“This one was for him,” a teary eyed Thieriot Stutes said proudly after clinching the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* win at Galway Downs with The Chatwin Group’s Chatwin. She was speaking of Eric Bradenburg, one of the members of The Chatwin Group who unexpectedly passed away this week.
“It’s been a really emotional week for me. It’s myself, my cousin Elizabeth, and him who helped me get Chatwin in the first place, so I wanted to keep my emotions about me and win this weekend for him because without him I wouldn’t have Chatwin,” she lamented.
Thieriot Stutes enjoying a quite moment with Chatwin and her son Drake. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.
Composing herself, Thieriot Stutes smiled reflecting on Chatwin’s effort on the cross-country today to secure their wire-to-wire win. “He answered all the big questions out there and felt really good in the combinations. It definitely seems like the gallop fences are the ones I have the hardest time with just seeing my distance. All in all he was really good out there.”
The Chatwin’s Group 9-year-old Oldenburg (Contendro I x Oktav) gelding zoomed around the sandy track, coming home under the time to finish the weekend on their dressage score of 42.1. “It ended up being a lot easier than I thought [to make the time]. I was actually a tiny bit behind going into the last two minutes so I really put the pedal down on the racetrack there and made up a lot of that time. I made up so much that I think I came in 20 seconds early,” Thieriot Stutes laughed.
The pair have had an illustrious career so far, picking up International and National wins at nearly every level they've competed, and now they have one more to add to their repertoire. “It’s funny when you bring a horse up the levels you kind of want to keep babying them even though they aren’t a baby any more. Especially for me, this is the only horse that I ride at all,” she said. “I think that’s a bonus because he and I have such a tight relationship. Chatwin is my family. My kid sits on him. I rode him when I was pregnant. I think it lets us have a really special bond.”
Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.
This intimate bond isn’t without its pitfalls as Thieriot Stutes remarks that she lacks the time in the saddle that other riders may get. “It’s also is hard because I only jump once a week and it’s on Chatwin, so it doesn’t give me a lot of opportunity to work on myself as much. I think he’s good to take that because I’m not as good as many other riders out there, but I trust him and he trusts me. It’s fun getting to a point in your relationship where you know the other one so well,” she smiled.
With a CIC success under their belt, Chatwin is slated for a CCI3* this year, most likely at Jersey Fresh International Event, but Thieriot Stutes admits nothing is set in stone as she and husband Mike Stutes are trying to expand their family with a second child this year.
Heather Morris and Charlie Tango. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.
Charlie Tango was guns blazing around the Ian Stark’s big, bold cross-country course, posting a faultless result with Heather Morris in the irons. The Team Express Group’s 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Shannondale Sarco St. Ghyvan x Our Queen Bee) didn’t put a foot wrong this weekend. He also finishes on his dressage score (46.3) for second place.
“He was perfect. This was the best run we’ve had. We’re planning to go to Jersey in a couple weeks, so it’s a good prep for that,” Morris commented. “I was actually quite quick too. I thought I missed a jump somewhere, but he’s quite fit, so he was full of running at the end.”
Mackenna Shea and Landioso. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.
Mackenna Shea and her own Landioso, a 15-year-old Bravarian Warmblood (Legendaer I x Aspen), finished just behind Morris and “Charlie” on a final score of 46.4. “He was the most rideable he’s ever been, so I was really happy to get him back but keep riding forward. In the past he’s been strong and really difficult to bring back. I typically go slow because I’m afraid I won’t be able to get him back. Today I felt like I was able to go fast and still keep him adjustable,” Shea said.
This pair is slated to compete overseas at the Houghton Hall CICO3* and Bramham International CCI3*-U25 this summer, in thanks to being named recipients of the Karen Stives Eventing Endowment Fund Grants.
“I’m so grateful that Karen has set something like that up and has been willing to believe in the youth of our sport,” she remarked. “To be in Europe first of all is going to be crazy exciting, and then to represent the United States is something you never really think you’re going to do.”
Today’s top seven all secured double clear rounds today. Amber Levine and her own Carry On moved up one spot to end in fourth (51.7), Emilee Libby and her own Nonsensical had a cracking round to finish fifth (55.5) Tamra Smith and the Company West Coast Dempsey Syndicate’s Dempsey shifted from eighth to sixth (55.6) and Jolie Wenthworth and Tracy Bowman’s GoodKnight ended seventh (55.7).
Jolie Wentworth and GoodKnight. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.
Of the 12 finishers, three picked up stops, Tamra Smith and Wembley, Ashlyn Dorsey and RF Kinetic, and Bunnie Sexton and Rise Against, who nearly took the wrong corner at fence 12, and consequentially had to re-route, causing them cross their tracks. The other two finishing horses, both ridden by James Alliston, had time penalties added.
Kim Liddell withdrew her own Eye of the Storm before the start of cross-country. Tamra Smith and The Lucida LLC’s Glock Pullman had miscommunication at the Professional’s Choice Lake Galway (9a) resulting in her becoming unseated. Both horse and rider are reported to be ok. To see a complete preview of today’s cross-country course, click here.
The 2017 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Championship 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, 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 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.