Allie Sacksen & Sparrow’s Nio – Rookie Ride to Rolex 2015

Allie and Sparrow's Nio at the 2014 Fair Hill International CCI3* where they placed 27th out of 53 starters


“Rookie Ride to Rolex” is another new series on Eventing Connect. This week we are bringing you a group of Rolex hopefuls who are currently qualified and training to make their debut at North America’s only four-star and most respected event.

Allie Sacksen and Sparrow’s Nio
For the last two years, Allie Sacksen, has been strategically competing her popular little mount, Sparrow’s Nio, with Rolex in the back of her mind. This year there has been a shift in thinking as Rolex is the only thing on her mind as she prepares for her first four-star.

In 2013, Allie and her amazing grey were the pride and joy of Fair Hill winning the CCI2* in their home town on their dressage score of 47.8. Since then, they have been honing their skills at the Advanced level while training with Linda Zang for dressage and Sara Kozumplik-Murphy for jumping.

The little cross-country machine, a 15.3-hand Connemara-cross, was purchased as a 7-year-old with out any competition experience in 2010. He quickly moved up the levels and completed his first Advanced level event in the fall of 2013 just prior to winning the CCI2* at Fair Hill.

Allie and Sparrow's Nio at the 2014 CIC 3* at Richland Park

Allie and Sparrow’s Nio at the 2014 CIC 3* at Richland Park

Last year, Allie made the decision to become a professional rider starting her own business. However, to train for Rolex she has moved to Aiken for the winter and will only be teaching her students during spring break when they join her. She is taking this time to seriously focus on her riding and ensure that she is prepared for the biggest riding challenge of her life. Allie says, “This has been a dream and a goal and I can’t believe I am actually in training for my first four-star.”

Allie and Sparrow's Nio at the 2014 Fair Hill International CCI3* getting their final qualification for Rolex 2015

Allie and Sparrow’s Nio at the 2014 Fair Hill International CCI3* getting their final qualification for Rolex 2015

Training has begun and they are currently working on trot sets. Near the end of February, they will begin gallop sets. “For Fair Hill, I was doing three nine minute sets, but Sara is thinking three eights. My goal is to compete at the Carolina International and have his fitness peak at The Fork. Then just maintain it until Rolex.”

In addition to working on her horse’s fitness, Allie is making sure that she is also fit for the grueling 12 minute course of at least 30 obstacles. She says, “I was winded after the two-star at Fair Hill in 2013. However, this past year I have been riding at least six horses a day and working on my core, and I was not winded at all after the three-star at Fair Hill in October so I am keeping the same plan.”

While in Aiken, she is training with Richard Lamb for show jumping but Sara will be her main coach at the prep events and at Rolex.

We will be following Allie and her charming pocket rocket all the way to Rolex. So check back for updates.

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