Sep 02, 2021

Novice Dressage Takes Center Stage

Margaret Frost and Euro Star, the leaders of the Junior Novice Under 15 division. Xpress Foto Photo.

For Immediate Release: All divisions of the Novice made their debut in the Kentucky Horse Park’s dressage arenas today as horses and riders of all ages and sizes put forward their best moves to hopefully take the lead. The Novice level is tied with Beginner Novice as the largest level at the 2021 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds and with the divisions jam-packed with talented pairs, the competition was fierce in the first place.

Junior Novice 15 & Under

Young rider Margaret Frost from Newnan, Ga. took the lead today as the Junior Novice 15 & Under competitors put on their dancing shoes. Frost and Euro Star, her 12-year-old Warmblood gelding (Qredo Van De Kempenhoeve x Panama) put forth a solid effort which earned the duo a score of 29.6.

“This guy was previously owned by Claire Howard and she competed on him in Montana all the way to the Preliminary division before I acquired him in March,” explained Frost. “He is just such a great horse, and has been a fantastic learning experience for me.”

For Frost, the venture to the Kentucky Horse Park is her first experience at the AEC and one that she has well enjoyed so far.

“I think my favorite part of the event so far has just been the park itself,” she laughed. “It is so beautiful in this entire area. I am especially excited for the cross-country phase tomorrow and to gallop through those beautiful fields; I might go too fast!”

Laura Voorheis and the 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Aldato x Miss Beckett) Herbst Acapella danced into a final score of 30.7. Local Kentucky resident Sally Smedley and the 13-year-old German Sport Horse (Danny Gold x Stutbuch 1) Golden Ticket CR earned only half a penalty more to finish with 31.2 for third.

Junior Novice

Young competitive junior Mia Brown and her partner Duke HW are feeling that their long journey from California was worth it after sliding into first place as a result of their dressage score. She and the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Delatio x Stella Girl) earned a respectable score of 22.3 to sit over five points above second.

“He was very relaxed today and in all of the trot work he was super willing on all the aids,” explained Brown. “His whole test had a very nice flow to it but the highlights for me were definitely the trot work and our canter walk transitions.”

Brown is nervous but excited for the cross-country phase as it will only be the pair’s second time on a grass turf. “I have a very detailed plan so that I navigate the terrain and find the path properly but I am very excited to try him out on the grass,” she confirmed. “It will be new for us but he is a once in a lifetime horse; he knows when he’s competing and we’ve done all of our preparation work to give him the best chance at success.”

Previous AEC Champions Ava Stevens and Two Against The World, her 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Reputed Testamony x Black Orchid), rode into second place with a score of 27.6, while Madalyn Ellis and her 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Cavalier Land x Miss Potter) Fernhill Magic followed closely in 27.9.

USEA Novice Master Amateur Championship 2021

Jane Musselman and Engapore. Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Hailing from Louisville, Ky., Jane Musselman heads up the USEA Novice Master Amateur Championship. Partnered with her 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Engapore (Singapore x Orize), Musselman carries a 26 going into the second phase.

“I think he's trusting me more and more, and he's just great. He knows his job. Today he felt pretty nervous going around the arena, but luckily I don't think that the judges saw all the tension I was feeling,” she said.

Cindy DePorter, Oxford, N.C., sits only half a point behind in second place aboard her Ana D, a 15-year-old Hanoverian mare by Waldord, on a score of 26.5. Third place belongs to Darlene Walters, Franklin, In., and Concord Dawn, a 12-year-old Thoroughbred (Smart Guy x Della Street) who Walters owns, on a score of 26.6.

USEA Novice Rider

Jane Musselman had luck on her side today as she also leads the USEA Novice Rider Championship division with Bentley’s Best. Originally piloted by Canadian Olympian Jessica Phoenix, the 14-year-old Trakehner gelding nailed a 24.2 for first place.

“He has a great base under him and he's done lots of stuff with [Phoenix], and I am lucky to have the ride on him now,” Musselman said. We had our first event maybe in January or February, and then I had a fall. Actually, this winter I didn't get to ride for three and a half months so I've only competed him in three events, but he’s just wonderful.”

Nancy Z. Wilson, of Flat Rock, N.C., and Lagerfeld, a 10-year-old German Sport Horse (Last Man Standing x Bonja), secured second place on a first-phase result of 25.6. Third place belongs to Chelsie Malavasi, Ringoes, N.J., and Dassett Profile, a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse by Crosstown Dancer, on 24.2 penalty points.

Novice Horse

Adalee Ladwig and Argenta MSF. Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Adalee Ladwig and her Hanoverian (Jesper x Callie) mare Argenta MSF achieved a lifetime goal during their debut at the AEC as the pair took the early lead on the first day of the Novice Horse division with a 27.0.

The now 8-year-old mare is making her debut at the event and while Ladwig has previously attended, this year is special for her to see through the horse that she has raised since birth.

“My mother bought Argenta’s mother in foal so Argenta was born at our farm when I was 10 years old,” Ladwig explained. “I instantly fell in love with her when she was born and begged my mom to be able to keep her.”

The victory is extra special to Ladwig as she has produced the mare entirely on her own since a young age. “My mom’s deal with me to keep her was that I do everything with her myself,” she added. “I was the one to break her, take her over her first fence, first horse show and everything past that point. It’s been a truly unique experience and one I will always be grateful for. I am so proud of her.”

Poway, California’s Chloe Smyth and Michelle Donaldson’s 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Breitling x unknown) Byzantine SC delivered a test worthy of 28.3. Jonathan Holling and Team Holling LLC’s 5-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Corico Z x De Zazoe VH ST Anneke) waltzed to third with 28.8 for their efforts.

Novice Amateur

Cecilia Emilsson, Chisago City, Minn., and Blazing Angel have set the bar for the lowest dressage score of the USEA AEC. She and her 8-year-old off-track Thoroughbred (Firecard x Angliana) boast a 21.1 after the first phase.

“She was raced until she was 4. And I got her two weeks fresh off the track. And she's been amazing ever since. Dressage has probably always been our strength. We've normally been having good results there. She's probably the best level-headed horse I ever had — her mind is just amazing,” Emilsson said.

Kai Bradley of Walkersville, Md., and her Diamonds Forever, a 9-year-old Hanoverian (Donar Weiss GGF x Whizzo), earned second place scoring 22.5. On a dressage result of 28.1, Samantha Schwartz, Owings Mills, Md., and Nicole Schwartz’s Rumble Fish, a 15-year-old Quarter Horse (Pure Pauli x Miss Diamond B Okie), are in third place.

Now that the dressage is behind them, the 286 Novice competitors will get to head out onto cross-country tomorrow for their second phase.

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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 for 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. With over 1,000 entries the 2021 AEC is set to be the largest eventing competition in North American history. The 2021 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds will be held August 31 – September 5 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Click here to learn more about the USEA American Eventing Championships.

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