Aug 06, 2022

The Road to the AEC: The Opportunity of a Lifetime for Wildenschild

Cortney Drake Photography photo

I grew up in Denmark and am a mature rider who was a very active horse person from the age of four and into my early 20s. I did not really ride for 30 years after that, but I am now on the road to the USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds (AEC) at Rebecca Farm!

I grew up on a farm with all the freedom that brings to goof around with horses: I rode trails, did some dressage (sort-of-weekly lessons), and showed in the show jumpers. I had this amazing Holsteiner mare who was super brave and incredibly easy to jump – she sorted out distances on her own and would jump anything I pointed her at. Sadly, she died when I was in college, and there wasn’t a good path forward for more horses at that time. When I was in high school, my Dad and I also bred and raced trotters (harness racing) and I briefly held an amateur’s license to race at the tracks, but a year away as an au-pair in a Chicago suburb ended that, and I never renewed my license. I would often condition the trotters by riding them on trails, beaches, etc. I would happily throw a saddle on and hop on not knowing if they had ever been under saddle. It was easier than putting on the elaborate harness and hooking up a sulky and driving around our rudimentary track out in one of the fields. And I was in my teens and never fell off a horse – I would have probably bounced.

After college and obtaining a Ph.D. in engineering, I moved to the U.S., got busy with my career and family, and didn’t think much about horses. I have lived in Oregon since 2002 and teach at Oregon State University. I stayed busy with “low-cost” and “low-impact” activities like skiing, climbing, and mountain biking. I did get “thrown” off my mountain bike, resulting in the need for shoulder surgery, but otherwise kept both my bank account and body in pretty good shape.

In 2016, I started riding a little again because my son was taking lessons at a local barn and I decided to ride with him instead of sitting around watching. I entered a one-day event at Inavale Farm on a 24-year-old lesson horse and it all came back. How could I have missed out on the joy of galloping (probably more like cantering…) through a field, and jumping logs in the forest for so many years? So, in 2017 I bought an OTTB thinking I could easily handle a somewhat troublesome Thoroughbred gelding because my riding memory was what was frozen in my mind in the mid-1980s when I was young, had a solid seat, and still bounced.

After some bucking episodes, I did not feel so bouncy anymore, and I bought a more compliant Hanovarian-cross mare in 2018 and started eventing – because why not try that at the age of 53? I showed in my first recognized event in 2019, and have been busy “conquering” Beginner Novice since. Because Rebecca Farm doesn’t normally offer BN at their shows, this year’s AEC is a unique opportunity for me and my mare. At this point, I may be content to compete BN forever, we will see if I get brave enough for Novice, so I don’t have great hopes of making it to an event at Rebecca Farm otherwise. We did go to Rebecca in 2020 when they offered BN as a COVID “fluke”, but my mare came up lame as I was warming up for cross-country and I was almost in tears, realizing this could be my only chance to ride in that beautiful field.

Being able to compete in the AEC at Rebecca Farm has been an unreal dream since I qualified last year. I booked a hotel room in Sept 2021, and my 85-year-old father is planning to travel from Denmark to Montana to see me ride in the AEC. I can’t wait to be there and share this with him! Much thanks goes to Kelsey Horn at Inavale who has patiently yelled “sit up” at me in jumping lessons for three years and to Kimberlee Barker of KB Dressage who has been helping me move up the levels in my flat work. I couldn’t have qualified without their help! Nor without the patience of my family, who has come to realize that I enter a separate time-space reality when I “go down to the barn” and don’t reappear for hours.

Dec 01, 2022 Convention

Rebecca Farm Returns as Gold Sponsor of the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

The United States Eventing Association, Inc. (USEA) is pleased to announce the renewed partnership with Rebecca Farm, as they return as a Gold Level Sponsor of the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention and the Official Sponsor of the Annual Meeting continental breakfast. The 2022 Annual Meeting & Convention will take place next week on December 7-11 at the Hyatt Regency Savannah Hotel in Savannah, Georgia.

Dec 01, 2022 Convention

USEA Announces Event Riders and Officials Town Hall at Convention

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce that the Eventing Riders Association of North America (ERAofNA) and Eventing Licensed Officials Committee (ELOC) will be hosting a very special Town Hall forum at the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting and Convention next week. This year’s Annual Meeting and Convention will be held at the Hyatt Regency Savannah Hotel in Savannah, Georgia across December 7-11, and will also include the USEA’s Eventing Hall of Fame gala and celebration.

Nov 30, 2022 Classic Series

2022 USEA Classic Series Season Comes to a Close at Ram Tap

In the final USEA Classic Series event of 2022, three horse and rider pairs rode their way to the top of the podium in the Training, Novice, and Beginner Novice 3-Day divisions offered during the Ram Tap Horse Park Horse Trials which took place November 18-20 in Fresno, California.

Nov 29, 2022 Eventing News

US Equestrian Announces Bid Allocation for Week 10 of the 2023-2027 U.S. Eventing Calendar

US Equestrian opened a bid process for one event to host the Advanced level in Area 3 on Week 10 for 2023-2027 due to an event cancellation. The bid process was conducted in accordance with the 2023-2027 U.S. Eventing Calendar CCI4*-L, CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, & Advanced Policies and Procedures. The USEF Eventing Strategic Calendar Review Task Force made recommendations to the USEF Eventing Sport Committee who made recommendations for final approval by the USEF Board of Directors.

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