Aug 29, 2019

Training Takes Their Turn Across the Country at AEC

Kendyl Tracy and Bobbie Burns. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Today the Equistro Modified/Training and Training riders took to the bluegrass to try their hand at Derek di Grazia's Training level cross-country course at the 2019 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds.

Equistro Modified/Training

Kendyl Tracy and Alexandra ‘Po’ Tatham’s Bobbie Burns, a 6-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Balanchine x Harriet), moved up into the lead following cross-country in the Equistro Modified/Training Championship with a double clear round. “He was born and bred in Louisiana and Po bought him as a 4-year-old for me to bring up through the levels. I have been the only one to event him,” explained Tracy of Bobby who she said has an in-your-pocket personality.

“This is his first-ever away show and I wanted to bring him to some atmosphere in order to give him more experience for the future. It has been a really special week because his owner, Po Tatham, traveled with us and has been helping every step of the way. She has been so supportive throughout his entire development, and I am so thankful for her,” Tracy continued.

Bobby didn’t let his youth or nerves get in the way of having a hoof-perfect round on Derek di Grazia’s cross-country track. “I think he learned a lot on the course, but he actually came out of the start box the most focused he has ever been before which is pretty exciting because he has grown up so much recently despite only being 6,” said Tracy.

“I thought Derek was very clever in asking tough questions that were very fair for the horses,” she explained. “If you rode positively and showed them where they needed to be it rode very smoothly. I am glad that the course was at a championship level so it will prepare him for the next level.”

Kimmy Cecere and Jacqueline Mars’ Hindine, a 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Cambell 1 VDL x Lundiroondnoot) sit in second on a 29.9 while Maya Black and Maks Mojo C, Laurie Cameron’s 7-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Mighty Magic x MS Winter Morning) sit in third on a 30.5.

Madeline Backus and Reflektion’s Rio. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Training Horse

Madeline Backus and Reflektion’s Rio (Reggasoni x L.A. Baltic Reflektion), Lynn Roberts’ 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, continue to lead the Training Horse division following cross-country on their dressage score of 27.0.

“He was great, he loves cross-country – it’s his favorite out of all three phases,” Backus shared. “I thought it was a really good championship course. There were some good questions out there. I was able to watch some of the cross-country this morning and it was a little looky, some of the horses were a bit sticky coming into that first water, so I rode a bit aggressively but he took right to it. He was brilliant. We had a lot of fun out there.”

When he’s not eventing, Reflektion’s Rio does dressage with his owner, Lynn Roberts. “Eventually she’ll ride him more when he’s done with his eventing career but for now she helps keep him happy and healthy. She’s such a great owner – she just wants him to be happy.”

Looking to tomorrow, Backus said she’s focused on having fun. “[Show jumping] is his hardest phase,” she revealed. “He’s not always super careful but it’s just a matter of having fun with him and keeping him happy – that’s our most important thing with him. We’re just looking for a fun weekend.”

Kimmy Cecere and Landmark’s Vegas Vision (Vegs x Tyrell), Jacqueline Mars’s 5-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding jumped double clear to maintain second place on their dressage score of 28.2. Alexander O’Neal and Sally Cox’s 6-year-old Oldenburg mare QC Destinia (Destano x Garika) moved up from fourth place to third on a score of 29.3.

Jackson Dillard and Layla Q. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Training Rider

Originally tied for seventh after dressage, Steph Kohr and Jackson Dillard now sit tied for the lead in the Training Rider division after putting in fast and clean trips across the country this morning.

Dillard got Layla Q (Loerke x Alya Q), his own 8-year-old Hanoverian mare, as a project when he was a freshman in high school. Now freshly graduated from high school, “She’s really been the horse that’s allowed me to grow and do so much. I’m so glad I can have a horse that’s so game and willing for me. She is so game on the cross-country course, she just stepped out of the box and went for it, it was great.”

“It’s a big atmosphere out there but she can really be great,” Dillard said of tomorrow’s show jumping. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s such an honor to ride in the ring and be here and do all that so I think whatever happens it’s going to be great.”

