Suzanna Curtis, a seventeen year old Morgan High senior from Enterprise, recently won reserve Training champion at the area nine event championships in Greeley Colorado. Suzi rides a seventeen year old thoroughbred mare named Amazing Grace (Gracie).
Area nine includes Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, South Dakota and most of Idaho and Montana, and is sanctioned under the USEA or United States Eventing Association under direction of the USEF or United States Equestrian Federation.
Only those who qualify at a sanctioned event can enter the championship bracket. Suzanna qualified at the Golden Spike Horse Trials in June by taking first place in the Open Training division at the Golden Spike event center in Ogden Utah. Oft times competitors are separated into Junior (18 and below) and Senior (older than 18) divisions, but at the Ogden and Greeley competitions juniors and seniors competed against each other.
Eventing is a horse and rider competition consisting of three disciplines often over a period of three days. The first phase is the dressage phase where horses and riders are judged on their ability to follow several directives as to movements, gaits and patterns. The riders accrue penalty points for movements that are not up to a perfect standard. The winner is the one with the fewest penalty points.
The second and perhaps most exciting phase is the cross country portion of the competition. In this phase competitors must complete a series of fixed obstacles over a course in a set amount of time.
The rate for the competition in Greeley was set at 480 meters per minute over a course of 2520 meters with twenty jumps set throughout the course. Training level jumps can be up to 3ft 3 high and 6 feet wide. A double clear round means there are no jump penalties or no time penalties.
The third phase is the show jumping phase where competitors must jump a course of movable jumps with rails, that can be knocked off which are set in an arena. The height at training level is 3ft 3 inches. There are penalties for knocking off any rails and for taking too much time. Again double clear means that there are no jumping or time penalties.
On Friday September 2 Suzanna started her championship competition with a dressage score of 33.5. This left Suzi and Gracie in third place in the competition. On Saturday she rode the cross country phase and went double clear keeping her in third place. On Sunday she rode the final Show Jumping phase and again went double clear. The second place competitor had two rails down so Suzi moved up to second place or reserve training champion for area nine.
Suzanna is an active member of the United States Pony Club and has a B rating. She trains locally at Three Lions Equestrian Center in Peterson under the training expertise of Trudy Guarante. Suzi has also received instruction from Karen Vanderlaan and Kathryn MacLeod.