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.
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.
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.
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.