Sep 02, 2022

Training Levels Tackle Ian Stark's Cross-Country Course at #AEC2022

By Meagan DeLisle - USEA Staff
Morgan Wenell and Kremer VD Falieberg. USEA/ Hope Carlin photo

Competitors in the USEA Training Championship divisions at the 2022 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds were in for a special treat on Friday morning as they geared up to gallop across an Ian Stark-designed cross-country course on the stunning grounds of Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana. The brisk morning brought forth peak cross-country conditions, allowing riders the opportunity to enjoy the ride of their lives at the foot of Glacier National Park.

USEA Training Amateur Championship

Holding onto their overnight lead in the USEA Training Amateur Championship after cross-country are Morgan Wenell and her own 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Kremer VD Falieberg (Up to Date x Odermus R). The California pair issued double-clear rounds to clench tightly to their spot on the leaderboard.

“It felt pretty amazing,” shared Wenell following her ride. “I was definitely a little nervous going into it because he’s a spookier ride. He needs a little extra support, so I was nervous about what he might notice that’s different than what I would notice. We never really know what horses are seeing out there. But he totally flew over everything and so I was happy with that. I’m excited I could hang on to the lead because pressure is tough. Pressure is a privilege, so I keep telling myself that – pressure is a privilege.”

USEA Training Junior Championship

Lizzie Hoff and HSH Limited Edition. USEA/ Hope Carlin photo


Despite adding 0.8-time penalties to their dressage score, Lizzie Hoff and Caroline Martin's 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding HSH Limited Edition (Sibon W x Tinirana Velvet) still sit in the lead going into the final phase of the championship competition tomorrow on a new score of 24.8. Hoff clutched the second-place finish in the Bates USEA Junior/ Young Rider Preliminary Championship earlier today, so she is no doubt looking to bring home the blue with her second ride.

“He was so good, and he just was listening really well, and he felt great. The time just ended up being a little tight,” Hoff reflected. “In the last minute, I didn’t quite realize I was going a little bit too slow. I feel good heading into show jumping because he’s really good in the show jumping, or he has been, I don’t want to jinx myself, but he’s been good so I’m feeling excited.”

USEA Training Horse Championship

Jennette Scanlon and Zoltaire. USEA/ Hope Carlin photo


Also adding just a bit of time on cross-country to their dressage score is the 18-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Zoltaire (Ijsslemeer Ikepono x Ohia Lehua) ridden by owner Jennette Scanlon. The duo saw 1.2-time penalties added to their dressage score of 23.1 to go into the last day of the Training Championships with a score of 24.3. The margin of error is quite low, as 1.5 points are all that separates Zoltaire and Scanlon from the horse and rider pair in second.

USEA Training Rider Championship

Sarah Ross and Fernhill Heart Throb. USEA/ Hope Carlin photo


A double-clear cross-country round moved Sarah Ross and her 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Fernhill Heart Throb (by Heartbreaker) up from second place into first. The duo will go into show jumping on a score of 28.6, just 1.4 points ahead of the current second-place pair.

"This is such a great venue,” Ross commented. “We came from Paso Robles, California. We did a two-day trip that was a little over 24 hours. My horse is such a competitor, he gets here and is just ready to rumble. It was just me, my horse, and my dog that were in my rig, and we just traveled up and had a great old time. There's a lot of room for mistakes and a lot of room for mistakes going into show jumping tomorrow, but like I said he's such a competitor that he really knows his job, and I'm still new to him, so whatever happens I'm just really stoked with him. I got him this spring, so this is our first season together."

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About the USEA American Eventing Championships

The USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds is the pinnacle of the sport at 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. In fact, the 2021 AEC garnered over 1,000 entries and now stands as the largest eventing competition in North American history. The 2022 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds will be held August 31 – September 4 at the beautiful Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana. Click here to learn more about the USEA American Eventing Championships.

The USEA would like to thank Presenting Sponsor: Nutrena Feeds; Advanced Final Title Sponsor: Adequan; Platinum Level Sponsor: Bates Saddles Gold Level Sponsors: Parker Equine Insurance, Smartpak, Capital Square, Standlee; Silver Level Sponsors: Auburn Labs, Mountain Horse, The Jockey Club, Kerrits; Bronze Level Sponsors: Athletux, The Chronicle of the Horse, Dubarry of Ireland, FITS Riding, Equilume, Devoucoux, Fifth Third Bank, Gallops Saddlery, D.G. Stackhouse & Ellis, Clark Nissan; Contributing Level Sponsors: CrossCountry App, WeRideTogether, Haygain, First Interstate Bank, Schellinger Construction, Glacier Bank, Animal Health Solutions Inc., Discover Kalispell; Prize Level Sponsors: Vet Blue, Practical Horseman, Hound & Hare, Strides of Equality Equestrians, Horse & Country TV, Bemer Independent Distributors, Freelance Design, Achieve Equine/FLAIR, Flexible Fit Equestrian USA, and more! ATC Sponsors: The Chronicle of the Horse, FITS Riding, Nutrena Feeds, SmartPak, Achieve Equine/FLAIR, Kerrits, and Horse & Country TV

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