Best friends, business partners, supporters and coaches – Tamra Smith and Heather Morris wear many hats together including topping the three-star divisions at The Event at Rebecca Farm following dressage day today. Both Smith and Morris were the only three-star riders to earn scores in the 40s from the Ground Jury of Christian Landolt, Robert Stevenson and Helen Brettell.
While the two are in different divisions this weekend, that often isn’t the case and the fiercely competitive duo don’t mind going head-to-head. “I feel like I’m competing against myself,” explained Smith. “I don’t feel like I’m competing against Heather – the best one wins that day. If I don’t win, I want her to win and vice versa. There’s no rivalry at all. It’s very cohesive.”
In the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* dressage today, Smith laid down a 42.6 aboard Judith McSwain’s Fleeceworks Royal (Riverman x Marisol). The 8-year-old Holsteiner mare is a USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) graduate, who won the Holekamp/Turner Grant that enabled the pair to compete at Le Lion d’Angers, the World Young Horse Championships, in France last year during “Rory’s” 7-year-old season. Smith is also a past recepient of the USEA Foundation's Rebecca Broussard International Developing Rider Grant.
“I was thrilled with Rory,” Smith said. "It’s not too often that I halt and feel really happy, and I just dropped the reins and hugged her because she was super rideable and wonderful the whole test. There’s certainly still some things we have to work on, but she’s been so fun. We have a great partnership. I’ve had her since she was 3-and-a-half, so it’s so fun to see how far she’s come and how strong she is.”
Smith holds an 8.1 lead over second placed Emily Pestl-Dimmitt and her own 14-year-old Bavarian Warmblood, Airlington (Abanos x Eleonore) heading into the cross-country phase tomorrow
Heather Morris claimed the lead in the CCI3* with Charlie Tango. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.
In the CCI3* Morris and The Team Express Group LLC’s 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse, Charlie Tango (Shannondale Sarco St. Ghyvan x Our Queen Bee) scored a 46.1. The pair sits 4.9 points ahead of Erin Sylvester and Frank Macentee’s 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Paddy the Caddy.
“He [Charlie Tango] was a little sassy, as usual, today,” explained Morris. “He was good today, but my warm up routine was a bit off, so I went into the arena a bit flustered and he got a bit tense. I didn’t think my test was very good, but when I came out and Tamie told me it looked nice, I was happy, and I was even happier that the judges loved him today. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow.”
“We’re best friends, and it’s awesome” said Morris of Smith. “I come help her, and she helps me – what more could you ask for?” Together, they have about 13 students at Rebecca Farm that they’re coaching this week, which to them, is a light freight. “In past years, we’ve had nearly 30 students at events, but we’re trying to refocus and take more time to concentrate on our riding, and at the same time, give our smaller group of students the care and time they deserve,” said Smith.
Cross-country action for the top levels is on Saturday from 11:15 a.m. to 1:05 p.m. and the divisions close out with show jumping on Sunday from 2:40 to 3:40 p.m.
For all Rebecca Farm live scores, go here.
For other helpful links, read the USEA article, Rebecca Farm Fast Facts.
About the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series
The 2017 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series features 11 qualifying competitions throughout the United States at the Advanced horse trials and CIC3* levels. Qualifying began last fall and continues through August with the final taking place at the USEA American Eventing Championships, August 30 – September 3 at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, N.C. Riders who complete a qualifier earn the chance to vie for $40,000 in prize money and thousands of dollars in prizes in the Adequan Advanced Division and the title of Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion.
The 2017 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series is made possible through the support of its many loyal sponsors: Adequan, Standlee Forage, Nutrena, Merck Animal Health, Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency and FITS.