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.
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.
I started 2019 with 2 goals:
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.
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.
All the major contenders passed the eventing final horse inspection at the Tokyo Olympics and will carry on to contest the show jumping phase in a few hours’ time.
The ground jury (Nick Burton, GBR, Christina Klingspor, SWE, and the U.S.A.’s Jane Hamlin) and vets only failed to accept one horse - Fantastic Frieda, ridden by Poland’s Joanna Pawlak, who had completed the cross-country in 41st place with a refusal and 25.2 time-faults.
The FEI has announced that the Swiss horse Jet Set, ridden by Robin Godel has had to be euthanized after pulling up extremely lame on the Sea Forest Cross Country Course during Equestrian Eventing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on August 1, 2021.
In 2002, at the age of 15, I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Maine while Tremaine Cooper was there building some cross-country jumps. I helped him build a trakehner, not realizing that this day would set the course for my future. A few weeks later he called asking if I could help him at Millbrook Horse Trials. From there I helped Tremaine during most of my school vacations and throughout the summers. After graduating high school I kept at it never looking back. I lived the gypsy lifestyle for about six years going from coast to coast and event to event. In 2013 my wife Kathryn and I settled down in Lexington, Kentucky. These days I spend roughly 60-75 percent of my time on the road preparing events or building private schooling areas. I’ve had the privilege of being involved with some really great events around the states and have cultivated many friendships all over the country. In 2019 I was asked to be a part of Team Evans Olympic cross-country building crew. As I write this I am on my third trip to Tokyo. Here’s a day in Tokyo . . .
The British team cemented their gold medal position at the Tokyo Olympics with three magnificent cross-country performances, all clear inside the time. Added to that, their first rider, Oliver Townend, holds pole position individually after the dressage leader, Germany’s Michael Jung, picked up 11 penalties for triggering a frangible device.