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.

Jun 18, 2024 Young Event Horse

USEA Announces 2024 YEH Championships Venues, Judges, and Entry Process

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the return of The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse Championships to both the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill and Twin Rivers Ranch. Each venue has renewed their contracts for two-year terms with an option for a third automatic renewal as mutually agreed upon.

Jun 17, 2024 Eventing News

O'Neal and Clooney 14 Capture the Win at Inaugural Aspen Farms CCI4*-S

At the end of an exciting weekend at Aspen Farms Horse Trials, Karen O'Neal and Clooney 14, a 10-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Annika Asling, sealed the win in the inaugural CCI4*-S. They started the division in the lead with a dressage score of 35.0, but then dropped to second after show jumping on Saturday due to one rail.

Jun 17, 2024 Eventing News

Get Ready for the Maryland International and USEF Eventing Young Rider Championship

The countdown to the Maryland International & Horse Trials hosted at Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Maryland, on July 5-7 has begun. With competition for all FEI divisions from CCI1* to CCI4*-S, as well as national levels Training through Advanced, local riders will be able to compete alongside the best of the best.

Jun 17, 2024

Fast Facts: EA21 Regional Clinics

One of the best parts of summer is the return of the USEA Emerging Athletes U21 Program (EA21) Regional Clinics! This will be the third year that the USEA is offering these two-day educational sessions for the chosen applicants. There are five clinics taking place across the U.S. over the course of the summer. A USEA Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) certified instructor will guide 12 hand-selected applicants at each clinic.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA

Official Horse Boot of the USEA

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