Fairburn, Ga., Sept. 11
Calvin Ramsay competed a horse and a pony in the novice junior division of the Nutrena/USEA American Eventing Championships, but his pony, Razzle Dazzle, almost didn’t make the trip.
A 23-year-old Arabian cross gelding, Razzle Dazzle has been recovering from a serious hock injury since February, when the Ramsays were given a dire prognosis. Unwilling to lose hope, the family’s patient, diligent effort to save him began with 5-minute hand-walks, increasing until they were walking him for miles. The process of legging him back up took five months, but at the AECs—Razzle Dazzle’s first competition since recovery—Calvin and his pony shone, placing 12th in the division and winning the Captain Mark Phillips award as the highest-placed pony.
But Calvin’s success didn’t end there. Placed third overnight with his other mount, Landmark’s Miss Liberty, Calvin went into the ring and rode a confident clear round. When second-placed Aisling Carroll and first-placed Ashley Guidry both lowered rails, Calvin had to let reality sink in.
“It got really silent after [Ashley Guidry] hit the rail,” said Calvin, 14. “Then a guy leans over to me and says, ‘You won!’ I almost couldn’t believe it. It felt pretty good.”
Calvin, a student at the Episcopal School of Acadiana in Lafayette, La., takes three lessons per week with his dad, Court Ramsay, a former long-listed advanced level eventer. In the summers, Calvin travels to Virginia to train with his dad’s old friends, Karen and David O’Connor.
“I take ‘Libby’ and we go up and train with the O’Connors for two weeks, which is pretty cool,” he admitted.
Calvin, who also plays tennis and is an avid Brazilian soccer fan, moved the Jaqueline Mars-bred Libby up to training level this summer.
“I knew Libby was going to do good here, but I thought maybe 16th. I never knew she’d be this good! Hopefully we’ll be back here in the training next year,” he said.
Logan Elliot and her Connemara gelding, Cady O’Daly Michael, made their 12-hour trip from Mount Airy, Md., worthwhile, winning the beginner novice junior championship on their dressage score of 28.1.
“I’ve only had him for five months, so we were just coming for the experience,” said Elliot, 18. “But after being in the lead in dressage and show jumping, it was pretty exciting. Going into the show jumping, I was so nervous!”
Despite the pressure, Elliot and Cady O’Daly Michael executed a smooth, clear round, cinching the win by over four points from second-placed Tayler Stewart and Strictly Business (32.7).
Elliot first started riding Cady O’Daly Michael as a sales prospect at the barn where she worked, but fate intervened.
“My dad surprised me. I went to check on [Cady O’Daly Michael] one day and there was a note on the door that said he was mine,” she said.
A student at Carroll County Community College, Elliot trains with Westminster, Md.-based Donna Ruth for dressage, but has done all of her over-fences training herself.
“We’re going to do the Area II Championships at beginner novice this fall, and then move up to novice after that. We’ve made it on our own at beginner novice but once we move up to novice, we’ll get some jumping lessons!” she said.
Liz Messaglia and Apollo Star moved up from second place to top the novice amateur division, while Amy Barrington and Gallerone lowered a rail but still moved up to win the novice horse championship. Lauren Weil enjoyed a winning afternoon, placing first and second in the beginner novice horse division on Pippen and Commit respectively, and second on Shenandoah King in the novice horse division. Sandra Holden and Cristales won the beginner novice amateur division on their dressage score of 27, the lowest score of the day.
The AECs, which benefited from stellar weather throughout the weekend, concluded this afternoon.
For full results, click here.