Back on Top! HGF-sponsored Rachel Chowanec and Embrujado XI are USEF Reserve National Champions for the Young Rider Division10.28.2013
It seems like only yesterday that a very shy 14 year-old arrived in Michigan from Connecticut to try out one of our horses. The little girl was Rachel Chowanec, a Lendon Gray student since she was 5 years old. The horse was Embrujado XI, an atypical PRE with behavioral issues that Lendon Gray couldn’t resist and had to own. All along, Gray had Rachel in mind for the imported gray gelding, and once again, she made the right call.
Rachel took Embrujado (whom she quickly renamed “Mouse”) home with her to Connecticut, and the PRE with too much spook and too much bull-fighting instinct suddenly had pink wraps and ribbons in his long mane. It was the start of a transformation that has now taken this pair from nowhere to the National spotlight…twice!
They first appeared in Gladstone in 2011 at the Junior Level, surprising many with their focused and technically accurate tests. That year they were Reserve National Champions for Junior Division. Rachel had clearly made a fundamental difference in Mouse’s life, but now we know they were only getting started.
In the beginning of this year, Rachel and Mouse started along a rough road, with several small niggling injuries keeping them out of consistent competition. Their show record was sporadic, and fell short of a score to qualify for NAJYRCs. Over the summer, they attended Lendon Gray’s EDAP clinic in Maryland, as well as rode in her clinic at HGF in June. Rachel also schooled with Andrea Landis and Nicholas Fyffe over the summer with a number of her PRE projects. But their inability to show consistently this year kept them out of the top 12 for the USEF National Championships, although they were named as an alternate.
Yet luck was on their side, and with only two weeks to go till the competition, Rachel received the official invitation to compete. They traveled to Kentucky not really feeling 100% prepared but very happy to be included.
Again this year as in 2011, the harmony of their partnership along with the technical accuracy of their tests brought them straight up to the top of the ranking. They were up against the 2013 NAJYRC Gold Medalist and yet by the second day, the gap was closing. Scoring 65.474 in the Team Test, and 67.237 in the Individual, Rachel and Mouse took the USEF Reserve National Championships again as Young Riders.
Rachel’s achievements with Embrujado represent the highest national recognition that a PRE has reached in the United States to date, and she says they have more in store. We can’t wait to see where it goes from here!