Steph Kohr and Irisina. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Kohr and her 6-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Irisina (Verdi x Odette) have been together for about a year and a half and just moved up to Training this spring. “She didn’t really event last year but she was qualified for the 5-year-old championships but had an abscess so wasn’t able to go. Bad timing. She started eventing this spring down in Florida and has been great.”

“[This] was probably her most confident round yet. I was thrilled with her. There was a lot to do but it was all really inviting – she handled it great and she felt awesome.”

Kohr said Irisina is usually pretty careful in show jumping, but the atmosphere will definitely be a factor tomorrow. “Show jumping is probably my weakest phase so we’ll see, but she’s a very good jumper. She’s certainly never seen anything like this, so we’ll just have to see how she handles it.”

Emily Cardin and her own Polar Express, a 17-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, sit in third place on a 30.0 after a double-clear trip across the country.

Kiersten Miller and Mama Mia. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Junior Training

Kiersten Miller and her own 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Mama Mia (Indoctro x Lysienne II) had a cracking round across the country today to retain their first-place position in the Junior Training division on their dressage score of 24.3.

“She was absolutely amazing – each time I get out there with her I think it’s not going to get any better but it does, every single time,” she said. “She runs better and better and she’s easier to maintain out there and listens so well. She was all game on from start to finish.”

“I was definitely nervous this morning because I was taking a look at the scores and seeing that it was definitely causing some trouble,” Miller continued. “I talked to my coach and he said, ‘You know, you just need to worry about yourself. Go out there and do what you know how to do,’ And then I did the first few fences and realized we were okay.”

As long as Miller can keep her nerves under control, she’s positive that tomorrow will go well. “She’s a really good show jumper but I always struggle with show jumping mentally . . . Once I’m riding her well and balancing her and not taking long distances and really keeping her compact and under herself she jumps amazing. She jumps her heart out over the fences. I’m looking forward to it but the format of these types of events where you have the show jumping last always makes me the most nervous because that for some reason has always been my most nerve-wracking phase. I think I’m just going to go out there and execute the plan, have fun and relax and enjoy the moment in the Rolex Stadium.”

Abigail Mazzatta and Samantha Lendl’s Woodstock's Little Nev (Luftikus x One Lucky One), a 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, moved up from third place to second place after a double clear round to sit on 28.8 going into show jumping tomorrow.

Maggie Buchanan and Cindy Buchanan’s 7-year-old Connemara/Thoroughbred gelding 3, 2, 1, Blastoff (Greystone’s Adirondack A’Herne x Dolly) and Cassie Sanger and her own 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Born Ready (From Down Town x Jilly’s Red Sixty Six) sit tied on 29.1 after double clear cross-country rounds.

Eleanor Leonard and Alvescot Moneymaker. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Training Amateur

Eleanor Leonard and Daphne Leonard’s 10-year-old British Sport Horse mare Alvescot Moneymaker (Marcolas Gx Alvescot Professional Spook) maintained their lead in the Training Amateur division with a double clear cross-country round.

“It felt really positive and it rewarded a forward ride which is kind of ideal for her because she can be tough to get going, but when she’s going she’s really good about technical stuff, so it was kind of perfect for us,” Leonard said. “And we made time, and time can be hard for us, because she can be a little slow, so I was really happy.”

To keep her show jumping nerves at bay, Leonard focuses on one thing at a time. “If it’s just grooming her or tacking her up or putting on my boots, I just go from there and the whole day I’ve just been kind of thinking, if it goes totally the opposite of how I want it’s going to be fine and we’ll have another shot at it. It’s just so special to be able to be here. Just riding on the course and dropping into the head of the lake was the craziest feeling, so I’m happy either way.”

Jodie Potts and her own 14-year-old Appaloosa gelding (Jokers Measleyone x Tooyoungtohonkytonk) Island Fever remain on a 28.4, moving into second place after cross-country.

Erin Liedle and her own Fernhill Boodle (by Ramiro B), a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, are close behind on a score of 28.8 for third place.

Show jumping for the Modified/Training and Training divisions begins at 8:15 a.m.

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The USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds 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. This year, the AEC will be held August 27 – September 1 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Click here to learn more about the USEA American Eventing Championships.

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