IEA Horse Trial in Edinburgh, Indiana, hosted the year’s first USEA Classic Series Three-Day Event on June 3-6, 2021. Offering Training Three-Day and Novice Three-Day divisions, the event drew a total of 37 entries – 13 in the Training Three-Day and 24 in the Novice Three-Day.
The Training Three-Day welcomed a victory for Brooke Kahl and Nata Montada SCF, her own eight-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Baldev x Whinny II), with 31.9 penalties. Second went to Sarah Younger and her own Power Trip, who were sitting in sixth place after dressage but finished with a score of 33.9. Third went to Hannah Maloney riding her own Phoenyx to 35.8.
“I love the fact that IEA H.T. supports the Classic format,” Kahl commented. “I have done the Beginner Novice, and the Novice, and now the Training Three-Day with this horse, and it’s just a great format. It’s so educational and a fun time, and I feel like you really get to see every aspect of the sport. With IEA, I know it takes a lot more work to put on these long-format shows, and the volunteers are amazing. The show was well run, and we made some new friends, saw some old ones, and had a great time.”
Kahl began eventing in 2006 after grad school and has had “Nata” for less than three years. “Before I started eventing, I had done hunter jumpers,” Kahl commented, “and before that, I rode western in the summers in Michigan. I took a different path to land on eventing, but I definitely love it the most. When I bought Nata three years ago in August, the first six or eight months that I had him, we didn’t do a lot because I had to have back surgery. We just started slowly, we did Beginner Novice for a year and then Novice, and now we are doing Training this year. We are just taking it slow. He’s eight, and I don’t have huge aspirations to do anything too big with him. Maybe we will work up to Preliminary, but for now, we are just taking it slow and enjoying the ride.”
She continued, “It definitely took a while for this win to sink in. I’m still on cloud nine. We traveled a long way, we came from Charlotte, NC, so it was a long trip. In the few weeks leading up to the show, a few things happened that had me thinking I may have to withdraw, but luckily everything came together at the end, and it was a wonderful weekend.”
In the Novice Three-Day, Madeline Bletzacker and her own 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Don Principe x Winterzauber) Drummer Boy took the win, finishing on their dressage score of 25.2. Second place went to Camilla Baldini on Tracey S Tucker’s Ditchterlieben with a score of 28.1. Katie Sisk rounded out the top three with her own Long Legs Lenore, finishing on 29.8 penalties.
Bletzacker and Drummer Boy held their own throughout the event, landing in first after dressage and continuing in that position until they were named the division winners.
“Even though I thought I was prepared,” Bletzacker began, “I had done it one time before on my other horse in 2016, I was slightly overwhelmed this time. Being older now, I was kind of like, ‘oh my gosh, this seemed so easy before!’ The night prior, I laid awake and just studied and hoped my horse would be fit enough for it, and he proved he really was. He did the cross-country. It was the biggest ditch I have ever done. We had two open waters and had 26 efforts, which in regular Novice, we only have 18, 19, 20 at times. I thought, “AEC was like nothing compared to this,” and he won at AEC in 2019! But, my horse made it easy; he just cruised right through it.”
Though 2020 was a difficult year for all, Bletzacker, a former racing trainer, groom, and rider who used to exercise over 20 horses per day, had the added challenge of healing a shattered shoulder. “I have had a few fractures in the past couple of years,” she explained, “but last year during quarantine, I was leading the horse out after a blacksmith came, and I fell and shattered my shoulder. I had a reverse shoulder replacement, and I wasn’t supposed to ride for 9 months. With a lot of determination, I actually found a way to maintain my strength. I got an Equicizer, I set a goal and said, ‘I’m going to do the Three-Day in the spring,’ and I worked hard on the Equicizer so that by the time I was able to ride, I was ready to go.”
Ready they were! The pair of season competitors traveled from their base in Ohio and brought a lengthy competition record of top placings, marking 54 wins on their USEA record, including a championship win at the 2019 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) in the Novice Rider division.
“Drummer Boy just wins everything he does, it seems,” Bletzacker concluded. “He has won hunters; he’s been the high point at dressage shows; he’s just fantastic, and I never thought that I could have a horse like him. I don’t have an instructor or trainer. I am it. So, I feel proud that I got that horse unbroke and brought him here.”
About the USEA Classic Series
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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