Tag Archives: USEA American Eventing Championships

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.

Landmark Evening at USEA American Eventing Championships Raises $5,000 for Brooke USA

Starsky collecting donations for Brooke USA. Photo Credit ©Meg Banks/TIEC.

Mill Spring, NC – September 30, 2016 – Thousands of exhibitors, owners and spectators joined together at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) on Saturday, September 3, to not only celebrate the 2016 Nutrena® United States Eventing Association USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Land Rover, but to also support Brooke USA through the “Celebrity Bartender Showdown” and silent auction. The event took place during the “Sounds of Nashville” Concert presented by Coca Cola®, raising $5,000 for Brooke USA’s “Buy a Donkey a Drink” campaign.

As everyone prepared for the concert, the festivities kicked off at “The Brooke Watering Hole” located at the TIEC’s onsite restaurant patio, Roger’s Diner. Brooke USA Ambassadors and Team USA Eventing members Boyd Martin and Lauren Kieffer were joined by Bobby Costello, Allison Springer, and Lynn Symansky, as well as Brooke USA Board Member Jim Wolf, as the celebrity bartenders throughout the evening.

They concocted cocktails and raised awareness for the “Buy a Donkey a Drink” campaign, which ensures lifetime access to water for 81,000 livestock animals, including 13,500 equines in drought-prone areas of Ethiopia through the construction of five large, permanent water troughs. The project is expected to lower the equine mortality rate in that area by 45 percent, and benefit 67,500 of the world’s poorest people who depend on those animals.

“Our team was incredibly motivated to host an event that would generate awareness for Brooke USA and the ‘Buy a Donkey a Drink’ campaign in an engaging and energetic atmosphere,” said Katherine Bellissimo, Brooke USA Board Member and Principal of Tryon Equestrian Partners. “We’re thrilled with the success of this event and are looking forward to continuing our efforts to maximize exposure for Brooke USA and the mission of the organization at TIEC.”

Guests had the choice to sip on a signature orange sangria, Moscow mule, or orangeade while listening to the sounds of “Raised by the Radio” star Mitch Rossell, who has opened for the legendary Garth Brooks, and country music singer Julia Cole, who has opened for country music sensation Hunter Hayes. Each drink and all tips raised throughout the night benefited Brooke USA, as well as a silent auction.

Starsky, a dwarf miniature pony rescued by The Peeps Foundation and now owned by the Bellissimo family, paraded around “The Brooke Watering Hole” donning a special Brooke USA cooler outfitted with donation pockets. Starsky interacted with guests and served as an ambassador for organization, welcoming attention and contributions.

Brooke USA is now only $9,500 away from raising enough money to construct the fifth and final water trough of the campaign, with the help of the funds raised during the event. For every $9 raised, one working equine will have lifetime access to a water supply, and the campaign will continue to run through the entire 2016 Tryon Fall Series.

“We are so fortunate to have the help and support of the Tryon International Equestrian Center, as well as Mark and Katherine Bellissimo and Jim Wolf,” Executive Director of Brooke USA Emily Dulin said. “The evening was filled with fun, laughter and of course, a greater mission-raising awareness for the 13,500 working equines that will benefit from the ‘Buy a Donkey a Drink’ Campaign.”

Each water trough allows as many as 340 horses, donkeys and mules to quench their thirst with each filling, and will allow other livestock such as cattle and camels to receive life-saving water as well.

For more information about Tryon International Equestrian Center, please call (828) 863-1000 or visit www.tryon.com.

To donate to this lifesaving campaign, go to www.BuyaDonkeyaDrink.org or email Info@BrookeUSA.org. For more information on Brooke USA, go to www.BrookeUSA.org.

About Brooke USA
Brooke USA is a 501(c)(3) charity located at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, which exists solely to support the overseas work of the Brooke, the world’s largest international equine welfare charity.  For more than 80 years, the Brooke has been alleviating the suffering of horses, donkeys, and mules who work in some of the poorest communities on earth. The Brooke’s scientifically proven, practical, and sustainable solutions to enormous welfare challenges improve the lives of equine animals and the people who depend on them across Africa, Asia, and Central America.  Last year alone, the Brooke reached 1.8 million equines, benefiting 10 million people in the developing world. To learn more, visit www.BrookeUSA.org.

Next Generation of US Champion Riders Compete at USEA American Eventing Championships

Photo courtesy of Land Rover.

(MILL SPRING, NC) – September 4, 2016 – Future US champion horse and rider eventing combinations took center stage at the 2016 Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Land Rover, held at the stunning Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), over four days from August 31st to September 4th, 2016.

Featuring over 600 riders from across 38 US states, competing on 690 horses, the AEC provides riders of all ages and levels, from the Beginner Novice through the Advanced level, the chance to compete in the only National Championships of its kind. Amateur and junior riders aged from just 12 years old graced the massive stage of the George H. Morris Arena for 18 divisional finals throughout the weekend, which were followed by jubilant award presentations and unrelenting smiles.

Created as a stepping stone for amateurs to get a taste of competing at the top level and experience world-class facilities, the Championship provides the perfect environment for developing the next generation of equestrian athletes. The incredible facilities of the TIEC, comprising of 12 all-weather rings, a covered arena and 1,200 stalls provided an experience that many of the competitors will treasure as lifelong memories.

Annabelle Kress aged 12 from Pennsylvania, winner of Junior Beginner Novice Under 14 Division, who was competing in her first National Championships, said: “My horse was a superstar. He didn’t question anything and I’m just really happy with him overall because he was so willing to do his job. I think even qualifying to come here is amazing. I’m so lucky that I even qualified and that I did so well is just insane.”

