Advanced through Training level champions were named today as six divisions show jumped in the grand prix arena at the Nutrena/USEA American Eventing Championships, presented by Bit of Britain, at Chattahoochee Hills Farm in Fairburn, Georgia. The sun shone warm and bright and not a cloud graced the skies. Novice and Beginner Novice jumped across country and will complete their championship on Sunday.
Barbara Crabo and Eveready II won the $20,000 Merial Advanced Championship on their dressage score of 32.4. Crabo and Everday II moved up to the number one spot after yesterday’s leaders Allison Springer and Arthur added a rail and four time penalties, dropping them to fifth and opening the number one spot. “Today he was full of himself jumping really big and he saved me in a few spots.” Crabo laughed when she said she would use some of the money she won to pay a few bills. Next stop for Eveready II is the CCI3* at Galway Downs and Rolex in the spring.
Buck Davidson on Ballynoecastle RM moved up from fourth to take reserve champion on their dressage score of 32.8. The number three spot for the USEA Advanced championship goes to Doug Payne aboard Running Order, the pair moved up from fifth, scoring a 34.8.
The Advanced division also served as the penultimate leg of the $20,000 Adequan USEA Gold Cup division--the top riders in this class won extra cash, prizes, and Gold Cup points. Only a single event at Twin Rivers (CA) remains in a few weeks before this year's Gold Cup champion is crowned.
The Intermediate Championship’s top three standings held from day one. Kadi Eykamp and Double Rivers Really Cool maintained an 8.6 lead even after a stadium rail. “I’m starting to really work with him in his show jumping in a positive way. I was nervous going into the show jumping!” Eykamp admitted. Double Rivers Really Cool will head to Fair Hill this fall to compete in his first CCI2*.
Katlyn McMorris and Clifton Peekachu took second on a 36.2 following a 0.4 cross-country time penalty. Buck Davidson took his second AEC top three placement aboard the thirteen year-old Thoroughbred, L.A. Albert, on their dressage score of 36.8.
Returning Preliminary Junior Champions, Carrie Meehan and her 17- year-old Irish Sport Horse, Blue Devil, won this year’s Preliminary Amateur Championship on their 32.6 dressage score. Meehan took time off from her classes at UVA to compete in this year’s championship. “I’m really surprised with the win because we were having hiccups for the past few months,” Meehan said. “I kind of thought to myself, why are we competing here? We haven’t been competing a lot, but it was well worth the trip.”
Moving up from fifth to take the number two spot was Chris Duke on Sportsfield One O Two. Katie Eckhart and Sassparilla Kid’s 37-point dressage score took them from seventh to number three as four rails dropped for Fie Ottoson and Clifton.
The top three rides in the Preliminary Horse championship finished on their dressage scores. The division’s leaders, Julie Norman and Consensus, added two rails which dropped them to seventh and allowed Heather Morris and Master P’s faultless jumping rounds to bring home the championship. Morris said Master P was imported as a resale project and is ready to go Intermediate.
Erin Freedman and Viola’s clear jumping rounds bumped them from fifth to second. The number three spot went to Dominic Schramm and Arnold van de Warande on their 34-point dressage test.
Nineteen-year-old Collin Reynolds and her thirteen-year-old Canadian Thoroughbred, Midas IV, knocked one rail but maintained their division champion position with a 0.8 lead. “Going in I had a lot of pressure on, but he felt great in the warm-up, jumped the first jump and I knew he was going to get around fine.”
Mary Frances Cargile and Take the Mike seized reserve champion on a score of 37.6, and Natalie Hargis aboard Roman Holiday captured the number three spot.
Lauren Kieffer (VA) led from the start with Court and Kylie Ramsay’s lovely chestnut Czechmate. The young horse added no penalties to his dressage score of 25 and jumped clear under extreme pressure today. She finished thirteenth with lucky devil in the same division.
Imtiaz Anees and Doug Payne finished on their dressage scores to finish second and third respectively. Robin Walker (MI) finished with two in the top ten: fourth on Canadian Exchange, owned by Anne-Marie Rasch, and sixth on Susan Martin’s Some Day Never Comes.
Anna Kjellstrom (KY) was first before show jumping, and after a great round, the top rail on the final fence hit the ground. Anna and the audience held their breath until the announcer stated that the penalties would not affect their placing - they were still champions.
