Aug 26, 2018

The Road to AEC: Achieving the Unexpected

Callia Englund and Xyder at the 2018 North American Youth Championships at Rebecca Farm. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Four years ago I was just a 12-year-old girl with big dreams. I had done schooling shows on my pony who didn’t really like jumping so it was time to buy my first event horse. We found Xyder, a 4-year-old, 15.1 hand, inexperienced, Cheval Canadien (a breed we had never heard of), gelding located in Yoncolla, Oregon at Storybook Horse Farm.

I instantly fell in love with Xyder as soon as I met him and had to have him as soon as I rode him. Back home, a lot of people thought my mom was kind of crazy for buying her 12-year-old daughter a 4-year-old horse, but Xyder has been the chillest horse since the day we brought him home.


Callia Englund and Xyder representing Area VII at the 2018 FEI North American Youth Championships at Rebecca Farm. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Since then, Xyder and I have reached milestones I never thought we would have achieved. We started out by doing our first recognized event at the Equestrians Institute Horse Trials in May 2015 and finished on our dressage score! From there he proved to be a solid citizen who loved his job. A few months after that we moved up to Novice and in July 2016 we won a recognized for the first time at Rebecca Farm! At this point everyone around us had been questioning if Xyder could really go any further but I believed he could.

After that we moved up to Training level and completed the USEA Classic Series Training Three-Day at Rebecca Farm the following year with success! No one thought we could go any further since he was short and stocky and not like the “normal” event horse, but in September 2017 at the Equestrians Institute Horse Trials we proved them all wrong with a successful move up to Preliminary with only some cross-country time faults added to our dressage score!

I felt that now Xyder and I were unstoppable, and I had new aspirations for a CCI*. With help from my trainer, Anni Grandia, Xyder and I were able to go south to Temecula, California where I was a working student for Tamie Smith and Next Level Eventing for a few months. It started out a little rough with the change of difficulty of courses from Area VII to Area VI, but it didn’t take long for Xyder to get the hang of it and we qualified for a CCI*!

Callia Englund and Xyder at the 2018 Twin Rivers Three-Day Event. MGO Photography Photo courtesy of Callia Englund.

Xyder and I did our first CCI* at Twin Rivers Horse Trials in April 2018. There we placed sixth and I was the highest placing Young Rider, only adding 1.2 time penalties to our dressage score. Not only was this Xyder and my first CCI*, it’s where we got our AEC qualification!

Xyder and I were lucky enough to be able to compete at the FEI North American Youth Championships for Area VII at Rebecca Farm this year and are we are super excited to make the trip to Colorado to compete in the Junior/Young Rider Preliminary Championship. I’m very excited to be able to make this trip and continue competing at new venues with Xyder!

Jul 07, 2020 Young Event Horse

The Race to Le Lion: Three YEH Horses are in Pursuit

In a recent public statement made by the La Mondial du Lion Organizing Committee, they confirmed their intent to host the FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships for Young Horses this year on October 15-18, 2020 in Le Lion d ’Angers, France. With events starting back up and the Championships set on the calendar, the race to Le Lion is still on!

Jul 06, 2020 Association News

USEA Podcast #261: Planning Your Season

The 2020 show season has looked a bit different than any of us anticipated, and for many people season-planning was placed on hold. In an episode that was recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic, Nicole Brown and Diarm Byrne welcome international five-star eventer Will Coleman and British high performance veterinarian Spike "The Vet" Milligan to the show to discuss some of the considerations for planning your season from each of their unique perspectives.

Jul 05, 2020 Safety

Key Steps to Safe Cross-Country Riding, Part Two: Horse and Rider Contract and Going Faster

Any riding exercise is about the art of the possible. This is especially true with jumping exercises, when a step too far will compromise safety. Exercises and a method should be developed progressively that build confidence and competence for both horse and rider, and in particular also allows room for error.

Jul 04, 2020 Rules

Rule Refresher: Show Jumping Time and Faults

In the show jumping phase, where a ribbon can be won or lost based on a fraction of a second, it is important to understand the rules that determine how time is kept. After reviewing the rules concerning time and other show jumping penalties, one should also examine the rules that outline the faults incurred for each of the different types of penalties.

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