Sep 01, 2017

Full Day of Novice Cross-Country at the AEC

Bailey Snyder and Carina. Amber Heintzberger​​​​​​​ Photo.

The Novice divisions took on the cross-country phase of the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover and Nutrena® today at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, N.C.. Black clouds loomed on the horizon, obscuring the view Blue Ridge Mountains, but the weather was on the Novice riders’ side as the final division wrapped up just minutes before the massive storm broke over the show grounds, drenching Training level riders still competing in the show jumping. Unfortunately the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Final Advanced cross-country had to be moved from this afternoon to Sunday morning beginning at 9:45 a.m.

Novice Amateur

Yesterday Bailey Snyder of Fort Worth, Texas aboard her own Corina, a 7-year-old Holsteiner mare by Acorino out of Phaedre, earned the lowest score of the Novice level, a 20.5, for first place in the Novice Amateur division. They jumped clear and inside the time today on cross-country to maintain their impressive score.

“She felt great,” said Snyder. “I was a bit interested to see how she’d be with a different type of course than she’s used to back in Texas, but she started out great and by the time we got into the next field she was really just in her groove. I could feel that she clicked in and by the time we came to the derby field and some of the more galloping questions she was just taking me on to the fences.”

While Snyder’s family is from the northern part of Texas and were not affected by recent flooding in that state, she said, “But we have lots of friends down there and our hearts go out to everyone in Houston.”

Snyder competed previously in the Beginner Novice Championship two years ago at the Texas Rose Horse Park and said that coming to Tryon is a very different experience. “The course designer here did a great job and they have beautifully intricate jumps, even on the Novice course, which was super exciting for everyone. It was a different feel, but I think it was a good test.”

Yesterday Eleanor Wassenberg and her own 18-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Matapeake, who finished second in the Beginner Novice Master Amateur here last year, and Savannah Welch and her own Langcaster, an 8-year-old Oldenberg gelding (Languster x Galiffi), were tied for second place on a score of 21.8. But Wassenberg added 4.8 time faults and fell to sixth place, making room for Krissy Smith Shellenberger and her own Invictus, a 7-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Ibisco out of Viness H, to move into third on 23.3 with a double clear round.

Megan Northrop and Fleur de Lis. Amber Heintzberger Photo.

Novice Master Amateur

Once again in the Novice Master Amateur division, the top three riders held on to their placings. Megan Northrop and her own Fleur de Lis scored a 24.5 yesterday to lead the division. Northrop said she felt very pleased with the 7-year-old Thoroughbred mare, who she originally purchased as a resale project.

“It went terrific,” said Northrop. “I was concerned about the turns and how that would affect my time, and my mare can bulge out on the right side so I thought we might have a little trouble turning, but she was on it. I just made sure she saw everything when we got there and knew what we were doing, and she was fantastic.”

Regarding the pressure of being in first place she said, “It’s hard to be on the top, for sure. It’s a little pressure! It got to me before my course, I have to admit, but once I got in the start box and headed out with her over jump number one, I knew she was on it, and we just had a great time. That’s the part of the sport that keeps you coming back over and over again.”

Annette Reals and Knight’s Tale, her own 16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, sit in second place on a score of 26.3 and the third-place pair, Sarah Wildasin and James Wildasin’s 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Totally Awesome Bosco, by Coever’s Diamond Brigade out of Flying Brigade are half a point behind on a 26.8. Totally Awesome Bosco previously competed from Beginner Novice to the Advanced/CCI2* level with the Wildasin’s daughter, Arden before Sarah took over the ride in 2014.

Out of 38 entries in this division, seven horses retired or were eliminated. Time was also a factor with 12 competitors adding time faults to their scores.

Lauren Chumley and Nikolas. Amber Heintzberger​​​​​​​ Photo.

Novice Rider

Lauren Chumley and Melissa Dowling’s 6-year-old Sport Pony, Nikolas (Novalis T x Capina Mia) jumped around clear to lead the Novice Rider division to stay on their dressage score of 23.8.

