Tamra Smith had a rail in hand as she galloped into the arena aboard Ruth Bley’s En Vogue (Earl x Laurena), so even dropping the rail on the fourth fence couldn’t knock her out of the top spot in the Intermediate division at the 2019 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds.
“I got on her [this morning] and I went so fast yesterday that I wasn’t certain how she’d feel fitness-wise but she was shaking her head and almost gave me a little buck so I knew she was feeling really good,” Smith said. “She really rose to the occasion. She’s taken some time to trust me and I feel like today the rail I had was my rail, which I’m really happy about, because she has been tricky in the show jumping. The rail I had was more because of how she’s been in the past and I rode her instead of the way she feels now. I’m ecstatic.”
Smith and the 14-year-old Hanoverian mare have only been partnered together since February of this year, and she said it’s taken some time to get “Evie” to trust her. “I just feel now that this weekend we really are on the same page,” she said. “I wasn’t sure what she’d feel like in the show jumping, that would probably be the biggest track that she’s done and she’s really spooky . . . that’s part of why I had the rail, because I rode too forward in and I almost should have put five in the first line instead of six.”
“That’s what I love about mares – as soon as they start to trust you then they give you 110 percent. I feel like she’s really doing that.”
Even if she had dropped out of the top spot with En Vogue, stablemate Danito (Dancier x Wie Musik) was waiting in the wings. Just a single time fault with Ruth Bley’s 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding ensured a winning finish for Smith, but Danito would ultimately have to settle for second place.
“Him and I have been together longer and you can see that we have a good partnership now,” Smith commented. “He really trusts me now and he was really relaxed. I love that horse, he’s so my ride and he’s little but really mighty and strong. He tried super hard.”
“He’s a funny horse because when he’s bored he doesn’t try quite as hard,” Smith continued. “At the last event he jumped clean but it was a little by braille so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the jumps are impressive here so he actually gave it some effort and jumped really beautiful."
"I think the best top horses rise to the occasion for something like this," Smith observed. "They might not to the normal horse trials, but you want a horse that when it gets in this kind of atmosphere, because this is a championship atmosphere like the Olympics Games or WEG or the Pan Ams, you want them to rise to the occasion. You learn whether your horse can do this and it was really helpful because I know those two both can."
Hallie Coon and Helen Coon’s Cooley SOS (Emilion x Dalways Courage) were situated just inside the top 20 after dressage on a score of 32.1, climbing to seventh place after cross-country with 3.6 time penalties. A double-clear round over Bobby Murphy’s show jumping course this morning saw them climb the leaderboard into third place to finish the weekend with a yellow ribbon.
“He’s quite a small horse but with a gigantic ego,” Coon described. “It gets to be a struggle sometime in the dressage – he thinks he’s a little bit too important to be doing what he’s doing. But he has the most incredible stride and jump on the cross-country and in the show jumping, he just eats it up. I mean, [he has] twice the stride of any of my other horses and he’s by far the smallest. So that can be challenging in itself, knowing where I am, but he tried his heart out yesterday.”
“He did get quite tired out on course yesterday because I pushed him quite a bit – he left strides out everywhere, as he always does – so I was curious to see how he was this morning. But, usually after a big effort like that he comes out and he jumps even better than usual and he stayed true today. I’m really thrilled with him.”
Coon and the 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding have been together for a little over two years one, the last of which they’ve spent at the intermediate level. Coon explained that she came to the AEC in part to test Cooley SOS before their move-up to Advanced later this month. “I didn’t come here to be competitive, honestly. I came here to test the waters and I think he told me that he’s ready.”
The Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP) Awards were presented to Whitney Maloch and Military Mind and Melanie Smith and Shakedown Street.
The A. Martin Simensen Award, presented to the lowest scoring junior or young rider age 16-21 in the Intermediate division, went to Ivie Cullen-Dean and Fernhill Full Throttle.
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.
To accompany the 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, USEA Educational Partner STRIDER has prepared Digital Resources to Maximize Education & Access for the Eventing Community. In keeping with the USEA’s mission to expand the sport of eventing, this webinar outlines ways in which digital tools can be leveraged to increase access and education across equestrian opportunities. As part of STRIDER’s popular Professional Development Webinar Series, this presentation aims to provide a quick overview of best practices and digital tools used across the equestrian industry to boost growth.
Every horse who participated this year in the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) program has a story—a background that involves a breeder who labored over bloodlines, veterinary care, initial training, and so much more. This year’s highest-placing U.S.-bred horse in the 5-year-old division at the Dutta Corp./USEA Young Event Horse Championships, Arden Augustus, is no exception. His breeder and owner, Anita Antenucci of Arden Farms in Upperville, Virginia, started her program nine years ago and said that the Warmblood gelding was a more emotionally driven breeding for her than others due to his connections with Antenucci’s long-time friend Sharon White.
Have you ever wondered why professional riders love bringing their horses through the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) program? USEA Podcast host Nicole Brown chats with two of this year's YEH Champions, Caroline Pamukcu who won the USEA YEH 4-year-old East Coast Championship aboard HSH Afterglow, and Andrea Baxter who won the USEA YEH 5-year-old Championship with Camelot PJ, to discuss this year's Championships and all of the great things that the program has to offer.
The United States Eventing Association, Inc. (USEA) is delighted to announce its renewed partnership with Rebecca Farm for the 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention. Rebecca Farm, which is owned and operated by the Broussard family, will return as a Gold Sponsor of the event and act as the Official Sponsor of the Annual Meeting continental breakfast. The 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention will take place this week on Dec. 7-10 at the Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri.