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Amanda Miller Atkins Gallops Away With The Win At FENCE
Landrum, SC, USA

It was a weekend of firsts at the SmartPak Equine/USEA Training Three-Day Event at FENCE Horse Trials, in Landrum, SC. The first time FENCE hosted a Training Three-Day. The first Training Three-Day of 2010, and the first rider of the day took home first prize.

Most eventers don't strive to achieve the same placing as their bridle number, but for Amanda Miller Atkins it was a sensible goal as she was assigned number one at FENCE Horse Trial's inaugural SmartPak Equine/USEA Training Three-Day. Amanda, riding Candace Sorrell's Connemara/Thoroughbred gelding, Connor of Clearfield, finished on her dressage score of 38.6.

The 29-year-old from Clayton, North Carolina has been eventing since she was 11-years-old and is now an USEA ICP Certified Instructor at Level 1.

"I have only been riding Connor six weeks before the three-day," Amanda explained. "He came to me for sale, and I told his owner Candace Sorrell to give me a week to evaluate him. I had an instant connection with him, so I went home to put a plan together. I saw that FENCE was holding their first three-day. Candace had no one even call about him in four months, and we thought there was no better way to get him out there than the three-day. This was his third training and only my second event with him! FENCE was a little bittersweet because I had people coming to try Connor for sale. When I drove home Sunday night after the event I had an email from his owner, Candace. She thinks she has a diamond in the rough and thought we made a great team so let's see what he is truly capable of and take him off the market. I can't lie, that was icing on the cake! I am so excited to keep the ride for now. So now who knows what the future holds, but for now this story is just beginning . . ."

Amanda continued, "My favorite part of the weekend was first and foremost Connor. What an amazing horse! When I ride him, he brings a smile to my face! Next was my support group. It takes a lot of people to make this happen and I couldn't have done it without all the help at the event and back home at the farm. The venue was a great place for a three-day. The organizers and officials did a great job at helping everyone get through the event. But, honestly my favorite part was the steeplechase, and I think I can speak for everyone!"

Second place finisher, Cassidy Sitton riding Subway Prophet, agreed with Amanda about the fun of Steeplechase. "I think there's an amount of swagger a horse picks up after they run a three-day. I know Prophet's opinion of himself has definitely gotten better (if that was even possible!). FENCE did a great job of putting on a beautiful event – there are few things cooler then galloping up that steeplechase hill and around the track!"

Melissa Le Roy, the Organizer of FENCE Horse Trials, said that the event decided to add a Training Three-Day to the schedule because of the fantastic facilities already in place including the Steeplechase track.

"The weather and the competitors' great comments and smiles from all the wonderful changes our course designer (Jon Wells) made to the cross country course were my favorite part of the event," Melissa said. "For a first time event, I think it was flawless, and we will host the T3D again next year. Hopefully everyone will go ahead and mark their calendars for the first weekend in April and join us at FENCE!"

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