warmblood mare (Falchrich x Diamond Sea Road).

Brannigan explained that Balmoral Oakey is for sale, and that this horse has the potential to move past the Preliminary division. “I knew [coming into today] that she hadn’t had a rail in like two years or something like that, so I was a little bit nervous thinking ‘Wow,’ I’m going to be the one to mess that up,’ but she jumped great. She’s obviously a super horse so I just trusted her to do her job, and she obviously knows what that job is.”

Brannigan has been winning across multiple divisions this week and currently sits in second place in the competitive Adequan® USEA Advanced Gold Cup division aboard her longtime mount Cambalda.

“I was joking around [earlier] because last year I brought a bunch of horses and I think only placed 15th with one of them, so I’d say this year has gotten off to a better start. I’m really grateful for that and I just hope that I can continue to keep things going in the right direction,” she commented.

Leslie Law and Beatrice Rey-Herme’s LCC Vogue, a 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Kroongraaf x Clear Cavalier), rode to a second-place finish, and he said that LCC Vogue has only done a handful of Preliminary level competitions so far. “We could have gone at this at training level, but I thought that the Prelim would be a decent challenge for him, and would be much more educational,” he said. “He’s a lovely horse and he has an incredible future. I’m excited that he was second. I think that this facility is a wonderful experience for the younger horses, and I think in the end it was all done very well,” he noted.

Third place went to Alexandra Knowles aboard Katherine O’Brien’s Business Class, a 7-year-old Selle Francais gelding, moving up from sixth place after cross-country. Business Class was imported from Ireland at the beginning of this year.

“I actually haven’t done a lot with him due to an injury in March, but he’s an absolutely fantastic horse. He’s cool as a cucumber, and all of the pressure is on me to do it right because if I do it right, he’ll definitely step up to the plate. He cruised around cross-country this week, and was great. I really enjoy riding him and am looking forward to moving up to the next level with him,” she commented.

“I thought the course was very fun, and it was very different from anything that I have done before. I really enjoyed it. The facility is second to none-it’s been a great experience. I never want to leave! Everything you need is here, and it’s beautiful. It doesn’t get much better than this,” Knowles concluded.

For more information on the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena®, please visit www.useventing.com and to learn more about Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.

Dressage Continues at USEA American Eventing Championships

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

First Set of Divisions Takes to Cross-Country

Mill Spring, NC – August 31, 2017 – The 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena® continued with the second day of competition at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), featuring both dressage and cross-country competition throughout the day.

USEA Adequan® Gold Cup Final Advanced

Marilyn Little and Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Phoebe and Michael Manders’ RF Scandalous (Carry Gold x Richardia) currently lead the Adequan® USEA Gold Cup Final Advanced division by less than two points on a 27.8. Little and the 12-year-old Oldenburg mare are considered to be nearly unbeatable on the flat and have won their last three starts at the three-star level, including The Fork earlier this spring, which ran over the same cross-country track riders will tackle.

“She was a little fresh today, a little more fresh than normal,” said Little. “It’s her first run back so it was exciting to get her back and she was very enthusiastic. The trot work wasn’t as subtle today as it could’ve been, but I was fully pleased with the effort she made with the canter and the changes were nice. It’s good to see them this enthusiastic. She’s in a bit of a transition phase and I think that we saw some of that today, but I think that in the next few months with her we can get that resolved and bring the impulsion in with the quietness that she lacks.”

“I’ve done a couple of schools with her, and I was quite shocked by how bold she was, how brave she is,” said Little of how RF Scandalous has been on cross-country since competing in her first four-star at Luhmühlen in June. “I’m hoping that she is going to be as rideable as I would like her to be, but there is a fine line because I also want her to continue to come out and say, ‘We got this!’ She’s really enthusiastic this week and I don’t want to take that away from her, and hopefully she continues to just let me drive.”

The only other pair to break into the sub-30 marks was Jennie Brannigan and Nina Gardner’s 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Cambalda (Balda Beau x Cathys Lady), who are sitting in second place on a 29.6.

“It was an interesting preparation for this particular horse for this event,” said Brannigan, who just returned from competing at Millstreet International Horse Trials in Ireland. “This is Cambalda and he’s super, but I haven’t gotten a chance to really work on the test. I flew in and did a jump school and then came straight here. I didn’t get to go over any of the movements. I always seem to run him in CIC three-stars and I’ve only done that test once on him and it was at the Wellington Eventing Showcase, so I definitely felt like I couldn’t go in and completely nail it necessarily, but he’s such a good boy.”

Hot on their heels and tied for third place on a 30.7 heading into cross-country are Phillip Dutton with Kristine Norton’s I’m Sew Ready, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lupicor x Jarda), and Jordan Linstedt with her own and Barbara Linstedt’s 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding, RevitaVet Capato (Contendro I x Annabelle).

“It went okay today,” said Dutton of his ride on I’m Sew Ready. “I made plenty of mistakes and there are always areas that I can improve on, but overall he’s a good moving horse with a nice outline, so when things don’t go perfectly he does still get decent scores.”

“After such a great test at Bromont, and [with] his dressage getting better and better recently, the plan was definitely to go in and be very competitive, which he can be consistently,” said Linstedt. “Although coming from the West Coast is exhausting on the horses and riders, and I think that took a little bit of a toll on him. I didn’t feel like he was quite as bright or it wasn’t maybe my best test yet, but with the break that he had coming back after Bromont I thought that it was still a very fairly scored test, and obviously it’s competitive, so to be up in the top three. I’m thrilled.”

Novice Amateur

Bailey Snyder aboard her own Corina earned the lowest score of the week thus far, a 20.5, for first place in the Novice Amateur division. “She has been really good settling in all week, and she went in today feeling awesome, despite the rain, and really did her job,” said Snyder of the 7-year-old Holsteiner mare by Acorino out of Phaedre. “She had her head down and her brain turned on. It was awesome.”

Snyder and Corina’s partnership began Snyder’s freshman year of college when Corina was an unbroken 4-year-old. “With my trainer, Angela Bowles, we taught her everything [about eventing] once we had her saddle broken.”

Snyder’s thoughts on the cross-country course? “The course looks great! The plan is to just keep her confident and relaxed the whole way around, keep her enjoying what she’s doing, and keep her head focused.”

Eleanor Wassenberg with her own 18-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Matapeake, who finished second in the Beginner Novice Master Amateur here last year, and Savannah Welch and her own Langcaster, an 8-year-old Oldenberg gelding (Languster x Galiffi), are tied for second place on a score of 21.8.

Novice Master Amateur

Megan Northrop and her own Fleur de Lis scored a 24.5 to lead the Novice Master Amateur division. Northrop said she felt very pleased with the 7-year-old Thoroughbred mare, who she originally purchased as a resale project.

“I still feel like there is room for improvement, she could’ve been a little more relaxed. She’s always been very obedient, she’s very deliberate with her footsteps and lets me put in an accurate test,” she said. “Our time together has been a little bit inconsistent. We have one show under our belt and one this spring, but we had a little trouble this summer with training, so I’m thrilled that she’s back on top again.”

