It was a wet day at the Tryon International Equestrian Center for the second day of dressage competition at the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena. All five of the Novice division took their turn in the sand box, and the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Final kicked off with each of the 24-horse field strutting their stuff in the George Morris arena. All Training and Preliminary divisions took to Captain Mark Phillips’ cross-country course today, check back soon on the USEA Website for a full recap.
USEA Adequan Gold Cup Final Advanced
Marilyn Little and Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Phoebe and Michael Manders’ RF Scandalous (Carry Gold x Richardia) 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 20s was Jennie Brannigan and Nina Gardner’s 15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Cambalda (Balda Beau x Cathys Lady), 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.”
Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.
Hot on their heels and tied for third place on a 30.7 headed into cross-country are Phillip Dutton with Kristine Norton’s I’m Sew Ready, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding (Lupicor x Jarda), and Jordan Linstedt with her own and Barbara Linstedt’s 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding, RevitaVet Capato (Contendro I x Annabelle).
“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 and Corina. Sportfot Photo.
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, and 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 (Languster x Galiffi), are tied for second place on a score of 21.8.
Megan Northrop and Fleur de Lis. Sportfot Photo.
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. 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 and 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 Nikolas. Sportfot Photo.
Lauren Chumley and Melissa Dowling’s 6-year-old Sport Pony, Nikolas (Novalis T x Capina Mia) 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, “and so 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.
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, “and 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 (More Smoke x Miss Boot Scoot) 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.
Booli Selmayr and Kildare's Mhs Tampa. Sportfot Photo.
Booli Selmayr and Thomas Duggan’s 5-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, Kildare’s Mhs Tampa (Quintender x Lady Ligustra), 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 (Fitz x Criss Cross), round out the top three 0.3 points behind them on 24.8. Less than 4 points currently separate the top 15 combinations in this division, and if today’s cross country action is any indication, this certainly won’t be a dressage show!
Novice riders will set out on cross-country tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. Check out the courses in Wednesday's preview.
About the USEA American Eventing Championships
The USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Land Rover and Nutrena® is the pinnacle of the sport for the national levels. Held annually, this event draws together the best competitors from across the country vying for national titles from the Beginner Novice through the Advanced level. This year's AEC is being held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in Mill Spring, N.C. August 30-September 3, 2017.
The 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena would not be possible without our wonderful sponsors: Presenting Sponsors: Land Rover and Nutrena, Gold Cup Advanced Title Sponsor: Adequan, Intermediate Division Title Sponsor: Boehringer Ingelheim, Training Level Title Sponsor: Professional’s Choice Platinum Sponsor: Devoucoux Gold Level Sponsors: Charles Owen, Standlee Hay, Merck Animal Health, Noble Outfitters Silver Level Sponsors: VTO Saddlery, Point Two Air Jackets, Mountain Horse Bronze Level Sponsors: Back on Track, SmartPak, Chronicle of the Horse, Dubarry of Ireland, Stackhouse & Ellis, Auburn Laboratories, FITS, CWD, FLAIR. Contributing Level Sponsors: Eventing Training Online, The Jockey Club, Ovation, Nelson Manufacturing, and Prize Level Sponsors: I Love My Horse, GumBits, Exceptional Equestrian, The Scoring Chix, Horse Hydrator, C4 Belts, Ride Heels Down, Ride Safe, LM Custom Boots.
*Many of these sponsors are in attendance at the AEC with vendor spaces in the USEA Sponsor Village, located directly next to the George Morris Arena at TIEC. Get ready to shop!