The USEA is saddened to share the news that The Alchemyst (Espiritu x Carnivale Night), a Canadian Sport Horse gelding owned by Deborah Rosen, has passed away at the age of 22.
"Big Al said it was time to go," Rosen shared in a statement on her Facebook page. "He made my dreams come true and then went on to live his best days with Lauren Sherrill. He was all the things: fierce, irreverent, opinionated, intelligent, cuddly, notorious, and one-of-a-kind."
"Al" was bred by Sue Ocadeon in Canada and born in 1999. His eventing career in the United States began with Buck Davidson as a 5-year-old, completing several Preliminary level events before moving to Doug Payne's barn. Payne competed him for a season, completing his first FEI event in the fall of 2005 before being sold to Rosen.
Al and Rosen moved up to the Intermediate level in 2006, completing a long-format CCI2* (now CCI3*-L) at Galway Downs in the fall. In the spring of 2007, Al took home the blue ribbon from the CIC2* (now CCI3*-S) at Galway Downs and finished in second place in the CCI2* at Twin Rivers before stepping up to the Advanced level. That summer, Al and Rosen completed the CIC3* (now CCI4*-S) at Rebecca Farm and then the CIC3* at Twin Rivers in the fall before making the trek to the East Coast to compete at Fair Hill International in the CCI3* (now CCI4*-L).
More success followed for Al and Rosen at the Advanced/three-star level in 2008, with a fifth-place finish in the CIC3* at Galway Downs and second place in the CIC3* at Rebecca Farm. In 2009, Al made his first appearance at the Kentucky Three-Day Event, finishing in 25th place.
In the summer of 2009, Rosen was diagnosed with breast cancer. Determined to return to the Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2010, she continued to train and compete in the spring of 2010 while simultaneously undergoing chemotherapy. She and Al finished in 36th place at Kentucky in 2010.
Al and Rosen returned to the Kentucky Three-Day Event twice more in 2011 and 2014, retiring on course both times. In 2012, Al went to James Atkinson for a time with the idea of being sold, and also competed with junior rider Jerica Coert for a time at the Preliminary/one-star level before returning to Rosen for another go at the top level of the sport. After Kentucky in 2014, Rosen made the decision to retire Al from the topmost level and look for a new partner.
Rosen sent Al to Jennie Brannigan on the East Coast to be sold, and it was there that Brannigan and fellow eventer Laine Askher hatched a plan to lease Al to Lauren Sherrill, Ashker's working student who was looking to gain experience at the Preliminary/one-star level.
Al and Sherrill began their partnership in 2015 at the Training level, moving up to Preliminary shortly thereafter and completing their first CCI* (now CCI2*-L) as a team in the fall. Sherrill and Al continued to compete together through the 2016 season at the Preliminary level before Al retired from competition at the age of 17.
"[Al] had a huge fan club, if only for his antics, but when he was good, he was exceptional," Rosen said. "Too many of you to name were on this journey with us but know that I remember and am grateful for each and every one of you."
The USEA sends our deepest condolences to Rosen, Sherrill, and all of The Alchemyst's connections and fans.
At the August USEA Board of Governors meeting, a proposition was brought forth to officially recognize what is commonly referred to as “Starter level” as a USEA division. For many years now, Starter level has been offered as a test at USEA approved events. The decision to recognize the level officially would allow those competing in Starter level divisions to receive recognition on the USEA Leaderboards and to compete at the Starter level at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) in the future. The motion was approved to recognize this level, and the USEA staff have been hard at work preparing all of the rules, guidelines, and standards that will go along with this level’s recognition for the 2024 season.
Karma is developing into one of the fastest and most-reliable cross-country horses in the West. The 9-year-old bay Oldenburg mare and James Alliston won their third-straight blue ribbon together at either the four-star or Advanced level in the CCI4*-S at the Twin Rivers Fall International in Paso Robles, California, with the only double-clear cross-country round on Saturday.
Most couples share a kiss and part ways at 8:00 a.m. as they head off to their own work days, but eventing power couple James and Helen Alliston do it all together. We gave our USEA members the opportunity to submit their questions for this West Coast-based couple, and USEA Podcast host Nicole Brown gets them to share all on many topics: eventing in the U.S. versus the U.K., who is the most competitive of the two, dealing with warmer temperatures, why James likes to drive illegally slow, and so much more!
The Plantation Field International CCI4*-S concluded today with the cross-country phase, and the final standings were nearly a matter of “last one standing.” As Tropical Storm Ophelia brought a torrential downpour to the area, a number of riders decided to opt out: of 39 competitors, only six completed, and 17 withdrew before the start of cross-country.