ADVANCED AEC GOLD CUP FINAL

Ryan Wood took both first and second place honors in the Adequan Advanced AEC Gold Cup Final after three days of top eventing competition against many of the leading US eventing riders, including Buck Davidson, Lauren Kieffer, Allison Springer, Lynn Symansky and 2016 U.S. Olympic Eventing Team member Boyd Martin. Riding 10-year-old Powell, Ryan Wood completed on a score of 38.2, and 38.9 on his second-placed horse Woodstock Bennett, with Doug Payne on 41.5 in third riding Vandiver.

The Advanced Final saw 34 starters take to the Captain Mark Phillips designed cross-country course on day two of the competition, with 27 going clear jumping. Doug Payne leapt from 10th position after dressage into second place heading into the final show jumping phase, but Ryan Wood held on to his top spot.

A delighted Ryan Wood said, “It’s pretty awesome to be National Champion – I am pretty lucky to have pulled off both first and second place in the Advanced Final – it hasn’t quite sunk in yet. The organizers and Tryon have done an amazing job – I don’t think there is anyone going home from this competition disappointed.”

To learn more about the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover, please visit: www.useventing.com/aec.

Contacts:

Deb Sandford
Nat’l PR Comms & Events Manager
Jaguar Land Rover
North America, LLC
949.510.0529
dsandfor@jaguarlandrover.com

Carly Weilminster
Press Officer
Tryon
410.245.7441
cweilminster@tryon.com

Shelby Allen
Communications Assistant
USEA
703.779.9898
sallen@useventing.com

Payne and Vandiver Win the 2016 USEF Open Horse Trial National Championship

Doug Payne and Vandiver (Leslie Mintz/USEA)

Tryon, N.C. – A group of the finest well-known names in eventing competed in the Adequan Advanced Gold Cup Final division at the 2016 Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, September 2-4. In addition, the U.S. combinations in the division also vied for the USEF Open Horse Trial National Championship and the Jack LeGoff Trophy. After getting off to a slow start, Doug Payne and Vandiver found their groove to claim the title with an overall score of 41.5.

“It is an incredible honor. It could have been anyone’s day. To be in the mix and have an opportunity, that is all one can ask for. You hope a little luck goes your way, and having some incredible horses to work with has been a blessing,” said Payne.

Payne (Aiken, S.C.) spent last year qualifying Debi Crowley’s Vandiver for the 2016 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover, where they placed 22nd in their first CCI4* outing together. With that hurdle cleared, Payne has begun further gauging the 2004 Trakehner gelding’s strength and weaknesses as well as the competitive advantage he may have with him. Payne got a good indicator over the past three days of competition.

Payne and Vandiver began the competition with dressage on Friday. Vandiver got a bit nervous in the test. However, he regained his composure and had a consistent test for a score of 31.5.

“There have been times in the past that if I lost him, I would lose him for the rest of the test,” said Payne. “He has a tremendous upside, is incredibly talented, and probably the most genuine horse that I have worked with.”

The growing combination sat in 10th place moving into Saturday’s cross-country course. The Captain Mark Phillips-designed course presented numerous challenging questions, and not a single combination could find the exact formula to finish the course within the optimum time of 6:40. While every combination fell victim to time penalties, Payne and Vandiver posted one of the fastest times in the field at 6:55. As Payne watched combinations rack up time penalties, he and Vandiver worked to trim seconds at every opportunity. Payne pinpointed areas to shave time when walking the course, including a short cut through the Land Rover Hollow. As a result, they managed six time penalties and moved to second place with an overall score of 37.5.

“He has a great gallop, which is a distinct advantage. He is quite careful; I don’t have to spend a lot of time setting him up for fences or combinations. I was concerned that he might slip on a tight turn, and knowing the conditions were a bit slippery, I probably spent a little more time just to make sure I got it done without having a slip,” said Payne.

Payne and Vandiver dropped to third place overall but picked up the USEF Open Horse Trial National Championship with one rail down during Sunday’s show jumping course. The field had to negotiate some tricky lines, with nine combinations going clear. Payne and Vandiver managed the course well until they reached the Nutrena double combination, where Vandiver knocked the top rail of the second element.

“I’m very thankful that Debi Crowley gave me the opportunity to work with him, and I can’t wait to see what is to come in the future. In addition to owning him, Debi also bred him, which is a neat story for U.S. combinations,” said Payne.

Buck Davidson (Riegelsville, Pa.) and Ballynoe Castle RM, Cassandra Segal’s 2000 Irish Thoroughbred gelding, just missed out on the title with an overall score of 41.6. The combination had a strong dressage test to sit in seventh place with a score of 29.6. Time hindered them on the cross-country course where they added 12 time penalties. However, they remained in seventh place with an overall score of 41.6. Even though they went clear in show jumping, it was not enough to edge Payne, and they finished fourth, overall. Mackenna Shea (Temecula, Calif.) and her own Landioso, a 2002 Bavarian Warmblood gelding, placed third with an overall score of 42.5.

Australia’s Ryan Wood was the Adequan Advanced Gold Cup Final Champion and Reserve Champion with Powell and Woodstock Bennett, respectively.

Complete Results

From the USEF Communications Department

Leaderboard Shakes Up after Cross-Country in Advanced Gold Cup Finals Division

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
Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon

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.

Junior Novice

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

First Divisional Champions Honored at the USEA American Eventing Championships

Allison Springer and Arthur. Photos ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography.

