For Immediate Release: The $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final, Vetoquinol USEA Modified, and USEA Training divisions got their competition toes wet today as they put their best foot forward for their dressage debut at the Kentucky Horse Park for the 2021 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds.
$60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final
Thirty-nine of the best horse-and-rider combinations donned their tail coats and white breeches today as the first day of competition for the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final kicked off. The early lead changed hands multiple times as they vied to produce the day’s best movements but after 2020 Olympian Boyd Martin and the AEC Advanced defending champion Long Island T waltzed into the area it was obvious they would be the pair to beat.
Martin and the 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Ludwig von Bayern x Highlight) earned a 24.1 besting their 25.6 from their 2019 victory.
“He's such a seasoned and experienced campaigner now that he can get through the tough, tricky technical tests of the Advanced level without a mistake,” described Martin. “He was really, truly good and I was thrilled with him. He basically went through with focus and came up with a good score.”
Tomorrow the two will take on the cross-country portion of the Advanced final.
“The whole horse park has this unbelievable ability to drain,” he recalled. “We received copious amounts of water and when I walked the course tonight the footing was spectacular. I feel Derek di Grazia has built a solid track using a number of the iconic Kentucky CCI5* fences.
“I have a lot of pressure on myself going into tomorrow,” he finished. “He’s a little bit of a hard horse to go fast on just because he is a hot, feisty customer but he ran really well here two years ago so I’m hoping he remembers that event.”
Narrowly missing the mark to overtake Martin, Alexandra Knowles fell short of the victory by only 0.5 points with Katherine O’Brien’s 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding Business Class. Long-time professional Bruce Davidson held strong in the third-place position with Carlevo LLC’s 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Caresino x Ramatuelle) Carlevo with a result of 24.7.
Only two of the previous 15 AEC Advanced winners, when the event included all three phases, finished on their dressage score, so the jumping phases will be sure to shake up the standings.
Vetoquinol USEA Modified Championship
The AEC grows bigger and better with each passing year, and the 2021 edition welcomes an entirely new division with the inclusion of the Vetoquinol USEA Modified Championship.
Julie Wolfert of Bucyrus, Kan., leads the inaugural division aboard her own Namibia, a 5-year-old off-track Thoroughbred gelding (Tizway x Kitty Tracks) who Wolfert bought from the track two years ago to produce.
“He's a really cool guy and dressage is definitely his best of the three phases, which is a little uncharacteristic for a Thoroughbred, but I'll take it,” Wolfert said of her score of 25.2. “I am very fortunate that he's not one of those Thoroughbreds that gets very anxious. He's spooky, but he's not anxious. He's always very relaxed in the trot — he's almost a kick ride.”
For Wolfert, this Modified division is an essential bridge in producing any horse up the levels. “I just love the level, because I feel like there's a huge gap between Training and Preliminary. This is just a nice little step up where I don't feel like you're over facing the horses too much, but they still get a lot of technical questions that are offered,” she said.
Audrey Ogan of Fall Creek, Ore., piloted her Second Amendment, a 6-year-old Dutch Harness Horse (Colonist x Allie) into the reserve spot on 27.6 penalties. A result of 28.5 placed Martin Douzant, The Plains, Va., in third partnered with his own Beall Spring Seahawk, a 6-year-old Swedish Warmblood by Shakespeare RSF.
USEA Training Amateur
Lauren Nunn, Evansville, Indiana, took the early lead in the USEA Training Amateur division with her 6-year-old Oldenburg gelding HSH First Impression having earned a 26.7.
“This horse is really great, he is like my best friend,” Nunn gushed. “He has been the most level-headed guy ever since he was 4 years old, and he has really become such a competitor.
Nunn admires the young horse’s ability to just get on and go to whatever destination they set out for next no matter how far the drive is.
“He is the type of horse that you pull off the trailer, work for 15 minutes, and then he’s ready to go,” she continued. “He used to be somewhat nervous but now he really lights up when he gets to an event and I think he just feeds off of all of the energy.”
As with his travel skills, she says her partner handles all elements of the cross-country course well and will be most focused on speed in tomorrow’s event.