Annette Reals and Knight’s Tale, her own 16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, sit in second place on a score of 26.3 and the third-place pair, Sarah Wildasin aboard James Wildasin’s 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Totally Awesome Bosco, are half a point behind on a 26.8.

Novice Rider

Lauren Chumley and Melissa Dowling’s 6-year-old Sport Pony, Nikolas (Novalis T x Capina Mia) swept the Novice Rider division with a score of 23.8. “He was a little tight in the beginning but we just hacked around and that was the ticket,” said Chumley. “He was really soft and loose and obedient. He’s been to a lot of shows and he’s been here before too, so this isn’t too busy of a venue for him.”

Chumley imported Nikolas from Germany as a 2-year-old and broke him herself. “I’ve been riding him his whole life. He’s actually a dressage horse. I brought him here last year and he did really well in the Beginner Novice, so we moved him up this year.”

“He’s a really good cross-country horse,” she concluded. “Tomorrow I hope to go clean and fast, and I hope to not do anything stupid!”

Second place in this division went to Claire Solomon and George Wintersteen’s Ballyneety, an 11-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding, on a score of 25.0 with Di Stebbins and her own 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Spot On Cosmos by Travellers Gallaxy), close behind in third on a 25.5.

Novice Horse

Booli Selmayr and Thomas Duggan’s 5-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, Kildare’s MHS Tampa (Quintender x Lady Ligustra), lead the 42-horse Novice Horse division on a 24.3. “She was super workman-like,” said Selmayr. “She’s always had this great workman-like way about her, and honestly this atmosphere lifted her, so she was even more impressive, and still rideable – she’s a real competitor, and I was so happy with how today went.”

Duggan imported Kildare’s MHS Tampa from Ireland in January of this year, and Selmayr began riding her in April. “She’s going to go to the 5-year-old [USEA Young Event Horse] Championships at Fair Hill in the fall, and she’s a real class mare and could just keep going up the levels if that’s what Tom wants her to do.”

Selmayr is looking forward to the cross-country course. “The fences are actually nice sizes for her, because she can actually jump them versus just trotting over them. She has an amazing jump so I think the way they’re decorated is going to set her up to have a nice jump over the whole course.”

Just 0.2 points behind Selmayr and Kildare’s MHS Tampa with a score of 24.5 are Ashley Giles and her own Chayenne, a 6-year-old Trakehner mare by Elfado out of Charima. Taylor Blumenthal and Martha Woodham’s 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, Saxon Mills (Fitz x Criss Cross), round out the top three 0.3 points behind them on 24.8. Less than four points currently separate the top 15 combinations in this division.

Junior Novice

The top three spots in the Junior Novice division after dressage all went to riders who hail from Texas. Sunny Courtwright and her own Around Midnight are leading the field of 59 on a 23.5.

Courtwright and the 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare got caught in a downpour right as they began their test, but she said it was the best test she feels they’ve had in a while. The pair has only been together for nine months.

“Lately she’s been a little stiff, but I had my trainer’s assistant work with me to keep her moving, but it magically clicked,” commented Courtwright. “Then we went in and we had to go past the box a couple times, but it was really nice, and she was really great.”

“My game plan is to go fast – I’m pretty slow on the time, so I’ll have to tell myself to be brave,” said Cartwright of her game plan for the cross-country. “It’s a pretty windy course, so I’ll just have to focus on the minute marks. When I have a chance to get going, I’ll have to go really quick.”

In second place are Suzanne Stevens and her own Smokin’ Boots, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred mare (More Smoke x Miss Boot Scoot) on a score of 24.8, and two points behind them in third place are Chloe Johnson and DaVinci, her own 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding by Byars out of Super Mount.

Preliminary Rider

The Preliminary Rider division saw a new combination rise to the top of the leaderboard as Coti Hausman and Quantico, a 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Quite Easy I x Little Black), took over the lead after the second phase of competition and head into show jumping on a score of 32.6 after cross-country.

“It started out nice and fast up top. He’s always ready to go when he leaves the start box, despite the fact that he’s pretty quiet in warm-up,” commented Hausman. “He rode around the course great, I planned on doing more strides with most of the combinations, but as he rode around he got stronger and stronger so we ended up doing the faster lines. We did the five in the combinations behind the barns, so he trucked around really great. I was a little nervous about the hill, but I balanced him and he rocked it, jumping whatever was in front of him.”

The division will conclude with show jumping and Hausman will look to keep her grasp on the lead ahead of Denise Goyea and Highlife’s Je T’aime, a 9-year-old Oldenburg mare (Der Dollar x Jeunesse D’Or) owned by Madeline Hartsock, who are currently in second place with a 32.6 and Caitlin Silliman and Q-Brook Stables LLC’s Ally Kgo, a 6-year-old Trakehner mare (Hirtentanz x Anabel Lee), sit in third place on a 33.2 after cross-country.

Preliminary Amateur

Cindy Buchanan and her own Flying Candles, a 11-year-old Thoroughbred mare (Icognito x Flying Pidgeon) climbed to the top of the Preliminary Amateur division, mastering the track and maintaining their dressage score of 35.1 to hold top honors leading into show jumping.

“Today was awesome,” commented Buchanan. “My mare is pretty good in the mud because she’s done a lot of foxhunting. She’s a homebred and we live in Unionville, so she’s been doing a lot of foxhunting and showjumping. I started eventing her about three years ago.”

Kathy Cain piloted her own Legal Limit, a 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Secret Prince x Cheese Blintze), to second in the standings, collecting an additional 1.6 time penalties for a score of 35.4. Victoria Miller and her own Like Magic, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Ghostly Minister x Dancing Trieste) secured third place after crossing through the finish to sit on a 35.6.

Preliminary Horse

The Preliminary Horse division saw Bella Mowbray and Ruth Bley’s En Vouge, move up from second to first place after Thursday’s cross-country run with 12-year-old Hanoverian mare (Earl x Laurena). The pair finished with a total score of 25.5 total, adding two time penalties to their dressage score.

“I had a great ride,” Mowbray commented. “I’m really lucky to be riding such a sure-footed horse with the weather that we had. I had a lot of fun out there. The course was awesome. It was a really forward-testing course but it rode beautifully. I have a sure-footed horse, so I was just a little more cautious downhill and on some of the turns, but everything rode to plan, definitely.”

Jennie Brannigan moved into second place with Balmoral Oakey, a 10-year-old Warmblood mare (Falchrich x Diamond) owned by Grayson Wall, with a 26.1. Third place is currently being held by Leslie Law aboard Beatrice Rey-Herme’s LCC Vogue, a 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, on a score of 26.8 penalties.

Junior/Young Rider Preliminary

Kathrine Knowles and her own 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, Cillnabradden Ceonna (Creevagh Grey Rebel x Willow Garden), overtook the lead in the Junior/ Young Rider Preliminary division after a dashing trip around the cross-country track. The pair will look to secure top honors in the division after the completion of the final phase and will move forward on a score of 28.2.

Knowles has been riding the mare for two years now and commented, “My horse was perfect. She’s always perfect, but this time I was able to be supportive enough to really help her out. I just keep kicking and she really helps me out. I thought the course was really fun and the footing seemed to really hold up, so I think it went well!”

