The week before and 17 hours south of The Event at Rebecca Farm another popular show attracts eventers from the Western states which is the Coconino Summer Horse Trials II and their Classic Three-Day Event. On July 11 – 14 in Flagstaff, Arizona, Summer Peterson, Hailey Dahlstrom, and Lisa Jacobs took home blue ribbons in the Coconino Classic Three-Day Event at the Training, Novice, and Beginner Novice levels. This event is part of the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Classic Series that includes a four phase ‘endurance day’, formal horse inspections, and educational activities.
Summer Peterson and Lochlann Fiona
Summer Peterson and Lochlann Fiona. Dayton Hall Photo.
Peterson and Lochlann Fiona (Bridon Lochlann x Cheris’ Novelty) were crowned winners of the Training Three-Day at Coconino. Peterson walked off with two wins from the weekend, one from the three-day and the other from the Intermediate Combined Test on her own Thoroughbred gelding, Jake the Fish (Verdine x Misty III).
The Utah native Peterson has been riding since she was six years old and hasn’t looked back since. “I joined Pony Club, which was the only option for English riding in rural Utah, and of course fell in love with eventing.”
In the world of the Internet, