September 20-22, Asheville, North Carolina ~ The 2012 Adequan AERC Championship located at the Biltmore Equestrian Center in Asheville, North Carolina.
Thursday, September 20, was another good day for Dr. Margaret (Meg) Sleeper.
Riding her home-bred Arabian, Syrocco Cadence (Syrocco Troubador x Edgewood Schelite), Sleeper won the AERC 100 Mile Championship, the Arabian Horse Association (AHA) Championship, and Best Condition for both divisions in a ride time of 10:59:01. Eone Willemse riding Valerie Kanavy’s Wild Irish Gold was on her heels and came in second. The next riders were 23 minutes behind.
“We had a great day at the ride,” said Sleeper. “I rode from the second loop on with Eone on Val’s Irish and we had a great ride . It was a lot of fun and both horses paced well together. We decided to race off the last part of the loop (it was probably 1/4 mile) and Cadie won by a head. Cadie is by my stallion, Syrocco Troubador, out of my mare, Edgewood Schelite, and is a 1/2 sister of the mare I was riding in the WEC.” (Syrocco Reveille – Sleeper was the first U.S. rider to cross the finish line in 11th place)
“Cadie is a funny mare – she is little – only 14.1 and 750 pounds. However, she is really, really tough and probably my most opinionated horse. She has matured a lot in the last year (she just turned 9). She used to be a real challenge to rate, but that has improved dramatically and I was thrilled with her start and first loop on this ride. On the other side of the coin, she is incredibly competitive and loves the race. If I ride well and rate her appropriately, she feels as strong at the end of the ride as at the beginning -and that is how she felt last week. She just takes my breath away sometimes.”
Ride day proved to be a sunny clear day, but a few days before the ride, chaos rained. Ride Manager, Cheryl Newman said they had to move parking and camping onto higher ground as the 18-hour rain had soaked the area and swollen the nearby French Broad river to overflowing. Luckily the sun came out and most of the trails were dry for the Thursday ride.
“The experience of the riders showed that while the trails and miles took their toll, the completion rates were fully respectable: 65% in the 100 mile ride; and 76% in the 50 mile ride,” said Newman.
Syrocco Cadence was bred by Meg Sleeper and husband, Dave Augustine, at their Canterbury Grove Farm near Frenchtown, New Jersey. The mare known as Cadie had an endurance career start in 2009, a good season in 2010 with a 4th at the 2010 Canadian Championships and then took Young Rider, Jennifer Stevens, to 1st and BC at the FEI North American Young Riders Championship. In the 2011 season, highlights included a 4th and BC at the FEI Biltmore Challenge as well as 5 other rides, 5 of them 50s.
AERC 100 Thursday September 20
Meg Sleeper on Syrocco Cadence 10:59:01 BC
Eone Willemse My Wild Irish Gold 10:59:02 2nd highest BC score
Nicki Young Meuten FYF Dutch 11:22:01
Lynn Kenelly Basha Bada Bing 11:22:02
Mustafa Tehrani AF Big Bucks 11:42:00
Final rider to finish was April Johnson on Santana with 19:07 hours of riding time
Finished 31 out of 48
Saturday September 22
AERC 50 Mile, 50 mile Teams
Full Results: http://www.aercatbiltmore.com/results.html