October 2018 - USEA American Eventing Championships
Written by Photos: ©USEA/LeslieMintz
Thursday, 27 September 2018 20:06
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Smith & Morris lead a strong contingent of Area VI pairs at Colorado event.

Photos: ©USEA/LeslieMintz

Led by Tamie Smith, Californians dominated the 2018 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena® Feeds and held at the Colorado Horse Park Aug. 30-Sept. 2. Approximately 450 competitors vied for national titles in the Advanced, Intermediate, Novice and Beginner Novice divisions.

Adequan® USEA Advanced Gold Cup Final

You could hear a pin drop in the International Ring at CHP as Smith maneuvered around the track in the final show jumping phase of competition aboard Alexandra Ahearn, Ellen Ahearn and Eric Markell’s, Mai Baum (Loredano x Ramira). Smith and the 2006 German Sport Horse gelding rounded out their weekend on a score of 28.0, and their comeback was celebrated with a big blue ribbon and a round of applause, along with the title of Adequan® USEA Advanced Gold Cup Final Champions.    


“It just feels so good to be back on him,” exclaimed Smith. “It’s emotional because it’s been a long road to get him back.”


The pair ceased competition after Mai Baum suffered a series of injuries that made for a long, three-year rehabilitation process. “He originally strained his tendon after Fair Hill,” explained Smith. “We rehabbed him like a normal horse, and then he fell in the trailer, and he got a guttural pouch infection, and he had to be in a cast, and it was just one thing after another. And then he was huge, so it took me forever to get him fit again. He was couch potato so it took a while, but we took the time because he was worth it.”

Tamra Smith and Mai Baum.

Smith continued, “It seems like yesterday, but it’s taken three years. Now he’s back and feeling 100%, and strong, and so happy to be here. I’m happier, but he’s happy.”

Cruising into second place after dressage, Jordan Linstedt of Washington, and Revitavet Capato (Contendro x Annabelle), Barbara and Gary Linstedt’s 2003 Hanoverian gelding, maintained their spot throughout the weekend, to land on a final score of 39.5.

Smith also claimed podium spot number three after earning 45.4 penalties with Judith McSwain’s 2009 Holsteiner mare Fleeceworks Royal (Riverman x Marisol). “She got selected to go to Boekelo [Netherlands],” Smith summarized, “so I knew I was going to have a conservative weekend with her. She went fast at Rebecca Farm and I can’t go fast with her all of the time, so as much as I wanted to go for it yesterday, I had to think about the bigger picture.”

Tamra Smith and Fleeceworks Royal.


Smith’s partner in Temecula’s Next Level Eventing, Heather Morris, earned equal time in the spotlight. Her Charlie Tango is used to being an AEC Champion having won the honor a whopping three times - Preliminary in 2014, Intermediate in 2015 and once again at the Intermediate level this year. With all that experience, Morris was able to ride Team Express Group, LLC’s 2008 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Shannondale Sarco St. Ghyvan x Our Queen Bee) to a perfect weekend. The pair added nothing to their dressage score of 25.8 to win wire-to-wire by over five points.

“He was great. I was a little rusty actually, I hadn’t ridden in three weeks because I threw my back out, but it all worked out in there,” said Morris.

Bella Mowbray and Ruth Bley’s En Vogue, a 2005 Hanoverian mare (Earl x Laurena), added a single time penalty to their dressage score, but were still able to hold on to the reserve champion title. “My highlight was definitely cross-country,” said Mowbray. “It was a real championship course. It was pretty imposing. I looked pretty technical and big and it rode really beautifully. I was just really proud of my horse. She ate it up.”

“It’s a long way home, about 24 hours, but thankfully we had a great weekend,” continued Mowbray who traveled from California to compete at the AEC. The journey was a bit closer than the 2017 AEC in Tryon, N.C. where Mowbray and En Vogue finished fourth in the Preliminary Horse division.

Third-placed Erin Kellerhouse had never been to the Colorado Horse Park before, but she was connected to it. “My husband has been,” explained Kellerhouse of her event organizer husband Robert Kellerhouse. “He organized a two-star here 20 years ago. He was really impressed with the changes. I was impressed too, not even knowing what it was before.”

Kellerhouse and Woodford Reserve (Tinarana’s Inspector x Laharns Laughton), her own 2009 Irish Sport Horse gelding, started the weekend in second place, but some time on cross-country dropped them down to fourth. However, a double clear show jumping round boosted them up to finish in third. “He’s a really good show jumper and I knew if I didn’t mess up, we’d go clean. He’s really careful and he gives me a lot of confidence in there because he’s brave and careful and he just does his thing,” said Kellerhouse.

Heather Morris and Charlie Tango.

Novice Horse

The Novice Horse division welcomed yet another victory for California native Tamie Smith, as the fierce competitor took to the final show jumping phase with the MB Group LLC’s 2013 Oldenburg gelding MB MaiStein. The duo scooped up the tri-colored ribbon after landing on 28.1 total penalties.

“The stadium round today was fantastic,” Smith said. “He’s a little over-qualified for the show jumping because he’s so good at it. He was a little up in there and the lines are almost a little tight for him, so I had to kind of wrangle him in. His stride is naturally huge, but he’s so careful and such a good boy. I think I cross-cantered a few turns, but he’s five so it happens. I was just really pleased with how he handled the pressure. He’s just a good boy.”

Smith intends to move MaiStein up to Training level after the conclusion of the AEC, and said she will end the year on that note. “Next, he’s going to go compete at Training level, and then he’ll do the Young Event Horse Championships at Fair Hill and then probably finish the year with a Training level three-day.”

Colorado’s own Madeline Backus was named the second-place winner, after she rode Lynn Roberts 2007 Swedish Warmblood gelding (Reggasoni x L.A. Baltic Reflektion) Reflektion’s Rio through the timers to also end on a dressage score of 29.5.

Third-place was rounded out by Whitney Tucker Billeter of California, who also kept a tight grip on her dressage score of 31.0, as she galloped to the finish aboard John Herich’s 2004 Hanoverian gelding, Bill’s Midnight Magic (Espri x Rena Ramzi).

Amanda Boyce and Mercury.

Junior Novice

Amanda Boyce of California and her own 2006 Welsh Cob gelding, Mercury by Machno Carwyn, went into the final show jumping round sitting in second place and maintained her competitive edge to finish on top of the Junior Novice division. “My trainer and I have a system, which is zip (forward), counter bend, steady, and then quick. We’ve been practicing that a lot,” stated Boyce.
California’s Julia Brittain, aboard her own Haiku, a 2012 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Sir Donnerhall, fell from their first-place rank coming out of cross-country to finish in second. “I think it was the best he’s jumped all year,” Brittain described. “There was definitely a lot of pressure going in, but he’s jumped incredibly so I was happy with him. We did have a rail, but it happens. He was forward and he was focused. He was attentive, so I was happy with the outcome.”

Madison Boesch and her own Seamless, a 2009 Warmblood mare, moved into third on 33.3 with a clear round after cross-country, and concluded their weekend in that position.

Report excerpted from press releases provided by the Colorado Horse Park. For complete results, visit www.useventing.com.