Aug 30, 2018

Competition Commences for Preliminary Divisions at the 2018 USEA AEC

Charlotte Babbitt and 2 A.M. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Competition at the 2018 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena® Feeds began today with 10 of the 18 divisions that will compete for national titles this weekend at The Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado. Four levels performed their dressage tests throughout the day today including the four Training level divisions and four Preliminary level divisions plus the Intermediate division and Adequan USEA Gold Cup Advanced Final, which also serves as the USEF National Advanced Horse Trials Championship.

Junior/Young Rider Preliminary

Californian competitor Charlotte Babbitt and 2 A.M., her own 6-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Sheraton x Regina K), currently sit atop Junior/Young Rider Preliminary division on a 23.3 as they look to cross-country tomorrow. “He was very good today,” Babbitt explained. “He put in a very nice test. We’ve been working really hard recently. He’s had a bit of a rough go since [Rebecca Farm] so we’ve only had a couple of flat schools, but he’s trained and he really just wants to go in the arena and try really hard. That’s what he did. He knows his job, and he went in and did his job. I’m super happy with him.”

The pair has been together for about a year-and-a-half now, and their connection grows stronger by the day. Babbitt stated, “It was interesting, when I got him he wasn’t really my ride but he’s young so it was a very good experience for me, developing him into the horse I wanted him to be. It’s pretty cool now – he’s my exact ride. I love him to death and I couldn’t imagine having any other horse. It’s been a struggle, but with the help of my trainers Andrea [Pfeiffer] and Amber [Levine] I’ve been able to work with him. He’s pretty easy to work with. He’s a super nice horse and he just wants to learn and do well so it’s been really fun developing a partnership.”

Heading into the remainder of the eventing season, Babbitt plans to compete 2 A.M. at the CCI* level in the near future. “The plan right now is to do the CIC* at Woodside and the CCI* at Galway,” she said. “That’s our plan and we’ll take it day by day until then and see how it goes.” On competing at Young Riders next year, she concluded, “We’ll see. I’ll definitely put my name in and we’ll see how his season starts next year and see how it goes.”

Nicole Hatley and Flagmount’s Rebel (Flagmount’s Freedom x Devious Princess), Clarissa Bliss’s 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse/Thoroughbred gelding, hold second place on a 27.8, while Kaitlin Vosseller and her own Clear Approval, a 12-year-old Warmblood gelding out of All Best Wishes, secured third place with a score of 29.2.

Preliminary Amateur

Cara Lavigna and Carrick Diamond Duke. Shannon Brinkman Photo.

Cara Lavigna piloted her own Carrick Diamond Duke, an 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Carrick Diamond Lad x Uskerty Barnaby), to an early lead in the Preliminary Amateur division after scoring a 31.1 in the dressage phase of competition.

“I’ve had ‘Duke’ for three years,” said Lavigna. “I got him as a 5-year-old. He’s always been a fancy mover, he jumps really big, he tries really hard. As he’s become older and more mature, watching his progression has been really fun and creating a bond has been cool. He really enjoys his cross-country, we are currently learning how to put the pieces together because now that things are getting harder, we are developing our partnership. When he goes into the ring for show jumping and dressage, he knows his job, he perks up, he really likes to show off and that’s fun for both of us.”

As a school teacher from California, Lavigna was thrilled when she learned that the AEC was going to be closer to home this year. “Having the AEC here in Colorado is lovely,” she commented. “To only have to take one week off from work, as opposed to more, was nice. I’ve never been to the AEC, I’ve never been to a show in Colorado, so I was excited that it was so much closer!”

While their season progresses, Lavigna plans to run Duke in one more Preliminary event and conclude with a CCI*. After that, a nice break will be awarded to her hard-working mount.

Lauren Hoover and Atlanta (Vancouver x Philadelphia GHR), a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, are trailing just behind Lavigna as they scored a 31.8. Ruth Bley and her own 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding Rodrigue Du Granit (Robin II Z x Delight Gree) earned a 31.9 and currently hold third place.

Preliminary Horse

Jordan Linstedt and Staccato. Shannon Brinkman Photo.

