Ryan Wood and Powell. Photos ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography.
Mill Spring, NC – September 3, 2016 – Preceding the final day of competition at the 2016 Nutrena® USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover, horse and rider combinations from numerous divisions continued to display their talents in front of a supportive crowd at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). The Adequan® Advanced Gold Cup Finals division saw change in leadership, as Marilyn Little and RF Demeter retired on course to give Ryan Wood and Powell a slight edge over Doug Payne and Vandiver, who are currently followed by Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon in third.
Amateur and junior riders graced the massive stage of the George H. Morris Arena for a number of divisional finals, which were followed by gracious award presentations and unrelenting smiles.
Adequan® Advanced Gold Cup Finals
Captain Mark Phillips’ cross-country courses caused a few major shakeups in the Adequan® USEA Gold Cup Advanced leaderboard. At the end of the day, Ryan Wood and Summit Sporthorses’ Powell (Pablito x Dinara) became the leaders of this division after adding only 8.8 time penalties. The 10-year-old Oldenburg sits on 34.2 penalty points going into Sunday’s show jumping.
The time proved the most testing feature of this course, and Allison Springer and Arthur, the overnight leaders after dressage, fell victim adding 17.2 time penalties. They dropped into ninth. Wood had four rides in this division, and this gave him a better feel for the track and the upper hand. “He was my second ride, so I had a bit of a feel of the flow of the course,” he said.
“There were a couple of spots where, you needed just to ease off the turns where it was getting a little greasy from the rain yesterday. There were some areas where you could push on a little bit and make up some time. I had a little bit of an advantage of riding it one time before. I used what I learned on my course to give him the best ride I could.”
Time was on Doug Payne’s side. After he had one of the fastest time of the day, he jumped from tenth to second position with Vandiver (Windfall II x Visions of Grandeur). He piloted Debi Crowley’s 12-year-old Trakehner carefully around the winding track, trying to save seconds at every opportunity.
“In the field, as competitive as it is, time is critical,” he said. “This last year was just chasing qualifications with him, so I couldn’t ever experiment [with him]. This last bit here I was trying to see what I could get away with to get a little quicker.”
Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon (Sonset Sieger x Indy) weren’t the quickest around, but their impressive dressage score from Friday gave them some breathing room. Deep Purple Eventing’s 10-year-old Trakehner mare picked up 9.6 time penalties for a total score of 38.2 going into show jumping.
Broadstone Beginner Novice Amateur
Kelly Young and her own Shaqir, an 18-year-old Arabian gelding, earned top honors in the Broadstone Beginner Novice Amateur division after finishing on their dressage score of 29.3. Eleanor Lawson and her own Matapeake, who led for most of the week, finished in second place with a score of 29.5 after dropping a single rail on course, while Allison Williams and Art’s Advantage, owned by Erica Addison, rounded out the top three with a 30.3.
“He felt amazing in the warm-up today. He was so relaxed and I just tried to keep my composure through the whole test and wait for him,” said Young. “The course rode great and I was really happy with it and didn’t spook at all. There were a lot of rails going down in there and I feel lucky that I had a clear round.
Lawson and Matapeake gained a good deal of confidence this week, as the pair will look for a strong move up to Novice this fall. Lawson nearly finished the weekend on her dressage score of 25.5, but a single rail placed them in second.
“It actually went well. He didn’t freak out in there, which I thought would happen. We were pretty calm and we have rails, but it happens, and I don’t think I could have done anything any differently,” she explained.
Allison Williams was determined to stay out of her own head this week, which she also felt like she accomplished throughout her rides in the division. She commented, “My goal this week was to control my nerves for the first part and I think for once that was successful. This was my last Beginner Novice, so it feels nice to go out on a good note. Hopefully we’ll move up to Novice in October.”
Broadstone Beginner Novice Master Amateur
William Barclay and his own Stormn Hudson KD, a 7-year-old Trakehner gelding, rose to the occasion in the Broadstone Master Beginner Novice Amateur division after a steady climb to the top, starting the week in third place, moving into second after cross-country, and then sealing the win with a 28.3.
“This was a great, great weekend. This facility, number one, is just great. Super good weather for part of it and just a good experience across the board. This is one of the greatest facilities we’ve ever been too,” commented Barclay.
“I bought him when he was four and just starting out. He had a good foundation and my coach has done a wonderful job with him and I. We’re very fortunate to have Dominic Schramm this week. That made a big difference too,” added Barclay.
