On the final day of the American Eventing Championships, held at the Colorado Horse Park August 29-September 2, Cami Pease and her 18-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Vibrant found their redemption. Finishing on their dressage score, Pease and “Cal” won the Beginner Novice Amateur division and were crowned champions. “Ever since we had a stop on cross-country at Tryon at last year’s AECs, I’ve been saving up money to be able to make the trip to Colorado,” Pease stated. “It is pretty wild that we won and for him to have done this for me.”

A native of California, Pease headed East for school and now lives in Washington, DC, training with Steph Kohr at Waredaca in Laytonsville. With both herself and Cal getting their start in the hunter and jumper ring, Pease credits much of her success to Kohr saying, “She’s taught me everything about dressage and cross-country. We couldn’t have done this without her!”

Pease purchased Cal in 2011 while she was looking for a good equitation horse to do the talent search finals. “He was a big time equitation horse and we did the finals, hunter derbies and even some jumpers for practice,” Pease explained. In 2015, Cal had what many felt might be a career ending injury and needed time off. “We thought he’d have to be retired, but he came back strong.” Now living in eventing country in the heart of Area II, Pease decided to give eventing a try and found out quickly that Cal loved it. “I really had no idea if he’d jump a ditch or go through water, but he’s great!”

At the start of the 2018 season, Pease’s number one goal was to make it back to the AECs and jump clean. With a few Beginner Novice runs and a move up to Novice, Pease shipped Cal to Colorado and put in a dressage score of 24.5 to lead the Beginner Novice Amateur division. From there, Pease just focused on jumping clean cross-country and the pair did so with ease, maintaining their lead. She didn’t seem to let the pressure of being the leader going into show jumping affect her as the pair once again jumped clean to take home the win. “Show jumping is our best phase, so we both felt quite good going into that final day,” she said. “I’m just so proud of him.”

And now back in Maryland, Pease has set her sights on a few more goals before the 2018 season is over. “We’ve been doing classical dressage as well this season and will compete in the USDF regionals in October. I hope we can qualify for nationals,” she stated. And then there is the Novice Three-Day on their home turf at Waredaca. “Because of his age and his old injury, I really don’t know how much more time he’ll be able to give me, but for now he’s doing great and I’m looking forward to finishing out the season.”