My name is Lacey Messick, I event out of Area IV, and am an adult amateur living the dream in Springfield, Missouri. I was randomly scrolling through Facebook in early June of 2017 and came across a CANTER Illinois posting of a gorgeous (too slow) 2014 gray off-the-track Thoroughbred (OTTB) mare named Classy Empress. I was immediately smitten. Did I mention I’m a mare girl? Love them! I mean sure, it takes a second to get them to believe in your cause, but I am a firm believer that once you get a good mare on your side she will gallop through fire with her ears pinned just begging someone to question her cause and she will happily take you with her!
I also did not need another horse but after some enabling from a great horse girlfriend (thanks Becca!) and my Mom I called the trainer and made the deal on this adorable unraced 3-year-old.
My farrier likes to say (most) OTTBs are ‘handled but they are not trained’ and Quinn was like that. So, I started her from the ground up with lots of groundwork that summer and dressage help from my coach Claudia Coley. I was absolutely floored with Quinn’s good nature, happy work ethic, and her appetite! Girl can eat! She’s a member of the clean plate club 100% of the time and she seemed very happy in her new life in Missouri with me.
With jumping help from my coach Julie Wolfert, we decided Quinn was ready for her Beginner Novice debut in 2018 and off to IEA Horse Trials we went! I am very much an adult amateur and my whole goal with Q was to not screw her up. It makes my heart so happy to take my little Illinois-bred OTTB to recognized events and she not only completes, she thrives at her new gig! I always have a huge smile on my face when I ride her, which is kind of the whole point.
After IEA we had a small setback when Q hit a jump pole in a lesson and fractured her left front splint bone in June of 2018. Thankfully the amazing Dr. Shannon Reed was on staff at Mizzou Equine Hospital and was able to successfully remove the broken bone and about eight weeks later we were cleared to start slowly jumping her again! Her leg healed beautifully, and I am so grateful for the wonderful veterinarians who help us through traumatic horse episodes.
We finished out 2018 at the Beginner Novice level and Julie Wolfert rode Q to a first-place finish at Heritage Park in Kansas (I had a work meeting the week of and work pays the bills so I got to play owner at that show) and then she and I placed second at Windermere Run (Missouri) to close out our Beginner Novice career.
I made it my goal to participate in the AEC this year because the last time I went with my upper-level mare they were at Texas Rose and I just had the best time! And what is better than showing at the Kentucky Horse Park?!
We got our three necessary NQRs for Novice at Texas Rose, Fox River Valley, and Champagne Run at the Park and punched our ticket into the Novice Amateur division! My little 5-year-old OTTB has finished on an average score of 29.5 in Open Novice divisions at our last four shows and I am just so proud of how far she has come! She has taught me that dressage can indeed be fun!
I must give a huge shout out to my two coaches, Julie Wolfert and Claudia Coley, as well as all the folks at CANTER Illinois who work so tirelessly to place these wonderful horses in second careers. Quinn was the best “Sudden Impulse RSF” decision ever and I can’t wait to ride her at the AEC!
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.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.
Jeffrey Lesitsky was always intrigued by horses, but growing up Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he didn’t have much access to them. “My only experience was what I saw on television,” he said. “I saw pictures of Secretariat when he won the Triple Crown, but I was only 10 years old and I didn't really understand what was going on. Secretariat was a beautiful horse and I wanted to learn more about them – later I learned Secretariat and I have the same birthday, but I'm seven years his senior!”
Lynn Klisavage got her start teaching riding lessons on Barber’s Point Naval Air Base on O’ahu, Hawaii in the 1960s. When she was in her early 20s, she and her family relocated to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and it was there that Klisavage became the Director of the Air Force Academy Stables.
In 2008, the USEA Young Event Horse Program (YEH) had 20 competitions on the YEH calendar, 36 horses who qualified to compete in the championships, and 15 horses who competed in the 2008 USEA YEH Championships held in Wayne, Illinois at Lamplight Equestrian Center.