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.

May 26, 2022 Education

Rule Refresher: What Will Be Expected of Me at the Beginner Novice or Novice Level?

Preparing for your first horse trial and not sure what is expected of you at each level? Over the course of the next few Rule Refreshers, we will be diving into each level and the performance expectations of each phase. Want to better prepare yourself or your students for their first competition or a move-up? The USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels is a free resource to all USEA members that outlines clear and consistent guidelines for riders and trainers to refer to when navigating their way through the competition levels. You can access this guide by logging into your online services account.

May 25, 2022 Profile

Now On Course: Handing Over The Reins

I’m not one for the spotlight. As the voice of the Association, you don’t need to know my personal views, political, eventing, or otherwise. So despite my byline appearing on thousands of articles on the USEA website and magazine, this is probably only the second time I’m writing about myself (the first was about my love for lessons, and reading it now makes me laugh as I am still 100% addicted). But as I am now just a USEA member I thought I would share a bit of my journey to add to our member spotlight series, Now on Course.

May 24, 2022 Education

Tips for Successful Haul-In Schooling

You’ve likely spent some time scouring the USEA Calendar to line up your 2022 competition schedule. Now that spring has sprung, it’s time to plan some cross-country schooling outings to make sure you and your horse are as ready as possible. If you own or manage a facility that welcomes guests for haul-in schooling, you’ve likely noticed horses and their humans showing up in droves to get their practice in. A successful off-site schooling day has many, many moving parts. From paperwork and payment to safety, these best practices for hosts and guests will help everything go as smoothly as possible.

May 23, 2022 Eventing News

US Equestrian Announces Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team for CHIO Aachen CCIO4*-S

US Equestrian is pleased to announce the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team for the CHIO Aachen CCIO4*-S at CHIO Aachen World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany, from July 1-2, 2022. The team will be led by Chef d’Equipe Bobby Costello.

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