For Immediate Release: If your eyes felt a little misty this morning following the USEA Open Modified Championship show jumping rounds taking place at the 2022 USEA American Eventing Championship (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds, you weren’t alone. Madison Langerak’s white glove came up to catch her tears of joy while her other hand fell on Normandy Kivalo’s glistening neck after a clear round, signaling that they had indeed taken the win, finishing on their impressive dressage score of 20.6 from Wednesday. It was Leonie Padgett aboard her own 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Cooley Precision (Arkan x ISHD Baronscourt) who earned second place with a score of 31.0, and Ashley Horowitz piloting her 6-year-old Thoroughbred mare Tiny Dancer (Fusaichi Pegasus x Burren) brought home third place on their score of 44.7.
The real reason for emotion, though, stems from a place of Langerak and "Norman" bringing a long-time goal to full fruition despite some recent health hardships that kept the 10-year-old Hungarian Sport Horse out of the game unexpectedly and sporadically between summer 2019 and summer of 2020. The flashy and stout chestnut seemed to know this was his time to shine after making a full recovery after two colic surgeries and a torn tendon, giving Langerak a fleet of moments that she won’t soon forget.
“I’m overwhelmed. It’s something that I definitely wanted to achieve for a really long time, and you know, we went to Kentucky last year and our lead up to it definitely didn’t condone a fast cross-country round so I kind of had to sacrifice the speed,” said Langerak. “I know we didn’t place as high as I know he’s capable of so it’s really nice to come back this year and really redeem ourselves.” A savory redemption it was indeed. In a typical championship, there’s this incessant need to know what’s next for a winner, but for those who have followed Langerak and Norman since their flawless dressage test on Wednesday, our concern really comes down to ensuring his health and happiness after this event, given his history.
“Honestly this was my last goal so I don’t know if I’ll come back next year to event or not, but I know he loves it so I’ll have to make sure there’s a way for him to keep doing it,” said Langerak. “I just don’t know if I want to push him too hard with how delicate he is—he’s my delicate little flower. It’s the highest highs and the lowest lows with him. He’ll never go out and do a mediocre job by any means.” With pricked ears and obvious show ring charisma, Normandy Kivalo stole the show today with confidence. And now that Langerak has had a minute to soak in the height of the past three days, she’s feeling the rush emotion and pure enjoyment of getting to ride Norman around all three phases.
“It’s like a simultaneous sigh of relief—the happiest moment you’ll ever feel. You know, I get so nervous before all of these phases so I think the fun comes after when I’m reliving it. I wore my Go-Pro yesterday and it’s not until I watched it back that I went, ‘Whoa, that was actually so much fun!’” said Langerak. “I was terrified when I was going out of the start box that I was going to mess things up but now looking back at it I did have a really good time. And that’s kind of how eventing is—you can never really enjoy the moment until it’s done.”
Leonie Padgett secured a second place win today also finishing on her dressage score with a 27.0 riding Cooley Precision. Padgett had impeccable and candid humor when she said, “I’m really just a mom doing something she shouldn’t be while her daughter rides.” It’s clear to Padgett and all of those around her that simply being here with her family is the ultimate win. “Just to be here with my daughter, which is something I wanted to do for a long time, is something that’s very special to me.”
And that family extends past the usual definition as Padgett gave thanks to the Broussard Family for hosting this dreamy event and going to such massive lengths to deliver a high class national event to the west. “Having access to an event like this will hopefully build a larger base of USEA members and event riders on the west coast,” said, who is undoubtedly looking forward to another AEC at Rebecca Farm in the future.
Rounding out the top three finishing in third place is Ashley Horowitz with Tiny Dancer. The young mare standing at this location today with this placing wasn’t exactly the plan for Horowitz but it’s a great day and season when a horse like Tiny Dancer exceeds every expectation.
“We just kept making bigger goals,” said Horowitz. “She’s 6 and [the plan] was just see how she goes—we thought we might go modified at some point in the year, and my husband is announcing so once he was hired to announce I felt like I have to make it.” With the fastest cross-country time yesterday, Horowitz credits a characteristic none of us can deny when it comes to Thoroughbreds. “She loves to gallop. We’ve done a couple prelims and she’s the easiest to ride at prelim pace, and I don’t push her, I just let her do it. That’s the pace she’s happiest at.” Evidently that pace let them set sail for a top finish today.
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About the USEA American Eventing Championships
The USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds is the pinnacle of the sport at the national levels. Held annually, the best junior, adult amateur, and professional competitors gather to vie for national championship titles at every level from Beginner Novice to Advanced. This ultimate test of horse and rider draws hundreds of horses and riders from around the country to compete for fabulous prizes, a piece of the substantial prize money, and the chance to be named the National Champion at their respective levels. In fact, the 2021 AEC garnered over 1,000 entries and now stands as the largest eventing competition in North American history. The 2022 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds will be held August 31 – September 4 at the beautiful Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana. Click here to learn more about the USEA American Eventing Championships.
The USEA would like to thank Presenting Sponsor: Nutrena Feeds; Advanced Final Title Sponsor: Adequan; Platinum Level Sponsor: Bates Saddles Gold Level Sponsors: Parker Equine Insurance, Smartpak, Capital Square, Standlee; Silver Level Sponsors: Auburn Labs, Mountain Horse, The Jockey Club, Kerrits; Bronze Level Sponsors: Athletux, The Chronicle of the Horse, Dubarry of Ireland, FITS Riding, Equilume, Devoucoux, Fifth Third Bank, Gallops Saddlery, D.G. Stackhouse & Ellis, Clark Nissan; Contributing Level Sponsors: CrossCountry App, WeRideTogether, Haygain, First Interstate Bank, Schellinger Construction, Glacier Bank, Animal Health Solutions Inc., Discover Kalispell; Prize Level Sponsors: Vet Blue, Practical Horseman, Hound & Hare, Strides of Equality Equestrians, Horse & Country TV, Bemer Independent Distributors, Freelance Design, Achieve Equine/FLAIR, Flexible Fit Equestrian USA, and more! ATC Sponsors: The Chronicle of the Horse, FITS Riding, Nutrena Feeds, SmartPak, Achieve Equine/FLAIR, Kerrits, and Horse & Country TV
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