Tamra Smith and En Vogue (Earl x Laurena) were one of just two double-clear rounds today over Derek di Grazia’s Intermediate cross-country course at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. A fast, clear ride across the country helped Smith maintain the top spot on the leaderboard on her dressage score of 26.0.
“I couldn’t have asked her to be better,” Smith said of Ruth Bley’s 14-year-old Hanoverian mare. “I expected her to be a bit backed off because she hasn’t run, but she knows her job and you have to trust that if you prepare them properly and get them ready that they don’t have to run a ton. I wasn’t certain how she was going to feel and she felt amazing, I was super happy.”
Smith had the advantage of going out first aboard Danito (Dancier x Wie Musik), Ruth Bley’s 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding who sits in second place on a score of 31.1, getting a feel for the course before setting out on “Evie.” “I knew that, if I was going to make the time, I needed to be on my first minute,” she said. “Both of those horses are horses you can go out of the box quick on – some horses you can’t, you have to settle into it – but I knew I could come out of the box strong. The first combination walks in a seven and I got it in seven on Danito. With Evie I knew I could get six so I got six in there, I was on my first minute and stayed on it the whole time. They’re both really fast horses and have a ton of blood in them.”
“Evie was a little more green than Danito – he was kind of sleeping out there a bit, it was just super easy for him – but he just ran a few weeks ago so I think that probably helped and the course is quite stiff for a horse that hasn’t run since Twin in April,” she continued. “She wasn’t as bold through the coffin and then the last water she overjumped the brush and I added a stride in there, but she was super. She was just looking for the flags and wants to do it and is just a fun horse to ride.”
Looking to the show jumping tomorrow, Smith admitted that this phase is still a work in progress with Evie. “She needs quite a technical ride and I just hope I ride her the best I can and that she tries to jump the jumps as clean as possible,” Smith said. “I do have rails on her in the past but she is capable of jumping clean, as long as she stays rideable. I’ve been working with Erik Duvander – he’s helped me a ton with her, working on her shape and she’s getting better and starting to do that and I felt that out on the cross-country. I hope it transfers over to tomorrow!”
Woods Baughman and C’est La Vie 135 moved up from sixth place after dressage to third place on a two-phase score of 32.2, adding 3.2 time penalties to his dressage score of 29.0 as the third-fastest ride of the day.
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. This year, the AEC will be held August 27 – September 1 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Click here to learn more about the USEA American Eventing Championships.
The USEA would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of the AEC: Presenting Sponsor: Nutrena; Advanced Final Title Sponsor: Adequan; Platinum Level Sponsors: Bates Saddles, Equistro; Gold Level Sponsors: Charles Owen, Standlee Hay, Parker Equine Insurance; Silver Level Sponsors: Mountain Horse; The Jockey Club, Park Equine; Bronze Level Sponsors: Arnall’s Naturals, State Line Tack, Black Petticoat, Devoucoux, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, Horseware Ireland, LandSafe SmartPak, Dubarry, The Chronicle of the Horse, Stackhouse and Ellis Saddles, Auburn Laboratories, FITS Riding, Ovation, Lanier Sand and Soil, Event Cooling Solutions, Farm House Tack; Contributing Level Sponsors: Ariat, Meanwhile Back on the Farm, L.V. Harkness, Lexmark, GLC Direct, Georgetown Tourism, FarmVet, FLAIR Nasal Strips, Nunn Finer, RevitaVet, Resvantage Equine, CrossCountry App; Prize Level Sponsors: GumBits, Ride Heels Down, C4 Belts, I Love My Horse, Mare Modern Goods, Bluegrass Vibershield, Bluegrass Animal Products, Caracol, Active Interest Media, Astrid’s Oil, Baekgaard, On The Bit Horse Supplies, Luxe EQ, EQ AM Magazine, Jetti Spa, Great British Equinery, Foxden Equine, The Scoring Chix, Pure Form Equine; Competitor’s Party Sponsors:Jacqueline Mars, Kat and Roberto Cuca, United States Hunter Jumper Association, and United States Dressage Federation.
For seasoned and novice riders alike, it is always good to revisit the basics. Serving as the foundation for any eventer, the positions used on the cross-country course differ from those in the dressage or show jumping ring. The USEA tuned into five-time Olympian, three-time World Equestrian Games rider, two Pan-American Games rider, and USEA ECP certified coach Karen O'Connor as she walked coaches and students at the USEA ECP Symposium through the basic positions for effective cross-country riding.
The USEF's main phone number and fax number have changed. We wanted to notify you so you continue to get the support you need.
With the recent wrap-up of the 2023 Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) Symposium in Ocala, Florida, USEA Podcast Host Nicole Brown chats with ECP Faculty Members Jennifer Howlett Rousseau and Robin Walker about all things related to the ECP. From the USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels to the benefits of pursuing certification, selecting the best coach for you, recapping this year's Symposium, and more - this week's USEA podcast is the perfect educational tool for coaches and riders alike!
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