Sep 02, 2017

Dressage is Officially in the History Books at the 2017 AEC

Molly Kinnamon and The Diesel Boy. Sportfot Photo.

When you have nearly 775 entries it becomes a very long week and the last seven divisions finally had their turn to dance in the sandbox today at the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Land Rover and Nutrena® on the third day of competition at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC).

Boehringer Ingelheim Open Intermediate

Jennie Brannigan and FE Lifestyle are tied for first place with Molly Kinnamon and The Diesel Boy in the Boehringer Ingelheim Open Intermediate division on a score of 27.9. Leslie Law piloted his own Call The Law, an 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding to third place on a score of 28.2

Brannigan, speaking about her test aboard the 7-year-old German Sport Horse (Leo von Faelz x Berina A) owned by Tim and Nina Gardner, Brannigan said, “He was good. He’s young, only seven so, we recently moved up to Intermediate and this is his fourth one. Our partnership is definitely growing in itself, but he’s also still very new to this level. I think the strength and the canter work is still a little bit hard for him, but at the trot he’s just so natural. He’s a beautiful horse.

The pair put in a lovely test to tie an equally beautiful test performed by Molly Kinnamon and The Diesel Boy, a 9-year-old American Warmblood (Lyracist x Fleur) owned by Kinnamon, which Brannigan noted would not have been possible without the help of her dedicated team.


Jennie Brannigan and FE Lifestyle. Sportfot Photo.

“I owe a ton to my girls Stephanie Cauffman and Alexa Lapp who’ve been riding Ping and this horse this past week while I was in in Ireland,” she elaborated. “I was thrilled with how he went today and that’s a testament to them. He just keeps getting better. I had a mistake in the canter work and I was previously having multiple mistakes there, so I’m happy that he’s been improving. I was thrilled that it scored so well and I saw Molly’s test and thought it was awesome, so I was maybe even a little bit surprised. I know the future is bright for him.”

Kinnamon has been partnered with The Diesel Boy for most of his career and she is thrilled to be sitting atop the leaderboard in an intense Intermediate division. The Diesel Boy was nervous with the oncoming storm approaching, but held his composure for the lay down one of the best tests of the week.

“I was extremely pleased with our ride today. He doesn’t really like storms, and he could tell that it was getting stormy, so at the beginning of our warm-up we couldn’t even go by someone without him jumping in the air. It’s pretty cool that he got in the arena and was very professional. When we left the arena we were back to jumping up in the air! He kept it together when he knew he had to and that’s pretty exciting.”

As for tomorrow, Kinnamon will look to give The Diesel Boy a strong run in attempt to maintain their quest for the lead heading into the divisions final day of competition, which will be Sunday, September 3.

“For cross-country, to be honest, I have a pretty long-term partnership with this horse now, so I know what I need to do. It’s sort of a matter of getting it done, and if I give him a good ride he’s always there for me, so I have to make sure I’m very positive into all the combinations. He goes a little bit like a smaller pony, so I have to make sure I jump in with enough scope to get him across the distances. That I know I’ve got to do.”


Amanda Ruane and Bally Lord Who. Sportfot Photo.

Beginner Novice Horse

Amanda Ruane and her own Bally Lord Who, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, dominated the Beginner Novice Horse division today, as the pair scored a 22.3 to take a handy lead in the competition. The pair currently lead the division by over three points as the group will look to contest cross-country tomorrow.

“Today was good. He likes the atmosphere of the show a lot, which is kind of exciting,” explained Ruane. “When we got here on Tuesday late, he just liked being in the environment and I had a good feeling he was going to perform well, and he did. He likes to show off when it counts.”

Ruane noted that the gelding was started late and is really starting to come into his own in the arena after suffering a few untimely injuries at the beginning of their partnership.

“He wasn’t really green-broke until he was six, so he had quite a late start. When I first got him, he immediately injured himself and was laid up for six months, so we’re really, really behind where we should be going, but I think slow and steady right now is the best thing for me to do,” she said. “I’m looking at this horse as a long-term forever horse, so I’ll just take my time getting to where I need to get with him,” she said.

