For Immediate Release: The morning sun played all the right angles on each horse and rider combination on Saturday morning as the final phase of the USEA Training Championships at the 2022 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds began at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana. Show jumping rounds offered fair questions and opportunities to maintain a leading score or bump up to a winning position, and ultimately improved partnerships in the saddle.
USEA Training Horse Championship
Tommy Greengard aboard a horse he wasn’t supposed to be—Shannondale Fionn (Shannondale Sarco x Shannondale Sasha), the 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned and primarily ridden by Jeanne Carley—took home the win despite starting to prep the horse from the saddle for this championship just over a week ago.
“His owner was supposed to ride him and in her last prep before coming here she broke her finger without even coming off of him, so I’ve been riding him—he was very, very good,” said Greengard. He knows this horse very well, with him being in his program, and he knows that show jumping can be a little bit of a weak spot for him. “Today we jumped reasonably well and we’re thrilled with him. Him and Jeanne have such a great relationship and they work so well together.”
Acorrding to Greengard, sross-country is really the horse's best and favorite phase. “He just takes care of you and you can just hit the start button on your watch and you’re just going in for time because he’s on it,” said Greengard. “She’s tried to do the AEC twice on him now and both times something has come up. I’m sure she’ll want to do something with him this fall.” Thumbs up to Jeanne and her stellar mount Shannondale Fionn with Greengard aboard.
Capturing the red ribbon today was Jennette Scanlon aboard her 18-year-old Dutch Warmblood Zoltaire (Ljsslemeer Lkepono x Ohia Lehua). While he might have been the oldest horse in the arena, he certainly proved he was amongst the wisest, showing off his impressive resume with dressage as he galloped around to each fence.
“He’s an older horse—I’ve had him with me for 14 years. He did some eventing and he enjoyed himself and then we took some years off from eventing to do the FEI dressage, and then we reached the Grand Prix level and his attitude—he’s got some conformation challenges—started to go south and I pulled it and said, ‘this isn’t this horse’ and did a little hand shake deal with him that he could go event after we were done doing dressage. He’s been back now since last fall and enjoying himself.”
Rounding out the USEA Training Horse Championship in third place was Todd Trewin piloting the 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse Cooley High Society (Rehy High Society x Forans Sunny Hogan), who also wasn’t meant to be the primary rider of this steed.
“Cooley High Society is a horse that was imported from Ireland, and actually we went down to Florida and looked at him for a horse for my wife. When we rode in a clinic with Kyle Carter he had a little more rambunctious time and he actually bucked her off so that’s how I ended up getting the ride on him. From his 5-year-old year, he’s really settled out and taken all of this in and he was just fabulous.”
USEA Training Junior Championship
Lizzie Hoff aboard Caroline Martin’s 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse HSH Limited Edition (Sibon x Tinirana) put in—indeed—a limited edition ride today, taking the win here in the USEA Training Junior Championship. Just as the day started to heat up, so did this winning pair as they cruised around a stellar show jumping round.
“My expectations were definitely exceeded—he rode fabulous,” said Hoff. “He really just went in there and did his job. The dressage was a pretty high point for me because he’s tricky—he’s hard and very slow thinking and huge,” laughed Hoff. “So it’s just hard for him to focus and do well in there.” So what’s next for this winning combination? The team will compete in the Area VII championships and they’ll move up to Preliminary by the end of the year.
Securing that second place ribbon and prize was Elizabeth Honeycutt aboard the 7-year-old British Sport Horse mare Exmoor Xandy Z (Cevin Z x Big Hopes). “That was the best show jumping I’ve done on her so that was awesome to do,” said Honeycutt. “That was the most confident ride. Building her confidence and my confidence together is a highlight of the week. I’ve only had her for about a year so just working together as a team is a highlight.”
With a third place finish was Ella Eisenbarth aboard the 19-year-old Welsh Cob Bryn Carregwen Serendipity (Brynarian Brenin Ap Maldwyn x Dream Contessa). “Overall, this weekend was really good—I’m really happy with her," said Eisenbarth. “She knows her job, she’s really good at it, so it’s really just settling her down and finding my canter, and we got there and it felt really good.”