Ali Scannell and her own Faolan, a 13-year-old Irish Draught Sport Horse gelding, are currently placed within striking distance on a 29.2, while Adriana Beruvides and Consensus, a 17-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Contucci x Miss Me Not) owned by Julie Norman, secured third place with a 30.7.

Professional’s Choice Training Amateur

Carolyn Johnson held her lead aboard her own Black Label, a 6-year-old Thoroughbred (Judith’s Wild Rush x Lovely Keri), in the Professional’s Choice Training Amateur division after cruising around cross-country to remain on their score of 26.6.

“I think the course is great. There were definitely some trickier moments out there. I think it’s a lot for a young horse to take in, so it’s been quite the experience for him this year,” said Johnson. “I thought the jumps were very nice and it was the stuff around the fences that caught his eye. I thought that he was super honest and quite good to the fences and did his job.”

With the possibility of maintaining her lead through each of the three phases, Johnson noted that she is excited for duo’s final day of competition in the George H. Morris Arena. She said, “My plan is to just stay relaxed and make it a positive experience for him. I came down here to get him some experience, so that has been my goal the whole time. It’s icing on the cake that he’s doing so well.”

Brittany Hebets and MTF Bugatti, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (W x Jessica) owned by Leigh Hazel-Groux continue to hold second place on a 27.1, while Sandra Holden and Cano Cristales, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Conteur x Konny) sit in third on a score of 28.0.

Professional’s Choice Training Horse

The Professional’s Choice Training Horse division saw Megan Sykes and her own Classic’s Mojah, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chabertin x Hauptstutbuch Senna), make the most of their day on the cross-country track in the Professional’s Choice Training division, to move forward on a score of 21.1.

“Today my game plan was to go fast. I thought that was going to be the hardest factor. He’s kind of a lazy horse, but the cooler weather and the rain really helped us because it kept him a little fresh, so we were able to go out there really going for that time.”

The division leaderboard is tight as Chris Talley and Aura CF, a 6-year-old Oldenburg mare (Belissimo x Aussprache) owned by Nancy Holowesko, held their second-place position on a score of 24.1 after running their cross-country phase, while Courtney Cooper and Caia Z, a 6-year-old Zangersheide mare (Calato Z x Djerba Z) owned by Caia Z Group, are only a few tenths behind as they sit in third on a 24.8.

As for her strategy, Sykes concluded, “Hopefully to jump clear is the game plan! I’m excited to see the course, and he’s not always the most careful, so I’ll plan to get in there and ride well. Hopefully he’s spunky and we’ll have a good round.”

Professional’s Choice Training Rider

Jordan Good and Danito, an 8-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Dancier x Wie Musik) owned by Ruth Bley, maintained their lead in the Professional’s Choice Training Rider division after a solid day of cross-country competition. The pair added no time penalties or faults to their dressage score of 28.0.

“Everything pretty much rode according to plan. He was super sure-footed going down hills. He picked his spots and was awesome. Previously we’ve had a little bit of brake issue, but he was really listening today and he was bold to the fences. Everything rode wonderfully,” beamed Good.

Good is prepared to go for the win as she plans to give Danito a confident ride in hopes of capturing top titles in the division. She explained, “My plan is to go fast again. I want to give him a really good confident ride. I think it’s really important for us to stay patient to everything. He’s a really forward moving horse. I need to stay patient and it should all go according to plan hopefully.”

The second and third place positions saw a change as Erin Liedle and her own Fernhill Boodle, an 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, moved up from seventh place to secure second place moving into the show jumping competition. Brynn Littlehale and her own Lagerfeld, a 6-year-old German Sport Horse gelding (Last Man Standing x Bonja) also jumped up the leaderboard from eighth place and now are within striking distance of the lead on a 30.9.

Professional’s Choice Junior Training

Twelve-year-old Madeline Hartsock and her own 8-year-old German Riding Pony gelding, Prinz S.W. (PR. H. Principal Boy x St. Pr. St. Hauptstutbuch Bienchen) continued to dominate in the Professional’s Choice Junior Training division, jumping double clear to continue on into the final phase on their dressage.

“Out of the box he got a little sassy, but he went right out and stayed forward and didn’t even think about stopping,” said Hartsock. “At the water he jumped right in, because he is such a perfect pony. He was really consistent and didn’t feel tired. He gave it his whole heart.”

Hartsock has her game plan ready for show jumping. “Tomorrow, I really need to keep his canter up and down instead of fast and strung out, and to keep his attention on me and not on how big the arena is.”

Second and third places in this division remained unchanged, with both Isabel Finemore and her own 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Craig Mor Tom, and Isabella Gunningham and her own 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Leroy (Lucio Silla x Hetty), jumping double clean around the track to both continue forward on their dressage scores.

For more information on the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena®, please visit www.useventing.com and to learn more about Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.

USEA American Eventing Championships Begin with Successful Day of Dressage at TIEC

Mia Petersen and Parc Cooley. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – August 30, 2017 – The 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena® began with a full day of dressage competition, welcoming the Preliminary and Professional’s Choice Training divisions to Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC).

Nearly 770 entries will compete in dressage, cross-country, and show jumping phases throughout the week, as riders from across the United States vie for top titles in their respective divisions. The competition will highlight the Beginner Novice through Advanced divisions and continue through Sunday, September 3.

Preliminary Amateur

Mia Petersen piloted her own Parc Cooley, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Cavalier Royale x Wellfields Allegro), who she has owned for four years, to the top of the Preliminary Amateur division leaderboard, earning a score of 31.7. “I’ve had Parker since 2013 and he’s coming along very nicely. He can be a little spooky, but he’s a really sweet horse,” commented Petersen.

Of her dressage ride, Petersen commented, “I was thrilled with the ride. Some days he struggles a bit with the tension, but today he came out and was very relaxed. It was just a matter of making sure that I had him uphill enough, but once we got that nicely in warm-up, he really had a great flow.”

“We had a couple of bobbles, but there is always something that you want to fix. I got a little crooked with my second leg-yield, so I didn’t ride it as neatly as I should have. Overall though, I just came out and was really thrilled,” she added.

Jill Bobel and Big Time, a 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Zagor x Rullah’s Zee), are trailing just behind Petersen, as they scored a 32.3. Kathy Cain and Legal Limit, a 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Secret Prince x Cheese Blintze), earned a 33.8 and currently hold third place.

Professional’s Choice Training Horse

The Professional’s Choice Training Horse division saw the top dressage score of 21.1 awarded to Megan Sykes and her own Classic’s Mojah, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chabertin x Hauptstutbuch Senna).

“I was really happy with my ride,” exclaimed Sykes. “He was very relaxed. He didn’t seem to mind the atmosphere. He used to be a dressage horse, so he does pretty well in the dressage. We usually get good scores. It was very rideable and a great ride.”

Sykes said, “I think that the cross-country course is going to be a time challenge, just observing how tight it is, but I think that he’ll handle it well. I think that it’s something he’s never seen before. It’s bright and it’s new, so it’ll be a good challenge. I’m looking forward to it.”

