Sep 01, 2017

2017 AEC Cross-Country Shakes Up Preliminary Leaderboard; Training Leaders Unchanged Heading into Show Jumping

Madeline Hartsock and Prinz S.W. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

While the leaders of the four Professional’s Choice Training divisions went unchanged after tackling Captain Mark Phillips’ cross-country course, there are now four new Preliminary leaders after the completion of the first day of cross-country at the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena. As they say, it’s not over until it’s over, and these riders will show jump over Chris Barnard’s course tomorrow before we crown the winners of these divisions.

Professional’s Choice Junior Training

Twelve-year-old Madeline Hartsock and her own 8-year-old German Riding Pony gelding, Prinz S.W. (PR. H. Principal Boy x St. Pr. St. Hauptstutbuch Bienchen) held onto their lead in the Professional’s Choice Junior Training division, jumping double clean to stay on their dressage score heading into the final day of competition tomorrow. "Out of the box he got a little sassy, but he went right out and stayed forward and didn't even think about stopping,” said Hartsock. “At the water he jumped right in because he is such a perfect pony. He was really consistent and didn't feel tired and he gave it his whole heart.”

Hartsock has her game plan ready for show jumping. “Tomorrow I really need to keep his canter up and down instead of fast and strung out, and to keep his attention on me and not on how big the arena is."

Second and third places in this division remained unchanged, with both Isabel Finemore and her own 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Craig Mor Tom, and Isabella Gunningham and her own 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Leroy (Lucio Silla x Hetty), jumping double clean to stay on their dressage scores.


Carolyn Johnson and Black Label. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Professional’s Choice Training Amateur

Carolyn Johnson held her lead aboard her own Black Label, a 6-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Judith’s Wild Rush x Lovely Keri), in the Professional’s Choice Training Amateur division after cruising around cross-country to remain on their dressage score of 26.6.

“I think the course is great, there were definitely some trickier moments out there. I think it’s a lot for a young horse to take in, so it’s been quite the experience for him this year,” said Johnson. “I thought the jumps were very nice and it was the stuff around the fences that caught his eye. I thought that he was super honest and quite good to the fences and did his job.”

With the possibility of maintaining her lead through all three phases, Johnson is excited for the duo’s final day of competition in the George H. Morris Arena. She explained, “My plan is to just stay relaxed and make it a positive experience for him. I came down here to get him some experience so that has been my goal the whole time. It’s icing on the cake that he’s doing so well.”

Brittany Hebets and MTF Bugatti, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Wisconchin x Jessica) owned by Leigh Hazel-Groux continue to hold second place on a 27.1, while Sandra Holden and Cano Cristales, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Conteur x Konny) sit in third on a score of 28.0.


Jordan Good and Danito. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Professional’s Choice Training Rider

Jordan Good and Danito, an 8-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Dancier x Wie Musik) owned by Ruth Bley, maintained their lead in the Professional’s Choice Training Rider division after a solid day of cross-country competition. The pair added no time penalties or jumping faults to their dressage score of 28.0.

“Everything pretty much rode according to plan. He was super sure-footed going down hills. He picked his spots and was awesome. Previously we’ve had a little bit of brake issue, but he was really listening today and he was bold to the fences. Everything rode wonderfully,” beamed Good.

As for tomorrow, Good is prepared to go for the win as she plans to give Danito a confident ride in hopes of capturing the top title in the division. She explained, “My plan is to go fast again. I want to give him a really good confident ride. I think it’s really important for us to stay patient to everything. He’s a really forward moving horse, so I need to stay patient, and it should all go according to plan hopefully.”

The second and third place positions saw a change as Erin Liedle and her own Fernhill Boodle, an 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, moved up from seventh place to take second place moving into tomorrow’s show jumping competition. Brynn Littlehale and her own Lagerfeld, a 6-year-old German Sport Horse gelding (Last Man Standing x Bonja) also jumped up the leaderboard from eighth place and now are within striking distance of the lead on a 30.9.


Megan Sykes and Classic's Mojah. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Professional’s Choice Training Horse

The Professional’s Choice Training Horse division saw Megan Sykes and her own Classic’s Mojah, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chabertin x Hauptstutbuch Senna), make the most of their day on the cross-country track to head into the final phase of the Professional’s Choice Training Horse division on a score of 21.1.

“Today my game plan was to go fast. I thought that was going to be the hardest factor. He’s kind of a lazy horse, but the cooler weather and the rain really helped us because it kept him a little fresh, so we were able to go out there really going for that time.”

“Hopefully to jump clear is the game plan [for show jumping]! I’m excited to see the course, and he’s not always the most careful, so I’ll plan to get in there and ride well. Hopefully he’s spunky and we’ll have a good round,” concluded Sykes.

