Aug 27, 2019

The Road to AEC: A Surprising Opportunity

Photo courtesy of Rayne Darnell.

As a 12-year-old, this achievement came as a huge surprise. Maybe my horse Cody isn’t the perfect dressage horse, but he sure can jump. And he takes care of me. He has taught me so much over these past four years and we have learned so much together.

Early on in our journey, I met our awesome trainer Jessica Bortner-Harris. She has done a lot for Cody and me including weekly lessons, PEMF, coaching me at shows, and finding the best people to do clinics and lessons with.

We recently moved to an awesome new barn, the Thoroughbred Training Center or TTC. At TTC, Cody has gone on a better diet which has helped him lose weight and be more fit. This move also meant a new farrier, Rob Engelmann, who just happens to be my neighbor! The switch in farriers has my horse feeling much better on his feet and he is moving much better! When we moved to TTC I started wanting to ride more and more. It’s a great environment and everyone is so supportive there. This increase in my riding has helped Cody and I become more fit.

Now let’s stroll through memory lane and take a look at my journey over the past few years. I began riding western at my farm on my trainer’s horse Cricket. I ended up getting my own horse, Dusty. My dance teacher of the past five years owned a farm, and I participated in her summer camp when I was seven. That’s when I decided to switch over to English and was riding in their lesson program. This camp is how I met Cody. Cody was the horse I usually rode at camp. After camp, I started riding Cody in my lessons. I ended up loving Cody so much that we did a partial lease, which turned into a full lease. And before you know it, I got Cody for my 10th birthday! We’ve been together ever since. At the age of nine, I decided to join the eventing community and have loved it ever since.

Photo courtesy of Rayne Darnell.

When I started eventing I, of course, started at the Green Bean (18”) level. I then worked my way up to Maiden, but only in combined tests. We call what we do “the stair-step method.” So once I had done quite a few Maiden combined tests, we moved up to Maiden horse trials. I did a couple of Beginner Novice combined tests before we starting doing horse trials. My first recognized cross-country I should’ve gotten a speeding ticket I went so fast! My trainer told me if I slowed down I could stay at Beginner Novice. I’m hoping to someday move up to Novice, but we aren’t quite ready for that yet.

A couple of months before I found out I qualified for the American Eventing Championships, I had told my mom that someday I would like to go to the AEC. I had asked her if she thought I would ever qualify. She’s my mom and shes’s very supportive of my goals so she said yes. She said I would have to work hard and be dedicated. So qualifying was my first goal – I didn’t think it would happen so soon!

My next goal is to prepare and work on my speed on cross-country. No more speeding tickets! Now that I’ve been working hard I’m very excited to be going to Kentucky. My first goal for the AEC is to be under 40 for dressage, hopefully a 35 or below. For show jumping, I’d like to have no rails or time faults. My main goal for cross-country is to not be too fast or too slow – it’s hard! At my previous show I was twenty-six seconds too fast – I don’t want that to happen again! My trainer, Mrs. Jessica, has been really helping me with pacing.

I’m so excited for Kentucky and can’t wait for it to be here! Cody and I are nervous, but we’re ready!

Aug 10, 2020 Education

How Strong is Your Novice Game?

How competitive have your Novice results been? What’s a good final score? What’s a good dressage score? What does it take to win? In our third installment of this series, EquiRatings showcases the Novice level. Use these graphs and statistics to help evaluate your Novice game.

Aug 09, 2020 Education

Conditioning the Event Horse at the Novice and Training Levels

Conditioning makes the horse fit and increases his endurance performance with less wear and tear on feet and legs. The idea is to work his heart and lungs in short intervals, let him recover a bit, then work him again. The following schedule for Training level horse provides an introduction for the horse and rider at the lower levels to the principle of interval training.

Aug 08, 2020 Future Event Horse

How to Prepare Young Horses for the Show Atmosphere with the O’Neals

Within their first few years of being born, young horses have the opportunity to get a taste of U.S. Eventing through the USEA’s young horse programs. The USEA Future Event Horse Program (FEH) evaluates the potential of yearlings, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, and 4-year-olds under saddle to become successful upper level event horses while the USEA Young Event Horse Program (YEH) evaluates the potential of 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds to become successful upper level event horses.

Considerations for Building Cross-Country Jumps at Home

If your farm has the space to set up a cross-country schooling course, it can be to your advantage to have cross-country jumps available for schooling purposes. Safety should be the number one priority when designing and building cross-country jumps, and an expert should be consulted whenever possible.

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