“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.
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].”
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.”
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.
After a one-year gap, eventers from all over are ready to gather together and engage in four days of seminars, presentations, and gatherings at the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention. This year’s convention begins Thursday morning at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque Hotel and continues through the weekend.
Over 40 horses competed in the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) 5-year-old East and West Coast Championships in 2015. The YEH East Coast Championships were held during the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International in Elkton, Maryland, while the YEH West Coast Championships took place at Galway Downs in Temecula, California. Following 2015’s YEH finale, many of the graduating class of the 2015 USEA Young Event Horse Championships have gone on to make their mark on the upper levels of eventing.
Nicole Brown is joined by a panel of experts including top FEI veterinarian Dr. Emily Sandler-Burtness, five-star eventer Will Faudree, and professional eventer and horsemanship expert Tik Maynard to answer all of your biggest questions.
I’d like to start my Holiday Pressure Proof Tip with an excerpt from my new book Bolder Braver Brighter.
"Imagine leaning against a tree while your horse grazes happily beside you. You feel the warm sunshine and breeze on your cheek, hear the chirping of nearby birds, and smell the fragrance of the grass and wildflowers. Your horse nickers quietly and all you can think about is how lucky you are to have this horse and this sport and this life… right here, right now.