Show jumping at the 2022 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds brought the Bates USEA Preliminary Championship to a close today and ribbons were pinned on each winner before riders took off on their victory lap. With winners in every level, each offered different expectations and emotions to the table. This division had a wide range of riders who rode for the win and, most importantly, for their personal best.
Bates USEA Preliminary Amateur Championship
Amy Haugen and her 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding Ebenholtz (Ehrentusch x Levantine) celebrated finishing on their dressage score today and the feeling was big and bold, just like their winning show jump round. “My horse is incredible but we did our first year at Preliminary a few years ago, and then had a baby, and then COVID, and then he had an injury and was off for a year, and then I had another baby and it’s like this is our first year back,” said Haugen. “For me, it’s been a big mental challenge to get my confidence back. He’s so happy to be back doing this.” The incredible Enzo has officially taken home the 10th recognized event win with Haugen piloting the way she’s envisioned for a few years now—what a way to return to the paces and set a new standard for future events.
Mindy Sands, who took second place on her 11-year-old Thoroughbred mare Roman Express (Roman Ruler x Grey Chatelaine), was celebratory in her own regard, firstly noting that her mare is a barefoot queen who elegantly floated around her show jump with a smiling Sands aboard. “She was a horse nobody wanted to buy and I bought her because I thought they were all crazy,” said Sands. “She’s a tall red mare. She met my expectations today—she exceeded them.”
In third place was Kristen Davignon riding her 10-year-old German Sport Horse gelding Fürst Floid ( Fürst Wettin x Barbarella), who had a gentle exit from the arena due to having her ribs wrapped from a hard fall during her last lesson. It didn’t stop her from reaching the top three placing, even though that wasn’t necessarily her goal. “I was really happy that I ever qualified. This was my first season doing preliminary so I was pretty happy that I did it with my dream horse,” said Davignon.
Bates USEA Preliminary Horse Championship
Nicole Aden, who held the leading cross-country score yesterday, brought it home for a big win today on her 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood Illustrator (Larone x Vienna) who she refers to as “Little Man” for his pony-like personality. With the two final jumping phases in play, Aden knew that Little Man was in his glory and ready to claim his victory. “He is a wicked jumper. The faster he goes, the better he is,” said Aden. “He’s really stepped up this year and I feel like mentally he’s really in check, as opposed to previous years he’s kind of been a bit more nervous. He just knew exactly what his job was and he ate it up.”
Pumped up from a stellar cross-country run, Aden said that Little Man got strong for show jumping, which really puts her efforts as a rider to the ultimate test. “I only ride him in a snaffle,” said Aden, noting that he is a sensitive yet aggressive ride. He can be big and bold and he can also be sensitive, so finding that balance clearly paid off for this feel-good win.
Helen Alliston, aboard the Alliston Equestrian LLC-owned 7-year-old Zangersheide gelding Flinterro Z (by Figaro), rode to secure a second place ribbon and standing after three challenging days. “He’s got a great temperament in dressage—he’s quiet and focused—and then jumping he’s excited and forward and bold. His gallop is his highlight—he’s a beautiful galloper,” said Alliston, describing what it is like to ride Flinterro through the phases. “He did the two-star as well in July and he’s a bit green I’d say, spooky—not about the jumps but the crowds—He definitely felt better this weekend.”
Ella Kurtz riding her 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Sportsfield Harley Davis (Harlequin du Carel x Good Step) thoroughly enjoyed their strongest phase—a perfect way to close out the three-day championship. “I thought he was perfect,” said Kurtz, still beaming just moments from swinging off the saddle. “He listened to everything I asked him to do.”
Bates USEA Preliminary Rider Championship
Eileen Galoostian and her 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Ardeo Lord Lancelot (Lancelot x Little Lou) put in a brilliant show jumping round to pull off today’s win. “It’s just magical here,” said Galoostian. "We go out hacking in the morning and then we do our work in the afternoon and then walk them in the evening, and I’m just taking it all in.” The scene and atmosphere at Rebecca Farm certainly evokes a wave of peacefulness among competitors and Galoostian didn’t miss a moment of the serenity that it offered, having arrived as early as possible this week. With the focus being on the rider, Galoostian is proud of how far her dressage has come. “Dressage was most improved. We’ve just steadily gotten better and better. It was really nice to have that and start at a high.”
Kelsey Horn and her 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding Cleared For Take Off found themselves in second place today after having this event as their goal for the season. “I’m super proud of my horse…I feel amazing,” said Horn. “He was wonderful in both of the jumping phases and a little bit too excited in the dressage phase, which didn’t translate to as much obedience as I was hoping for. I usually get really stressed during show jumping and this time I had a lot of fun so it was pretty much the best show ever.”
Ghislaine Homan-Taylor proudly received her third-place finish aboard Mt. Whitney (Penitent Man x Taitt Hill), the 7-year-old Thoroughbred gelding that she co-owns with Carrie Matteson, today. “This is his first year competing Preliminary so we’re just excited to be here,” said Homan-Taylor. “There was a lot to see in show jump today. Cross-country he was double clear and he was absolutely perfect. That’s definitely his strongest phase.”
Bates USEA Preliminary Junior/Young Rider Championship
Maddie Smith was grinning ear to ear with her first place finish after a successful show jump round piloting her 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Versace. Carrying over their lead after cross-country yesterday, Smith claims the win to be unreal. “Before I got him he did intermediate so he’s kind of a been-there-done-that horse, but he’s definitely my first horse that I’ve been able to be competitive on so it’s really exciting to have a reward for all of my hard work.” Noting his chill personality railing against his hot moments makes for a rather spontaneous ride each time Smith swings a leg over, which has undoubtedly made her a more skilled rider with each event they tuck under their belts.
Lizzie Hoff riding her 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Classicals Fortune (Fortunus x Tullaroan) rode an aggressive and adaptable show jumping course to land them a second-place finish. While jumping may be a talent, it certainly comes with a list of challenges that Hoff has had to help him overcome. “Every week we just take everything out of our house and put it all over the jumps, and we just do that all the time. He’s a character,” said Hoff.
Taking home the third place finish was Maeson Messmer with her 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Gambling On Jack, who clearly was a safe bet today as they rounded out the three phases with an impressive show jumping round. “This week our dressage test came together,” said Messmer. “Our most difficult phase is either dressage or show jump but we entered the ring and we both put out a good test.”
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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
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