Mill Spring, NC – September 2, 2016 – The 2016 Nutrena® USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover (AEC) continued at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), as the first of many championships honors were awarded in the George H. Morris Arena following the final phase of show jumping for seven different divisions.

Adequan® Gold Cup Advanced Finals

Allison Springer and longtime mount Arthur, a 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Windstar x Kelly) owned by Arthur Syndicate LLC, rose to the occasion once again in their admitted strongest phase of dressage, as the pair earned a 25.3 to hold a slight lead over Ryan Wood and Powell, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Pablito x Dinara) owned by Summit Sport Horses, who received a 25.4. Marilyn Little and RF Demeter, a 14-year-old Oldenburg mare (Rubin-Royal x Patricia) owned by Jacqueline Mars, Raylyn Farms, and Patrick Witte, are currently in third with a score of 28.0.

The division, which is an annual highlight of the Nutrena® USEA American Eventing Championships each year, features some of the best riders in the country including experienced CCI 4* riders and Olympians. Springer is no stranger to holding a lead heading into the second day of competition as Arthur, who is notoriously spooky in the two remaining phases, excels in dressage. The pair consistently scores below average on the flat at the Advanced level and will continue their success on cross-country Saturday.

“He was super today. I had not my usual prep for him because he was first out at 8 a.m. He hasn’t been anywhere since Kentucky this spring. I got injured and his first cross-country school was last week since then,” explained Springer. “The last couple of weeks I’ve been working with Karen O’Connor and I feel good and he feels good. He just was so happy to be at a show and doing something again.”

“I was a bit late getting to the warm-up, but he was focused and ready to do his job. When Arthur is good, he’s so good. It was just a fluid nice test,” she added.

The pair, who has been together for the entirety of Arthur’s career, has experienced both ups and downs in their performances together, but Springer is hopeful that the duo will be able to lay down a solid round Saturday around a difficult track, that could be an interesting test for Arthur.

“He is very very spooky. He’s not spooky at the jumps, but everything around them. When he’s like that he gets very tense in his back and jump a little low and tight. I think I’ve had to learn a lot about how to ride and train more like a show jumper,” she commented. “Certainly this type of event with a lot to look at on course makes it difficult to make up time and we’ll just see. He’s a good horse and he knows his job.”

Ryan Wood and Powell found themselves hot on the heels of the veteran pair, sitting just a tenth of a point behind the leaders, a subtle contrast to the levels of experience, as this duo is just finding their feet at the Advanced and FEI CCI 3* level, compared to Springer and Arthur who have been together for more than ten years.

“He felt fantastic. I thought I smoked the test today,” he laughed. “We’ve been working a lot on the flying changes. I had four horses in the Advanced division and we hit all of our changes. It’s usually a 50/50 change of getting them and we’re starting to get the hang of it.”

Marilyn Little continued her domination at the AECs, as she leads the Merial Open Intermediate division aboard RF Scandalous and holds second aboard RF Overdressed. She also guided her veteran Advanced mount, RF Demeter, to a current third place position in the Adequan® Gold Cup Advanced Finals.

“She held it together quite well. There was no familiarization so she perked up again heading into the ring,” said Little. “I thought she let me position her really well for the lateral work and the rideabilty will sometimes go there. That and the tension are typically the first things that creep up on her, but we didn’t see that today.”

Broadstone Masters Beginner Novice

Letha Calvin and Look Cody Look, a 19-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Code Word R x Look N Good Darling), maintained their lead in the Broadstone Masters Beginner Novice division adding nothing to their original score of 27.5 heading into show jumping Saturday. Calvin and Look Cody Look made easy work of the course, while William Barclay and Stormn Hudson KD, a 7-year-old Trakehner gelding (Blitz und Donner x Stormn Doreen KD), moved into second place with a 28.3, while Erin Wiel and Boomtown II, a 19-year-old Thoroughbred, sit in third place with a score of 28.8.

“I was very pleased because we had a double clear ride on both horses in the division. They both looked at a lot of things out there and if I hadn’t ridden with my pants on fire today, they both would have had stops,” she laughed. “I thought it would be challenging and it was even a little bit more challenging than I thought it would be.

“I was concerned about the purple jump after the water and it rode a lot better than I thought it was going to ride. What I’ve figured out over the years is that I like to overthink things and I have learned that whether I’m first or last or anywhere in between the goal in each of the jumping phases is a clear round,” she added.

Merial Open Intermediate

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous, a 11-year-old Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Richardia) owned by Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, Phoebe Manders and Michael Manders, maintained their lead in the Merial Open Intermediate division after finishing one of the quickest rounds of the day, crossing through the finish line just .4 seconds over the optimum time to hold first place leading into the final day of division competition with a 22.7. Doug Payne piloted his own Lysander, a 9-year-old Thoroughbred/Holsteiner (Lordship x Just for Terry), to hold second place after adding .8 time faults to their dressage score for a total of 29.7. Little guided her second mount in the division, RF Overdressed, a 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Countdown x Delia) owned by Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Raylyn Farms, to third place, finishing as one of only of two combinations to complete the track inside of the optimum time.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous
Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous

With two horses sitting within the top three of the largest division of the week, as well as RF Demeter placed in the top three of the Adequan® Gold Cup Advanced Finals, Little has set herself up to have a banner week. Speaking of both horses on course, she commented, “I tried to come out of the box really strong. I’m not sure it’s possible to leave the first field up on your minutes, but I tried as hard as I could to get there. I tried to start the way I wanted to finish.

