It is championship season and Area VI held their annual Area Championships on Saturday, September 11 at Copper Meadows. Championships classes were offered at the Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, and Preliminary level. All championship divisions competed separate dressage tests from the regular horse trial entries and there were several additional cross-country questions on the championship tracks. Winners received an embroidered cooler from Professionals Choice, a leather halter from Elston Hay and Grain, a Fleeceworks gift certificate, a Ride On Video gift certificate, an Equestrian Habits prize, a free equine massage courtesy of CJ Equine Massage, and a set of Scrubbies from the Scoring Chix. Following the weekend's battle royale, we caught up with the riders who rose to the top to gather their thoughts!
Preliminary Champion: Stephanie Simard and Roosevelt | 44.7
A 20-year hiatus from competition didn't keep Stephanie Simard from excelling in the Preliminary Championship during the Area VI Championships with her 16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Roosevelt. "When I bought Roosevelt four years ago I hadn't competed in an event in 20 years, so to even be at this level again, let alone a championship division, is a thrill," Simard shared with the USEA. "He felt so game on cross-country, always asking me where the next fence was, and I appreciated the one-day format because I didn't have a chance to be nervous between phases!"
Training Champion: Kristin Terris and Rathcash Olympia | 30.00
Finishing on their dressage score, Kristin Terris and her 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare Rathcash Olympia (Je T'aime Flamenco x Fortnill Olympia Clover) swept the Training Championship from start to finish. Terris and "Niambhie" have been partnered together since Terris imported her from Ireland in 2017. In regard to this year's Area Championships, Terris shared: "Aside from the thrill I felt when my friends told me I won, my favorite part of competing in this year's Championships was interacting with the volunteers and staff. Everyone at Copper Meadows was so super cheerful, friendly, and helpful. It blunts the stress of competing to have such friendly ring stewards and volunteers everywhere. I can’t thank them enough for making things so much fun!"
Novice Champion: Whitney Tucker Billeter and Infinite Wisdom | 29.1
It was a start-to-finish win for Whitney Tucker Billeter and Erin Kellerhouse's Infinite Wisdom in the Area VI Novice Championship. Billeter and the 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding by Smart Strike danced their way to a dressage score of 29.1 which the duo would add no penalties to throughout the final two phases.
Beginner Novice Champion: Laura Jaeger-Seitz and Dondero | 29.5
With no additional penalties to add to their dressage score of 29.5, Laura Jaeger-Seitz and her 6-year-old homebred Oldenburg gelding Dondero (Don de Marco x Pikfernadera) closed out the day with a tricolor ribbon to add to their ribbon wall. "The course rode very nice and I felt the questions on course were perfect for the level," Jaeger-Seitz reflected. "I love being at Copper Meadows. Everyone wants everyone to do well and enjoy themselves. Even those competing against each other were sharing tips on staying cool in the warmer temps and what was different out on course."
Check out all the results from the weekend here.
One of my passions is continuing to be a good student, because I think no matter how old I get, there are multiple reasons learning new things inspires me. First and foremost, it helps me be a better rider and trainer, so my horses benefit. Second, it helps me be a better teacher by exposing me to different ways to have a relationship with a horse or a student.
This month we’re going to begin a three-part series on how to create positive riding experiences by making sure the words you say to yourself and the thoughts you think to yourself are positive. Referred to as self-talk, internal dialogue, or brain babble; the words you say to yourself can have a huge impact on your performance. In fact, your thoughts and voice are actually considered behaviors, and just like how positive physical behaviors (i.e. a balanced transition) can create success, your verbal behaviors can also accomplish the very same thing. So let's spend the next few months talking about how to talk to yourself!
Being spontaneous has paid off for Kevin Keane and Sportsfield Candy. “I bought him on a Wednesday and showed him on a Thursday,” Keane recalls about his first event with his Irish Sport Horse gelding, then 9 years old, at Plantation Field Horse Trials (Unionville, Pennsylvania) in September 2016. “I owned him for part of a day, and the next morning I showed up at a CCI and jogged him up for a two-star, and we went clean and clean and clean.”
THANK YOU to everyone who has already entered the USEF/USEA Recognized CDCTA Spring Horse Trials scheduled for Sunday, April 9 in Berryville, VA. We will continue to take late entries through Friday, March 24 using USEA’s Xentry system. If you still want to come compete, please enter! The late fee has been waived through Friday, March 24.