Aug 01, 2019

The Road to AEC: An Opportunity

Amy Dragoo Photo courtesy of Tori Nuckols.

As a 24-year-old young professional focusing on starting and producing young horses, my personal upper-level dreams and having the right horse to reach them have seemed a bit slow to form. However, I am very passionate about developing young horses and always just figured that the right opportunity would eventually come along if it was meant to be. Little did I know that those dreams were coming sooner than I thought when I got the ride on Osborne 9.

Osborne 9, a 2006 Westphalian gelding, was imported by Lynn Symansky and Al Quanbeck and by 2014 had successfully completed through the old CCI2* with Lynn. However, after some injuries and recoveries, " Oz" took an almost 4-year hiatus from competing. In December of 2018, I got a phone call that was the beginning of our exciting journey together. Sarah Berhalter took over ownership of Oz with the plan of me taking the ride to see if he would be able to continue to a career as an event horse, with the fallback of becoming a dressage horse for Sarah.

Brant Gamma Photo courtesy of Tori Nuckols.

Oz is a very large, very quirky gelding with a sometimes electric energy about him, so a good personality match between us was a must. A few days before Christmas we drove up to Lynn's, I watched Lynn flat him for a few minutes before hopping on, I rode him around a few minutes, and everything went smoothly so he came home with us that day.

We started slowly together, just trying to get to know each other, getting him fit and building my confidence. We did a few schooling derbies over the winter at Beginner Novice and Novice and it was far from pretty. We spent a few weeks in Aiken and things started really clicking for us. Oz loves to have a job and he loves the sport, and as we started to develop our partnership we started really making some progress together. We ran one Training together at Southern Pines before moving up to Preliminary for the remainder of the year. We completed my first CIC* and CCI* in the fall of 2018.

Amy Dragoo Photo courtesy of Tori Nuckols.

I started 2019 with 2 goals:

  1. To move up to Intermediate and
  2. To qualify and go to the AEC.

We started the season at Preliminary and qualified for the AEC, placing second at the Morven Park Horse Trials before making the move up to Intermediate for the remainder of the spring. To my disbelief, we are qualified and planning to attend the AEC at Intermediate! He can be quite electric in dressage so we are spending the summer really focusing on our dressage and my ability to channel his enthusiasm. I cannot wait to ride him up the centerline in the Rolex Stadium!

I will also be competing Sally Nunneley's Gingerman, a Haflinger gelding, in the Beginner Novice at Kentucky. Previously a driving pony, "Sandy" has found a love and a talent in eventing.

About the USEA American Eventing Championships

The USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) is the pinnacle of the sport for the national levels. Held annually, the best junior, adult amateur, and professional competitors gather to vie for national championship titles at every level from Beginner Novice to Advanced. This ultimate test of horse and rider draws hundreds of horses and riders from around the country to compete for fabulous prizes, a piece of the substantial prize money, and the chance to be named the National Champion at their respective levels. The 2019 USEA American Eventing Championships will be held August 27-September 1, 2019 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Click here to learn more about the USEA American Eventing Championships.

Sep 27, 2022

US Equestrian Announces the Appointment of David O’Connor to the New Position of Chief of Sport

US Equestrian (USEF) announces the appointment of David O’Connor to the newly created position of Chief of Sport beginning October 3, 2022.

Sep 27, 2022 Area Championships

Ten Horse and Rider Pairs Rise to the Occasion at Area VII Championships

Aspen Farms in Yelm, Washington was host to this year’s USEA Area VII Championships on September 16-18 and put on a spectacular show where 10 horse and rider pairs celebrated victory by being awarded the title of Area VII Champion in their respective divisions. Hear about each pair’s weekend below.

Sep 26, 2022 Competitions

Braitling and Caravaggio II Produce Milestone Win in FEI Comeback at Twin Rivers

A double clear cross-country round propelled Rebecca Braitling and Arnell Sporthorses' 11-year-old British Sport Horse gelding Caravaggio II (Vangelis-S x Courtesan) to their first blue ribbon together in the CCI4*-Short, and Haley Turner and her own 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Shadow Inspector (Tinaranas Inspector x Caragh Roller) continued their run of sub-30 dressage tests to win the CCI3*-Short at the 2022 Twin Rivers Fall International in Paso Robles, California.

Sep 26, 2022 Competitions

USEA Podcast #318: Reliving the Pratoni Dream

USEA podcast host Nicole Brown chats with Interim Eventing Chef d’Equipe and Team Manager of the U.S. Eventing Team Bobby Costello about the Silver Medal Performance put forward by the U.S. Team at the 2022 FEI Eventing World Championships.

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