“They were both very focused and I felt like Overdressed went beautifully. He’s really coming into his own. He handled everything very well and it is always a great feeling when they show you they’re ready for more,” she added, commenting on her trip around the track with RF Overdressed.

RF Scandalous, who still has a tight hold on the lead, felt great on course, as the outing served as one of her first in a few months after returning from an injury last year. Little noted, “I was glad that there were quite a few turns at the beginning because she was amped at the beginning. The turns helped to keep her thinking and aware.”

Professional’s Choice Training Amateur

Kristen Paysinger and her own, 8-year-old Oldenburg mare Luistana (Linton x Espersica) have been a force in the Professional’s Choice Training Amateur division as the duo finished the week on their original dressage score of 25.0, completing a fantastic competition in all three phases. Patricia Hidalgo and Sapphire Storm, a 8-year-old Thoroughbred mare (Orchard Park x Sailor’s Gold) finished in second place with a score of 26.4, while Natasha Erschen and 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse Emerald Lion (Keltic Lion x Unknown) collected third place honors with a score of 26.8.

“I thought my horse was amazing. I thought the atmosphere was really going to through her off and she was just on it,” said Paysinger. “There was a lot of pressure and I’m really proud of her. She didn’t want to go into the combination at 4ab, but listened to me really well.

“This week I’ve learned to really keep my focus and not let all of the hustle and bustle of the venue get to you. You have to stay focused with just you and your horse and that really helped a lot and was something new for me,” said Hidalgo.

Second and third place were only separated by four tenths of a point, capping an exciting competition for the riders in the division. Erschen commented that she was particularly pleased with her mare’s ability to finish on their dressage score.

“I was proud to finish on her dressage score. This is her first year at Training, and for her to come here and jump as well as she did, as well as put in a solid round in each phase, I was just really happy,” she concluded.

Novice Amateur

Sarah Fishetto and Sin Fallo kept a hold on their lead after the cross-country portion of the Novice Amateur division on their strong starting score of 24.3. The duo, who have had some difficulty with the phase in the past, felt they gained an immense amount of confidence after their completion of the track. Alison Wilably and her own Mr. Mile High are currently seated in second place with a 26.3, while Cecelia Bette piloted her own Mystery K hold third place with a score of 27.5.

“We came out and she was super bold and ready to go. We’ve had some issues in the past so we decided to roll out with a little bit of a bolder take on the course,” she explained. “The footing held up really well and it all fell into place.

“A lot of our practice has been keeping her from rushing. She’s a horse that really fakes the confidence. She will rush at things and then stop or run out because she gets nervous. We’ve been working on keeping her up and the backend going,” noted Fischetto.

Novice Horse

The Novice Horse division rounded out the final day of competition for the 35 riders entered in the competitive class, which was championed by Ashley Phillips and her own Bayani Slade with a final score of 25.3, to complete the week on her original dressage score. Dominic Schramm and Cooley Renaissance Man, owned by Stormy Craine, rode to second place, with a tied score of 25.3, but Phillip’s cross-country round was closer to the optimum time, which ultimately gave her the win. Martha Lambert and her own Sutton finished the week in third place with a score of 26.8.

“He came out and he was very jazzed so I knew the atmosphere in here would get to him. He was a little bit fresh to begin with but really started to focus on me after fence three so I was proud of him,” said Phillips. “We’ve had issues with him not being able to focus at competitions and this week he was really in the zone, which was really great.”

Schramm, who finished a successful week with Cooley Renaissance Man, was pleased with the progress and maturity the gelding showed throughout the competition and feels that he has finally solidified himself in each of the three phases.

“He doesn’t really pay much attention to the smaller jumps so the biggest thing is managing him and trying to keep his focus. We want to keep him fresh and towards the end he started to tap the rails, which was making me a bit nervous. He’s such a good horse and really knows and understands his job now.”

Broadstone Beginner Novice Horse

Doug Payne and Mr. Mitchel, a 4-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, rode to victory with a 28.3 in the Broadstone Beginner Novice Horse division, as the pair surpassed Rumsey Keefe and her own Eightofasttocatch, an 11-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, who finished on their dressage score of 30.5, as well as Lauren Chumley and Nikolas, a 5-year-old Sport Pony Nikolas (Novalis T x Capina Mia), owned by Melissa Dowling, who completed the weekend on a 31.3.

Payne and Mr. Mitchel have just started their eventing career together, as the gelding was imported in late fall and began in full training with Payne in early January. The atmosphere of TIEC has been a major talking point for the riders, as they feel it helps horses of all ages and levels gain valuable experience.

“I think this particular facility has a distinct advantage over any of the AECs I’ve been to, in that it’s such a big atmosphere and both of these horses will continue on to do big things. I think that placing them in a bigger environment will only serve them better in the future,” said Payne, who also sits towards the top of the leaderboard in the Merial Open Intermediate division and will pilot Vandiver around the Adequan® Gold Cup Advanced Finals cross-country track Saturday afternoon. “I think the cross-country course was an asset. I think having a tighter and more energetic environment really prepares them for the bigger things ahead overseas if they are able to get that far. If you can introduce young horses to that, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal down the line.”

Keefe and Eightofasttocatch rose up the leaderboard to ultimately finish second in the final division of the day at TIEC. Keefe is a major supporter of the Thoroughbred breed and was proud to display the breed’s best qualities this week.

“He’s been doing this for about a year after finishing on the track. He’s actually much better in this type of environment. He loves this atmosphere. He can be a little bit hot, but he can also be quiet sometimes so it’s about keeping a rhythm with him,” said Keefe, describing her ride and Eightofasttocatch, who earned more than $1,000,000 during his time on the racetrack. “He loves the galloping and running on cross-country and I really felt like he ate it up yesterday.”