Following Sykes and Classic’s Mojah is Aura CF, a 6-year-old Oldenburg mare (Belissimo x Aussprache) owned by Nancy Holowesko and ridden by Chris Talley, sitting on a 24.1. Courtney Cooper and Caia Z, a 6-year-old Zangersheide mare (Calato Z x Djerba Z) owned by Caia Z Group, rounded out the top three after dressage and will head into the second day of competition on a 24.8 after the first phase.

Preliminary Rider

Another sub-thirty score on the day was recorded in the Preliminary Rider division after Denise Goyea and Highlife’s Je T’aime, a 9-year-old Oldenburg mare (Der Dollar x Jeunesse D’Or) owned by Madeline Hartsock, completed their test on a 27.5. “She stayed really relaxed and forward today,” said Goyea. “She can get a little shy in the dressage arena, but she didn’t today and that was really nice to have her feel calm but still ground covering.”

Goyea, who made the 17-hour drive from Massachusetts, was able to break up the trip, which made it more enjoyable. “I ride with Sharon White so I was able to stop and cross-country school in Virginia before coming here, which was a nice way to break it up,” she continued, “We love being here at the AEC. We were here last year and right when we left, my clients were trying to make housing reservations for this year because we knew that we wanted to come back. It’s a fantastic venue and it’s a great place for the riders, as well as the spectators.”

Caitlin Silliman will leave the start box in the second-place position with Q-Brook Stables LLC’s Ally Kgo, a 6-year-old Trakehner mare (Hirtentanz x Anabel Lee), on 31.2 penalties. Trailing by only four-tenths is Rachel King riding Ziggy, a 21-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Ziggy’s Boy x Berry Blush), owned by Rachel Jurgens, after receiving a score of 31.6.

Professional’s Choice Training Amateur

Carolyn Johnson rode her own Black Label to first place position, after finishing on a score of 26.6. Johnson and the 6-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Judith’s Wild Rush x Lovely Keri) bested competition in the dressage ring, putting in a solid first ride of their AEC experience in the Professional’s Choice Training Amateur division.

“I thought he was really good today,” commented Johnson. “I was a little nervous about how he would react to the atmosphere. This is the first time he has been in a big atmosphere like this, and he handled it really, really well. I was pleased with all of it.”

Johnson purchased the horse at the Penn National Race Course through the Thoroughbred rehoming program, CANTER Pennsylvania, with the help of Chris Talley. “I bought him from Chris as a 3-year-old and I have just been working with him slowly and bringing him up the levels,” she said. “This is his first year out at Training, but he has been really good. He has taken to it and likes eventing.”

Johnson continued, “He is a ham for sure. Definitely a barn favorite – gets himself in trouble quite a bit. I’ve been taking a lot of time at the basics and spending a lot of time on his rhythm and connection has definitely been my biggest focus with him. As a 3-year-old I took him to a lot of shows just to get on the grounds and to get him to relax. He has such a great brain – he wasn’t too difficult to bring along.”

Trailing behind Johnson is Brittany Hebets aboard MTF Bugatti, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (W x Jessica) owned by Leigh Hazel-Groux, with a 27.1. Sandra Holden is currently sitting in third place with her own Cano Cristales, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Conteur x Konny), on a score of 28.0.

Preliminary Horse

Holly Payne-Caravella and CharmKing rode into the lead in the very competitive Preliminary Horse division. The 2011 Holsteiner gelding (Cassito x O-Heraldika) owned by FARM CharmKing LLC, held strong to their first-place position, besting second place by more than two points on a 21.3.

“He hasn’t been in such a big atmosphere before,” said Payne-Caravella. “He was here at TIEC for The Fork in the spring, but he didn’t go in the main arena for the dressage. He’s usually pretty consistent on the flat, but today he definitely felt a little bit more up than normal. I kind of put in a conservative test for him, but he’s really obedient, tried really hard and handled the atmosphere great. I was really pleased with him.”

Commenting on her plan moving into day two, Payne-Caravella continued, “I’m used to riding a lot of Thoroughbreds and he didn’t race, so he didn’t really know how to gallop. He’s a good jumper, but I’ve been taking him out with my other Thoroughbreds and making him gallop and train with them. He has a good gallop in him, it’s just wasn’t brought out as a three and four-year-old like the other horses. I think that this track is hard and derby like with lots of twists and turns, so I think the course will suite him well.”

“My goal is to go out and make the time with him. He’s at that place now where I can push him a bit, so I’m going to see how much he has matured over the summer,” she added.

Bella Mowbray and En Vouge, a 12-year-old Hanoverian mare (Earl x Laurena) owned by Ruth Bley, are currently sitting in second place heading into cross-country after earning a 23.5, while Kelli Temple and Metallica, a 7-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Kara Angulo, rounded out the top three with a 23.6.

Professional’s Choice Training Rider

Jordan Good and Danito, an 8-year-old Hanoverian (Dancier x Wie Musik) owned by Ruth Bley, currently sit atop the Professional’s Choice Training Rider division, as they look to cross-country on a 28.0.

“It was a really good ride. My horse is just really great. As soon as he goes in the box he just does his thing and does well. I just try to stay out of his way,” she said.

Good would like to continue with their consistency throughout the rest of the competition and is excited to be at TIEC for the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena®. She concluded, “It’s amazing. I absolutely love it here. The footing is amazing and it’s so cool to be on grass. The venue is a world-class facility, so it’s really awesome to be here. We came out early for the jumper show and it’s been really fun.”

Christina McKitrick and her own Lotte Lenya Q, a 6-year-old Hanoverian mare (Loerke x Feiner Star) hold second place on a 28.9, while Darrin Mollett and Beverly’s Get Even, an 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Bustique x Acordia) owned by Beverly Equestrian, secured third place with a score of 29.8.

Junior/Young Rider Preliminary

Audrie Stanka and her own Coughar, a 7-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Camaro M x Cortina), lead a competitive Junior/Young Rider Preliminary division on a score of 25.1, topping 41 other entries. Adriana Beruvides and Consensus, a 17-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Contucci x Miss Me Not) owned by Julie Norman, have a tight grasp onto second place with a 26.7, while Katherine Knowles and her own Cillnabradden Ceonna, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Creevagh Grey Rebel x Willow Garden), rounded out the top three on a 27.4.

“He was perfect. He was really forward, which is good, because that’s what we’ve been working on all summer. He was super responsive and did everything I asked him to do and more,” she explained.

The pair has been partnered for less than a year and Stanka feels positive as they prepare to tackle cross-country for their second day of competition. Stanka continued, “My goal for tomorrow is to be as accurate and quick as possible.”

Professional’s Choice Junior Training

The Professional’s Choice Junior Training saw Madeline Hartsock and her own Prinz S.W., an 8-year-old German Sport Horse Pony (PR. H. Principal Boy x St. Pr. St. Hauptsutbuch Bienchen) take top honors in the dressage phase of competition. Isabel Finemore and her own Craig Mor Tom, a 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, currently hold second place on a 26.1. Isabella Gunninghham piloted Leroy, an 11-year-old Thoroughbred (Lucio Silla x Hetty) owned by Lisa Gunningham, to third place on a 26.8.