Chumley imported Nikolas from Germany as a 2-year-old, broke him herself, and has been competing him all his life. She usually competes him in dressage but brought him to the AEC last year and finished third in the Beginner Novice.

“I saw a lot of people having stops early this morning,” she said. “The take-off spots were just a little bit sticky so you had to ride really forward. My student went this morning in the Amateur division on a really good cross-country horse and had some trouble, which is unusual, so I knew I’d have to be really aggressive - which is usually not an issue! He’s a very bold horse and didn’t look at a thing. You point him at the fence and he knows what he’s supposed to do, he’s a really good boy.”

Claire Solomon and George Wintersteen’s Ballyneety, an 11-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding, cantered around to stay on their score of 25.0 followed closely by Di Stebbins and her own 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Spot On Cosmos by Travellers Gallaxy, on a 25.5.

Sunny Courtwright and Around Midnight. Amber Heintzberger​​​​​​​ Photo.

Junior Novice

The top three spots in the Junior Novice division after dressage all went to riders who train together at Mike Huber’s Gold Chip Stables in Fort Worth, Texas. Sunny Courtwright and her 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare Around Midnight jumped double clear and are leading the field of 59 on a 23.5.

Courtwright said, “She felt good today, she’s really honest and quite good to me, I love her a lot. She’s only 9 so it’s nice that I’ll have her for a while.”

In second place are Courtwright’s barn friends Suzanne Stevens and her own Smokin’ Boots, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred mare (More Smoke x Miss Boot Scoot) on a score of 24.8, and two points behind them in third place are Chloe Johnson and DaVinci, her own 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding by Byars out of Super Mount.

“We all came out to cheer each other on,” said Courtwright. “Susan and I have the same cross-country colors, too, blue and white. It’s a lot of fun.”

Looking forward to tomorrow’s show jumping test she said that her mare’s jumping ability depends on the day, but said, “As long as I keep her straight and honest and keep my leg on she usually jumps well. We’ll just have to see.”

Booli Selmayr and Kildare's Mhs Tampa. Amber Heintzberger​​​​​​​ Photo.

Novice Horse

Booli Selmayr of Millbrook, N.Y. maintained her lead in the Novice Horse division riding Thomas Duggan’s 5-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare Kildare's Mhs Tampa on their dressage score of 24.3. Duggan imported Kildare’s Mhs Tampa from Ireland in January of this year, and Selmayr began riding her in April. They plan to take her to the 5-year-old USEA Young Event Horse championships at Fair Hill in October.

“She was fantastic,” said Selmayr. “She’s such a competitor and she just wants to go out there and do her job. I was wondering how she was going to be because this is more of a derby-cross kind of feel here, and there are a lot of distractions for a young horse. I really wanted to see if she could focus, and she did. She was super bold and kept looking for the next jump, and just took it on.”

Selmayr said that the back of the course was her favorite part. “I could really let her rip a little bit; she’s a fun horse and she loves to gallop so I was able to let her take the bridle a little bit, and then I was also able to ask her to come back a little bit and just test the gears. She was awesome.”

Ashley Giles riding her own Chayenne, a 6-year-old Trakehner mare by Elfado out of Charima, remained in second place on their dressage score of 24.5 followed by Taylor Blumenthal riding Martha Woodham’s 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, Saxon Mills (Fitz x Criss Cross) on 24.8.

In a division of 42 entries, 32 horses ran double clear around the course designed by Mark Phillips and built by Eric Bull’s ETB Equine Construction, LLC.

The Novice course started in the sand ring where riders warmed up; they proceeded out of the ring and down a track, then looped around another ring; galloping and jumping along the track again they looped behind the mound flanking the derby field to jump a couple of fences on the grass, then circled the turf of the derby field, over houses, a corner and the “swale”, a sunken ditch, before taking in the water “splash” on the way and then looping around in the other direction, over the log cabins on the mound, finally finishing near the warm-up area where they started. There were 17 jumping efforts in total.

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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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