Chumley, an established dressage rider who was bit by the eventing bug as a cross-training tool for her horses, finished in third place after leading the division aboard Nikolas, as the pair dropped a single rail in stadium and placed them in fourth.

“He’s a green horse and this is only his fourth or fifth horse trial. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing in the stadium out there, but he was really focused for this big of an atmosphere. For being five and at his first AEC, I’m really proud. I’m excited to see what he can do in the future,” commented Chumley.

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

Competition Continues at USEA American Eventing Championships

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photos ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography.

Mill Spring, NC – September 1, 2016 – The highly anticipated first day of cross-country competition commenced at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), as riders at the 2016 Nutrena® USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover (AEC) took to the course designed by Captain Mark Phillips at the Beginner Novice, Novice, Training and Preliminary levels. Competition in the dressage arenas also heated up as the Merial Open Intermediate division, the largest division hosted at the venue this week, began with the first phase, while the Adequan® Advanced Gold Cup Finals division will kick off Friday morning.

Merial Open Intermediate

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous (Carry Gold x Richardia) owned by Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, Phoebe Manders and Michael Manders, returned to competition in fine form at TIEC taking a commanding lead in the competitive Merial Open Intermediate division on a score of 22.3. The pair, who won an individual and team gold medal at the Pan American Games in Toronto in 2015, found their stride in the dressage phase of competition, besting Clayton Fredericks, who holds third and second place aboard FEI Money Made (Conteur x Statbuch 1 Arcadia) and FE Bowman (Balloon x Con Corde) with a 27.0 and 28.2, respectively.

Little and Scandalous, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare, put together a fabulous test that was relaxed and smooth, earning them nearly a five point lead ahead of the competitive class, which featured 54 entries. The pair has quickly become one of the top combinations in the United States and their test proved that they’re back on their game after a few months away from competition.

“It’s a pleasure to ride Scandalous in any major dressage test. She’s a real dancer and she was beautifully focused and smooth today. This is only her second weekend back competing in eventing since early June. She had a bit of a break of Boekelo last year,” said Little. “She’s been back in work since March and we had the privilege of competing at the July jumper shows early this summer.”

TIEC is a familiar destination for Little, who is only one of two riders competing this week who have also contested FEI CSI show jumping competition at the venue. Little has competed in numerous “Saturday Night Lights” Grand Prix classes, earning top finishes in the show jumping discipline, with high hopes for a strong performance this week.

“When I look out into that ring, I see ‘Saturday Night Lights’. It’s very interesting to see the same venue through the eyes of two different disciplines. I’ll be back here for the 5* in October, but Mark [Bellissimo] was kind enough to take me on a tour this past summer, which really got me chomping at the bit for this week,” she explained. “There’s nobody like Mark to bring a dream to fruition and for an event in its first year, my goodness. I think there is a lot more to come here.

“There are only a few places in the world that could host an event like this. Hopefully in the future we will see something like this in Wellington where eventing will take more of a hold. It’s very exciting for horse sport in general. It’s not just about promoting one discipline. You really have to promote horses together. This is a place that does that and it’s an asset for our country and for the sport around the world.”

Looking forward to Friday’s competition, Little feels that RF Scandalous has the skill to contest the difficult track, but also feels that cross-country will change the standings around quite a bit.

“We’ve brought her back slowly with her return to competition, but that was only because of the time of the year. We worked on her show jumping and got her a bit more confirmed since she has only been in this sport for two years,” she commented. “I think the course suits her quite well. She’s very handy to ride, but she’s very smart and looks for the flags, which I think will be important, especially at the beginning of the course.”

Preliminary Horse

The Preliminary Horse division saw a shakeup of the leaderboard as Boyd Martin and Barry, a 7-year-old gelding owned by Windurra USA, took over the lead after the second phase of competition, heading into show jumping Friday with a 26.0.

“It was an amazing cross-country course. The course really opened up to be galloping and open towards the end. The first part of the track tested accuracy and control and then the horse’s stamina,” commented Martin.

Boyd Martin and Barry
Boyd Martin and Barry

Martin and Barry added nothing to their dressage score of 26.0, which they earned Wednesday, while Martin also piloted Contessa into the top ten after a speedy trip around the course.

“I think that the cross-country will be a very influential phase here at the AECs, which is good. Here, at Tryon, they’ve built a pretty stiff cross-country course. It’s very interesting for the Intermediate and Advanced divisions because if you try to go slowly around the course you’ll get around, but you’ll pick up quite a bit of time penalties,” he explained. “You’ve got to be quick and take a chance out there to win.”

The division will head into show jumping Friday at 8:00 a.m., as Martin will look to keep a tight grasp on the lead ahead of Ryan Wood aboard Sarah Hughes’ Shannondale Percy, a 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse by Shannondale Sarco, who currently are in second place with a 29.1 and Maya Black aboard her own 6-year-old Thoroughbred, Mowgli (Our New Recruit x Night Siren), who sit in third place on a 29.2 after cross-country.

Professional’s Choice Training Amateur

Anna Kristin Paysinger and her own 8-year-old Oldenburg mare, Luistana (Linton x Espersica), continued to hold their lead in the Professional’s Choice Training Amateur division after finishing a double clear trip around the cross-country track and will look to take top honors in the division after their completion of show jumping Friday. The duo will move forward to show jumping still secure on their dressage score of 25.0.

