2018 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena® Feeds Commence at The Colorado Horse Park

Aug 30, 2018 - 11:47 PM

For Immediate Release

Parker, CO – August 30, 2018 – The 2018 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena® Feeds (AEC), began with a robust day of Dressage competition, welcoming Advanced, Intermediate, Preliminary, and Training divisions to The Colorado Horse Park (CHP). Entries from across the United States will compete in Dressage, Cross-Country, and Show Jumping, contending for the top titles in their designated divisions over the course of four days. The event will highlight the Beginner Novice through Advanced divisions and continue through Sunday, September 2.
Tomorrow’s competition will begin at 8:30 a.m. and feature Cross-Country and Dressage phases throughout the day. Click here to view daily ride times for the AEC.

Adequan® USEA Gold Cup Advanced Final

Tamra Smith and Alexandra & Ellen Ahearn, and Eric Markell’s 12-year-old German Sport Horse gelding, Mai Baum (Loredano x Ramira), sailed to the lead in the Adequan® USEA Gold Cup Advanced Final. It’s been a while since Mai Baum has been inside the white box, but he certainly seemed to be enjoying the spotlight, strutting to the lead on a score of 26.4.

Since winning the Fair Hill International CCI 3* in 2015, Mai Baum has had just three outings, two in 2017 and one this summer at the Intermediate level at Twin Rivers. Smith explained that, after recovering from a mild strain sustained at Fair Hill, Mai Baum contracted an infection in his gut that prolonged his return to competition in 2017. Then, on the way home from an event, he fell in the trailer and injured his leg, requiring more time off. “Dr. Rantanen and Dr. Martinelli at California Equine Orthopedics have this high-powered laser. There are only a handful in the world and we decided that since he was going to have time off that we would do the laser on the leg he strained at Fair Hill and that gave us even more time,” Smith elaborated. “We’ve been bringing him back slowly. He had that time off, so it’s taken quite a while to get him fit and strong, but he feels strong and fit now.”

Tamara Smith and Mai Baum 

“He was completely wild today,” Smith confided. “Well, he likes to run and jump!” Eric Markell chimed in. “He smiles when he runs cross-country.” Smith continued, saying, “I wasn’t sure what he was going to do in the ring and he was strong, not listening to my half-halts and flinging his legs. I think he was very happy to be on a stage like that. I picked up the canter and went around the ring and I couldn’t help but smile. He’s so special and he’s such a showman. It’s really fun. It’s hilarious when he’s naughty because it’s not often that he’s naughty. In my test, I was doing my half-pass and then I went to go forward to do my change and he leapt in the air, kicked at my right foot, and then bolted. Right after that came my stretchy circle, so I didn’t even start it until it was too late. It was fun, but he was wild.” Markell commented, “When I was leaving I heard one man say to another, ‘That horse comes in the ring and takes it over with his personality.'”

Sharing her thoughts on the Cross-Country course, Smith said, “They’ve done a tremendous job on the footing. They’ve been working all night and my hat goes off to the officials who have been very diligent about getting a plan. I just got done from walking the course and they’ve aerated it and gone over it again and now they’re watering it and it feels great. The track is very good. It’s not overly technical, but technical enough and it’s big. I think Tremaine Cooper did a super job. The design and the fences are beautiful.”

Tomorrow, Smith’s plan is to go out and have a smooth ride across the course. “Phillip [Dutton] told me once that the challenge when you go out of the start box is to look slow but be fast,” Smith said. “That’s my plan, just be efficient in the lines and be smooth and feel what the ground feels like and if it feels good then kick on and if it doesn’t just stay steady.”

Second place went to Jordan Linstedt and Revitavet Capato (Contendro x Annabelle), Barbara and Gary Linstedt’s 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding, who scored a 27.5. Smith also sits in third place aboard Judith McSwain’s nine-year-old Holsteiner mare Fleeceworks Royal (Riverman x Marisol) on a score of 30.8.

Open Intermediate
Heather Morris of CA, and The Team Express Group LLC’s Charlie Tango, a ten-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Shannondale Sarco St. Ghyvan x Our Queen Bee), lead a competitive Open Intermediate division on a score of 25.8. Erin Kellerhouse, also of CA, and her own Woodford Reserve, a seven-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Tinarana’s Inspector x Laharns Laughton), have a tight grasp on second place with a 28.0, while Bella Mowbray of CA, and Ruth Bley’s En Vogue, a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare (Earl x Laurena), rounded out the top three on a 30.5.

