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Wed, 2018-11-28 08:03

A First for Full Moon Farm and the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award

A happy Santana II and a focused Welker-Ebling on their way to winning the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award. GRC Photography Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Welker-Ebling.

On November 11, Area II ended the 2018 season with the Full Moon Farm Horse Trials in Finksburg Maryland. Finishing the season with a positive note, Full Moon Farm was excited to host Area II’s Charles Owen Technical Merit Award. Judged by Stephen Bradley, Elizabeth Welker-Ebling on Santana II and Nicholas D’Amore on Celtic Heritage took home the Charles Owen Technical Merit Awards for their safe effective cross-country rounds.

Their first outing together and already acknowledged for their partnership together on cross-country - the future is bright for Elizabeth Welker-Ebling and Santana II (Camax L x Hofdame H), the 8-year-old Oldenburg mare. “Very recently we welcomed Santana II to our family and already she is teaching me more than I could ever have hoped for,” said Welker-Ebling. Previously owned by Lauren Burnell and successfully campaigned up to the two-star level by Rebecca Braitling, Welker-Ebling looks forward to growing her partnership with Santana II, who goes by the barn name of Annie. “[Braitling and Annie] were tremendously successfully together and I hope continue the trend. I am very excited to see where our partnership takes us!”

After completing her first starter trial with her first pony, Batteries Not Included, Welker-Ebling became hooked on eventing in 2015. Graduating from a pony to a horse, Welker-Ebling fell in love with a 9-year-old Westphalian mare named Cathy Connection, also known as CeCe. “Without CeCe I would not be the rider or person I am today,” Welker-Ebling shared. “We found Catchy Connection in August 2016 and to say it was love at first sight would be an understatement. In the two years that we’ve been together we went from going Beginner Novice to confidently running the CCI* at the Virginia Horse Trials in November 2018.”

Welker-Ebling was honored to receive the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award and described it as “a great way to start my partnership with Annie.”


Nicholas D’Amore and Celtic Heritage on cross-country. Photo courtesy of Nicholas D’Amore.

“By accident” was how Nicholas D’Amore fell in love with eventing. “I was initially going to go into the jumper world and had leased a little pony to start that journey. The barn I moved to had two trainers based out of it - one a jumper and the other an eventer. I rode with both the trainers and fell in love with eventing. I ended up buying a little paint pony named Tatanka and took up eventing full time,” said D’Amore.

At seven years old, D’Amore started riding horses and has memories of going for pony rides with his grandmother. In 2007, D’Amore’s grandfather purchased a Thoroughbred farm in Paris, Kentucky and D’Amore described that event as “the catalyst for me going all in on horses.”

In August 2017, D’Amore’s and his winning partner, Celtic Heritage, started their partnership. “I got Celtic Heritage just over a year ago in August of 2017. Before I purchased him, [Celtic Heritage aka] Logan was going Preliminary and one-star level.” After having a frustrating time competing his previous horse, Jitterbug, D’Amore shared, “I sold JB and found Logan so that I could have a more positive experience riding. Logan [has taught] me jumping can be fun and allowed me to finish a cross-country course for the first time in a year.”

Coming home from Full Moon Farm with two wins, as the pair also won the Training Rider B division, D’Amore explained his future plans with Logan. “Logan and I plan to complete my first one-star before I head off to college next fall. Over the course of a year we have improved as a pair and were able to win our final event of the season at Full Moon Farm. We hope that this carries over to Aiken and throughout the 2019 season.”

Congratulations for both Nicholas D’Amore and Elizabeth Welker-Ebling on their exceptional cross-country rounds at Full Moon Farm Horse Trials!

About the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award
In 2009, the Professional Horseman’s Council in partnership with Charles Owen founded the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award to reward juniors and adult amateurs for demonstrating safe and appropriate cross-country riding technique and educate riders and trainers as to what constitutes safe cross-country riding.

The Charles Owen Technical Merit Award is presented at one event in each USEA Area each year at the Training level to one junior rider and one adult amateur rider who have not competed at the Intermediate level or above. Every eligible rider at the Training level is automatically judged during their cross-country round on the five criteria listed below and receives a score sheet with written comments, providing valuable feedback on their cross-country riding technique. Level III and IV ICP instructors, USEF licensed eventing officials, and USET Senior Team riders are all qualified to judge the Award. Click here to learn more about the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award.

The USEA would like to thank Charles Owen for sponsoring the Technical Merit Award.

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