Eventers from Area IV gathered this past weekend in Ballwin, Missouri for one of the most highly anticipated and beloved events of the calendar year, the Queeny Park Horse Trials. Hosted at the historic St. Louis County Park, the event has run for over forty years on the rolling hills of the former estate of the late Mr. and Mrs. Edgar M. Queeny. Since 1980 athletes of all ages and levels from the surrounding midwest have counted down the days to this family-friendly weekend of fun. This year the Queeny Park Horse Trials took place June 11-12 and hosted USEA recognized Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, and Modified divisions, as well as Starter level and three Combined Training classes.
Competitors raved about the special touches that the Queeny Park Equestrian Events (QPEE) team included in this year's event. The creative awards, such as best lesson horse and best fox hunter, gave horse and rider pairs an additional opportunity to win a prize. Everyone appreciated the extremely helpful crew of QPEE staff and volunteers. Even the onsite veterinarian pitched in by handing out water bottles and offering water to the horses at the end of the cross-country course.
In the Modified division it was Courtney Kuriger who topped the field of entries with her own 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Eagle Rising (War Eagle x My Cat's Seeking). Taking her first win of the year with her homebred mount, Kuriger held the second place position heading into day two of competition coming off of a 33.5 in her dressage test, a highlight for the longtime pair. The Arkansas amateur explained that she and “Bird” “...struggle with tension and this was the most relaxed test that we've had in a long time.” They closed the day on a 4-fault finish in the show jumping portion designed by William Robertson held at the National Equestrian Center (NEC) in Lake St. Louis, Missouri. Sitting just behind Jessica Milam and her 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Lieutenant Dan (Carrick Diamond Lad x Foxglen Lass) who entered Sunday’s competition on a score of 31.3, Kuriger laid down a clean cross country run to end on a total score of 37.5, ultimately besting Milam who settled for second on a score of 49.7.
“This was my first time to Queeny [Queeny Park], my second time venturing to Area IV,” stated Kuriger. “I heard great things about Queeny Park and it did not disappoint! The volunteers were plenty and kept the weekend running smoothly even with two locations. They seemed to have had it all covered, from shuttles to bug spray! Cross-country in Queeny Park was definitely our favorite part of the weekend. The city owned park was bustling with visitors but cross-country ran smoothly. The long wooded trails and big hilly terrain definitely made making time a welcomed challenge.”
Lisette Healy Kremer and Roulette, a 12-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by both Kremer and Mary Anne Healy, emerged victorious in the Open Training division on an overall score of 31.4. Having trailed Addison Hagan who rode Christy Hagan’s 13-year-old American Warmblood mare, Windsong (WakeUp x Make A Wish) following the dressage test, Kremer’s double clear effort in show jumping bumped her back up into the leading position on a score of 31.4. The longtime duo continued their dominance in the second day of competition with a clear cross-country run ultimately taking the victory on only their second competition of the year. The win was that much more special for Kremer and Roulette (Reno x Creek Mist) marking a personal best overall score.
The Queeny Park Horse Trials offered two Novice divisions. In Novice A, Camryn Holcomb rode her own 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood, Quite Breit to their second first-place finish of the year. She and the gelding, by U.S. Olympic show jumper Beezie Madden's Breitling LS out of Surelise, scored a 29.2 in dressage and secured their win with two double clear efforts in both the show jumping and cross country portions of competition.
In the Open Novice B, Skylar Thornton and her own 16-year-old Paint gelding, Ace of Spades (QTs Lucky San Man x Splendid Affair) took their first ever win on a score of 29.7, also marking a personal best for the pair.
39 eager eventers took to the weekend for the Beginner Novice division which was ultimately split into three sections. In the Beginner Novice Open A, Julie Wolfert swept the two-day competition topping each portion of the competition with Ali Aitken’s 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Dolcetto by Don De Marco on a score of 22.4.
In section B of the Beginner Novice division, Darcy Kammeier and Alexandra Naftzger-Books' 23-year-old Hanoverian mare, Let it Be impressed at their first ever competition partnered together taking the win on a score of 30.6.
Rounding out the division in section C Queeny Park veteran Michaela Frye and her own 9-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, Small Talk (DB Chisums Sundance x EV Medusas Poco Girl) came back on a clean cross country run to take the overall win by just .10 on a score of 34.
"This was my fourth time competing at Queeny Park, and my first time competing there with this horse,” stated Frye. “I love the positive atmosphere that it always has, and all of the volunteers are really nice and professional. Our best phase at Queeny was our dressage. My pony put in his personal best for a dressage test and acted so maturely at what was a new place for him.”
Frye continued, “My favorite part about competing at Queeny is their cross-country course. I love that they include the long trail in the woods, and all you hear are the hoofbeats of your horse for a minute straight.”
Full results from the event can be found here.
Learn more about the history of the Queeny Park Horse Trials here.
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“The highest priority must be given by instructors to developing in their riders a correct, balanced, supple, effective, and independent seat for dressage and for jumping.” - “Teaching Principles” in the new ECP Eventing Handbook by the Levels