USEA Training Amateur Championship
Leading the victory gallop and taking the win in the USEA Training Amateur Championship was Amber Pearson riding her 6-year-old Holsteiner gelding Chosen One DF (Coconut Grove x Columbia BF) who she purchased as a 2-year-old from Dragonfire Farm.
“I took all the time to do the basic steps with him as a young horse,” said Pearson. “His last show is the first one that we jumped clean so jumping clean today was definitely a weight off my shoulders.” With this being her first time at the championships, Pearson surely made it a lasting first impression. “It all just happened so fast and so slow at the same time,” said Pearson. “We got here a few days early so we really took the time hacking and flatting before the competition even started. I’m still learning how to ride him—he’s not the easiest to show jump. I’m really learning how to ride him in the way that he likes to jump clean.”
Taking second place is Erin Contino riding the 10-year-old Thorughbred gelding Handsome Ransom (Desert Warrior x St. Casmir's Secret) after a successful show jumping round. Contino’s goal was to finish on her dressage score and that plan materialized tenfold today. “I can’t say that I do that with any consistency,” said Contino.
“Cross-country was such a high point because it was so much fun—he was just on fire. I’ve been lucky enough to ride here before and I think it really does prepare for situations where there’s a little bit more pressure.”
And rounding out a talented crop of riders and horses was Morgan Wenell riding the 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood Kremer VD Falieberg (Up To Date x Odermus R). With Kremer getting a few butterflies at the butterfly fence, they still secured a top spot on the leaderboard. “I’m feeling pretty good—I’m definitely disappointed that I had the little stop there but I was really glad that I could recover and finish strong,” said Wenell. “And I’m definitely glad that if anyone’s going to win, it’d be my best friend—Amber Pearson.”
USEA Training Rider Championship
Riding the 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse named Fernhill Heart Throb (by Heartbreaker) was Sarah Ross—winner of the USEA Training Rider Championship. After excellent piloting, Ross leaves us with a sentiment that ultimately summarizes the Rider class—exploring how to be a competitor.
“I only got him in the spring of this year—we’re fairly new to each other but he’s just such a competitor—I don’t think I’ve ridden a horse that wants to win as much as I do, if not more,” said Ross. “He goes in—whatever phase it may be—and he’s just pretty much all business. Warm-up can be exciting, like today at show jumping—he was feral. I haven’t done a whole lot of shows on a horse like him so it kind of instills learning how to be a competitor.” Clearly that education—learned through the phases of this event—paid off here today with a big reward.
With the second place ribbon, Razieme Iborra riding the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood Mother of Dragons (Cathino x Vivian) came out smiling, having finally reached a long-time goal of competing at an AEC. “I wasn’t sure of anything this entire show and I wanted to make every move I could and just ride my best,” said Iborra. “This horse I’ve had a little over two years now and she’s just grown and grown and blossomed more the longer I’ve had her…It takes a lot of confidence in my mental state to be constantly asking her for more but as soon as you reach that kind of level with her, then she just takes care of everything else for you.”
And rounding out the USEA Training Rider Championship with third place is Rosie Smith aboard the 20-year-old Connemara Irish Draught named Seamus (by Corrcullen, RID). “I’m just so happy with my horse. He’s 20 this year,” said Smith. “He’s only 15.1 and he’s a pony draft cross so he kind of beats all the odds. I dropped him down from prelim this year just to have fun with him while he’s still going strong and I did just that 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
There were surprisingly few shakeups to the top of the leaderboards Friday at the MARS Bromont CCI, but the incredibly close scores leave no margin for error heading into Saturday’s exciting cross-country phase across all five levels.
Tomorrow, the first of five regional clinics for the USEA Emerging Athletes U21 (EA21) Program kicks off in the central region of the country in Benton, Louisiana, at Holly Hill Farm. Throughout the summer, the remaining clinics on the East and West Coast will follow. At each clinic, 12 hand-selected riders will participate in a two-day clinic led by USEA Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) coaches. The purpose of the EA21 program is to create a pipeline for potential team riders by identifying and developing young talent, improving horsemanship and riding skills, and training and improving skills and consistency. The intention is to provide young athletes with access to an added level of horsemanship and riding skills to further their training and skill development with greater consistency.
After the first day of competition, Canadian Olympian Colleen Loach and her horse FE Golden Eye lead an international field in the CCI4*-L division of the MARS Bromont CCI.