The pair has led both phases of the division to this point in the competition and Paysinger was proud of their confidence around the tough track. She noted, “I thought my mare was really brave throughout the course. I was fretting the most about jump six, but she jumped it fine and didn’t seem to notice all of the people at all and went right into the water after that.”

Encountering a hold on course, Paysinger discussed her mentality shift after she was cleared to continue around the track. The horse and rider combination who initiated the hold were able to walk off course on their own, but Paysinger was tasked with to refocusing Luistana to prepare for the remainder of their run.

“I think my mare thought that she was done and decided that she wanted to head back to the barn,” she explained. “Before we started back I asked if it was okay to trot around and canter a bit and they were nice enough to let me jump the novice jump to let me get back into rhythm. I thought we both handled the situation really well and I’m very proud of her.”

The duo will conclude their week of competition after show jumping Friday while Patricia Hildalgo and her own Sapphire Storm (Orchard Park x Sailor’s Gold) are currently placed within striking distance on a 26.4, while Natascha Erschen and her own Emerald Lion, a 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse by Keltic Lion, secured third place with a double clear effort and a score of 26.8.

Preliminary Amateur

Ruth Bley and her own Rodrigue Du Granit maintained their lead in the Preliminary Amateur division, mastering the track and only adding .4 time faults to their dressage score of 27.2 to hold top honors heading into show jumping Friday with a 27.6. Nita Sanfilippo piloted her own Alarmabull to second in the standings, collecting an additional 1.6 time penalties for a 30.1. Randa Sorzano and Pleasant Rendezvous secured third, after crossing through the finish with a double clear trip to sit on a 30.5.

The Preliminary Amateur division will conclude Friday, as horse and rider combinations complete the final phase of competition at 10:55 a.m. in the George H. Morris Arena.

Novice Horse

Heading out on the course with an inexperienced young horse, Lucia Strini didn’t know what to expect from Plain Dealing Farm’s Cooley Daydream (by Chacoa) in the Novice Horse division. This competition is only the fifth event for the 5-year-old Irish Sport Horse, and the atmosphere here is unlike anything they’ve seen before. The mare rose to the challenge and the pair remain on their dressage score of 24.3 after a double clear finish.

“Whenever she saw the jumps she settled a bit,” Strini explained. “She was really bold and brave. By the time we came into the derby field she was super full of herself. She finished more confident than she started, which is always good.”

Looking toward Friday’s show jumping, Strini feels prepared and believes her experiences Thursday have set them on the path to another clear round. She doesn’t have a rail in hand as the second and third placed pairs are only one point behind. Ashley Phillips and Bayni Slade (Doneraile Court x Klagenfurt) and Dominic Shramm and Cooley Renaissance Man (Eurocommerce Washington x Storm) were tied on a 25.3, but Phillips finished closer to the optimum time, which gave her second place.

Professional’s Choice Master Training Amateur

Sandra Holden and her own Cano Cristales (Conteur x Haupstupbuch Konny) kept a strong hold on their lead in the Professional’s Choice Master Training Amateur division after the cross-country phase, finishing on a score of 21.6. The 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding laid down a confident round with Holden piloting from the irons and the pair head into show jumping Friday with a 1.8 point lead ahead of Ruth Bley and Spartacus D’L’Herbage, a 10-year-old Selle Francais, who are sitting in second on a 23.4. Nanette Schumaker and La Cosa Nostra (by Kevekka), a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, rounded out the top three, adding nothing to their dressage score of 24.6 around cross-country.

The division will conclude Friday in the George H. Morris Arena as competitors will begin their show jumping portion of competition at 3:20 p.m.

Broadstone Master Beginner Novice Amateur

Letha Calvin and her own Look Cody Look rose to the top of the class in the Broadstone Master Beginner Novice Amateur division with a score of 27.5. The division, which featured 40 entries, will head out on the galloping track Friday, and Calvin, looking forward to contesting the course

“I rode two horses today and I felt that I lost both of their right shoulders at the beginning of the year, but in the last month I found them again,” she smiled. “It felt pretty good to have two solid tests today. I’m super proud of both of them.”

Piloting her second mount Quigley O’Higgins to a tenth place finish in the dressage phase, Calvin was thrilled to be back atop the leaderboard, as she won the division in 2010 and returned to AEC this year to prove to herself that she could repeat her past victory.

“I wanted to convince myself that I wasn’t a one-time-wonder. I wanted to prove to myself that I knew how to ride and that I could come back and do well again. The person that I most like to compete with is myself,” she explained. “I want everyone to do well, but I always think about what I can do better than the last time I was in the ring.”

Calvin and Look Cody Look will leave the start Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. and will look to maintain their lead heading into the final phase of show jumping on Saturday. Tracey Tapman and her own Just Dew It earned a 27.8 to finish just behind Calvin, while William Barclay and his own Stormn Hudson KD received a 28.3 for third.

Broadstone Beginner Novice Horse

In the very first division to head out on the cross-country course, Lauren Chumley and Nikolas (Novalis T x Capina Mia) held onto their lead of the Broadstone Beginner Novice Horse division. Melissa Dowling’s eager Westphalian-bred 5-year-old jumped bold and clear without even a second thought. They remain on their dressage score of 27.3.

“He ate up the cross-country. He’s about the bravest thing on the planet,” Chumley said, and added that he’s maybe even too bold throwing in a few bucks in the warm-up. “He’s figured the whole eventing thing out now. He’s a little bit cocky.”