Carrie Griffen and Feuetanzer ES, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, collected second place honors on a score of 31.5, after starting off the week in 11th after dressage.
“He was a bit tired today, but I still felt like he jumped well. The course was great and Marc Donavon did a fantastic job, his courses are always fun,” she noted. “He touched a rail or two, which surprised me because he is always really careful, but I think he’s really love to jump and that’s why we’re sitting here.”
Deborah Hunt piloted Big Bad Tattoo to an exciting third place finish, as the pair rose from twelfth place to third at the conclusion of their competition.
“He was perfect. He had no problems, just galloped right along, kept going on and went fine. I like the camaraderie of the master’s division. It feels nice to have people that have experienced what you have, even when your bones don’t always agree with what you do,” she laughed.
Broadstone Junior Beginner Novice
Julia McElligott and Ricky kept a tight hold on their lead from dressage Friday moving into the cross-country phase. The pair went double clear around a difficult cross-country track to stay on their original score of 22.5. Kaley Breland and Not an Issue kept their momentum in second place, also finishing a double clear effort around the course. Ellie Bizot and Ziggy Stardust are just behind Breland with a 27.8, which will make for an exciting finish in the Broadstone Junior Beginner Novice division.
“I thought today was a very good tough course. We’ve have some trouble with the water in our past riders and I think he went really clean through the water today. The jumps were a bit on the spooky side and I’m very pleased with him.
“For tomorrow, I’d like to just stay focused and not let the pressure get to me when I’m at the jumps. I want to ride him forward and ride him round. It’s probably one of his stronger phases. He likes to show jump and have the attention him.”
Preliminary Junior/Young Rider
The Preliminary Junior/Young Rider division was the second to last group of riders to contest the cross-country track at TIEC, helping to close out a very successful week on the derby field and around the rest of the course. William Zuschlag and RF Southern Command remained at the head of the group with a 27.3 after finishing almost 20 seconds under the optimum time. Arielle Aharoni and Dutch Times, owned by Christina Aharoni, remain in second on their 28.0, while Courtney Swartz and My Son Mj are currently placed in third on a 31.4.
“I think he was super forward today, which is always great because he’s a big heavy warmblood and that’s key. He really just locked in on the jumps and continued on and felt great,” said Zuschlag. “He was dragging me along so I think it went really well. We came in about 20 seconds under the time.”
The pair has been solidifying their dressage and cross-country skills since RF Southern Command has an extensive show jumping background. The pair dashed through the course and felt confident in their potential to take the championship if they are able to secure a faultless show jumping round.
“He didn’t bat an eye at anything and it was really good. I was here for the U.S. Pony Club Championships so we had a little taste of what was to come,” he noted. “He’s from a show jumping background and it’s about just keeping him moving forward with that rhythm and taking it all in stride.”
Professional’s Choice Junior Training
There was a brief moment of self-doubt when McKinsey Wickman checked the live scores after having a successful double clear cross-country run with her own Dassett Profile in the Professional’s Choice Junior Training division. She noticed her name had disappeared from the top of the leaderboard and had 20 points next to it. Fortunately, it was a quickly-resolved recording error, and her actual score reflected her continued lead.
“I’m glad we got that resolved!” she laughed. After experiencing the taste of success when she won the Novice Junior division last year, she wasn’t ready to give up her lead so easily. “We were in sync the entire time. He was attacking every fence, and I was really impressed with how he went,” Wickman explained.
Behind Wickman are Georgia Dillard and Normandy’s Cole’s Clover in second place on a score of 27.3, and Maddie McElduff and Tupelo in third on a score of 27.9.
Alexis Mazzatta and Shigatzi, owned by Diana Burnett, continued on with a strong trip around the track in the Junior Novice division on a 26.0, a full two points ahead of Madeline Hartsock and Prinz S.W. who are currently in second with a 28.0. Mia Braundel and Cashmere are close behind on a 28.3.
To learn more about Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.
About the AEC
The Nutrena® USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Land Rover is the pinnacle of the sport for the national levels. Held annually, this event draws together the best competitors from across the country vying for national titles from the Beginner Novice through the Advanced level. This year’s AEC is being held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, NC from Wednesday, August 31 through Sunday, September 4.
Leslie Mintz & Shelby Allen for USEA/Carly Weilminster for TIEC