The Adequan USEA Gold Cup Final began this afternoon and dressage finished without a single competitor’s score climbing above 39.9. Jacob Fletcher entered the ring last, but certainly not least as he and the stunning 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse, Atlantic Domino took the lead on a score of 27.6. Fletcher describes, “He was really good and he just keeps getting better and better. I haven’t had much coaching at the past shows I’ve been to this summer so having Mike Huber here today in the warm-up really helped the overall picture.” Tomorrow’s cross-country course definitely has the feel of an Advanced level championship and presents its fair share of challenges. “Atlantic Domino isn’t the fastest or the scopiest horse but he’s very rideable and efficient. A turning course like the one that Captain Mark Phillips has designed will suit him very well,” Fletcher states.
Buck Davidson and The Apprentice, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned by Sherrie Martin, sit in second place in the division on a score of 32.0. Davidson explains, “The Apprentice is usually very good in the dressage and today he felt just a bit tired from the trip. His changes felt good and he was really relaxed. Overall, I’m very happy with this start for him.” Davidson also has the ride on Sharon White and Sherri Weber’s Wundermaske, a 12-year-old Thoroughbred this weekend as she recovers from a back injury. Wundermaske put in a solid test and is sitting in third place on a score of 32.6. Davidson describes, “Wundermaske is a good mover, he’s quiet and nice to ride. Sharon has given me strict instructions and I’m doing exactly what she tells me to do. No one works harder than she does and we’ve been friends forever so hopefully he can step up the next two days.” Davidson has returned to the AEC to support all of the people that put on this special event. “As upper-level riders we always want to see more prize money and this year's AEC has delivered on that. Attending this year is the only way I know how to say thank you to all those that have put in so much hard work to run this event.”
Heather Morris and Team Express Group LLC's Charlie Tango, a 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse Gelding took the lead of the Merial USEA Intermediate division on a score of 24.8. “We’ve been working really hard on our dressage and I thought overall it was pretty good. We still have more work to do before Fair Hill but I was happy with him,” Morris explains. Tomorrow’s cross-country course asks a fair share of questions for the Intermediate horses and riders. Morris continues, “Once we get past the two skinny wedges on course, I’ll be happy! Those can make him a bit nervous so I’ll happy to get those out of the way.”
Amateur rider, Tristen Hooks and the 15-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Learning To Fly clinched the lead after dressage in the USEA Preliminary Amateur division on a score of 26.9. Hooks said, “I thought I could have had a better warm-up and was more nervous than I normally am mostly because I’ve traveled so far to be here but my horse did well and my score was good so I’m happy.” Looking forward to tomorrow, Hooks thinks the water complexes will be quite challenging. “I’ll definitely have to ride him like I stole him to the The Ridgeline Water Complex and then hold my line at the Lonestar Water Complex from the big drop to the angled house. Everything else looks doable as long as I keep riding!”
Heather Morris also piloted the 5-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Get Rowdy, also owned by Team Express Group LLC to the lead in the Professional’s Choice USEA Training Horse Division on a score of 22.5. Morris describes, “Get Rowdy was the best he’s ever been today. He didn’t make a single error and I’m really proud of him, especially since he’s only a 5-year-old.” Attending the AEC was important for Morris this year after moving her home base to California. “Most of my owners live in this area so I wanted them to be able to see the horses go. Many of them haven’t even seen Get Rowdy in person yet so it was important for me to have this event on my calendar this year,” Morris explains.
Georgia Dillard and Normandy’s Cole’s Clover, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse hold the lead in the Professional’s Choice USEA Training Junior division on a score of 26.1. “It was one of my best tests and I had some of the best movements I’ve ever had with her in a dressage test today,” Dillard explains. Dillard continues, “I have yet to walk the cross-country course but I’ve heard from lots of other competitors that it looks challenging but I’m excited as cross-country is our best phase together.” Dillard currently has her sights on a Preliminary move-up after the AEC and qualifying for Young Riders.
About the AEC
The Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships, Presented by VTO Saddlery is the annual American championship for every level of the Olympic equestrian sport of Eventing, from Beginner Novice to Advanced. This year the AEC is being held from September 24-27 at the Texas Rose Horse Park in Tyler, Texas.
The USEA would like to thank all the generous sponsors of the 2015 AEC including:
Nutrena, VTO Saddlery, Adequan, Merial, Professional’s Choice, Broadstone,Devoucoux, Priefert, Standlee Hay, Charles Owen, Merck Animal Health, Pyranha Fly and Insect Control, Practical Horseman, DG Stackhouse, Animals to Wear, Fleeceworks, The Chronicle of the Horse, FLAIR, SmartPak, CWD, Brody Robertson Show Jumps, Point Two Air Jackets, Equine Art by Julie, Ovation, Eventing Training Online, Auburn Laboratories, Sunsprite Warmbloods, Back on Track, FITS,The Jockey Club, GumBits, NTEA, Schneiders Tack, Greenwood Farm, Pro View Global Digital Surveillance, The Scoring Chix, C4 Belts, Horse Hydrator, Kastel Denmark, SportsBrainUSA, Nature’s Select, EasyCare Inc, Likit, Noble Outfitters and more!