Despite the stellar run Thursday, Chumley is a realist and has no hesitation in sharing their shared weakness: show jumping, and she’s not excluding extreme measures to keep her lead. “I saw Doug Payne on cross-country. He’s in second behind me. I tried to pay him off but it didn’t work,” she joked. “I thought about pushing him off his bike, but Andrea Davidson, my trainer, told me that was probably also a bad, so I didn’t do that. Unfortunately, now, I’m going to have to actually jump the jumps,” she laughed.

Doug Payne and Stephen Blauner’s Mr. Mitchell, a 4-year-old Irish Sport Horse, follow Chumley on a 28.3, so she must jump clear to Friday to finish as the winner of this division. Payne also lacks any cushion in his score as Susan Thomas and Leslie Allen’s Tango are right behind them with 30 penalty points for third place.

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

Full Day of Dressage Begins 2016 USEA American Eventing Championships

Leslie Law and Sky’s the Limit. Photos ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography.

Mill Spring, NC – August 31, 2016 – The inaugural Nutrena® USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover (AEC) at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) kicked off with seven divisions taking their turn in the dressage rings in Mill Spring, NC. With ten hours of dressage capped by an exciting Welcome Party, the first day of the 2016 AEC can be deemed a success.

This is the first championship event the venue has hosted for the discipline of eventing and close to 700 entries will compete in dressage, cross-country, and show jumping throughout the week, culminating the seasonal efforts of riders from across the country. Competition will highlight Beginner Novice through Advanced divisions, as well as the “Sounds of Nashville Concert” presented by Coca Cola® featuring country music stars Julia Coles and Mitch Rossell on Saturday, September 3, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Professional’s Choice Training Horse

Without a single dressage score above a 26.1 in her competition history, the skies were truly the limit for Sky’s the Limit, owned by Tracey Corey, in the dressage ring of the Professional’s Choice Training Horse division. Ridden by Leslie Law, the 6-year-old Westphalian mare (Stravinsky x Desiree) scored a 21.8 to lead the packed division, where each of the combinations sitting in the top 25 all scored sub-30.

“I am pleased with the way she handled it all quite honestly because she is inexperienced and it is quite an occasion to walk in there,” said Law. “Apart from her actually putting down a really good performance, I was delighted with her temperament. She makes my job very easy because she has three super paces and a super temperament. She is very laid back, so it really is about her education at this point and teaching her to be in a better balance and keeping her supple.”

While Sky’s the Limit was all class in the dressage ring, she still is very young. “She has only done three trainings,” continued Law. “I imported her from England last November, and she had done very little. From now on this is quite a big test for her, but it is all good experience.”

Law is an AEC regular and this is his first visit to the Tryon International Equestrian Center. “The venue is state of the art; it is unbelievable,” he said. “It looks like everything has been thought of – the horse walkways, the rings, the restaurants, the bathrooms. The jumps are beautiful; obviously a lot of work has done a lot here to lay down decent ground. There is going to be a lot for them to gallop around that first field. As time goes on it will be excellent.”

Sitting in second place is Tender Bravissimo, owned by Dare to Dream Team, and ridden by Courtney Cooper. The 7-year-old Holsteiner gelding scored a 22.5, while there is a tie for third on a 22.7. Both piloting mares into the top three, Denise Goyeaand aboard Highlife’s Je T’aime, an 8-year-old Oldenburg (Highlife’s Der Dollar x Jeunesse D’or) owned by Madeline Hartsock, and Lynn Symansky and SpectraVET Cohiba, a 6-year-old Wurttemburg (Con Spirito x Lea) sit in a two-way tie for third.

Professional’s Choice Master Training Amateur

Sandra Holden and her own Cano Cristales (Conteur x Hauptstupbuch Konny) made their way to the top of the leaderboard after a strong showing in the Professional’s Choice Master Training Amateur division, receiving a 21.6 to sit in first place heading into cross-country Thursday. The pair, who traveled from New York, has been working on their connection and communication, specifically in their transitions leading up to the event.

“We were having some trouble with our walk to trot transitions, from the free walk to the medium walk and then the trot. I couldn’t get it on the mark and it felt like he just couldn’t get on the aids. I worked really hard on that with my trainer before we came and on grounds here,” said Holden. “I felt really good about our test. He was with me the entire time and when I came out, usually I think my dressage test is awful, but it was one of the first times that I came out and was satisfied with the test.”

Holden and the 13-year-old Hanoverian have been together for almost seven years and originally the gelding started off as a dressage prospect, never encountering an opportunity to test the waters of eventing before his purchase. Holden, who was just getting started in the sport, found herself quickly attached to Cano Cristales and the pair has been consistently working and winning at Training for the past three seasons.

“He’s turned out to love jumping and we’ve gone from Beginner Novice up to Training. He progressed quicker than I did. This season, I finally feel like we’re ready for the next step. He excels in dressage but it would be a super close call with cross-country. He eats up all of the courses and gets more excited for that than anything in the three phases.”

Ruth Bley and Spartacus D’L’Herbage, a 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding, are currently sitting in second place heading into cross-country after earning a 23.4, while Nanette Shumaker and La Cosa Nostra, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Kevekka, rounded out the top three with a 24.6 for third. The Professional’s Choice Master Training Amateur Division sets out on the course Thursday between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Broadstone Beginner Novice Amateur

Adding another sub-thirty score on the leaderboard was Lauren Chumley and Nikolas (Novalis T x Capina Mia). Melissa Dowling’s 5-year-old Sport Pony put his best hoof forward to earn a 27.3 in the Broadstone Beginner Novice Amateur division.

