Caroline Martin has Grown Up with the American Eventing Championships
Authored By: Leslie Mintz - USEA Staff
Caroline Martin was only 11-years-old when she competed at her first American Eventing Championships (AEC) in 2006 – finishing 32nd on Hideaway’s Corker in the Junior Training division. Martin has gone on to compete at the AEC several more times and at every venue the Championships has been held. She has had several top placings including finishing third in the Training Horse division in 2012 with Center Stage, a horse who Martin currently competes at the three-star level.
Martin competed in the Intermediate division last year at the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships presented by VTO Saddlery at the Texas Rose Horse Park in Tyler, Texas and this year she returns with Quantum Solace (Nacho), a 10-year-old Argentinian Sport Horse, to take on the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Advanced Final.
Although this year Martin will be contesting the Gold Cup Final for the first time, last year her horse, Petite Flower, won the class with Buck Davidson in the irons.
“This year has been a big year for Nacho explained Martin. “He competed in the CIC3* at Tatersalls in Ireland and the Bramham CCI3*-25 in England earlier this summer. I didn’t want him to do another CCI this year, but I wanted to take him to a show that has good competition and a good cross-country course so decided to enter him in the AEC.”
“The scheduling of the AEC also worked really well in his calendar as it isn’t too late in the season, so he will be able to do the competition and then come home and still have a long vacation,” continued Martin.
While Martin was competing five horses at the Plantation International CIC this past weekend (including two in the 2016 Adequan Gold Cup qualifying divisions), Nacho will be travelling with Buck Davidson’s two horses to Texas where Martin will meet him on Tuesday.
In addition to fitting in well into Nacho’s schedule, last year’s AEC made a positive impression on Martin contributing to her decision to return. “I thought it was great. The facility has big, matted stalls; the cross-country courses ran very well; the arenas’ footing was great. It is just the type of venue that checks all the boxes even though it is a bit of a haul for us. The whole Event was just really well done and everything just seemed to work which is why I wanted to go back.”
“As a competition itself, I think the AEC is a great thing,” said Martin. “We ask for prize money from all Events, and the AEC gives great prize money for all the levels as well as fantastic prizes. The competition is great and there are horses and riders from all over the country, so it is a great chance to compare yourself to them. We are lucky to have such a great organization that puts on such a fantastic show - the Association does so much for us that it is great to support them too.”
Martin is unique in that she has grown up with the AEC, competing as a kid in the junior divisions and now as a top rider in the Advanced. “At my first AEC in Southern Pines I remember that I thought it was so cool to see all the big guys like Phillip [Dutton] and Boyd [Martin]. Even though I was just going lower levels, it was so cool to ride with them and see their Advanced horses. It was just such an honor to be there because we work so hard all year, and is great to go to place where all your hard work has paid off just by qualifying to be there. It doesn’t matter what level you go – it is just a great thing to do.”
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