Sept. 23, 2005 -- The second annual American Eventing Championships (AEC) at the Carolina Horse Park in Raeford, N.C., wrapped up September 18 with preliminary, intermediate and advanced championship show jumping over courses designed by British designer Richard Jeffries. The courses proved technical enough to change the standings yet rideable enough that several riders at each level produced double clear rounds.
The AEC is the national championship for event riders at all levels from novice to advanced, offering $50,000 in prize money and $75,000 in prizes. Practical Horseman magazine was a Gold Level Sponsor of the event.
In the Advanced championship 24-year-old Will Faudree and Antigua had one rail down and finished on 30.30. Nathalie Bouckaert Pollard also had one rail down to finish on 37.7, followed by Karen O'Connor and Upstage, again with one rail down on course. Faudree could have afforded one more rail to maintain the lead.
"I didn't even know I had the rail," said Faudree. "Bobby Costello told me when I came out of the ring. That was good because I kept on it all the way. I was happy with it anyway--we always want to jump clear, but I'm glad I didn't let if affect the performance."
Three divisions of preliminary ran in the morning, with all the action centered in the main arena so patrons and sponsors could enjoy the competition from the main tent while enjoying a catered brunch and cocktails.
Doug Payne, 23, of Califon, N.J., rode his big bay Irish gelding Cornerhouse in a double clear round that secured the Open Preliminary win (31.2) when overnight leader Allison Kelly-Coates, riding Irish Cavalier, had one rail down and slipped to third place (34.5). The 2004 North American Young Riders Preliminary level gold medalist Nate Chambers, 18, of Middleburg, Va., rode Rolling Stone II to place second on his dressage score of 32.0.
Mark Weissbecker and Birch Hill Farm's Top Gallant (31.5) won the Preliminary Horse Championship just a hair in front of Michael Pollard and Voltaire (31.8). Karen O'Connor on Mr. Ripley (39.5) dropped two rails and traded places with Pollard to finish third.
Diana Brown, a business student at the University of South Carolina, jumped around clear riding One 2 One to win the Preliminary Junior/YR championship (35.30). Lisa Barry on L'Cedric finished second (39.2) and Lauren Kieffer on Snooze Alarm placed third (40.0).
Jessica Kiener won the Intermediate division on My Boy Bobby with a score of 36.9. Robert Costello on Wild Delight finished second (38.7), and Stuart Black on Fleeceworks Pacific Storm placed third (39.9).