Dressage Competition Continues While First Set of Divisions Take to Cross-Country Track at 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships
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.
Close to 775 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. Competition will highlight the Beginner Novice through Advanced divisions and continue through Sunday, September 3.
USEA Adequan® Gold Cup Final Advanced
Marilyn Little and Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Phoebe and Michael Manders’ RF Scandalous 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 tomorrow.
“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, 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, and Jordan Linstedt with her own and Barbara Linstedt’s 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding, RevitaVet Capato.
“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.”
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 tomorrow’s 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, 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.
Lauren Chumley and Melissa Dowling’s 6-year-old Sport Pony, Nikolas 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.
Booli Selmayr and Thomas Duggan’s 5-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, Kildare’s MHS Tampa, 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 tomorrow’s 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, 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.
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 tomorrow. “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 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.
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, took over the lead after the second phase of competition and head into show jumping tomorrow 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 tomorrow 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 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, sit in third place on a 33.2 after cross-country.
Cindy Buchanan and her own Flying Candles, a 11-year-old Thoroughbred mare 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 tomorrow.
“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, 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 secured third place after crossing through the finish to sit on a 35.6.
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. 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 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, 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 tomorrow 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 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, 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 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 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, 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 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 owned by Caia Z Group, are only a few tenths behind as they sit in third on a 24.8.
As for her strategy tomorrow, 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 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.
As for tomorrow, 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 tomorrow’s show jumping competition. Brynn Littlehale and her own Lagerfeld, a 6-year-old German Sport Horse gelding 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. 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, jumping double clean around the track to both continue forward on their dressage scores.