Aug 21, 2019

The Road to AEC: From the Track to the Cross-Country Course

Anne Peters Photo courtesy of Lacey Messick.

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.

Picking up Quinn up at Fairmont Park in June of 2017. Photo courtesy of Lacey Messick.

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.

Participating at the Allison Springer Clinic at Stone Ridge Eventing during the summer of 2019. Anne Peters Photo courtesy of Lacey Messick.

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!

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 25, 2020 Association News

USEA Podcast #258: Getting Back to Business

We've been riding the "corona-coaster" for several weeks now, but with the hopeful return to competition on the horizon, Nicole Brown checks in with USEA CEO Rob Burk, USEA President Max Corcoran, and Chair of the FEI Eventing Committee David O'Connor for an update on what things will look like as we get back to business.

May 24, 2020 Education

Grid Pro Quo with Andrea Pfeiffer

Like most professionals, I tend to do gridwork for most of the winter, before transitioning to coursework through the competition season. I find this exercise to be a good middle ground exercise as you have a little bit of a gymnastic combined with two easy bending exercises to set you up well for doing courses.

May 23, 2020 Classic Series

Memories from the Vet Box with Stephen Bradley

In 1993, Stephen Bradley had something to prove. It was the year after the Barcelona Olympic Games where Bradley had two unexpected refusals at the water complex. “It was very disappointing and a huge learning curve for me,” said Bradley. Little did he know, his path to redemption would result in winning the Burghley Horse Trials CCI4* (now CCI5*-L) – a victory so great that only two Americans have achieved: Bruce Davidson Sr. in 1974 and Bradley in 1993.

May 22, 2020 Rules

USEF Approves COVID-19 Rule Modifications for 2020

The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has approved additional modifications to the USEF Rules For Eventing in accordance with a resolution approved by the Board of Directors to address issues related to the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The full listing of rule modifications related to COVID-19 impacts can be viewed by clicking here.

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