Heather Morris and Charlie Tango

“I actually imported ‘Chuck’ from Ireland when he was four,” commented Morris, “so I’ve really had him since the beginning. He’s done some Advanced, we did drop him back down for AEC and for the remaining shows this year he’ll just do the CCI 2* level, then we’ll move him back up next year.”

She continued, “He’s a pretty reliable horse. He’s quite good in the ring, quite accurate. I think I would like for it to be more expressive, so that’s what we’ll work toward in the shows this fall and focusing on just making it a little more rideable.”Morris, who has competed at the venue before, conveyed her excitement about being back in Colorado this week. “Being from the West Coast now, having the AEC here makes everything so much easier,” she said. “I’m happy that this was out here because I love coming here. I’s great!”
Preliminary Amateur
Cara Lavigna piloted her own Carrick Diamond Duke, an eight-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Carrick Diamond Lad x Uskerty Barnaby), to an early lead in the Preliminary Amateur division, after scoring a 31.1 in the Dressage phase of competition.”I’ve had ‘Duke’ for three years,” said Lavigna. “I got him as a five-year-old. He’s always been a fancy mover. He jumps really big and tries really hard. As he’s become older and more mature, watching his progression has been really fun and creating a bond has been cool. He really enjoys his Cross-Country. We are currently learning how to put the pieces together because now that things are getting harder. We are developing our partnership. When he goes into the ring for Show Jumping and Dressage, he knows his job, he perks up, he really likes to show off and that’s fun for both of us.”

Cara Lavigna and Carrick Diamond Duke ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography

As a school teacher from California, Lavigna was thrilled when she learned that the AEC was going to be closer to home this year. “Having the AEC here in Colorado is lovely,” she commented. “To only have to take one week off from work, as opposed to more, that was nice. I’ve never been to the AEC, I’ve never been to a show in Colorado, so I was excited that it was so much closer!”

As their season continues to progress, Lavigna plans to run Duke in one more Preliminary event, and conclude with a CCI 1*. After that, a nice break will be awarded to her hard-working mount.

Lauren Hoover of TX, and Atlanta, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vancouver x Philadelphia GHR), are trailing just behind Lavigna, as they scored a 31.8. Ruth Bley of CA, and Rodrigue Du Granit, a 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Robin II Z x Delight Gree), earned a 31.9 and currently hold third place.

Preliminary Rider
Texan Mike Huber rode Ann Adams own Calliope to first place position, after finishing on a score of 25.7. Huber and the eleven-year-old Oldenburg mare (Consul x Clintina) bested competition in the ring, putting in a solid ride in the Preliminary Rider division. “The horse is one that I ride for a client of mine,” stated Huber, “Ann Adams normally rides the horse and I don’t ride her that frequently. Ann is getting ready to move up to Preliminary and she’s been riding Calliope in Training level, so I’ve taken her out a few times at this level this year and obviously qualified for the AEC; so we are competing here this weekend.”

Mike Huber and Calliope

Being familiar with CHP himself, Huber elaborated on the benefit of having the AEC in the Midwest this year. “It’s always hard to find an AEC location that is good for everyone and you’re not going to, because it’s such a big event and we live in a big country. We’re kind of lucky. We’re from Texas so we are right in the middle, so it’s usually pretty doable! I think it’s great to have it out here, so the people who may not be able to go all the way to the East Coast finally get a chance to participate.”

Trailing behind Huber is Whitney Tucker Billeter of CA, aboard her own Karvaleo, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Kanna x Finod Cavalier), with a 29.1. Travis Atkinson of UT, is currently sitting in third-place with his own Don Darco, a nine-year-old Zweibrucker gelding (Damarco x Gong Lee) on a score of 31.1.

Preliminary Horse
Jordan Linstedt danced to the highest score of the morning in the Preliminary Horse division, riding Janine Jaro’s nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Stakkato x Certosa), Staccato, to a score of 27.6. The combination was the first in the ring for the class of 24 and maintained their grip on first throughout the phase.”I didn’t feel like today was our very best,” explained Linstedt, “but I was really happy with him. I was excited to see the leaderboard stay consistent throughout the morning. I was first in the ring, and I’m never normally in that position. You never know how the judging is going to be, and how that’ll carry on.”

Jordan Linstedt and Staccato ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography

The rider, who hails from Washington, has spent time developing her Preliminary mount into an “elegant” ride on the flat. “He’s really been quite strong in all three phases recently,” Linstedt noted.”When I first got him, he was a challenging young horse, a bit of a late developer. He has really blossomed this past year so he’s been really fun to work with and produce. He’s stunning on the flat, very elegant, and puts in a good test.”

