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!

Oct 06, 2022

YEH Graduates Entered to Compete at the Second Edition of the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill

While a total of 95 4- and 5-year-old horses will be vying for top-finishes in The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East Coast Championships next weekend, a select group of YEH graduates are entered in the CCI5*-L division at the second annual MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Presented by Brown Advisory. The USEA YEH program has run successfully for over 15 years, and many graduates of the program have gone onto compete at the pinnacle of the sport, the FEI 5-Star level of eventing, including the four horses entered in the 2022 Maryland 5 Star.

Oct 05, 2022 USEA Foundation

MARS Bromont Rising U25 Program Expands to Offer First-Ever West Coast Location at Galway Downs

Founded in 2019, the MARS Bromont Rising U25 Program was initially created to assist up-and-coming riders under the age of 25 in North America who had not yet competed in a destination event, such as the program’s namesake the MARS Bromont CCI in Lac Brume, Quebec, Canada, or been recognized by the USEF programs intended for emerging athletes.. Spearheaded by the late Steve Blauner and Sue Ockendon, the program sought to give back to the sport by helping the next generation of riders get more experience under their belt with the help of the financial assistance provided by the program, and the two days of included instruction from leading coaches around the world.

Oct 05, 2022 USEA Foundation

Strides For Equality Equestrians Announces ‘SEE Month’ Fundraising Drive in October

Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE) is excited to kick off a two-year anniversary celebration, happening all throughout the month of October in the form of “SEE Month”. SEE’s goal during October is to raise awareness about our mission of opening doors for equestrians from diverse backgrounds while also fundraising to continue our work and future projects.

Oct 05, 2022 Competitions

Fast Facts: 2022 Morven Park International

And just like that, it is time for the Morven Park International! The prestigious event will take place Thursday, October 6, and run through Sunday, October 10 in Leesburg, Virginia. This is the event’s second year offering the CCI4*-L division, in addition to their CCI4*-S, CCI3*-S, and CCI2*-S divisions. That’s not all! The historic grounds at Morven Park will also host national divisions at the Novice, Training, and Preliminary levels.

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