Nov 23, 2021

USEA Collegiate Member: Paige Ansaldi, Five-Star Groom and Full-Time Student at University of Maryland

By Claire Kelley - USEA Staff
Photos - Left courtesy of Paige Ansaldi, right USEA/ Claire Kelley

“This week was just as much about Paige as it was Favian and I because, without her, we are nothing,” said Valerie Vizcarrondo Pride of Blue Clover Eventing in a social media post after her five-star completion at the Maryland 5 Star. Described as Favian’s hero, Paige Ansaldi is a five-star groom at Blue Clover Eventing, a full-time student at the University of Maryland, a team member of the University of Maryland eventing team, and an active competitor herself.

Paige Ansaldi and Favian at the Kentucky Three-Day Event. USEA/ Claire Kelley photo

For over five years Ansaldi has been the main girl for Pride’s five-star horse Favian, a 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (French Kiss x Risiko) owned and ridden by Valerie Vizcarrondo Pride. Together, the team of three have traveled to some of the biggest events in the country including the Kentucky Three-Day Event in April and the Maryland 5 Star in October. Ansaldi has also found the time to compete herself. In May, she competed at the 2021 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships at the Virginia Horse Trials with Kathleen Ansaldi’s 7-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Bombay Original in the Novice Rider division.

Due to Covid-19 complications, Ansaldi was the sole team member competing for the University of Maryland at the Championships. Placed on a scramble team with the University of Florida, Ansaldi and Bombay Original finished fourth in the Novice Rider division to help secure her team fifth place overall. Looking back on those May Championships, Ansaldi described Bombay Original’s performance. “He was awesome. It was his second away show ever. He’s a young horse, he just turned 7, and he’s in his third year of eventing. With the big atmosphere [at VHT] we weren’t sure how he’d be. He really took it all in, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

“All the teams [were] so nice. They came over the first day of Championships and introduced themselves,” said Ansaldi. “I love the University of Maryland and I’m so glad I got to represent them [at Championships].”

USEA photo.

In finding the balance between riding, grooming, and school, Ansaldi has taken a page out of her trainer’s book as her trainer has been in a similar position. “She was valedictorian of her class, so she definitely understands the balance between school and riding,” Ansaldi said of her trainer, Valerie Vizcarrondo Pride. “She allows me to do my schoolwork, and she knows I’ll get it out of the way before we go to shows. It’s been fun – it’s definitely a lot of work but I love it, and it’s great to work for a trainer who understands that too.”

Ansaldi is a rising senior at the University of Maryland and will be getting her major in criminology and criminal justice and a minor in global terrorism. “My dad has a company and works a lot with homeland security [and] I’ve always been interested in crime movies. I’m hoping to go to law school and be a criminal lawyer.”

Photo courtesy of Paige Ansaldi

Interested in joining the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program? Click here for more information and here to see which colleges currently offer a USEA affiliated Intercollegiate Eventing Program.

Don’t forget the 2022 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships take place on May 21-22, 2022 at Chattahoochee Hills H.T. in Fairburn, Georgia.

Every school must renew its affiliate registration with the USEA for 2022. Click here to renew.

About the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program

The USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program was established in 2014 to provide a framework within which eventing teams and individual competitors could flourish at universities and colleges across the country. The USEA offers a discount of $25 on annual USEA memberships for current students of universities and colleges registered as Affiliates with the USEA. Many events across the country now offer Intercollegiate Team Challenges where collegiate eventers can compete individually as well as on teams with their fellow students. In Intercollegiate Team Challenges, each rider’s score is multiplied by a coefficient appropriate for their level to account for differences in level difficulty, and then the individual scores are added together to determine the team score. Click here to learn more about the Intercollegiate Eventing Program.

Feb 02, 2023 Eventing News

In Memoriam: James C. Wofford

The USEA is heartbroken to hear about the loss of James “Jimmy” C. Wofford. A lifelong lover and supporter of the sport, Wofford has had an astounding influence on where eventing is today and has tirelessly supported the goals of the United States Eventing Association. He served as president of the American Horse Show Association (now U.S. Equestrian (USEF)), was the first vice-president of the U.S. Equestrian Team (USET), and served as secretary of the USCTA (now USEA). He served two terms as a member of the FEI Eventing Committee, including two years as vice chairman. In addition, he has served on numerous committees during his career.

Feb 02, 2023 Classic Series

Blast from the Past: Compete in a USEA Classic Series Event in 2023

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Feb 01, 2023 Profile

Rescue Horse Runaway Romeo Finds His Calling

Amanda Walker wasn’t sure what she’d gotten herself into when she went to try Runaway Romeo as a potential sales project in 2018. The gelding was a bit bigger than Walker was looking for and was quite pushy coming out of the stall. When she got on, it didn’t get much better.

Jan 31, 2023 Educational Activities

USEA's Tip Tuesday: Cross-Country Positions with Karen O'Connor

For seasoned and novice riders alike, it is always good to revisit the basics. Serving as the foundation for any eventer, the positions used on the cross-country course differ from those in the dressage or show jumping ring. The USEA tuned into five-time Olympian, three-time World Equestrian Games rider, two Pan-American Games rider, and USEA ECP certified coach Karen O'Connor as she walked coaches and students at the USEA ECP Symposium through the basic positions for effective cross-country riding.

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