When Wellpride signed on as the title sponsor of the U.S. Eventing Association's national championships over three years ago, we were proud when the event became known as the Wellpride AEC or WAEC. Who knew that three years later it would affectionately become known as the Wellpride AE Seas.
An unbelievable deluge is the reason for the change in the last part of that acronym. The event, which took place September 10-14 at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois, a distant Chicago suburb, received a significant amount of rain on Friday, September 12 that left competitors more than a little soggy, but that was nothing compared to a record 6.5 inches the next day that caused flooding, forcing road closings throughout the area, and even grounding hundreds of flights at Chicago O'Hare Airport.
Event officials were forced to shorten the format for the upper three levels of the competition which ran as a combined test, meaning that due to safety concerns with the footing they did not run the cross-country portion of the competition. Thankfully the lower three levels, which included the bulk of the entries, were able to run all three phases and finish up Friday and Saturday--a little damp, but none the worse for wear.
(Right: Leslie Law of Great Britain and Beatrice & Guy Rey-Herme's Fleeceworks Mystere du Val won the Advanced division this year. Dr. Chalmers of Wellpride, Tom Moxley, co-owner of Lamplight Equestrian Center, and a representative from Amerigo saddles presents Law with their winnings. Emily Daily photo.
Nearly 400 competitors from around the country and from every level of competition made the trip to Illinois for the 2008 Wellpride AEC. This year's world class competitors included 2004 Olympic gold medalist Leslie Law; two-time Olympians Amy Tryon and Becky Holder, who just recently returned from the Beijing Games; Olympic, Pan American, and World Equestrian Games competitor Darren Chiacchia, and past Olympians Mara Dean and HawleyBennett. They were joined by some of the country's top up-and-comers including Jennie Brannigan and Will Coleman. In all, competitors from five countries and three continents made this a WAEC to remember.
At the end of the day it was Leslie Law and Fleeceworks Mystere du Val who took top honors in the Advanced division, and Becky Holder and Rejuvenate at the top of the leaderboard in the Intermediate, with Jennie Brannigan and Cooper hot on their heels in second.
Eventers are a hardy bunch, and no amount of rain could dampen their enthusiasm for the event and the support of title sponsor Wellpride, which was evident in the number that were staying dry under bright yellow Wellpride ponchos as well as their dogs that were sporting the Wellpride bandanas. In addition all the competitors received hunter green and tomato red water buckets and emblazoned with the Wellpride logo.
And those that stopped by the Wellpride booth in the trade fair had a chance to find out more about what the product could do for their horses, and at the same time sample Omega Cure, the Wellpride equivalent for humans, as well as sister company, AMBO Foods newest product, Omega Cookie® the perfect breakfast for the on-the-go equestrian, that include a daily dose of omega-3 and come in delicious flavors including Cranberry, Ginger Raisin and Chocolate Chip. Wherever you were on the show grounds, the Wellpride presence was a strong one.
"It has been such a pleasure being part of this event and a USEA sponsor for the past three years," said Dr. Anne-Marie Chalmers, company co-founder with husband Dr. Bo Martinsen. "Event horses are truly the supreme equine athlete, and I cannot think of a more perfect fit for our product, and we hope to support this association, its members and its horses, for many years to come."