Madison Bonamarte (WI) and Chevelle (Dublin) moved up from fourth to second with a double clear cross-country and one rail show jumping. Rebecca and Troubadour Hall finished third, while Vicki Reynolds and Yvonne Ocrant rounded out the top five.
In a banner display of skill and partnership, 15-year-old Sarah C. Murphy (GA) and her 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse, Flagmount’s Irish Riverstone, earned their second American Eventing Championship in a row. After winning Novice Junior last year, they qualified at Training level after a successful spring campaign. The pair consistently scores well in dressage, and were placed fifth on 30.5. They added 0.4 time penalties on cross-country and moved up to fourth. A beautiful double-clear show jumping round solidified their top five placing, but errors from the leaders moved her up to the top spot.
The leader after cross-country, Megan Johnston, unfortunately pulled a rail and three time penalties, dropping her to eighth. Elizabeth Foos, in third place before jumping, took a fall at the final fence on Penfold Park. She landed on her feet, but was sadly eliminated.
Andrea Glazer (KY) was second throughout the competition on Deputy Commander, and Ann O’Neal Pevahouse (AR) moved up from sixth after dressage to third on Don Bosco. Brindley House and Diana Heinrich, both from Texas, finished on 33.9. Brindley finished cross-country closer to the optimum time for fourth place.
Anne Wilson retained her first place position after cross-country with Axel, adding no penalties to her dressage score of 24.3. She will have a just one rail in hand tomorrow ahead of Liz Messaglia and Apollo Star. Last year, Wilson and Axel won this same division.
The top eight positions in Novice Horse remained the same after cross-country. Emily Wendling and Magic of Spring can drop a rail and still tie Amy Barrington and Gallerone. Emily was closer to optimum time on cross-country and would win the tie, but she will of course be anxious to jump clear.
Ashley Guidry and Mercedes, also 2010 champions (but a division lower in Beginner Novice) cruised around cross-country to remain in first place in the large Novice Junior division. Fifty-five horses move on to show-jumping. A rail tomorrow will be costly for Ashley, as a single rail separates first and fourth place.
Lauren Well maintains the one and two spots in the Beginner Novice Horse Championship following clear cross-country rounds aboard Pippen and Commit respectively. After a faultless cross-country round, Audrey Bean and Alara Ben Raad retain their number three position.
The top three competitors in the Beginner Novice Rider Amateur Championship retain their dressage score leads after today’s cross-country. Sandra Holden and Cano Cristales possess a 4.7-point cushion for tomorrows stadium jumping. A rail holds third place competitors Elisabeth Lee aboard Free Verse Second from surpassing second place competitors, Anne Huberth aboard Legend VII going into stadium jumping.
The Beginner Novice Rider Junior Championship’s standing remain unchanged after cross-country. Logan Elliott and Cady O’Daly Michael retain their 4.5-point lead after a clear run around cross-country. Second and third place holders, Hope Walden a top Galaxy and Tayler Stewart a top Strictly Business, maintain 0.1-point difference entering stadium.
Novice and Beginner-Novice will wrap up the eighth annual AEC in the show jumping arena tomorrow.
The 2011 AEC is made possible by our wonderful sponsors. Title: Nutrena; Presenting: Bit of Britain; Advanced Level: Merial; Platinum: Charles Owen, Broadstone, SSG Gloves, SUCCEED; Gold: World Equestrian Brands, Practical Horseman, and Fleeceworks; Silver: Back on Track, Dubarry, VTO Saddlery, Omega Alpha, FITS, Auburn Labs, The Chronicle of the Horse, Point Two USA, Bronze: SmartPak, Stackhouse Saddles, Flair, Saratoga Horseworks; Contributing: Finish Line, Equinature, Adequan, HoofWraps.
Photos: Barbara Crabo and Eveready II won the $20,000 Merial Advanced Championship; Buck Davidson on Ballynoecastle RM; Carrie Meehan and her 17- year-old Irish Sport Horse, Blue Devil; Collin Reynolds and her thirteen-year-old Canadian Thoroughbred, Midas IV; Anne Wilson retained her first place position after cross-country with Axel. Photos by Emily Daily & Leslie Threlkeld.