Local equestrian competes in national competition

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 5, 2012

On the heels of the Olympic games, a local teenager has shown promise in the equestrian sport of eventing by finishing well at the United States Eventing Association’s American Eventing Championships held Sept. 6-9 at Chattahoochee Hills Eventing in Fairburn, Ga.
Taylor Pence, 16, daughter of Stephen and Lissa Pence of Concord and a senior at Cox Mill High School, finished in a tie for fifth place out of a field of 89 competitiors in the Beginner Novice division of competition. Taylor rode Goldie, a 13 year old quarterhorse owned by Christina Miller of Salisbury. Taylor is trained by Morgan Whitehead Harper of Harper Equestrian in Salisbury and has also trained with Lisa Wagner of Phoenix Farm in Salisbury. Taylor was coached on site by Lauren Weil of Big Time Eventing in Alpharetta, Georgia. Taylor’s mother, Lissa, is the Program Supervisor for the Rowan County Guardian ad Litem Program.
The United States Eventing Association is the governing body for the sport. The competition is the culmination of the eventing season and draws competitors from all over the country with some trailering their horses for as much as 24 hours just to compete.
The sport of eventing is comprised of three phases of competition – dressage, cross country and stadium jumping. Competitors riding the dressage phase of competition must ride set patterns performing defined movements at specific points in the arena showing control of the horse. In the cross country phase, competitors gallop across the countryside jumping natural and man-made elements, riding through water, up and down steep banks and finishing as close to the optimum time as possible. Stadium jumping is made up of a series of brightly colored and decorated jumps that must be ridden in the correct order without dropping any fence rails.
Pence hopes to ride at the college level and beyond. She plans to continue her training and competition in preparation for the AECs next year in Texas.