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VIDEO: Marshall girl starts eventing season in Aiken

Friday, Mar. 21 | By Hannah Dellinger
Chase Shipka and Palm Crescent galloping through the water at Pine Top Advanced Horse Trials in Thomson, GA.
Courtesy Photo
Chase Shipka, 17-year-old Marshall resident and U.S. Eventing Association’s 2013 Junior Preliminary Rider of the year, has started her competition season early in Aiken, SC.

“Ultimately my future goal would definitely be to go to the Olympics and maybe to represent the U.S. somewhere in the world,” said Chase in a previous Fauquier Times article. “In the near future, [my goal is to] move up to a higher level.”

In order to pursue her eventing goals, Chase and her mother, Darcie Shipka, are staying in Aiken for three months so that she can train with Will Coleman, who evented for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team.

“Things in Aiken are really good,” said Chase in an email. “We have been focusing more on me and my position, so that I will be really solid when I move up to Intermediate at Morvan Park in a few weeks.”

Chase has competed her three horses, Palm Crescent, Victory Shetan and Ever So Lucky at two events so far this winter.

Victory Shetan won the Junior Open Preliminary division with a score of 34.2 at the Pine Top Winter Horse Trials on Feb. 7 in Thomoson, Ga. Chase and Palm Crescent finished fourth, and Ever So Lucky also finished sixth in the same division that day.

At the Pine Top Spring Advanced Horse Trials on Feb. 21, Chase and Palm Crescent won the Junior Open Preliminary division with a score of 40.3 and Victory Shetan placed fifth in the same division.

Chase is able to train through the winter in Aiken while still completing classes for her junior year at Foxcroft, because of the school’s Exceptional Efficiency program, which was created in order to cater to the schedules of students who need to take long periods of absence in order to compete or work in an extracurricular area in which they excel.

“The program is really interesting,” said Chase. “My teachers will send down tests or other assignments and we will send them back completed. Most of the materials I need are on a website called Haiku, where all the teachers post assignments.”

Chase said that she is able to keep up with her schoolwork, even though her training schedule is very demanding.

“I keep up pretty well with school,” said Chase. “We are usually a week behind (my classmates) at first, but then catch up very fast.”

Darcie is very pleased with her daughter’s work ethic and ability to excel in school and riding at the same time.

“Chase works endless hours every day,” said Darcie in an email. “It's amazing what she gets accomplished. Chase rides everyday and is a full time student and she is also preparing for the SAT and ACT."

Chase said that she misses her friends and roommates at Foxcroft, and looks forward to seeing them after spring break.

She said that she plans on returning to Aiken again next winter, because moving for the winter offers her a unique opportunity for to truly focus on her horses and her riding.

"I love coming down here because it’s the only time each year when it’s all about the horses, and advancing my riding career to the next level,” said Chase.

Chase believes that all of her horses have benefited greatly because of their migratory move down south. She said that she and the horses have learned many important lessons in Aiken.

“The most important thing I have learned in Aiken about riding is to take your time with each horse,” said Chase. “As far as school, I have learned to always look ahead at assignments so they don't come up unexpectedly.”

Read more about Shipka:http://www.fauquier.com/news/article/chaseshipka

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