Lisa Niccolai earned the second spot on a 27.6 with KC’s Celtic Kharacter, a 7-year-old Zweibrucker gelding (Kharacter C x Tessa); while Tracey Corey followed suit only 0.7 points behind with the 15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Devil His Due x Heirloom Wish) Byrnwyck West.
A good group of talented teams took to the dressage arena in the Training Riders division but it was Lauren Alexander and Excel Star Over The Moon who produced the top finish. She and the 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Pollux de Muze Z x Ordell) received a final score of 28.4 for the effort they put forth which was enough to claim the top spot.
“I was really proud of him for going in there,” said Alexander. “It is a pretty intimidating atmosphere and I feel we did the best we could do for our training, so I was pretty happy with that. I think ultimately I was the most proud of both of our canter transitions, it’s something we’ve been working on and because he is such a big mover it’s hard to get him connected.”
Second place was earned by Amanda Ruane with Castle’s Boy. The 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Windsor Castle x Ladies) put forward a good test with Ruane to finish on 29.7. Katie Sisk’s 5-year-old Hanoverian mare (Rapture R x Demonet’s Darling) Long Legs Lenore strutted her long legs elegantly enough to earn them 30.7 and third place heading into tomorrow’s cross-country phase.
Dallas, Texas representative Lauren Lambert and her partner Biscotti were the lowest scoring duo in the Training Horse division. Elizabeth Rader’s 9-year-old Rheinland Pfalz-Saar gelding (Benidetto x Hey Nurse) put forward fancy footwork to produce a result worthy of a 24.3 result.
Lauren Nicholson piloted Jacqueline Mars’ 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Windchase Starfire (Windfall x Ferari) skillfully into the second place position with a performance earning them only 27.0 penalties. Lynn Symansky also showcased a 7-year-old gelding— Alice Lawaetz and Linda Graves’ Oldenburg gelding Bounce 6 (Balou Du Rouet x Fillana) into the top three with a score of 27.5.
USEA Training Junior
Making the trek all the way from Fallbrook, California, Shelby Murray and Reverie GWF took top marks for the Training Junior division on day one. She and Laurel Ritter’s 9-year-old Oldenburg mare (Rotspon x Chatari) have earned the lowest score of the week so far – a 22.0.
Devon Tressan put on a performance worthy of a 25.8 which was enough to earn second place with his 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zavall VDL x Ava) Zavallo.
Adding 1.4 penalties to Tressan’s score and landing her a total of 27.2, Isabella Novak secured third place with Jessica Novak’s 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Cobra x Don Diamond Girl) Dreamliner.
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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 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. With over 1,000 entries the 2021 AEC is set to be the largest eventing competition in North American history. The 2021 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds will be held August 31 – September 5 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Click here to learn more about the USEA American Eventing Championships.
The 2021 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds would not be possible without our wonderful sponsors! The USEA would like to thank the following sponsors for their support: Presenting Sponsor: Nutrena Feeds; Advanced Final Title Sponsor: Adequan; Platinum Level Sponsor: Bates Saddles, Vetoquinol; Gold Level Sponsors: Parker Equine Insurance, ShowConnect, Smartpak, Standlee Hay; Silver Level Sponsors: Auburn Labs, Park Equine Hospital, Mountain Horse, The Jockey Club; Saratoga Horseworks; Bronze Level Sponsors: 70 Degrees, Athletux, Black Petticoat, The Chronicle of the Horse, Devoucoux, Dubarry of Ireland, Equilume, FITS Riding, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, LandSafe Equestrian, Parks Tax & Consulting, Retired Racehorse Project, D.G. Stackhouse & Ellis; Contributing Level Sponsors: Big Ass Fans, CrossCountry App, FarmVet, GLC Direct, Haygain, John Deere, L.V. Harkness, Santa Cruz Animal Health; Prize Level Sponsors: American Saddlebred Horse Association, Astrid’s Oil, Bluegrass Animal Products, Dressage TestPro, EQuine AMerica Magazine, Flexible Fit Equestrian, Achieve Equine/FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips, Great British Equinery, Horse & Country, Hound & Hare, I Love My Horse, Mare Modern Goods, Romitelli Riding Boots, Strides for Equality Equestrians, Tack of the Town, VetBlue, The Equine Network, and Horse&Country
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