Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023

Nostalgia Trips, Pasture Finds And Broken Legs: Day 4 Of The 2019 AEC



Lexington, Ky.—Aug. 30

Another day is in the books at the 2019 USEA American Eventing Championships, and it’s been a wild ride. Only one of the overnight leaders remained on top at the end of the training show jumping, and the novice competitors got a chance to tackle the famed cross-country course. There was plenty of shuffling at the top of the advanced leaderboard (which you can read about here), and beginner novice riders closed out the dressage competition.

Read about some of the big winners from the day:

Open Modified/Training Championship: Kimmy Cecere and Hindine (29.9)


Kimmy Cecere gives Hindine some love after their win. Leslie Mintz/USEA Photo

Kimmy Cecere was excited to come to AEC for reasons that had nothing to do with horses. A graduate of the University of Kentucky, Cecere has been looking forward to this competition ever since her boss Lauren Kieffer decided they’d send horses to the championships this year.

“This is the first time I’ve been back since [I graduated], so she said we could come to Lexington, and I’ve been screaming ever since,” she said. “She knew I really wanted to come, and every time we come it’s such a good experience. I actually haven’t been in a really long time, but she’s come quite a few times. The venue, especially at the Kentucky Horse Park and the way it’s put on and everything, it gives the horses the feel of what they’re going to do in the future hopefully without having to ride at that level yet. It’s a good experience for them.”

Novice Horse Championship Tie: Courtney Cooper and Excel Star Time To Shine and Courtney Cooper and Hunting Stars (29.3

You can’t say that Courtney Cooper isn’t consistent. After yesterday’s dressage, she was tied for second with her two mounts Excel Star Time To Shine and Hunting Stars after a pair of fast and clear cross-country rounds.

Hunting Stars, known as “Joy,” is a full sister to Who’s A Star (Aberjack—Heavenly Start, I’m A Star), and was born via embryo transfer.

“While I’d like to do well tomorrow, and I hope for the best, my goal is to continue her career and educate her,” Cooper said. “It’s a great place to get a lot of mileage, but I don’t know if she is going to come in here and think that this is awe-inspiring or put her head down and go to work. She’s a pretty smart young lady for 4 [years old]. We have high hopes for her.”

Excel Star Time To Shine, an Irish Sport Horse (Luidam—Lismore Bella), was imported in December.

“He’s just a very sweet, good boy,” Cooper said. “When we got him he was all legs and all body in all places—we called him spider legs—but he’s come into his own. He’s very kind and very sweet. He’s also a good jumper, but he’s also 4, so anything can happen. But I’m thrilled to be tied with myself!”

Beginner Novice Junior 14 & Under Championship: Maren Hanson and In My Feelings (28.3)


Maren Hanson and In My Feelings. Marie Cobb for Shannon Brinkman Photo

Few pairs can say that they’ve been to two national championships in as many weeks, but Maren Hanson and In My Feelings have done just that. Last week they competed in the children’s championships at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions (Illinois), and now they’re leading the beginner novice junior, 14 and under, championship at the AEC.


“I have been riding him about a year,” she said of “Drake.” “We found him in a pasture; our friends just called us and were like, ‘Hey, we have got this pony, and we know you are doing mounted games. Would you like to come and try him?’ They sent a picture, and we took him. But [we] were like, ‘Wait, this pony has dressage and eventing training,’ so we were like, ‘OK, let’s try dressage in the children’s national championship.’ So, we tried that and then we were kind of concerned if we could qualify or not.

“I asked my mom, and I was like, ‘OK, can we try some eventing?’ And she was like, ‘Let’s just try to preserve him for the dressage and try to not get him injured,’ because we found out he was 24. I finally tried the dressage, but we were going to might not make it. And I was like, ‘Come on. Let’s do some eventing,’ and she was like, ‘Sure.’ I qualified first try, and I was like, ‘Can we go to another one?’ And I ended qualifying [for dressage] in three tries.”

Beginner Novice Rider Championship: Sherry Pound and Gestalt (28.1)

For Sherry Pound, her journey to riding wasn’t a long and drawn out one after years of waiting; instead it was a bit of a snap decision.

“I always loved horses, and I was sitting in my house one day at the beach in San Diego, and I said, ‘That’s it. I want a horse,’ ” she said. “And two weeks later I was living on a couple of acres and had a leased horse. It’s been a journey since then.”


Sherry Pound and Gestalt. Bianca McCartney for Shannon Brinkman Photo

Her journey to the AEC included a broken leg after falling from Gestalt while going cross-country in January, but the pair have rebounded, and she’s currently leading the beginner novice rider championship with the 7-year-old Mecklenburg (Gloriosus—Celine).

“My horse is quite the big mover, so it has taken me a long time to learn how to ride him. He is very forward and powerful. I had a Quarter Horse before that so it’s been a journey to get there. Carsten Meyer, my coach, has just helped me every step of the way. He has given me confidence to know that I could take on a horse like that and, it would take a while, but we’d get there, so it has been lovely.”

Division Winners—

Training Amateur Championship: Erin Liedle and Fernhill Boodle (28.8)


Erin Liedle and Fernhill Boodle. Kimberly Loushin Photo

Training Horse Championship: Madeline Backus and Reflektion’s Rio (27.4)

Training Junior Championship: Abigail Mazzatta and Woodstock’s Little Nev (28.8)

Training Rider Championship: Ashley Perrin and I Claudius (30.7)

Leaders Following Cross-Country—

$60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final: Boyd Martin and Long Island T (30.2)


Novice Amateur Championship: Kaitlyn Brittendall and Blyth’s Madeline GS (26.3)

Novice Junior 15 & Under Championship: Crockett Miller and Mr. Panda (26.5)

Novice Junior Championship: Adalee Ladwig and Diego (28.5)

Novice Master Amateur Championship: Jane Musselman and Engapore (27.4)

Novice Rider Championship: Madeline Bletzacker and Drummer Boy (25.7)

19Madeline BletzackerDrummer BoyAEC_9717

Madeline Bletzacker and Drummer Boy. Kimberly Loushin Photo

Leaders Following Dressage—

Beginner Novice Amateur Championship: Hannah Reeser and Ltl Ireland Summr Soldier (23.8)

Beginner Novice Horse Championship: Alexa Ehlers and Clear Laveer (26.1)

Beginner Novice Junior Championship: Ava Stevens and Two Against The World (29.6)

Beginner Novice Master Amateur Championship: Carla Jimmerson and Valley Creek Carlin LeBeau (25.1)

The Chronicle is on-site at the USEA American Eventing Championships bringing you coverage and beautiful photos from the competition. If you know a pair with a unique story, email Kimberly at

All of the Chronicle’s AEC coverage.

Ride times and live scoring are here:

The schedule is available here:




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