Tamara Smith of CA, will leave the start box tomorrow in the second-place position, with Judith McSwain’s Fleeceworks Ghost, a six-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Dhannondale Sarco x Riverlon Mist), on 29.0 penalties. Trailing in third is California native Jennifer Wooten-Macouzet, riding R. Lawrence Sawyer’s BSP Tuxedo, a nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Apokalipsis x Stutbuch 1) receiving a score of 29.1.

Junior/Young Rider Preliminary
California competitor Charlotte Babbitt and her own 2 A.M., a six-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Sheraton x Regina K), currently sit atop the Junior/Young Rider Preliminary division, as they look to cross-country tomorrow on a 23.3. “He was very good today,” Babbitt explained. “He put in a very nice test. We’ve been working really hard recently. He’s had a bit of a rough go since [Rebecca Farm], so we’ve only had a couple of flat schools, but he’s trained and he really just wants to go in the arena and try really hard. That’s what he did. He knows his job and he went in and did his job. I’m super happy with him.”

Charlotte Babbitt and 2 A.M.

The pair has been together for about a year-and-a-half now and their connection grows stronger by the day. Babbitt stated: “It was interesting, when I got him he wasn’t really my ride but he’s young so it was a very good experience for me, developing him into the horse I wanted him to be. It’s pretty cool now – he’s my exact ride. I love him to death and I couldn’t imagine having any other horse. It’s been a struggle, but with the help of my trainers Andrea [Pfeiffer] and Amber [Levine] I’ve been able to work with him. He’s pretty easy to work with. He’s a super nice horse and he just wants to learn and do well so it’s been really fun developing a partnership.”

Heading into the remainder of the Eventing season, Babbitt plans to compete 2 A.M. at the CCI 1* and CIC 1* levels in the near future. “The plan right now is to do the CIC 1* at Woodside and the CCI 1* at Galway,” she said. “That’s our plan and we’ll take it day by day until then and see how it goes.” On competing at Young Riders next year, she concluded, “We’ll see. I’ll definitely put my name in and we’ll see how his season starts next year and see how it goes.”

Nicole Hatley of TX, and the Clarissa Bliss owned Flagmount’s Rebel, a nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse/Thoroughbred gelding (Flagmount’s Freedom x Devious Princess) hold second place on a 27.8, while Kaitlin Vosseller of CA, and her own Clear Approval, a 12-year-old Warmblood gelding out of All Best Wishes, secured third place with a score of 29.2.

Training Amateur
The Training Amateur division saw the top Dressage score of 27.3 go to Linda Quist of CO, and her own fourteen-year-old Iberian Warmblood, Belle Gambe (Temerario VII x Mojave). “With today’s test,” said Quist, “I think I rode it well, I think she rode it well. There were a few spots where I kept thinking ‘oh my gosh, we need to do better!’ Apparently, we did good enough though, as we have the leading score for today! I’m definitely excited about that, this has been a dream.”The duo has been partnered since the mare’s birth, and their bond speaks for itself in and out of the show ring. “My horse is amazing,” continued Quist. “I’ve had her since she was born, so we have an incredible partnership. She’s my friend, she’s another mare and we connect like a pair of girlfriends. Sometimes we argue, sometimes things go great, sometimes they go not-so-great. She has her opinions, I have mine.”

Linda Quist and Belle Gambe

Following Quist and Belle Gambe is Mighty Smart, a nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Mighty Magic x Ravenna) owned by Ruth Bley and ridden by Nikki Lloyd of CA, sitting on a 28.2. Leslie LaBraque and Falkonet, a 17-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by LaBraque, round out the top three after dressage and will head into the second day of competition on a 28.4 after their first phase.

Training Horse
McKenzie Rollins and Excel Star Lord (Non-Stop x Korea B), her own six-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, have a commanding lead in the Training Horse division on a score of 28.5, leading by 4.6 points. “He was great, but I was very nervous,” shared Rollins. “He does very well in atmosphere and that helps calm me down. It’s surprising, because he just turned six in June, but he has never really given me any trouble. He shines in the dressage ring and he loves to get in there. He was a little bit fresh, so he got a little heavy in some places but he’s just so lovely and it’s really fun to ride him.”

McKenzie Rollins and Excel Star Lord

Originally from Massachusetts, Rollins moved to Los Angeles a few years ago looking for a change of pace. “I did a Google search barns outside of Los Angeles and I ended up at Mill Creek where I met Jennifer Johnson and she’s helped me all along since I brought Frankie in.”

