The first west coast host event of the 2016 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series kicked off today at Galway Downs in Temecula, Ca. There are eight paris in both the CIC3* and Advanced division, and either serices as a qualifier for the 2016 Final taking place labor day weekend at the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships at the Tryon International Equestrian Center.
Five of the eight pairs in the CIC3* are entered in the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event in April, creating a high level of competition at Galway Downs as the riders prepare for the prestigious CCI4*.
Tamra Smith was the first to enter the dressage arena in the CIC3*, laying down a solid and consistent test on Dempsey, an 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by the West Coast Dempsey Syndicate. Though each pair produced accurate and impressive tests, it was Mackenna Shea and her own Landioso (Legendaer I x Aspen) that came out on top of the leaderboard after dressage. The 14-year-old Bavarian Warmblood gelding entered the ring looking flashy and confident, and completed the test on a 43.3; over eight points ahead of second place contenders Jennifer McFall and her own Holsteiner gelding, High Times.
Shae, who earned a spot on the USEF E-25 High Performance Training list this winter, said that Landioso felt good in the dressage arena today despite a rushed warm up. “I had a really good lesson yesterday so I think that helped me a lot,” said Shea. “He is really good on the flat and I know him so well that I felt like I was able to go in there and do everything we needed to do and practice what we’ve been working on.”
Michael Jay Curtis’ show jumping course proved to be a tough course to navigate without faults, as five out of the eight CIC3* riders had multiple rails down. Mackenna Shea had three rails down aboard Landioso, but still maintained the lead at the end of the day.
“I had a few rails down and the course was pretty challenging,” said Shea. “But it was a really good course because it gave you room to jump fences and keep flowing down to them, and then the verticals made you rebalance and get your horse back in check.” Shea then explained, “when the [CIC] format is this way, I have a hard time in the show jumping because he’s so rideable. He’s normally pretty aggressive in show jumping, but today when I would half halt he would almost halt and I couldn’t see a distance as well, but I’m hoping I got all the cobwebs out of the way.” Shae, who had an unfortunate fall at Rolex Kentucky last year, is expected to give it all she's got tomorrow to prepare for her second crack at the four-star next month.
Barb Crabo finished the day in second place on her own 17-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, Eveready (Irco Mena 763 x Fleetswinger XX). Crabo was one of only three rounds to jump without faults, and she just had three time penalties, to score a 59.1 at the end of the day.
Barb Crabo and Eveready clearing the show jump course. USEA photo.
Crabo stated that Eveready had his first outing of the season at Twin Rivers last month and that he was quite tough to hold together. “He was good today though,” said Crabo. “He was a little stiff in his first movement in the dressage ring, but by the third movement he felt like he was able to keep it together a bit better and I was able to push and ask for a bit more. If he’s too tense and I push on him then he just explodes, but he held it together today so I’m quite pleased.”
Crabo had her work cut out for her in the show jumping as Eveready was chomping at the bit to get to the fences. "He was jumping like a freak today," she laughed. “We had time penalties because he was fired up and I had to hold him a bit, so he’d hop up and down and waste time there, but I’m excited for tomorrow’s cross-country course.”
The CIC3* riders will take on Ian Stark’s cross-country course tomorrow at 12:15 p.m. (PST). The leaders of the CIC3* division, Shea and Crabo are both preparing for Rolex Kentucky next month, and both said their goal for tomorrow is to have fun, stay on, and jump all the jumps.
The Advanced division held dressage in the early afternoon, where Heather Morris and The Team Express Group’s Charlie Tango took an early lead on a 35.3. Gina Miles and Corie Young’s Contalli Di Revel put the pressure on Morris, but it wasn’t until the final pair, Tamie Smith aboard Kevin Baumgardner’s Dutch Warmblood Wembley, who came in and took the lead with a 31.9. The Advanced division will hold cross-country on Saturday, and Show Jumping on Sunday.
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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.