I am a competitor from Wisconsin who grew up in the Racine County Pony Club. I bought my horse Ninjutsu in 2013 as a second horse to bring to my A level Pony Club certification. At that time, Ninja only had six months of under saddle training, but he was showing in the jumpers with a Grand Prix rider from our area. My plan was to spend the next two years getting to know him and continue his training to bring him to my USPC testing. Several things led to my decision to withdraw Ninja from the certification, and only bring my one other horse who had been eventing at Preliminary at the time.
Fast forward several years and several A circuit jumper shows later, Ninja had not done much in the way of cross-country. I planned to sell him as a jumper since he clearly had more jumping capabilities in the jumper ring than I thought I needed in an event horse. Shortly after this decision, I was signed up for an eventing clinic with Zach Brandt, when my Preliminary event horse came up sore. I decided to add Ninja into the clinic last minute, with the full intention of skipping the cross-country portion of the clinic.
After the first show jump lesson, somehow I was talked into trying the cross-country the next day. On that hot day in July 2017, Ninja had his first cross-country school, which involved banks into water, ditches, and cross-country combinations. Much to my surprise, my super careful and scopey jumper took to cross-country like an experienced horse who had been doing it his entire life. I was thrilled with how confident and happy he felt galloping down to his first solid fences. After a rough ending to my Preliminary event horse’s career, this cross-country school was such an influential part of my journey in this very difficult sport. A single cross-country school opened a brand new door of opportunities for myself and my horse.
In September of 2017 I competed Ninja in his first event, where he finished on his dressage score in the Novice. The following year, he moved up to Training level and won his first Training event, which was the start of his AEC qualifiers. A wedding, purchasing our first house, and graduation from Dental Hygiene school all added excitement to these last two years of competing. We have had an unconventional path to the AEC, but it helps me truly understand how blessed I am to have a wonderful partner to compete at the AEC for the first time!
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 spring eventing season in the Midwest is always a toss-up due to unpredictable weather. Will it rain, will it be sunny, or will it be a snowstorm? No one knows! Mid-America Combined Training Association’s (MACTA) first cross-country schooling of the season was cancelled in March due to extremely muddy footing conditions and by the time our April dates came around, COVID-19 was in full force and we were unable to host our cross-country schooling and schooling show.
The FEI has published its Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at assisting organizers and national federations with the safe resumption of international equestrian events in line with national and local restrictions.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) has approved additional modifications to the qualification period for the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. The AEC is scheduled to take place August 25-30, 2020 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, and the USEA is doing everything possible to ensure a safe and successful Championship, while also ensuring fair opportunities for all.
This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).