Do you believe in fate or karma? Well, I don’t think I did before, but that has changed.
In August of 2017, my horse Harlequin underwent colic surgery. Recovery went perfectly, so we started to bring him back into work only to discover he had severe knee arthritis and had to be retired. I went home that day – angry, sad, defeated – and started to look for retirement homes for Quinn.
After a few hours of searching for homes, I needed a break and went to mindlessly scroll through Facebook (isn’t that what everyone does?), and there he was. The first thing that popped up was an ad for a 5-year-old chestnut Thoroughbred gelding that was located a little over an hour away from me. I really didn’t want to start looking for a new horse, but something about him made me contact his owner, Laura. The following weekend I went to try him and fell in love! A couple of weeks later I brought Leo home.
With the help of my outstanding trainer Sara McGowan – who made me work slowly, correctly, and form a relationship with Leo before jumping in the show ring - we attended our first event, the Silverwood Farm Horse Trials in September of 2018. Much to my surprise, we finished in second place. This is when I set my sights on the AEC. Now of course, whenever you make plans things tend to go wrong! Our next event was supposed to be the Sundance Horse Trials a few weeks after, but that week Leo decided to throw the same hind shoe twice in one day (how is that even possible?) and then ended up with a hot nail which concluded the 2018 season.
Winter came and went and looking forward to the spring show season we entered IEA Horse Trials in May. Well apparently, Leo had other plans and scraped his knee the day before we were supposed to leave. Friday morning it was swollen so I needed to scratch him from the event. Now it’s crunch time - only a few more months to qualify and limited time and events. Fortunately, Leo was in top form for his next two outings, placing fourth at Fox River Valley Pony Club and winning at Silverwood Farm with clear cross-country rounds, earning us the qualifications we needed to compete at the AEC!
I’m excited to say we have managed to qualify for the AEC at Beginner Novice in just three events with an average score of 30.3. Leo grows and improves with every outing and I‘m excited to see what he can accomplish in Kentucky!
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).