Chumley is a full-time dressage trainer with “an annoying eventing habit,” and “Niko” was bought to be a dressage horse, so no one was surprised to see her atop the leaderboard. This pair competes at Second Level, schools Third Level at home, and is aimed at the dressage regionals in just two weeks’ time.

Lauren Chumley and Nikolas
Lauren Chumley and Nikolas

She balances her double life to get the best of both worlds. “Oh, God. I think I need it. I love dressage; don’t get me wrong. I just think the eventing keeps you brave,” she laughed. “I think six days a week of dressage in a ring is a lot, and I’ve always loved eventing, so I think it’s really good to get them out of the ring. It makes them braver. It makes them smarter, and I think it keeps their minds fresh.”

Following Chumley is Mr. Mitchel, a 4-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned by Stephen Blauner and ridden by Doug Payne, as the pair sit on a 28.3. Susan Thomas and Tango were the final members to round of the top three after dressage. Tango is a 13-year-old Paint gelding owned by Leslie Allen and will head into the second day of competition with 30 penalty points after the first phase. The Broadstone Beginner Novice Horse division starts the day Thursday on the cross-country track at 8:00 a.m.

Professional’s Choice Training Amateur

When Anna Kristen Paysinger entered the AEC with her 8-year-old Oldenburg mare, Lusitana (Linton x Espersica), she wasn’t expecting to be sitting in the press conference following the first phase of the Professional’s Choice Training Amateur division. Paysinger and “Luna” earned a 25.0 to lead the 37 entry strong division.

“The biggest thing with my mare is keeping her relaxed,” said Paysinger. “She definitely has it in her if she stays quiet. She likes jumping better than dressage, so dressage has been a little bit hard, but she is coming along. She is pretty much a cross-country machine, so if I can just steer correctly and put my leg on she should be fine. Show jumping might be a bit tricky because of the atmosphere in the arena.”

Paysinger rode as a kid, competing at Novice on a Connemara pony, but only returned to the sport four years ago after an extended break to go to college, medical school and complete her residency. A recent move to Aiken, SC to be closer to family while working night shifts as an E.R. doctor has given her the time to come back to eventing. “I started my mare in tadpole and she was a green 5-year-old, so we have just been chipping away at it.”

A mere .9 points behind Paysinger is Nicole Carolan and her own Topgun, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Buskhill Gunnar x Wait for the Will), who she took the ride back from Sinead Halpin in May of this year. Rounding out the top three is the 8-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Sapphire Storm (Orchard Park x Sailor’s Gold), owned and ridden by Patricia Hidalgo who scored a 26.4.

Preliminary Horse

The Preliminary Horse division saw Dana Cooke and Kingfisher Park’s FE Mississippi (Cassini II x Vorbuch) ride into the lead in a very competitive division. The 6-year-old Wurttemburg mare barely snuck into first, besting the second place score by .1 points.

Cooke, who rides with Canada’s Chef d’Equipe Clayton Fredericks, was pleased to see their dressage score reflect recent tune-ups on the flat. “We’ve been working on getting her a lot stronger. I had lessons with Clayton in the last couple of days that helped but the pieces all together,” she explained.

Though she wouldn’t choose a favorite, if she could, this mare might be it, and for good reason too. Cooke has big plans for her future, stating, “She’s such a cool young horse. She’s got the best brain out of any horse I’ve ever ridden. This mare is aiming for the one-star in Ocala, and then eventually being on the Canadian team. That’s the ultimate goal.”

With only a small gap in the scores, Cooke will need to keep an eye on her watch Thursday, as Allison Springer and Lord Willing (Lord Z x Legende IX) are hot on their heels. The Lord Willing Syndicate’s 8-year-old Holsteiner sit on a 25.3 going into cross-country, while Boyd Martin finished the day in third with Barry, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred owned by Windurra USA. The Preliminary Horse division starts on course Thursday at 3:20 p.m.

Novice Horse

Plain Dealing Farm’s Cooley Daydream is only 5 years old and in only her fifth event, she belied her age and experience, scoring a 24.3 to lead the Novice Horse division with Lucia Strini. The Irish Sport Horse mare by Chacoa is normally ridden by Lucia’s sister, Benita, but Lucia took the ride over for the AEC.

“She was really good,” said Lucia. “This is definitely the most atmosphere she has been in, so when she got here yesterday she was all kind of wide-eyed. I was just really happy that she went in [the dressage] and stayed calm. She was really well-behaved, and I was just really happy with her score.”

“I really like bringing on the younger horses, so when we got her for Benita we knew that I might help along with the process,” Lucia explained on why she took over the ride temporarily.

“She is really bold and she loves cross-country, but with the derby field it will be about making sure she knows which jump she has to jump,” continued Lucia. “It is beautiful, but it is definitely a lot to look at. She did some show jumping in Ireland so should be pretty comfortable in the atmosphere there.”

Ashley Phillips with Bayani Slade, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Doneraile Court x Klagenfurt), and Dominic Schramm with Stormy Crain’s 6-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Cooley Renaissance Man (Eurocommerce Washington x Storm) are tied for second on a 25.3.

Preliminary Amateur

Ruth Bley made her journey across the country from California well worth it, as she sits atop the pack in the Preliminary Amateur division with Rodrigue Du Granit. The 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Robin II Z x Delight Gree) earned a 27.2 looking forward into the cross-country phase in first place. Nita Sanfilippo and Alarmabull are just behind Bley, as the 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Hook and Ladder x Shesabull) scored a 28.5. Randa Sorzano and Pleasant Rendezvous, 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, earned a 30.5 for third place.

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