By Leslie Potter/US Equestrian Communications Department
Ehrhardt, S.C. – Four new national champions emerged over the weekend at the 2021 USEF Endurance National Championships for CEIYJI1*, CEI1*, CEIYJ2*, and CEI2* divisions. Horse-and-rider combinations took on the South Carolina terrain at Broxton Bridge under cool and clear conditions on November 12 and 13, 2021.
2021 USEF CEI1* National Championship
Geneva Soule (Frenchtown, N.J.) and Meg Sleeper’s 2011 Arabian mare, Syrocco Madrigal, took the champion title in the CEI1* division. “Maddie” is a seasoned competitor, with 1530 endurance miles completed so far over her six-year career, and her experience helped take Soule to the National Championship win in the rider’s first time out at the event.
“I started competing in FEI rides last year with Meg’s horses, and this was my first National Championship ride,” said Soule. “The atmosphere was so friendly with everyone working toward a common goal: to keep the horses happy and healthy so we could get a completion. The Broxton Bridge trails and hospitality are something I always look forward to when I visit.”
Soule has gotten to know Maddie well as one of her caretakers at home.
“I hadn’t actually ridden Maddie in about two years, but I’ve known her and have helped care for her during that time as the manager of Meg Sleeper’s New Jersey farm, Goodwink Farm,” said Soule. “Maddie is a great mare and is very easy going around the farm. It’s fun seeing her develop as a competitor, and she definitely lets her herdmates know that she’s an accomplished endurance horse!”
The Reserve National Champion title for the CEI1* went to Jose Ortega (Miami, Fla.) and Nazeefs Flashy Rose, a 2007 Arabian mare owned by Cheryl Van Deusen.
2021 CEIYJ1* National Championship
Sydnie Tycer (Natalbany, La.) and Gypsy Brocade, her 2008 Arabian mare, earned the National Champion title in the CEIYJ1* as well as the Best Condition award for the one-star division. Tycer and “Gypsy” have built a bond over seven years together, and that connection helped them to finish strong.
“She has such a big personality and is always willing to please,” said Tycer. “She can be a little overdramatic and feisty at times, but she gets calmer as the race goes on. One of my biggest highlights [from the National Championship] was crossing the finish line. She was extremely forward the entire time and never lost motivation to go.”
Looking ahead, Tycer has ambitions of representing the U.S. in endurance competition on the world stage. “My goal for 2022 is to get all of my qualifications to be on the U.S. Young Rider Team,” she said. “I hope to reach these goals by the end of the year.”
Reserve National Champion honors in the division went to Avery Betz-Conway (Kingsland, Ga.) and RR Soldier, a 2012 Arabian gelding owned by Stephen Rojek.
2021 USEF CEIYJ2* National Championship
Charly Dugan (Muncy, Pa.) and her 2012 Arabian gelding, Southern Justice, rode to the win in the CEIYJ2* division. Dugan and “Roo” are capping off an exciting year of competition in which they competed as part of the U.S. Endurance Team at the 2021 FEI Endurance World Championship for Young Riders and Juniors in Ermelo, The Netherlands, in September.
Roo is a former show horse re-trained for endurance by Dugan’s mom, Sally Jellison. Dugan took over the ride last year in the lead up to the World Championship. Dugan and Jellison were able to ride together for part of the course at Broxton Bridge, which Dugan cites as a highlight of the weekend.
“Roo can be a spook monster, but he’s always well intentioned and he’s very sweet,” said Dugan. “When competing, he puts his big boy pants on and is all business. The first loop is always a struggle, but after that it’s smooth sailing.
“Looking ahead to 2022, I have several goals for Roo,” said Dugan. “They are completing his first 3*, getting most of my rides with him to get my Elite Status, and continuing to spend time in the ring with him to work on equitation.”
2021 USEF CEI2* National Championship
Erin Lemmons (Hico, Texas) and Tuscarora John, her own 2006 Arabian gelding, earned the National Champion title in the CEI2*, finishing the 120km ride with a time of 7:30:15. Lemmons and Tuscarora John have a long history together, having competed at the FEI level since 2016.
The Reserve National Champion title went to Cheryl Van Deusen (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) and JG General, her own 2012 Arabian gelding.
The Best Condition award for the two-star division went to third-place finishers Kelsey Russell (Williston, Fla.) and Tru Beau Sardi, a 2013 Arabian gelding owned by Cheryl Van Deusen.