Hartsock and Prinz S.W. earned fantastic score of 25.0 to hold the lead moving into the second phase of competition.

“He definitely felt a lot better-very good. He didn’t break in his lengthenings and felt more connected than normal,” she commented. “I’ve had him for two years now. He went up to the equivalent of Training in Germany, so that’s been my goal with him.”

For more information on the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena®, please visit www.useventing.com and to learn more about Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.

McCormick and Roberts Headline Successful USEF/AVA Vaulting National Championships

South Jordan, Utah – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF)/American Vaulting Association (AVA) Vaulting National Championships were held on August 24-27, 2017, at the Salt Lake County Equestrian Park in South Jordan, Utah. Leading the way were U.S. vaulting veterans Mary McCormick and Kristian Roberts, who won the Female Gold and Male Gold divisions, respectively.

Individual Competition

McCormick (Cañon City, Colo.), captured an astonishing seventh national championship in her star-studded career, which includes two top-five individual finishes at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010 and 2014. This week, she and Duke Wilhem, Sydney Frankel’s 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding, along with lunger Carolyn Bland, won the Female Gold division with a compulsory score of 7.700. She and RF Bentley, owned by Rick and Virginia Hawthorne, along with lunger Jill Palmer, scored 7.417 in the technical test, and in the freestyle she scored 7.247. Her final score was 7.455.

“Being crowned national champion is a tremendous honor that never gets old,” McCormick said. “I’m just as excited about this victory as I was with my first one. It takes a huge effort and the support from many to make it to the top, and I’m left feeling humbly grateful that I was able to do it again.”

McCormick revealed that she made a last-minute horse change when her horse pulled up sore before the competition. “It was by the grace and support of others that I was able to be successful at this competition!” she said.

While acknowledging her “good genes” with a smile, McCormick attributes her success at the top of the sport for more than two decades to her team, her training, and her mindset.

“I definitely consider my age when I’m thinking about the future, but I don’t let it get in my way,” she said. “I show up each year with an open mind, and as long as I feel like I am able to handle the physical demands and keep improving, I keep going! I love this sport and hope to compete in it for as long as possible.”

Second place in the Female Gold division went to Kimberly Palmer (Half Moon Bay, Calif.), who was on her and Jill Palmer’s Zygo, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding, with lunger Jill Palmer (7.200 compulsory/6.113 technical/7.578 freestyle/6.964 overall), while Bonnie Ubben (Gig Harbor, Wash.), finished third on Indiana Jones IV, Lorilie Robison’s 19-year-old Thoroughbred-cross gelding, with lunger Robison (6.150 compulsory/6.085 technical/6.975 freestyle/6.403 overall).

Equally dominating in the Male Gold division was Kristian Roberts (Moss Beach, Calif.), who won his fifth national championship. Roberts and Cypress Hill, Frankel’s eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding, along with lunger Carolyn Bland, had scores of 7.347 in the compulsory, and he vaulted with Palatine and Bland to a 5.852 in the technical test. With Duke Wilhem and Bland, Roberts scored 7.472 in the freestyle for a 6.890 final score.

“It was good competition,” Roberts said. “I’m excited to still be here and be at the top. This one especially means a lot to me.”

Roberts ended up competing on three different horses. His freestyle horse, Duke Wilhem, has only been vaulting for a year and he only had one week of practice with him. “He went the best he could have gone. I’m so grateful for that horse.”

Second place in the Male Gold division went to Kaleb Patterson (Stanwood, Wash.), who with Satie, Bethany Wilhelmsen’s 14-year-old American Warmblood gelding, and lunger Kelly Gee, scored 6.983 (compulsory), 4.217 (technical), and 6.108 (freestyle) for a final score of 5.769.

Team Competition

The A team division victory went to the F.A.C.E. team of Alena Hammond (Eagle Mountain, Utah), Shaina Hammond (Eagle Mountain, Utah), Madeline Lampard (Topanga, Calif.), Kalyn Noah (Calabasas, Calif.), Luke Overton (Stanwood, Wash.), and Alyssa Stoddard (Saratoga Springs, Utah), with their horse Maximillian, Gayle Glisson-Kuhlberg’s Holsteiner gelding, and lunger Devon Maitozo. Their compulsories score was 6.659 and their freestyle score was 6.778 for a final team score of 6.719.

Maitozo, one of the most well-known and decorated American vaulters, started the F.A.C.E. team in 2000. While he has always been a part of it, he returned to the team full-time in 2012 as the coach. The decision was made to take their junior team and compete at the A Team level after just missing the cut to qualify for the FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors.

“We decided that the Nationals would be our final competition and be our final goal [for the year],” Maitozo said. “It is a very nice way to end a very difficult and meaningful year for us. For me and the club, it’s always a step toward something else to see what else we can do with our momentum. We have hopes of looking to [the World Equestrian Games] next year and potentially putting a team together.”

The F.A.C.E. team is now based out of El Campeon Farm in Thousand Oaks, Calif. and Maitozo believes that has taken them to the next level. He said, “They’ve embraced us, and we’re just in heaven there. It’s helped us in the last month keeping our horses healthy and prepared. Our horses were really fit and ready. [El Campeon is] about high performance and showing the best at elite level. Now we come back as National Champions. It’s nice to do this and represent them well.”

The Mile-High Vaulters Club fielded the Rocky Mountain Team: Finding Neverland with vaulters Jace Brooks (Eagle Mountain, Utah), Calle Davis (Spanish Fork, Utah), Melanie Ford (Fort Collins, Colo.), Rhianon Hampton (Greeley, Colo.), Rachel Jensen (Provo, Utah), and Jim Roedel (Fort Lupton, Colo.). They had a compulsories score of 5.828 on their horse Hampton with lunger Jorden Hobbs. In the freestyle, with their horse Sampson, Jodi Rinard’s 19-year-old Percheron gelding, and lunger Rinard, they scored 7.262.They finished second in the division with a final team score of 6.545.

The B Team victory went to Mt. Eden Vaulting Club – Safari, who had a compulsories score of 5.784, a freestyle score of 6.757, and a final team score of 6.271. Second place were the “Guardians of Disco” team from Mile-High Vaulters, who scored 5.922 in compulsories, 6.215 in freestyle, and 6.069 in their final team score. The winner of the C Team division was Mt. Eden Vaulting Club – Toy Story, who had a compulsories score of 5.050, freestyle score of 5.107, and final score of 5.079.

In the Trot Team, OC Vaulting came away with the win on a final score of 5.716, while Mile-High Vaulters “Spy Kids” team was second (5.420) and Mt. Eden Vaulting Club – Peter Pan was third (5.363).

The Los Angeles Equestrian Vaulting Club “California’s Girls” won the Open 2-Phase Team division with a score of 7.374. Mile-High Vaulters “The Lost Boys” were second (6.592), and Oak Hills Vaulting was third (6.265). The Prelim 2-Phase Team division winner was OC Vaulting (7.031), Technique Equestrian Vaulting Club was second (6.433), and A Vaulting Connection/Therapeutic Horse Connection was third (6.086).

