Fairburn, Ga., Sept. 10
Anna Kjellstrom bought her Nutrena/USEA American Eventing Championships training amateur champion Blue Stockings as a yearling, but he wasn’t always destined for the cross-country course.
“ ‘Barney’ started out as a research horse,” said Kjellstrom, Versailles, Ky., whose husband, Joe Pagan, is the president of Kentucky Equine Research, a feed and supplement development company.
“When Barney was 6 years old, I decided I was going to break him and pulled him aside,“ Kjellstrom said. “He was very nervous at first and slow to get going. He’s 10 years old now and finally starting to focus and not nicker as much in the ring. It’s neat to find that he really enjoys it.”
Kjellstrom and Pagan keep a herd of 30 horses for their nutritional research, through which they’ve developed the KERx line of supplements, including DuraPlex and EquiShure. After a few years in the program, each horse is evaluated by Kjellstrom for a suitable second career. Some have gone on to pony club and show homes, while others have taken up residence in Kjellstrom’s own eventing program.
“Barney has had a long development process, and I’ve had several trainers that haven’t liked him and wanted me to move him along,” said Kjellstrom. “But I trained him by myself all the way and now he’s like a little sports car!”
Kjellstrom and Blue Stockings were second after dressage on a score of 29.6, but moved up after cross-country when overnight leaders Melissa Town and Sienna fell into the water jump. Though Kjellstrom and Blue Stockings pulled a rail in show jumping this afternoon, they still finished a point ahead of Madison Bonamarte and Chevelle to claim training amateur victory.
“I try so hard to never look at ribbons or standings,” said Kjellstrom. “I always tell people, ‘Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know! I’ll look at it once I’m done.’ If you ride as well as you can and hope that your horse compensates for some of your mistakes and they go as well as they can, then I’m always happy with that. But I’m very excited, I’ve had a wonderful time.”
In the novice junior division, Ashley Guidry and Mercedes, who maintained their dressage lead with a clean cross-country round, are hoping for a repeat performance of last year’s success.
“The pressure isn’t so bad, because the same thing happened last year in [the beginner novice junior championship]. We were in first after dressage and went clean cross-country. In stadium we usually go clear, so I’m thinking we’ll do it again tomorrow!” said Guidry, Elkhorn, Wis.
Guidry and “Sadie,” a German Riding Pony, have grown up together, benefiting from a nearly 6-year partnership.
“I’ve had her since she was nine months old,” said Guidry. “I broke her in, trained her and brought her all the way, and she’s 6 years old now. She’s an absolute diva. She wants everyone to pay attention to her all the time.”
After the AECs, Guidry is looking forward to spending two weeks working with dressage trainer Kathryn Barry in preparation for an upcoming first level championship.
“Mainly I focus on eventing, but we did a lot of dressage shows her first year of showing. She’s always been good at dressage, so we keep it up. It helps my eventing,” Guidry said.
Upper Levels Conclude
Barbara Crabo and Eveready II jumped clear over a challenging course to move up from third and claim advanced victory. Overnight leaders Allison Springer and Arthur added a rail and four time faults to finish on a score of 39.5, dropping to fifth place behind second-placed Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM (32.8), third-placed Doug Payne and Running Order (34.8) and fourth-placed Emily Beshear and Here’s To You (35.9). Springer also had a stop on Destination Known, and rails were common plunder throughout the division, with only five out of 16 riders achieving clear rounds.
In the intermediate, Kadi Eykamp and Double Rivers Really Cool finished the weekend the way they started it, with a nearly nine-point lead over second-placed Katlyn McMorris and Clifton Peekachu. Eykamp, McMorris and third-placed Buck Davidson on L.A. Albert all lowered a rail apiece, while Angela Grzywinski and Novelle jumped from 13th after cross-country to fourth place with a clear round. Only three of the 24 intermediate competitors kept the rails in their cups.
Novice and beginner novice divisions will wrap up tomorrow with show jumping.
For full results, click here.