Tyler, TX - Today was the final day of the 2014 Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships, presented by VTO Saddlery, and seven Novice and Beginner Novice Champions were decided and sent home with an abundance of cash and prizes.
Corinna Garcia came from Ohio to Texas to win the Novice Horse division on Jamaica Skodstrupp and with a double-clear show jumping round, finishing on their dressage score of 23.0 penalties. The eight-year-old mare is as eye-catching as she is athletic, with a unique color pattern that is characteristic of a rare breed.
“She’s a Knabstrupper,” explained Garcia. “Steve Willham owns Hinckley Equestrian Center (Hinckley, Ohio) and they were looking for someone to help out with their eventing program. They own seven Knabstruppers and they’re pretty excited to get this breed out and about. There are only about 1500 of them in the world, and only about 200 in the U.S.”
Kristen Hardy had some help from an angel today, winning the Senior Novice Amateur division aboard Enchanted (Double Cream – Willma) on her dressage score of 27.5 penalties. Hardy rode with a purple streak in Enchanted’s tail in memory of Avery Dudasch, a young competitor who passed away at the age of 11 from cancer; the team from Platinum Farms (Franktown, Colo.) and Dudasch’s mother, Vicki, stood ringside to cheer her on.
“I had my wings today,” she said. “And I’m in awe of this horse. Every time I get on her, I’m just in awe of her… I’m the lucky one.”
Texan Seguin Alexander and Motion Granted redeemed themselves after an imperfect finish at the AEC last year.
“I was nervous because last year I had a good dressage score and then a stop on cross-country,” explained the 13-year-old.
Today, the pair finished on their dressage score of 22.5 to win the Junior Novice division. Seguin bought the now 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Shaquin – Richsis) from Texas eventer Meg Johnson, but wasn’t convinced at first that they were a perfect match.
“We started training with Mary Darcy and ever since then, he’s just kept moving up and getting better,” she said. “At first I wasn’t too sure that I was in love with him but over time our bond kept getting stronger and stronger. Now I don’t know what I’d do without him.”
Broadstone Beginner Novice Divisions
Erin Pullen and Jodi Koford’s Strider Can Fly (Loki - Thiselephantcanfly) won the Broadstone Beginner Novice Horse division on the lowest finishing score of the entire AEC: 20.0.
“To get a 20 in dressage – holy cow! That’s totally amazing,” said Pullen of Louisville, Ky. “This horse has only been eventing since February and every question I’ve asked, he has answered full force.”
The Broadstone Senior Beginner Novice Amateur title went to Jill Wagenknecht and her own Irish Sport Horse mare, CD Dancer (Crosstown Dancer – My Valley of Dreams). They finished on their dressage score of 23.5 penalties.
“I was thrilled with dressage,” said Wagenknecht of St. Loius, Mo. “When I saw her dressage score, I started crying and didn’t stop crying for a long time. We had a really tough season last year and this year, we are more and more becoming a team. I’m just so glad we’re peaking now.”
Thirteen-year-old Maddalyn Hunt from The Woodlands, Texas, won the Broadstone Beginner Novice 14 and Under division aboard a horse that she found for sale online.
“It went awesome! In dressage he was a star, and on cross-country he was better than I could have imagined,” Hunt said with a grin for her Argentinian Warmblood gelding, Jos Estoico. This was Hunt’s first time at the AEC.
Melissa Morris has seen ups and downs with RSR Private Eye. Melissa’s parents bought the Appaloosa pony (AV Cowboys Cadillac – CR Private Dream) as a two-year-old stallion for $250.
“We never really thought he would jump or do anything special,” said Morris. “We were going to do 4H with him but he was spooky and wasn’t very good at 4H.”
Today, they won the Broadstone Beginner Novice Junior (14 & Over) division on a final score of 27.5 penalties. Melissa’s coach, Bridget Mason, said 15-year-old Morris (Liberty, Mo.) has done all the training on the pony herself.
“The first time he went cross-country, he was bolting and rearing and bolting and freaking out,” said the coach. “She got eliminated at her first event on him because he stopped within the first several fences; he didn’t even make it to fence 4.”
Now, the once-naughty pony is an American Eventing Champion and even has an Instagram account called “appaloosalife” with about 5,000 followers.
USEA Adult Team Championship
Today also saw the conclusion of the Adult Team Championship competitions. The Preliminary Adult Team Championship was claimed by the Area V and VII “Run Four Roses” team with a score of 109. The Training level ATC title went to the combination team of Areas II, III and VIII with 107.2 penalty points. The Novice level team winners from Area V had the best score of all ATC teams, with only 97.0 penalty points. Finally, in the Beginner Novice Adult Team Championship, a combination team between Areas II and III scored a 103.0 to win.
Complete results and detailed scores for all divisions are posted at livescore.useventing.com.
The Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships return to the Texas Rose Horse Park September 24th through 27th, 2015.
The 2014 Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships and the 2014 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Championships would not have been possible without the following sponsors: Nutrena, VTO Saddlery, Adequan, Merial, Broadstone Equine Insurance Company, Devoucoux, Standlee, Charles Owen, Fleeceworks, Point Two Air Jackets, Professional's Choice, Dubarry of Ireland, WeatherBeeta, The Chronicle of the Horse, Omega Alpha, Auburn Laboratories Inc., Smartpak, Dever, Stackhouse Saddles, Equine Art by Julie, Flair, CWD, Equine Art by Julie, RevitaVet, Grand Meadows, Ovation, Eventing Training Online, Back on Track, the City of Lindale Texas, and more.
About the United States Eventing Association (USEA)
The USEA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization committed to providing eventing enthusiasts with a competitive level suited to their individual skills. The mission of the USEA is to advance the sport of eventing through education of riders, trainers, officials, and organizers, with the health and well-being of the horse of paramount importance. Each year, the USEA recognizes more than 250 events throughout the U.S. that host nearly 42,000 entries. The association has over 11,000 members and, through the direction of the Board of Governors, strives to make the sport of eventing safe, fun, fair, and affordable to all who participate.