Jordan Linstedt danced to the highest score of the morning in the Preliminary Horse division riding Janine Jaro’s 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Stakkato x Certosa) Staccato to a dressage score of 27.6. The combination was the first in the ring for the division of 24 and maintained their grip on first throughout the phase.

“I didn’t feel like today was our very best,” explained Linstedt, “but I was really happy with him. I was excited to see the leaderboard stay consistent throughout the morning. I was first in the ring and I’m never normally in that position. You never know how the judging is going to be, and how that’ll carry on.”

The rider, who hails from Washington, has spent time developing her Preliminary mount into an “elegant” ride on the flat. “He’s really been quite strong in all three phases recently,” Linstedt noted. “When I first got him, he was a challenging young horse, a bit of a late developer. He has really blossomed this past year so he’s been really fun to work with and produce. He’s stunning on the flat, very elegant, and puts in a good test.”

Tamra Smith will leave the start box tomorrow in the second-place position with Judith McSwain’s Fleeceworks Ghost (Dhannondale Sarco x Riverlon Mist), a 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, on 29.0 penalties. Trailing in third is Jennifer Wooten-Macouzet riding R. Lawrence Sawyer’s 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding BSP Tuxedo (Apokalipsis x Stutbuch 1) after receiving a score of 29.1.

Preliminary Rider

Mike Huber and Calliope. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Texan Mike Huber rode Ann Adams’ Calliope to first place position after finishing the day on a score of 25.7. Huber and the 11-year-old Oldenburg mare (Consul x Clintina) bested the competition in the dressage ring, putting in a solid ride in the Preliminary Rider division. “The horse is one that I ride for a client of mine,” stated Huber. “Ann Adams, and she normally rides the horse, I don’t ride her that frequently. Anne is getting ready to move up to Preliminary and she’s been riding Calliope at Training level, so I’ve taken her out a few times at this level this year and obviously qualified for the AEC so we’re competing here this weekend."

Being familiar with CHP himself, Huber elaborated on the benefit of having the AEC in the Midwest this year. “It’s always hard to find an AEC location that is good for everyone, and you’re not going to, because it’s such a big event and we live in a big country. We’re kind of lucky – we’re from Texas so we are right in the middle so it’s usually pretty doable! I think it’s great to have it out here, so the people who may not be able to go all the way to the East Coast finally get a chance to participate."

Trailing behind Huber is Whitney Tucker Billeter aboard her own Karvaleo (Kanna x Finod Cavalier), an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, with a 29.1. Travis Atkinson is currently sitting in third place with his own nine-year-old Zweibrucker gelding Don Darco (Damarco x Gong Lee) on a score of 31.1.

Preliminary cross-country begins tomorrow afternoon at 12:15 p.m. with the Preliminary Horse division, followed by Junior/Young Rider Preliminary at 1:07 p.m., Preliminary Amateur at 1:33 p.m., and concluding with Preliminary Rider at 1:59 p.m.

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About the USEA American Eventing Championships
The USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) is the pinnacle of the sport for 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. This year, the USEA American Eventing Championships will be held August 29-September 2, 2018 at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado. Click here to learn more about the USEA American Eventing Championships.

The USEA would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of the USEA American Eventing Championships: Presenting Sponsors: Nutrena Feeds; Gold Cup Advanced Title Sponsor: Adequan; Platinum Sponsor: Devoucoux; Gold Level Sponsors: Charles Owen, Standlee Hay, Merck Animal Health, Parker Equine Insurance; Silver Level Sponsors: VTO Saddlery, Mountain Horse; Bronze Level Sponsors: SmartPak, Dubarry, The Chronicle of the Horse, Stackhouse and Ellis Saddles, Auburn Laboratories, FITS Riding, CWD, Ovation, Acuswede, and Equipparel; Contributing Level Sponsors: Nunn Finer, RevitaVet, Emerald Valley Natural Health, CrossCountry App; Prize Level Sponsors: Ride Safe, GumBits, Equus Magnificus, Scoring Chix, Ride Heels Down, C4 Belts, A Little Pet Vet, ChubbyCov LLC, The Jockey Club, Absorbine, Arenus Animal Health, Equestrian Athlete Camps at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

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