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!

Feb 18, 2020 Instructors

Dibowski Wants You to Feel the Rhythm at the 2020 ICP Symposium

Yesterday Andreas Dibowski said that he was ready for the “fun stuff” and today he had the chance to share his knowledge of both show jumping and cross-country to a large audience who attended day two of the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) Symposium. The morning started out in the ring at Barnstaple South with three groups of riders – Beginner Novice, Training, and Preliminary, and three groups of the same levels took to the cross-country in the afternoon. While the exercises and jumps got progressively harder throughout the day, the warm-ups and themes stayed the same.

Feb 18, 2020 Education

Top 10 Tips for Introducing Your Horse to Cross-Country with Tim Bourke

A horse’s first steps out in the cross-country field determine the foundation upon which his entire cross-country education will be laid. How can you give your horse the best chance of success? What are some of the ways you can help teach your horse about cross-country jumping?

Feb 17, 2020 Instructors

Andreas Dibowski’s Words of Wisdom From Day 1 of the 2020 ICP Symposium

The USEA Educational Symposium is a unique opportunity each winter for eventers to gather together to soak in knowledge. The first two days of the 2020 Symposium focus on the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) with attendees learning how to be better, more effective instructors. German Olympian and world-renowned rider Andreas Dibowski is this year’s guest instructor and he spent the first day dedicated to dressage with one Advanced show jumping group to wrap-up the day. Dibowski taught the instructors to teach using demo riders and horses from Beginner Novice to Advanced of all ages, breeds, and sizes.

Feb 17, 2020 Association News

USEA Podcast #251: Buck, Wellington, and All Things USEA

In episode #251 Nicole catches up with Buck Davidson after his great second-place finish in the $50,000 MARS Eventing Showcase and then brings you all of the latest USEA news with the rest of the team. From tornadoes, prize money, and volunteers, it's all covered!

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