Junior 2* Vaulters Shine

In the Female Junior 2* division, the top placing went to Caroline Morse (Los Gatos, Calif.). She and Grasshopper AF, Jana Morse’s eight-year-old American Warmblood gelding, along with lunger and coach Samantha Matson had a compulsory score of 7.374 for a final score of 3.687.

Second place went to Hallie Dudley (Elizabeth, Colo.) on Briar Rose, Lee Dudley’s 12-year-old Clydesdale mare, with lunger Dudley (compulsory 6.468, final score 3.234). Helen Mills-Selch and Rembrandt, Connie Geisler’s nine-year-old Percheron/Thoroughbred gelding, with lunger Geisler, finished third (compulsory 6.016, final score 3.008).

Morse competed in her seventh national championship and has been vaulting for 10 years. This is her first individual national championship win. She and Grasshopper AF have been vaulting together for two years.

“He’s a pretty trusty horse, and I have a lot of faith in him. I know he’s going to do his job,” she said. “My coach [Samantha Matson] was the one who trained him and made everything happen for me and him.”

After competing at the FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors at the beginning of August, Morse came to the USEF/AVA Vaulting National Championships with a different attitude.

She explained, “When we came here, I just wanted to have fun and be stress-free. I was excited to go in and have fun and be relaxed. I think it helped my performance.”

In addition to her Junior 2* victory, Morse also won the Female Silver Individual division with scores of 7.253 and 7.082 for a final score of 7.168. Calle Davis placed second on a final score of 6.849, while Tessa Belardi (Aptos, Calif.) was third with a final score of 6.654.

The winner of the Male Junior 2* division was Jace Brooks. He and Satie with lunger Kelly Gee scored 6.549 in the compulsory for a final score of 3.275.

It was a family affair for Brooks, as lunger Kelly Gee is also his father. This was Gee’s, as well as his horse Satie’s, second competition ever. Brooks has only been working together with his father and Satie since February. It was also the first national championship for Brooks’ team, Wasatch Peak Vaulters.

“It means a lot more [to win] when it’s your dad and your own horse,” Brooks said. “I haven’t been on my own horse for two or three years, so to be with my own horse and my own lunger, it felt really cool.”

Brooks has set his next goal, to compete at the 2019 FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors with Satie and his father.

Brooks also placed second in the Male Silver Individual division on a final score of 6.722. The win went to Luke Overton who had a final score of 7.328. Christian Ramos (Cañon City, Colo.) placed third on a score of 6.560.

Pas de Deux Competition

In the Prelim Pas de Deux Freestyle, victory went to Sydney Schimack (Laporte, Colo.) and Jim Roedel (Fort Lupton, Colo.) of Mile-High Vaulters. With horse Sampson and lunger Jodi Rinard, they scored 6.362 to win.

Second place in the Prelim Pas de Deux Freestyle went to Caitlyn Mendik (Castle Rock, Calif.) and Hallie Dudley on Briar Rose with lunger Lee Dudley of Velocity Vaulters with a score of 6.015. The Mile-High Vaulters also placed third with the pair of Augusta Rose Lewis (Longmont, Colo.) and Emma Milito (Centennial, Colo.) on Shelby, Rinard’s 16-year-old Percheron mare, with lunger Rinard. They posted a score of 5.945.

The OC Vaulting Club vaulters Olivia Carlucci and Allison Binckes won the Trot Pas de Deux Freestyle with a final score of 6.156. Claire Jones and Hailey Williams (Great Falls Vaulters) were second on 5.895, while Persephone Brown and Calli Ann Kennedy (Mile-High Vaulters) were third with a score of 5.761.

Additional Individual Results

Schimack also took the Female Bronze Individual division on a final score of 6.732, while Marie Obeloer (Sunnyvale, Calif.) was second with a 6.640 final score and Dudley was third with a 6.294.

Charles Smith (Temple City, Calif.) won the Male Bronze Individual division with a final score of 5.549.

In the Female Copper Individual division, Maya Drusinsky (Cupertino, Calif.) won with a 6.522, Hayden Avakian (Costa Mesa, Calif.) was second on 6.460, and Augusta Rose Lewis (Longmont, Colo.) placed third with a score of 6.394. Marshall Collins (Fort Collins, Colo.) won the Male Copper Individual division with a score of 5.609, while Martin Valdez was second on 5.560, and third place went to Stefano Como with a score of 5.550.

Anna Sullivan (Rutherford, Calif.) won the Female Trot Individual class, while Bryan Sutherland was victorious in the Male Trot Individual class.

For more information about the USEF/AVA National Championships, go to americanvaulting.org.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Woodard, Parra Named Champions at USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage Nat’l Championships

Patricia Becker and Freedom, Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Champions. Photo: SusanJStickle.com.

Wayne, IL – The final two division titles of the 2017 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships were determined as competition came to an end at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. Andrea Woodard and Ravenna maintained their top position following Friday’s test to earn the Markel/USEF Six-Year-Old Dressage National Championship, following the FEI Six-Year-Old Final Test. Cesar Parra and Fashion Designer OLD also held onto their lead from Friday’s test to claim the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship. The tests counted 60% towards their overall score. The remaining 40% came from Friday’s preliminary tests.

Markel/USEF Six-Year-Old Dressage National Championship

On Sunday, the judges were impressed with the quality and overall delivery of the tests by the young horses. However, they ultimately awarded Woodard (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Oldenburg mare Ravenna the Markel/USEF Six-Year-Old Dressage National Championship. They had a superb preliminary test on Friday, winning the class with a score of 7.9. The combination only improved, scoring the only 8 in the final test and winning handedly with an 8.3 and overall score of 8.1.

The highlights of their test included the canter. With a normally expressive trot, Ravenna also showed the lightness and smoothness of this gait. With a careful plan for young horses, Woodard has cautiously aimed for the championships this year, allowing her mare time to grow up and mature.

“It feels wonderful of course. This is what I have been building up towards for such a long time now,” said Woodard. “I’ve had my eyes on this championship. She actually qualified as a five-year-old, but I didn’t feel like she was mentally ready to take this long trip. This year, I felt like she was much more prepared and mentally ready, so I went for it and it paid off. I am super excited and very happy with her.”

Ravenna also received the Oldenburg Award, given to the highest scoring Oldenburg of the class by the Oldenburg Horse Breeder’s Society.

Placing second in the preliminary test on Friday with a 7.8, Werner Van Den Brande (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Flyby FLF, Linda Sommer’s Hanoverian stallion, put in an impressive final test, scoring a 7.9 and keeping them in second for the final test and overall reserve. With more energy in their second test and an improvement in the strength of the trot and canter work, the combination scored a 7.9 overall.

“We have been working for this for the last couple of months to get ready,” said Werner. “We did it and it, of course, feels really nice.”

Additionally, Flyby FLF was awarded the U.S.-Bred Award as recognition of the top U.S.-bred horse in the class.

Michael Bragdell (Colora, Md.) and Anne Howard’s Oldenburg stallion Finery kept their poise, finishing third overall with a score of 7.6. The combination finished third in Friday’s preliminary test with a 7.6, replicating their score and position in the final test to finish in the top-three.

