The Event at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana is an event that hosts over six USEA programs, a farm where the serenity of Glacier National Park charms eventers from across the country, and where Lauren Schoenborn and Alina Patterson earned Area VII Charles Owen Technical Merit Awards. Judged by Jo Young, Bobby Stevenson, and Judy Hancock; Schoenborn and Patterson beat out 135 rides to come out on top for their safe and effective cross-country rounds.
“He has definitely been the longest lasting man in my life,” Schoenborn said with a laugh when she described her winning partner, the 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding East of Omaha (Oliver x Summer). Their six-year partnership has proved strong at Rebecca Farm as she is a two-time winner of the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award. “I actually won the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award at Rebecca Farm in 2017 too. Omaha and I must be doing something right!”
Taking their partnership much further than cross-country, Schoenborn described a life of adventure with East of Omaha. “We quickly and easily developed a trust for each other. We go on adventure after adventure together. I can take that horse swimming, on day-long trail rides, on camping trips and compete him in a three-day event. That’s rare! I feel extremely blessed to have him in my life.”
As a reward for selling everyone’s favorite cookies, Schoenborn was introduced to horses through Girl Scouts. “I started taking lessons at age six after my Brownie Troop leaders took our troop on a horseback ride to reward us for selling a certain number of Girl Scout cookies.”
Shortly after selling cookies, Schoenborn was introduced to eventing through Deep Run Hunt Pony Club in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia. Several years later while attending University of Georgia, Schoenborn and Omaha’s paths crossed with the help of Karen Czarick. “She graciously allowed me to lease him for a year before I bought him. I then shipped him to California where we lived for two years. Now, we reside in Bozeman [Montana] together.”
Traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast to eventually finding residency in the beautiful Northwestern state of Montana, Schoenborn is looking forward to the future. “Now, I train with Jil Walton out of Kalispell, Montana, and Melissa Thorson in Bozeman, Montana. I am looking forward to what lies ahead for Omaha and me. We cannot get enough of eventing, especially that cross-country phase!”
Patterson and Flashback at Rebecca Farm. Rob Karlic for Shannon Brinkman Photo.
“Eventing is my true passion,” explained Patterson, the junior recipient of the Charles Owen Technical Merit award at Rebecca Farm. “I found eventing through Pony Club. The club I was part of put on an amazing clinic in which I got a taste of cross-country. I was absolutely in love with it and I never once looked back.”
For the first 11 years of Patterson’s life, she called Alaska home which made it challenging to follow her passion. “The riding season was very short (4-5 months) and there were no recognized horse trials or even schooling shows in the state,” described Patterson of Alaska’s riding conditions. “So, I started off trail riding and got into Western for a brief period of time, until I joined Pony Club at age nine.”
At age 11, Patterson and her family moved to Washington state for Patterson to pursue her eventing dreams. “I’m very thankful for all my parents have done to help me succeed on my journey thus far.”
“I have so much love for this horse and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together,” emphasized Patterson of her trusted partner, Flashback, a 7-year-old German Sport Horse gelding. Flashback (Furst Fugger x Queen of Joy), also known as Freddy, and Patterson formed their partnership in March of 2017. “With the help of my coach, John Camlin, I’ve really enjoyed learning how to produce a young horse through the levels. I think our partnership is special because we’ve done a lot of our firsts together. I took him cross-country for his first time, to his first show, our first Training level, and hopefully many more firsts. We have grown a lot together in this past year and it makes it so rewarding when we reach a goal knowing that I’ve been producing him myself.”
“To me personally, it’s really nice to know that everything I’m being taught by my coach is being applied on course for most of the ride. It makes me feel as if my hard work is paying off and that I’m improving which is always my goal,” reflected Patterson on her winning round.
Congratulations to both Alina Patterson and Lauren Schoenborn for winning the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award at Rebecca Farm!
About the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award
In 2009, the Professional Horseman’s Council in partnership with Charles Owen founded the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award to reward juniors and adult amateurs for demonstrating safe and appropriate cross-country riding technique and educate riders and trainers as to what constitutes safe cross-country riding.
The Charles Owen Technical Merit Award is presented at one event in each USEA Area each year at the Training level to one junior rider and one adult amateur rider who have not competed at the Intermediate level or above. Every eligible rider at the Training level is automatically judged during their cross-country round on the five criteria listed below and receives a score sheet with written comments, providing valuable feedback on their cross-country riding technique. Level III and IV ICP instructors, USEF licensed eventing officials, and USET Senior Team riders are all qualified to judge the Award. Click here to learn more about the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award.
The USEA would like to thank Charles Owen for sponsoring the Technical Merit Award.
It's been a long road, but we've finally arrived at the end! In June of 2017, the USEA undertook a project - to tell the story of each of the currently active USEA recognized events, starting at the beginning of the alphabet and working our way all the way through to the end. Now, more than three years later, we've reached the final event on our list.
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This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).