We’re back with our Member Monday series and this week we are introducing Annabelle Sprague! “I joined this program because of the great resources it offers,” Annabelle said about the Area 1 Young Rider Program, “from the camp, to the new committee, and people you get to know, it’s so helpful to young riders.” Annabelle kicked off her 2023 season taking home the win at Three Lakes Winter II HT at Caudle Ranch in the Open Novice B division with her Holsteiner gelding, Big Fred. But that was just the beginning for her 2023 season as she has not only secured the blue to kick off the year, she also made her FEI debut, and was selected for USEA’s Emerging Athlete Program.
Long before she began checking off her upper level goals, she began riding at the age of seven with Laurie Hudson and Sally Scheindel at Hitching Post Farm in South Royalton, Vermont. Hitching Post remains her home as, “it’s an invaluable program that has provided [her] with so many opportunities and resources.” She gives credit to her successful eventing career not only to Laurie and Sally but Kylie Lyman who also grew up riding in the program at Hitching Post. Kylie was the one who gave Annabelle the ride on her longtime Advance partner, 16-year-old, Irish Sport Horse gelding, Da Vinci Code. Annabelle and Da Vinci Code spent the summer of 2021 together which later became a more consistent partnership in October of 2022. “I am so incredibly lucky to learn from him,” says Annabelle about her new partner, “and very thankful to Kylie for passing the reins to me.”
The pair so far has competed in five recognized events since October of 2022 at Hitching Post Farm in the Open Modified division where they took home 1st place. Their second win was at their third event together earlier this year at Southern Pines Horse Trail in March in the Open Preliminary which paved a clear path for Annabelle’s FEI debut at Carolina International in the CCI2*-S where they placed 11th out of 37 starters. A little over a month later, Annabelle returned to the FEI level at Fair Hill International in late April where they not only ended on their dressage score of a 29.7, but took home the win once more. “My first FEI win at Fair Hill in April is really memorable and something I’ll never forget.” Annabelle said when asked about her most memorable moment. Other moments that stood out to her in his riding career thus far include this past winter where she learned so much during her time in both Florida and North Carolina.
With many successes already under her belt for this year, she is looking forward to attending the USEA’s EA21 clinic at Morven Park International Equestrian Center in Leesburg, VA in late June. She will ride alongside 12 of her fellow Young Riders from all over the East Coast and will be coached by Pan American Gold Medalist, Shannon Lilley.
But her season won’t end there! Later in the year Annabelle is looking forward to continuing competing in Area 1 at both Millbrook and GMHA’s Festival of Eventing before heading off to begin her college journey at the University of Kentucky in August.
We wish you the best of luck Annabelle and can’t wait to see what the rest of the season holds for you!