The division leaderboard is tight as Chris Talley and Aura CF, a 6-year-old Oldenburg mare (Belissimo x Aussprache) owned by Nancy Holowesko, held their second-place position on a score of 24.1 after running their cross-country phase, while Courtney Cooper and Caia Z, a 6-year-old Zangersheide mare (Calato Z x Djerba Z) owned by Caia Z Group, are only a few tenths behind as they sit in third on a 24.8.

All Training level riders will compete in the final phase of competiton, show jumping, tomorrow in the George H. Morris Arena beginning at 11:30 a.m.


Katherine Knowles and Cillnabradden Ceonna. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Junior/Young Rider Preliminary

Katherine Knowles and her own 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, Cillnabradden Ceonna (Creevagh Grey Rebel x Willow Garden), climbed from third to first in the Junior/Young Rider Preliminary division after finishing their trip around the cross-country track with just 0.8 time penalties. The duo will move forward on a score of 28.2.

Knowles has been riding the mare for two years now and commented, “My horse was perfect. She’s always perfect, but this time I was able to be supportive enough to really help her out. I just keep kicking and she really helps me out. I thought the course was really fun and the footing seemed to really hold up, so I think it went well!”

Ali Scannell and her own Faolan, a 13-year-old Irish Draught Sport Horse gelding, are currently placed within striking distance on a 29.2, while Adriana Beruvides and Consensus, a 17-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Contucci x Miss Me Not) owned by Julie Norman, secured third place with a 30.7.


Cindy Buchanan and Flying Candles. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Preliminary Amateur

Cindy Buchanan and her own Flying Candles, a 11-year-old Thoroughbred mare (Icognito x Flying Pidgeon) climbed all the way to first position from seventh after earning one of only two double clear rounds in the Preliminary Amateur division, to maintain their dressage score of 35.1 and take the top spot heading into show jumping tomorrow.

“Today was awesome,” commented Buchanan. “My mare is pretty good in the mud because she’s done a lot of fox hunting. She’s a homebred and we live in Unionville [Pennsylvania], so she’s been doing a lot of fox hunting and show jumping. I started eventing her about three years ago.”

Kathy Cain piloted her own Legal Limit, a 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Secret Prince x Cheese Blintze), to second in the standings, collecting an additional 1.6 time penalties for a score of 35.4. Victoria Miller and her own Like Magic, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Ghostly Minister x Dancing Trieste), secured third after crossing through the finish also with an additional 1.6 time penalties to sit on a 35.6.


Coti Hausman and Quantico. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Preliminary Rider

The Preliminary Rider division saw a new name rise to the top of the leaderboard as Coti Hausman and Quantico, a 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Quite Easy I x Little Black), took over the lead after the second phase of competition, heading into show jumping tomorrow on a score of 32.6.

“It started out nice and fast up top. He’s always ready to go when he leaves the start box, despite the fact that he’s pretty quiet in warm-up,” commented Hausman. “He rode around the course great, I planned on doing more strides with most of the combinations, but as he rode around he got stronger and stronger so we ended up doing the faster lines. We did the five in the combinations behind the barns, so he trucked around really great. I was a little nervous about the hill, but I balanced him and he rocked it, jumping whatever was in front of him.”

The division will head into show jumping tomorrow as Hausman will look to keep her grasp on the lead ahead of Denise Goyea and Highlife’s Je T’aime, a 9-year-old Oldenburg mare (Der Dollar x Jeunesse D’Or) owned by Madeline Hartsock, who slipped to second place after accruing 5.2 time penalties. Caitlin Silliman and Q-Brook Stables LLC’s Ally Kgo, a 6-year-old Trakehner mare (Hirtentanz x Anabel Lee), also dropped down one placing due to time penalites to sit in third place on a 33.2 after cross-country.


Bella Mowbray and En Vogue. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Preliminary Horse

The Preliminary Horse division saw first place go to Bella Mowbray and Ruth Bley’s En Vouge, after the overnight leader picked up 20 penalties on course. Mowbray and the 12-year-old Hanoverian mare (Earl x Laurena) are currently on a 25.5 after adding just two time penalties to their dressage score.

“I had a great ride,” Mowbray commented. “I’m really lucky to be riding such a sure-footed horse with the weather that we had. I had a lot of fun out there. The course was awesome. It was a really forward-testing course but it rode beautifully. I have a sure-footed horse, so I was just a little more cautious downhill and on some of the turns, but everything rode to plan, definitely.”

Jennie Brannigan moved into second place with Balmoral Oakey, a 10-year-old Warmblood mare (Falchrich x Diamond) owned by Grayson Wall, with a 26.1. Third place is currently being held by Leslie Law aboard Beatrice Rey-Herme’s LCC Vogue, a 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, on a score of 26.8.

Preliminary show jumping over Chris Barnard's track will begin at 8:00 a.m. sharp in the George H. Morris Arena tomorrow morning.

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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!

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