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.
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.
The 2012 and 2016 individual Olympic champion, Germany’s Michael Jung, blazed into first place after dressage at the Tokyo 2020 Games with a superb test on Chipmunk.
Deservedly scoring 21.1 - a record for both rider and his country at an Olympics, according to EquiRatings - it was a joy to watch. From the first extended trot, the pair looked secure, positive, and harmonious. The test was as accurate and as well-delivered as that of long-time leaders Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class (GBR), but with more expression and ease. Jung and the Contendro 13-year-old demonstrated all this specially-written, short Olympic test asks for and each movement flowed into the next.