Cross-country took place today as the final phase of the CIC3* competition at Galway Downs in Temecula, Ca. This event was the third leg of the 2016 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series, of which the finale is the championship at this year’s Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships in Tryon, NC.
Ian Stark designed a challenging yet confidence boosting cross-country course for the horses and riders, many of which are using this event a preparation for the Rolex Kentucky CCI4* next month. There were many thoughtful combinations and friendly lines, but the pairs had to be accurate and ride forward through Stark’s course.
“I’m very happy with the way the CIC courses rode today,” said Stark. “I was pleasantly surprised because the courses caused very little trouble. I felt that this was a reasonably tough three-star track so I was surprised but impressed with riders. The riders were in great form and horses looked amazing so I am absolutely delighted.”
Overnight leaders Mackenna Shea and her own Landioso (Legendaer I x Aspen) jumped around the course confident and clear, picking up just 4.4 time penalties. Unfortunately, those few time penalties knocked the pair down to second place after Barb Crabo and her own Eveready (Irco Mena 763 x Fleetswinger XX) stole the lead by jumping around Stark’s course faster with only 1.2 time penalties.
Crabo’s 17-year-old Swedish Warmblood easily jumped around the cross-country course to end on their final weekend score of a 57. “We had an absolute blast, and [Eveready] was really, really fun to ride out there,” said Crabo with a smile. “He was super rideable, adjustable, and just so much fun. With him, I don’t get nervous for cross-country, I just head out there to play.”
Barb Crabo and Eveready on the CIC3* course. USEA Photo.
Crabo plans to take Eveready to Rolex Kentucky next month, and this was her final preparation before heading out to the prestigious CCI4*. When asked how she plans to take this next month with her mount, Crabo laughed and said, “lots of bubble wrap!”
Andrea Baxter and her own Thoroughbred mare Indy 500 were the only pair to jump around Stark’s CIC3* course without time penalties, landing the pair a third place finish. “I was ecstatic about my round today, and she was amazing,” Baxter exclaimed about her mare. “I’ve been working out corner obstacle issues with [Indy 500] all winter and I think I’ve finally got it all under control now, so I’m extremely excited – she essentially dragged me down to the corner today,” Baxter said with a smile. “I didn’t care about time at all, but I went out so determined to jump the corner that I was in beast mode to get it done. I didn’t wear a watch but ironically I came in right on time.” Baxter and Indy 500 plan to head to Jersey Fresh as their next step, and plan to aim for Rolex Kentucky in 2017.
Andrea Baxter piloting Indy 500 to the only double clear round of the day. USEA photo.
Course designer Ian Stark noted that “for some of the horses heading to Rolex, this will be their final preparation run. For those horses, I wanted this course to be big and attacking, but not overly technical. The lines were quite friendly but they still had to be accurate and go quite forward. I think it went well, and hopefully the horses move on from here with a lot of confidence.”
Overnight leaders Tamie Smith and Wembley maintained their lead after jumping clear with just 5.6 time penalties on the cross-country course. Wembley, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by Kevin Baumgardner, easily cruised around the course with Smith and the pair heads into the final phase on a 37.5. Heather Morris and The Team Express Group LLC’s Charlie Tango also navigated clear around the course with just 3.6 time penalties, holding onto their second place standing. The Advanced division, also part of the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series, will show jump Sunday starting at 1:15 p.m. (PST).
Tamie Smith riding Wembley in the Advanced. USEA Photo.
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About the Adequan USEA Gold Cup
Qualifying for the 2016 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Championship began last fall with the Richland Park Advanced & CIC3* (MI), Aspen Farms Advanced (WA), Plantation Field Advanced & CIC3* (PA) and the Woodside International Advanced & CIC3* (CA) and features 11 qualifying competitions throughout the United States at the Advanced Horse Trials and CIC3* levels. The final will take place at the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships, September 1-4 in Tryon, North Carolina. 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 2016 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series is made possible through the support of its many loyal sponsors: Adequan, Standlee Forage, Nunn Finer, Nutrena, Merck, Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency, and FITS.