Rollins imported “Frankie” as a four-year-old from Ireland with the help of Courtney Cooper. “He came in as a four-year-old and we did a number of Novice [level events] and then moved up to Training. I think we’ll be ready to move up to Preliminary after this. I’ve really been wanting to take my time with him and make sure I’m not pushing him or rushing him. He’s so lovely. I didn’t want to put any pressure on him.”

Second place is a tie between Sam Kelly and Robinstown Ballivor (Watermill Swatch x Coevers Dock), Copeland Farms’ nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, and Attila Rajnai and her own and Sara Mittleider’s six-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, Maximus de la Tombe (Esperanto van Paemel x Fidji de la Tombe), who both sit on 33.1 heading into tomorrow’s cross-country phase of competition.

Training Rider
The Training Rider division watched Oregon-native Kelsey Horn prance to the lead with the Swingtown Partners entry, Swingtown. Horn and the six-year-old Oldenburg mare (Sagnol x Dynamica), held strong to the first-place position, besting second-place by more than two points on a 24.2. “When we heard that the AEC was going to be in Colorado,” said Horn, “we knew we had to aim for that. We wanted to participate, so having it at CHP made a huge impact on our ability to get here.”

 Kelsey Horn and Swingtown

With a talent for riding young horses, Horn has focused her efforts on creating a steady string of top event horses over the past few years. “They’re just so fun to work with,” she said of her younger mounts. “Initially, I had a few clients purchase me a younger horse for Pinnacle Syndicate and then I just kind of collected some others that were younger. As they’ve gotten older I have this great string of horses coming up the line.”

Of her partnership with Swingtown, Horn concluded, “I’ve been riding her since I broke her as a three-year-old. She won the Four-Year-Old West Coast Event Championship in 2016, and then in 2017 she had a year off due to an injury. This season we are back at it and we did a couple of Novice events at the beginning of the season, bumped up to Training, and we will see where the rest of the year takes us!”

Tracy Alves of CA, and her own Romulus, a 20-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Contango x Divottii), are currently sitting in second-place heading into Cross-Country tomorrow after earning a 26.8, while Rebecca Mortensen of WY, and Seattle Freckles, a ten-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Mortensen, rounded out the top three with a 28.8.

Junior Training
Eva Jacroux of WA, and her own Rubel, a 12-year-old Zweibrucker gelding (Radikal x When the Worlds Unite), lead a competitive Junior Training division on a score of 31.4, topping 20 other entries. Madison Santley of CA, and Excellence, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vaillant x Wolinda) owned by Santley, have a firm grip on second place with a 31.7, while Rosie Smith of UT, and her own Seamus, a 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Corrcullen, RID, rounded out the top three on a 33.8.

Eva Jacroux and Rubel

Jacroux admitted that her excursion with “Ru” began on a rocky note, but has since shaped up to be a positive partnership. “I got Ru about two years ago and this is my second season on him. It did start off a bit rocky. He was way too much horse for me and I was a little worried whether or not I’d be able to ride him. I came from a push button ride, but I decided that I was going to try my hardest to make it work. I started doing a lot of ground work.I started going back to the basic and it seems to have really worked because he’s come into his own.”

Jacroux, who will head to Washington University this fall, was hesitant to even know where she sat after the first phase of competition. “I really didn’t think this test went very well,” said Jacroux. “Ru was a little tense and I was worried about whether or not I was going to be able to handle him, but it ended up being just fine. He was such a good boy, he paid attention to me and listened to what we’ve been working on.”

As the pair head into tomorrow’s Cross-Country phase they will look to maintain their lead. Jacroux concluded, “Dressage is probably his strongest phase, but he does seem to also love Cross-Country. I’ve already walked the courseand I think it’s going to be really fun!”

Click here to view Ride Times and Live Results!Click here to watch Live Streaming of the 2018 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena® Feeds.

For more information on the 2018 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena® Feeds, please visit www.useventing.com and to learn more about The Colorado Horse Park (CHP), please visit www.coloradohorsepark.com.

Photo Credit ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography and ©USEA. These photos may only be used once in relation to this press release with proper credit.

About the AEC
The USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena® Feeds is the pinnacle of the sport for the national levels. Held annually, this event draws together the best competitors from across the country vying for national titles from the Beginner Novice through the Advanced level. This year’s AEC is being held at The Colorado Horse Park in Parker, CO, August 30-September 2, 2018.



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