Since the start of the USEA Classic Series in 2008, Classic Series competitors have had the chance to earn twice the amount of USEA leaderboard points than a recognized horse trial. The reason behind this is because a Classic Series event is considered “a more challenging competition than that of a horse trial," said Gretchen Butts, the Chair of the USEA Classic Series Task Force.
Butts continued, "the Classic Series Three-Day requires additional training and preparation for both the horse and rider to compete properly and successfully. [Endurance Day] involves two periods of roads and tracks, steeplechase, and finally the cross-country jumping phase. The Classics Series [events] are intended to be end of season goals, building on successful qualifying completions at horse trials, thus justifying the additional leaderboard points. More points also provide an extra incentive to have professionals put these events on their calendars for their developing horses as well as their students. A win-win for everyone!”
Last year, the points earned from a USEA Classic Series event helped competitors secure top spots on the USEA National Leaderboards at the Novice and Training level. The 2019 USEA Training Junior Rider of the Year, Pip Hayes, earned 18 points by winning the Training Three-Day, Division A at Rebecca Farm in July 2019 with Peridot (Perigueux x Hauptstutbuch), a 2012 German Warmblood gelding. After Hayes and Peridot took two months off from competition, they went on to win their next outing at Twin Rivers Fall Horse Trials in September 2019. The winner of the Training Three-Day, Division B at Rebecca Farm was Jackson Dillard and his 2011 Hanoverian mare, Layla Q (Loerke x Ayla Q). Dillard and Layla Q earned 18 points, which helped Dillard secure the 2019 USEA Training Young Adult Rider of the Year and Layla Q secure the 2019 USEA Training Horse of the Year.
Both Hayes and Dillard took home 18 points from winning the Training Three-Day at Rebecca Farm, making it the biggest wins on their USEA records. To compare, Hayes’ win in the Junior Training division at Twin Rivers Fall Horse Trials earned her seven points. Dillard won the Training Rider division at Full Moon Farms Horse Trials and earned six points.
Jennifer Miller accumulated 37.5 points over the 2019 competition season to be named the 2019 USEA Training Master Rider of the Year. Miller and her 2006 Dutch Warmblood mare Bon Bon (Consul x Dark Promise) won the Training Three-Day in July 2019 at the Western Underground, Inc. Coconino Summer H.T. After finishing the Training Three-Day, they took three months off from competition and returned in October 2019 to win the Open Training division at Las Cruces Horse Trials. After Las Cruces, the pair placed second in the Training Three-Day at Galway Downs International on October 31-November 3. For Miller, it was quality over quantity that earned her the top spot on the leaderboard. Miller and Bon Bon had a total of six outings in 2019 and earned over half her points by placing in two Classic Series events.
By earning double the amount of points for her eighth-place finish at the Training Three-Day at Galway Downs International, Nikki Lloyd was the second-highest ranked rider on the 2019 USEA Training Master Rider of the Year leaderboard with 31 points. The sixth-highest ranked rider on the same leaderboard was Jennifer Coleman with 28 points. She earned 15 points (more than half of her total points) from her second-place finish in the Training Three-Day at Hagyard Midsouth Three-Day. To compare, she won the Training Horse division two months prior and only earned seven points.
Noa Crowley earned nine points from her third-place finish in the Novice Three-Day at Rebecca Farm which helped her earn the 2019 USEA Intercollegiate Novice Rider of the Year. Olivia Doman won the Novice Three-Day at Rebecca Farm earning 11 points to help secure her spot as the fourth-highest ranked Novice Junior Rider of 2019. Doman finished 2019 with a total of 33 points, and gaining more points in the Classic Series event is what secured her fourth-place ranking. There was a three-way tie for the fifth-highest ranked rider where they all earned 32 points (only one point difference).
Out of the top 10 riders on the 2019 USEA Novice Young Adult Rider leaderboard, two riders earned points by competing in a Novice Three-Day Event. Miranda Olagaray was the third-highest ranked rider and she finished third in the Novice Three-Day at Fresno County Horse Park. Maya Pessin was the sixth highest-ranked rider and she finished sixth in the Novice Three-Day at Rebecca Farm which earned her six points. If Pessin were to finish in the same place at a regular Novice Horse Trials, she would have only earned up to three points – which would’ve taken her off the leaderboard completely.
Two out of the top five riders on the 2019 USEA Novice Master Amateur Rider leaderboard earned points by competing in a Novice Three-Day. Ranked second on the leaderboard was Nancy Read who earned ten points from her second-place finish in the Novice Three-Day at Fresno County Horse Park. Ranked third on the leaderboard was Melissa Alaimo who earned seven points from her fifth-place finish in the Novice Three-Day at Waredaca Classic Three-Day Event.
Congratulations to all Classic Series competitors! To learn more about the USEA leaderboard point system, please click here.
Interested in competing in a USEA Classic Series event? Click here for the 2020 USEA Classic Series schedule.
The USEA Classic Series keeps the spirit of the classic long format three-day events alive for Beginner Novice through the Preliminary levels. Competitors can experience the rush of endurance day, including roads and tracks, steeplechase, the vet box, and cross-country, as well as participate in formal veterinary inspections and educational activities with experts on the ins and outs of competing in a long format three-day event. Riders who compete in a USEA Classic Series event during the year will have the chance to win a variety of prizes at the events from USEA sponsors. Click here to learn more about the USEA Classic Series.
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Arguably one of the cutest national leaderboards the USEA has to offer is the Smartpak USEA Pony of the Year leaderboard. Since it’s more than halfway through the year, this month the USEA selected the pony sitting on top of that leaderboard, Have A Little Faith, as the USEA Horse (Pony) of the Month! Standing at 14.1 hands, Have A Little Faith is an 18-year-old chestnut mare ridden by Diane Smith and owned by Sarah Lesser.
The 2020 USEA Adult Team Championships (ATC) will take place at the USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds (AEC) on August 25-30 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. The USEA Adult Team Challenges have been held across the country for over 20 years. At first, the Adult Rider Program held three regional championships – East, West, and Central.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is thrilled to announce the renewed partnership with Auburn Laboratories, Inc. As a Silver Level Sponsor of the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds (AEC), Auburn Laboratories will provide the top three finishers in every AEC division one 12-ounce bottle of APF.