The second day of the Nutrena/USEA American Eventing Championships, presented by Bit of Britain, boasted sunny skies at Chattahoochee Hills. Two disciplines and all levels competed today; Advanced through Training ran cross-country while Novice and Beginner-Novice competed in dressage.
The top five standings in $25,000 Merial Advanced division remained the same after cross-country. Allison Springer and Arthur had springs in their legs, bounding easily over the championship course. “We had a bit of fun. He was certainly fresh and he ate up the distances,” she said. “At the water it was my plan to do the six to the three but he is so adjustable and easily did the seven to the four.”
Allison jumped clear with her second ride, Destination Known, and added just over three time penalties to move up one placing to tenth. During the afternoon Training rides, Allison joined the announcer on course, discussing the questions and commenting on each ride.
Buck also has two horses in the Advanced and jumped double clear on both Ballynoecastle RM and Titanium, and he sits in fourth and seventh respectively.
Last year’s Advanced division champion, Becky Holder, is not out of the running to reclaim her title; she lies in sixth place after cross-country.
The fantastic footing helped riders float over the ground, and the course called for riders to be bold and accurate. Nine pairs out of 18 easily made the time, and 14 pairs jumped clear. Show jumping has all the potential to shake up the final standing. Just one rail separates the top four.
Kadi Eykamp hung onto her lead in the Intermediate championship with Double Rivers Really Cool. Kadi and her six-year-old Canadian Warmblood negotiated the course without a problem, jumping double clear and entering the final phase with two rails in hand.
Katlyn McMorris and Clifton Peekachu posted 0.4 time penalties, barely hanging on to second place over Buck Davidson and L.A. Albert. Besides a few scattered time penalties, the Intermediate course caused few problems for competitors, with 21 of 24 jumping clear.
Fie Ottosen and Clifton retain the number one spot in the Preliminary Amateur Championship after an impeccable cross-country run. Julie Norman and Consensus trekked from Los Angeles, California to partake in the excitement of the AEC. The pair holds their lead in the Preliminary Horse division following a flawless go on cross-country.
Nineteen-year-old Collin Reynolds took a hiatus from her first few days as a college freshman at SMU in Texas to give the Preliminary Junior Division Championship’s competitors a run for their money. Reynolds and Midas retain a 3.8 lead after dominating cross-country today. She said the course was definitely at championship level, but her confident round shifted them from third to number one.
Lauren Kieffer and Czechmate maintain the lead with their dressage score of 23.6 after a clean cross-country ride in today’s Training Horse Championship.
Kentucky natives, Anna Kjellstrom and her very own Blue Stocking jetted over cross-country, finishing faultless. The pair moved up from second to first on yesterday’s dressage score of 29.6 in the Training Amateur Championship. “It is a really nice well-built course,” Kjellstrom said. “There were some challenges in there, but it allowed you places where you could really gallop and move forward.”
Meghan Johnston and Rapport rode a flawless cross-country to hold their lead on the dressage score of 28.0 in the Training Junior Championship.
The Novice Championships began today with 146 Novice starters judged in dressage. Anne Wilson and Axel hold the lead in the Novice Amateur Championship after scoring a 24.3 in dressage. Tying for second is Madeleine Wickwire riding Ripley’s Believe it Or Not and Liz Messaglia riding Apollo Star on dressage scores of 28.5. Emily Wending and Magic of Spring scored a 21 in dressage, giving the pair a three-point lead on Amy Barrington and Gallerone in the Novice Horse Championship. Ashley Guidry and Mercedes rode a 25 in dressage to take the Novice Junior Championship lead.
Lauren Weil has set herself up to pull off a Mary King. Lauren is not claiming the two top spots at the only four-star event in the Western Hemisphere, but she is sitting first and second in Beginner Novice Horse at the AEC. Pippen, a Dutch Warmblood owned by Ann Edmundson, scored a 27.9 while Jennifer Tucker’s Thoroughbred mare, Commit, scored a 31.2. Both horses have wins on their record this year and the championships would not be the first time they take home first and second in the same division.
Sandra Holden of New York leads Beginner Novice Amateur after dressage. She and her 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Cano Cristales, scored a 27 in dressage to top a field of 39. They were the only pair to score below 30 in the division. Anne Huberth, from North Carolina, is in second on Elizabeth Aboody’s Legend VII.
Beginner Novice Junior is by far the largest division of the event with 67 starters. Cady O’Daly Michael, bred by Cady O’Daly Farm and owned and ridden by 18-year-old Logan Elliott of Maryland, leads the division after dressage. The cremello Connemara earned the same score from both judges, 28.1. Logan and “Mikey” have won their previous three horse trials at the level.
Charles Owen Technical Merit Award
Training Junior and Training Amateur divisions were scored for the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award, founded by the USEA Professional Horseman’s Council. The award rewards safe and appropriate cross-country technique, and riders are judged on five criteria including gallop, preparation, jump execution, position, and general impression.
Brindley House and Might Be Regal were first for the award in Training Junior with a score of 80.5. Brindley and Might Be Regal are currently sitting sixth in the Training Junior Championship after cross-country. Molly Jayes and Trooper Tobin earned second. Sarah Beth Hood and Oakley and Jenny Caras and Fernhill Stowaway tied for third.
In the Training Amateur division, John Nunn, the owner of the AEC’s presenting sponsor Bit of Britain and long time supporter of eventing, will be glad for earning the top score on Smilelikeyoumeanit. Jeff Beshear and Pacific storm earned the next highest score for second. Lucy Cheney and Bouncer were awarded the third highest score by the judges, but she was riding with permission after an unfortunate elimination in dressage. Kaitlynn Mosing and May I Tell Ya were just a half-point back for the fourth best score out of 36 in the division.
Saturday will decide the 2011 champions in Advanced through Training level as this group refocuses for accuracy and tidiness in show jumping. Novice and Beginner-Novice will have the cross-country course to themselves for the entire day.
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: Allison Springer & Arthur - 1st in Advanced (Emily Daily/USEA photo); Kadi Eykamp & Double Rivers Really Cool - 1st in Intermediate (Emily Daily/USEA photo); Anne Wilson and Axel - 1st in Novice Amateur (Hoofclix.com photo).