Fourteen hours is the amount of time Jordan Vann spent in the car to travel to her first out-of-state show. Accompanying Vann in the trek up the coast from Gainesville, Fla. to Lexington, Va. was team captain Edward Britten-Kelly and coach Ashley Johnson (teammate Kelly Clark would meet the team at the venue as she had already moved home to Pennsylvania for the summer). These four Gators made the trip to Virginia Horse Trials to represent University of Florida in their USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship debut.
“She’s the best trainer I’ve ever had,” Vann commented on the team coach, Ashley Johnson.
With the University of Florida being responsible for connecting Vann to four-star eventer, Ashley Johnson, Vann commented that she’s “really happy to be here.”
Not only does Johnson coach the students, she also lends her former two-star horses for the championship riders to compete. Monte Carlo (aka Monte) is entered in the Novice Rider division with Britten-Kelly. “He’s basically a babysitter,” Britten-Kelly said about how Monte (Johnson’s former two-star horse) is to ride. When asked if he was fun on cross-country, Britten-Kelly commented without hesitation, “oh, absolutely.”
“We have a fantastic coach, one of the best.” Britten-Kelly and Monte Carlo, a 15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, scored a 32.6 to put them in good standing after dressage. Vann and Johnson’s homebred, the 7-year-old Hanoverian gelding Remington 700, scored an impressive 30.7 to sit in sixth place in the Novice Rider division, one of the largest divisions at Virginia Horse Trials.
Although they left their spirit sticks and bright balloons back home, the team of Gators shine in team support and camaraderie.
Stay tuned for a recap of day two from the 2018 USEA Intercollegiate Championship.
About the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program
The USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program was established in 2014 to provide a framework within which eventing teams and individual competitors could flourish at universities and colleges across the country. The USEA offers a discount of $25 on annual USEA memberships for current students of universities and colleges registered as Affiliates with the USEA and many events across the country now offer Intercollegiate Team Challenges throughout the year, where collegiate eventers can compete individually as well as on teams with their fellow students. In Intercollegiate Team Challenges, each rider’s score is multiplied by a coefficient appropriate for their level to account for differences in level difficulty and then the individual scores are added together to determine the team score. Click here to learn more about the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program.
"No matter how old you are, be open to all disciplines, learn how to ride a dressage horse, a gaited horse, a show jumper. Go fox hunting and point-to-pointing and horse showing. You’ll learn from all of them and when you do decide which discipline you want to do, you’ll be better at it anyway.”
The University of Findlay’s Three-Day Eventing Team was established in 2013, the same year USEA voted and approved the USEA intercollegiate program. The UF team has over 30 members encompassing a variety of majors at the university. The team has access to two indoor arenas, a large outdoor arena, and 70 acres of on-site cross-country fences.
Bellamy, an Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding of unknown breeding, came to Tamra Smith’s farm in Southern California with his mane half-way down his neck and filled with burrs. Bellamy had been sitting in a field for a little over a year after unseating several riders in a row and Smith, known for being good with tricky horses, agreed to take him on.