On August 31st, the USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds took place at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. Five riders and six horses in the Young Rider Program traveled to compete in the national championship. Cassie Sanger and Lea Adams-Blackmore competed in the Bates USEA Preliminary Junior/Young Rider Championships which was the first division to kick off the 2021 AECs. Cadence Theroux competed in the USEA Novice Jr. Championship as well as the Beginner Novice level. Nicole Houghteling was the only Novice level rider for the YR program and Molly Czub and Sophia Jean competed with their horses in the Beginner Novice Jr. Championship alongside Cadence.
The first Area 1 YR member to go down centerline was Cassie Sanger aboard her 8 year old Warmblood, Redfield Fyre. Together they started their 2021 season at Three Lakes Winter H.T. at Caudle Ranch back in February which is where they earned their qualified ride for
this year’s AECs. The pair also placed 2nd in the JYOP at Millbrook Horse Trials earlier this month. Cassie and Redfield Fyre had a beautiful test putting them in 3rd place on a 27.9 out of the 28 starters. The following day they added zero jump penalties and only 5.6 for time after cross country. Together they completed their three days with a double clear show jump round and finishing in 3rd place for the Bates USEA Preliminary Junior/Young Rider Championship.
Lea Adams-Blackmore was next to enter the dressage ring with her 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Frostbite. The two secured their AEC qualification early on this year at the Ocala Horse Events Winter I Horse Trials in February. Prior to the AECs the team took home 3rd at The GMHA Festival of Eventing in the CCI2*-S. Lea and Frostbite had a lovely test placing them in 13th after dressage on a 32.1. They safely came through the cross country finish flags adding 20 jump penalties and 18 time faults to their final score. They wrapped up their time in Kentucky with a double clear show jump and coming in at 18th place.
The second ride for Cassie Sanger in the Bates Preliminary Junior/YR division was with her 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood, Danger Mouse. The pair got their qualified ride in at Three Lakes as well and most recently won the Open Preliminary at Genesee Valley Riding and Driving Club. Together, they helped secure the win at the second leg of the Youth Team Challenge for the Area I & II scramble team at The Maryland International Horse Trials. Cassie and Danger Mouse had a stellar dressage test putting them in the lead on a 24.7. The following day, the pair cruised around the Preliminary cross country track adding 8 time faults to their score. With a double clear show jump round, the team took home 2nd place.
Cadence Theroux was the only YR program member to compete in the Novice division for the AECs. She rode her 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Hot Toddy. The two secured their AEC spot back in March with their weekend at Full Gallop Farm ending on their dressage score and taking home 3rd place. Most recently the pair came in 5th at Huntington Farm Vermont at the beginning of August. Cadence and Hot Toddy received a 37.3 putting them in 43rd after dressage. Together they finished cross country with a
double clear round moving them up almost ten placings. After no jump faults and a little bit of time for their show jump round, the pair ended in 41st.
Starting for the Beginner Novice, Nicole Houghteling rode her 17-year-old Haflinger, Tesoro in the Beginner Novice Horse Championship division. The pair qualified for the AECs at Genesee Valley Riding & Driving Club and most recently placed 5th at Genesee Valley Hunt’s Horse Trial in the Novice division back in July. Nicole and Tesoro competed in the Beginner Novice Horse Championship and started out on a 36.1 after dressage. Nicole and Tesoro had zero jump faults and 87.6 time faults on cross country day. They finished their weekend with 4 jump faults and 0 time faults putting them in 34th.
The last division to run for the 2021 AECs was the USEA Beginner Novice Jr. Championship. This was the largest division at this year’s national championship with 64 starters. Sophia Jean and Molly Czub made light work of the courses all weekend long.
Sophia Jean and her 18-year-old, Morgan gelding had a strong start to their 2021 season at Hitching Post Farm’s Spring Horse Trial coming in 2nd in the Open Beginner Novice division with 9 starters. They stayed on their dressage score of a 34.2 through the day, not only taking home the 2nd place win but also securing their qualifying ride for the AECs. The two received a 37.1 putting them tied for 61st going into cross country. They had both a double clear cross country and show jump and ended their weekend on their dressage score coming in 46th.
Molly Czub and her 18-year-old, Pinto gelding, Penguin had a wonderful start to their season at Hitching Post Farm’s Spring Horse Trial as well. Together they brought home a 3rd place, and qualified for the AECs. Most recently, Molly and Penguin came in 2nd at The GMHA Festival of Eventing earlier in the month. Molly and Penguin were in 39th after dressage on an impressive 29.4. With two days of double clear jump rounds, the two finished in 21st.
We are so proud of all members of the Young Rider program and can’t wait to see what they do next. Best of luck the rest of the season everyone!