“He held it together and stayed focused through the test,” said Bragdell. “I really couldn’t have asked him for anymore. I was just so proud of him. It is fun to come here and be here with all the great competitors. It really gives it a championship feel. I am just so proud that we made it this far and competed here.”

Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship

Maintaining the top position, Parra (White House Station, N.J.) and Fashion Designer OLD, his own and Martin Sosnoff’s nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding, scored an overall score of 67.30%. Fashion Designer OLD is a true product of success from the USEF Young & Developing Horse Program, competing and placing first in the 5-Year-Old division in 2013, third in the 6-Year-Old division in 2014, and second in the Developing Horse Prix St. Georges division over the years.

“First of all, I am super, super happy to get another title here at the national championships,” said Parra. “I am very, very proud of my horse. I am super grateful, too. It takes a whole village to make it out here; from the owners, from the farrier and the grooms – there are so many people that helped us to get here. Expectations are very high. You want to do well for the horse, for the team, for yourself. I am very, very happy. The footing was excellent, and I think we had a good panel of judges. I am very happy.”

The combination also earned the Oldenburg Award, given to the highest scoring Oldenburg by the Oldenburg Horse Breeder’s Society. Parra and Fashion Designer OLD scored a 69.56%, winning Friday’s FEI Intermediate II Test and a 67.30% in Sunday’s USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Test, placing third.

Winning Sunday’s USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Test with a 66.25%, Patricia Becker (Wadsworth, Ill.) and Dr. Anne Ramsay’s 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion Freedom were the reserve champions of the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship with an overall score of 66.68%.

Tying for second in Friday’s preliminary test with a 67.32%, Becker was pleased with Freedom’s attitude and work ethic moving into the final test.

“Freedom is always a bit more tired towards the end of a big competition. Today, he felt very good in his body going in. He was very much with me. He really tried and gave me all of his focus and I was super proud of him,” said Becker.

Freedom was also the recipient of the U.S.-Bred Horse Award, given to the highest scoring U.S.-bred horse of the class.

Perhaps riding the most talked-about horse of the show due to her coloration, James Koford (Lexington, N.C.) expertly navigated his final test aboard Adiah HP, Sherry Koella’s 10-year-old Friesian/Dutch Warmblood mare. Moving from fifth place with a score of 66.84% in Friday’s preliminary test to second place in the final test with a 66.04%, Koford and Adiah HP claimed the overall third position in the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship with a 66.36%.

Koford’s relationship with Adiah HP is special and they never take themselves too seriously.

“She is three-quarters Friesian and a quarter Dutch Warmblood – she is just a horse that makes me happy every day,” said Koford. “She looks at me and it’s like she’s smiling. Every day the highlight of her day is when she goes to work.”

Koford’s expectations coming into the championship were to perform their best, giving Adiah HP an opportunity to shine.

“[Adiah HP] is new to the Grand Prix, and I just want her to feel like a champion every time she goes in,” said Koford. “I want her to be happy, have the best time, and feel really good about herself. In that way, it was a win. Honestly, she gives me chill bumps when I ride her – she makes me happy. The whole day, the whole week was really fun.”

Relive memorable moments from the 2017 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships with photo galleries, rider video clips, and much more on the USEF Network.

By Julian McPeak, US Equestrian Communications Department

Fairytale Finish as Sweden’s Fredricson Wins Jumping Title

Photo: Peder Fredricson and H&M All In. (FEI/Richard Juillart)

Dutchman Smolders rockets up to silver medal spot; Ireland’s O’Connor adds bronze to team gold

It was a dream come true for all of Sweden as Peder Fredricson (45) and H&M All In claimed individual Jumping gold in front of Her Royal Highness Queen Silvia and over 15,000 noisy fans at Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg (SWE) to bring the Longines FEI European Championships 2017 to an emotional end.

Leading from the outset last Wednesday, the pressure was immense on the man who took individual silver with his brilliant gelding at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. But he held his nerve over two thrilling rounds that had spectators on the edges of their seats to finish just ahead of The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders (37), while Ireland’s Cian O’Connor (37) claimed the bronze.

A clear first round again ensured that the host nation hero would be feeling the maximum weight of expectation as he brought this fabulous week of top sport to a close when last to go. But Fredricson could handle it.

“Like any athlete you are not enjoying the pressure but you just have to be comfortable with it and try to not let it get to you. Focus on what you should do and focus on your horse and your team, and try to make all the preparations right and deliver on the day and not start thinking about other things. I’m really happy I could give my horse this gold medal!” — Peder Fredricson SWE

Carrying just 2.25 points, O’Connor, who helped Ireland to team gold on Friday night, was his biggest threat as the last round began, while Smolders had rocketed up from ninth to lie third with 5.52 points after producing one of eight first-round clears. And over the final 10-fence course that included a massive 1.80m-wide oxer three from home, and a really testing penultimate treble, Smolders and Don VHP Z stayed clear yet again.

Second-last to go, O’Connor’s single mistake allowed the Dutchman to edge ahead of him, so Smolders was now the man that Fredricson had to beat. He had a fence in hand as he set off, but there was a gasp of horror when All In hit the middle element of the triple combination. Fredricson didn’t flinch, however, adding only one further time penalty to finish on a final tally of five, just 0.52 ahead of Smolders.

““I wanted to put my stamp on this Championship. To win a medal is always hard, and I must give credit to Peder for his horsemanship and to All In who is almost unbeatable – he’s the horse of a lifetime I think!” — Harrie Smolders NED

“My horse has been placed in every Grand Prix he’s jumped this year; Harrie’s horse percentage-wise jumps more clear rounds than any horse in the world if you look at the stats, and All In is probably the best horse in the world!” said O’Connor.

When asked if last summer’s silver medal success helped him in any way, Fredricson agreed that it did. “I was a bit annoyed that I was too slow in Rio in the jump-off. It has been my main goal since Rio to be a quicker rider, and this year I’ve won more than ever before. It helped me get this gold that I was fastest on the first day and for sure I’m happier with this colour medal than silver!”

Peder Fredricson SWE (Gold), talking about riding under pressure this week: “I knew I was going to be under pressure when I came here, but riding in a Championship in Sweden in front of this crowd has been amazing! Ever since I arrived and unloaded my horse a week ago everybody I met said, ‘Best of luck; I hope you win!’ It’s been a long week and this has been my goal for the whole week but at the same time I knew I had only one thing to do – go in and jump clear inside the time!”

Talking about his horse, All In: “I bought him when he was seven years old. I saw him at the World Championship for Young Horses; he was ridden by Nicola Philippaerts, and he was already then I think one of the best horses in the world. Of course you never know with a seven-year-old how they are going to develop, but he has been a super horse and any questions I have asked him he has given me a fantastic answer!”

