Exciting Finishes at the Wellpride American Eventing Championships
RELEASE: September 20, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Amber Heintzberger
Nothing was easy to predict in the show jumping phase of the advanced division at the Wellpride American Eventing Championships (AEC) at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, IL. Only Canadian Young Rider Kelly List and Minstral were able to put in a double-clear round.
Dressage leader Allison Springer, who was in fifth place going into the final phase aboard Arthur, had eight time faults to finish on 40.7. She was followed by fourth-placed Corinne Ashton on Dobbin with one rail down for a score of 36.5. Darren Chiacchia on Timothy Holekamp’s Windfall II followed, dropping two rails to finish on 38.4. Second-placed John Williams and Sloopy were ranked second going into the final phase, but three rails down plus a time fault dropped them to a final sixth-place (42.6) finish. Last to go for the day, overnight leaders Becky Holder and Courageous Comet, had even more trouble with the course, dropping four rails and adding four time faults to their score, for a final position in eighth place—sending Ashton and Dobbin to the winner’s circle.
It has been a successful year for Ashton, who won Adequan USEA Gold Cup events at Southern Pines, finished second at the Cosequin Stuart Horse Trials, and just last month won an advanced division at Millbrook Horse Trials, also part of the Gold Cup Series. An employee of Dover Saddlery and mother of two daughters, Ashton has commented that she feels now is the time for her to really “go for it” with Dobbin. She and the 13-year-old gelding have already competed at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** and look poised to do so again. Intermediate
Nate Chambers was overcome with emotion after winning the intermediate championship on his 11-year old Hessen gelding Rolling Stone II, finishing on their dressage score of 33.4. Chambers, 19, of Middleburg, VA, won the preliminary championship at the inaugural AEC in 2004, also with Rolling Stone II. The pair moved up to intermediate level last year and had a few growing pains, but started training with Mara Dean and Phillip Dutton last winter, which Chambers said has improved his riding tremendously. The proof is in his results: last month he earned an Individual Silver medal at the North American Junior and Young Riders’ Championships in Lexington, VA. After this weekend’s win, he said that his horse has earned a rest and will have some time off until December when he’ll start work again in preparation for going to Aiken to train and compete starting in January.
Chambers rose to the occasion and put in a double-clear round following dressage leader Williams and Sweepea Dean, who added time faults to cross-country to tie Chambers’ score going into show jumping. Williams and his gelding had two rails down to finish as reserve champions on a score of 41.4.
“I always love the AEC,” Chambers said. “It’s a lot of fun, and I love the big show atmosphere—it feels like a big deal.”
Chambers also finished 33rd in the preliminary junior/young rider division aboard George Grayson’s Truman IX, a horse that he said is still quite green at this level. Preliminary
Jennie Brannigan of Temecula, CA, had a stellar weekend, winning the preliminary junior/young rider division with Cooper, her six-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding that she bought last year from Kelli Temple. Later in the day, Brannigan claimed the training junior/young rider division aboard Mona Munos’ Plain Jane (27.9).
“She’s a super kid,” commented Brannigan’s coach and employer, Mike Winter. “She’s going to be good—she’s a very talented rider.”
Tiffany Lunnie and My Tuition took top honors in the preliminary amateur championship after Lisa Barry withdrew and overnight leader Duncan MacRae crossed his tracks on course and was eliminated.
Lauren Kieffer and David O’Connor’s Walk on the Moon started out in eighth (29.2), moved up to third after cross-country and finished