Beth Stelzleni piloted her own Mighty Handsome, a 5-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Mighty Magic x SPS Whitney) to second place with a score of 25.8, while Holly Payne-Caravella guided Bejamin Button, a 4-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Classic Alliance x Lively Lady) owned by Kathleen Hall, also earned a 25.8 to tie Stelzeni for second place.


Alexandra Riddle and Now or Never. Sportfot Photo.

Beginner Novice Rider

Alexandra Riddle, aboard her own Now or Never, a 19-year-old pony gelding, scored 25.5 to start off in first place in the Beginner Novice Rider division. “My pony was awesome today,” she commented. “We’ve been working on our cantering transitions, and he was probably the best he’s ever been. I’m so proud of him.” The pair has been riding together for ten years, and have been competing in eventing for the past three years after successful careers in both pony hunter and jumper divisions.

Kristie Wells and her own Temple, a 9-year-old Clydesdale gelding, sit in second with a score of 26 heading into tomorrow’s cross-country phase, while Kathleen Bertuna sits just a point behind with her own Millye's Mojave, a 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding.


Brynn Hershbine and Cadenza Aria. Sportfot Photo.

Junior Beginner Novice

Brynn Hershbine is tied for first aboard Julie Hershbine’s Cadenza Aria, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare (Turnofthecentury x Whisper), with Rowan Edmonds aboard Liberty Bell, a 9-year-old Thoroughbred mare (Hellion x Beth) owned by Michelle Jones, after both scored 24.3.

“Our ride today felt very good,” she commented. “At first she felt a little tense, so I wasn’t sure if the ride would be good, but it was. My game plan for tomorrow is to make it over all the jumps without refusals.” The pair has been together since December, and Hershbine has plans to compete in the Novice division after this season.

Sydney Lee and her own Sweet Georgia Brown, a 10-year-old Mustang mare, currently sit in third with a score of 25, as all three pairs will contest cross-country tomorrow morning.


Ashley Stout and Deo Volente. Sportfot Photo.

Junior Beginner Novice 14 and Under

Ashley Stout and her own Deo Volente scored a remarkable 19.8 to lead the Junior Beginner Novice 14 and Under division. The 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding normally shines in dressage, said Stout. “Today went really, really well. My horse was listening to me and wasn’t fighting, so that was very good. I feel pretty good [about cross-country] tomorrow and I’m excited,” she said. “I think I’m going to like the water. He’s great with water and I really like the A-B combination for that, so I’m excited to ride it.”

Avery Cascarino sit in second aboard Gloria Cascarino’s Dudley Do Right, a 13-year-old gelding, with a score of 20, while Viktorija Petraitis and Our Little Secret, a 15-year-old Arabian gelding owned by the Petraitis Family, hold third place with a score of 25.


Jessica Weishaar and Joey Joey Joey. Sportfot Photo.

Beginner Novice Amateur

Jessica Weishaar piloted her own Joey Joey Joey, an OTTB gelding, that she has owned for two years, to take the top spot in the Beginner Novice Amateur division.

“My horse was so good today. It’s one of the best tests he’s ridden for me. I can’t believe that we are in first! I took a look at the course, and it’s beautiful. I’m so excited to go gallop around on it tomorrow. I know that my horse won’t let me down, and I’m so lucky to have him and to be here competing this year.” The pair currently sits atop the Beginner Novice Amateur leaderboard, earning a score of 25.8.

Diane Zrimsek and Coronado Charlie are trailing behind Weishaar, as the 8-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Bwana Charlie x Pleasure Hunt) scored a 28.8. Leah Backus and Diamond of Truth, earned a 29.3 and are currently in third place heading into tomorrow’s cross-country competition.


Carrie Griffen and Feuertanzer ES. Sportfot Photo.

Master Beginner Novice Amateur

Carrie Griffen sits in first aboard her own Feuertanzer ES, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Nicholas x Daybreak) with a score of 23.3. Robin Barr and her own Tout Fini, a 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Purge x Firehouse Waltz), sit in second with a score of 24.8, while Jane Manetta and her own George, a 12-year-old cross gelding hold third place after receiving a 26.3.

The Master Beginner Novice Amateur division will head out on the cross-country course tomorrow, and will conclude on Sunday with their final phase of show jumping.

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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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