Harrie Smolders NED (silver): “After the first day I was in almost an impossible position for a medal but I knew from other championships that with five or six points you are often on the podium and I also knew that my horse gets only better when it’s bigger. He had a really good feeling also on the first day so I knew he could do it, and he showed it now to everybody. He has blood but he is a little slow in his movement and he’s very, very scopey and he’s very consistent the last two years. He has jumped so many clear rounds all over the world, and in different circumstances, so I had a good feeling before this championship.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Werth Wins Ferocious Battle for Dressage Freestyle Gold

L to R: Sonke Rothenberger GER (silver), Isabell Werth GER (gold), Cathrine Dufour DEN (bronze). (FEI/Richard Juillart)

Isabell Werth (45) secured her third Dressage gold medal of the week when topping the individual Freestyle at the Longines FEI European Championships 2017 in Gothenburg, Sweden. But she had to pull out all the stops to pin German team-mate Sonke Rothenberger (22) into silver medal position while, mirroring the result of the Grand Prix Special, Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour (25) took bronze.

Multi-medalled Werth was under no illusions about the quality of the performance she needed to produce.

“We all pushed each other today. When I went in, both Weihe and I knew there was no little mini-mistake allowed, and that made it very exciting!” — Isabell Werth GER

That’s because Rothenberger is on the rise, producing stunning rides from his 10-year-old gelding Cosmo all week, joining Werth to take team gold, and then chasing her home in the Grand Prix Special to finish just over a mark behind. Sweden’s Therese Nilshagen produced the first over-80% score with the stunning stallion Dante Weltino before Britain’s Carl Hester and Nip Tuck fractionally improved on that to change the lead. But when Dufour, third-last to go, posted 84.560 with Atterupgaards Cassidy, the real battle commenced.

Rothenberger is a young man on a mission, oozing confidence and pizazz. Mastering the most difficult movements with the greatest of ease, he marched down the final centreline to throw down a massive score of 90.614 which really put it up to his compatriot.

But Werth thrives under pressure, and she had her game face on as her Freestyle music began. Weihegold listened to her all the way, producing a flawless performance that the crowd really enjoyed. But the tension on the German rider’s face as she waited for her mark to light up the scoreboard said it all. She knew it was going to be dangerously close.

“I was really hoping it would be good enough because Weihe was a good as she could be; it was her best test so I was happy and hoping it would be enough – and it was!” she said, having edged ahead by just 0.368 marks. In fact all three medallists produced personal-best Freestyle scores.

Werth, who also steered Weihegold to victory at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Omaha (USA) in April, couldn’t hold back the tears on the medal podium. “I was full of adrenaline when I went in to ride, so it’s a mixture of all the emotions you have during the week – I’m really grateful and thankful for what this week has brought me,” said the lady who has experienced more golden moments in her extraordinary career than any other athlete in the history of equestrian sport.

Rothenberger looks like a real threat to her supremacy, however. Holding his silver medal he said with a smile, “If you look closely, it’s silver with a golden edge!” — Sonke Rothenberger GER

However, Werth remains the queen of all she surveys, her latest golden haul still just another good week at the office. It’s exactly 10 years since she first took European Freestyle gold at La Mandria (ITA). That was with another of her super-star rides and, looking at her final medal of the week, she said, “Satchmo would be proud!”

Sonke Rothenberger GER (silver), talking about his attitude to competition and his horse, Cosmo: “I don’t go into a test thinking of what others can do and then try to be better. I go into the test trying to show in the ring everything we practice outside and today was really a day where we made a plan and we trained outside in the warm-up, and today was a day when he gave me back exactly what I was asking for and that’s just what I do it for. He is a character of a horse and I just love him the way he is; he has this shiny edge and with his ears to the front he does the most difficult movement and I get goosebumps every time!”

Replying to a question about the Dutch connection in his family: “Maybe there’s a slight touch of orange to this medal!”

Cathrine Dufour DEN (bronze): “Cassidy was more calm today he really did everything he could, and I knew I had to be no 1 when I left the arena because I knew these two were coming. So I was really happy when I saw my score at the bit-check, and I knew these two would really ride for their lives and I’m very very happy!”

By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Driving the Winner as Dutch Claim Double Gold on Final Day of Extraordinary Championships

Photo: IJsbrand Chardon. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

In one of the closest finishes in recent history, the Netherlands narrowly held off a resurgent German trio and a fighting Belgian challenge to claim their fourth successive European team gold after a captivating final day of competition of the Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg (SWE).

Driven on by their irrepressible individual gold medallist IJsbrand Chardon, the Dutch just about maintained their air of invincibility, but they certainly had to work for it.

Spurred on by consultant trainer and world number one Boyd Exell (AUS), the Germans came hard at the men in orange through the cones test, but with both individual bronze medallist Christoph Sandmann and Georg von Stein picking up late time penalties, they fell just short.

With all three Dutch drivers finishing inside the top six individual positions, the Netherlands took team honours with a total of 299.73 to the Germans’ 308.94.

“We fought hard for this; nine points is not a lot. They were very close.” — Team gold medallist Koos de Ronde (NED)

Compatriot Chardon was quick to add: “Boyd is very clever; he certainly made their team better.”

The Belgians showed their emerging strength, claiming team bronze after holding off a spirited last-day challenge from the French team, for whom Anthony Horde went double clear, one of six individual drivers to achieve the feat.

“Team Belgium is ready to challenge now,” individual silver medallist Edouard Simonet said after finishing less than two points behind Chardon’s winning score of 150.37. “We will work on our dressage to get even better with Glenn (Geerts) and Dries (Degrieck) and with the marathon we need to get a more consistent performance and then we will be really close to the Dutch and the Germans.”

Geerts, who at 28 years old is the elder statesman of the team, stressed the “huge boost” a first Championship medal will give to the sport in Belgium, after they finished on 320.04, just over 13 penalties clear of the French.

Ultimately, however, no-one could quite steal the limelight from Chardon. Fresh from revelling in the “rock concert crowd” of marathon day, the 55-year-old thrived in front of a full house at the Heden Arena.

“For me it helps. The bigger the pressure, the better. The horses were so good, it was easy in the end.” — Dutch gold medallist IJsbrand Chardon

Indeed the Dutchman was clear enough of the rest of the field to let out a yelp of delight and start his celebrations at the last obstacle, even though he knocked off a ball.

“I was too happy; I’m sorry!” he laughed.

Closest challenger Simonet reflected on a dilemma facing many top young sportsmen.

“It’s good but there’s a little disappointment I did a little mistake yesterday on the marathon. But I’m only 27 and the future is in front of me. I have many Championships to try and get the gold.” — Belgium’s individual silver and team bronze medallist Edouard Simonet

A further point back, Germany’s Sandmann praised the virtues of working with world champion Exell while acknowledging the relationship cannot last.

“Boyd is so professional, so thorough, everything is 1000%. We hope to keep him but next time we have the World Equestrian Games and then we will be fighting each other,” he said ruefully.

As a contented crowd poured out of the Heden Arena, it was left to Exell, the biggest name in the sport, to deliver a final verdict on an extraordinary Longines FEI European Championships.

“Yesterday was a stonking crowd; it was like a rock concert out there and a full house today,” said the Australian. “The nice thing was that driving looked like the most popular of all the equestrian disciplines.”

By Luke Norman

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Shannon Gibbons
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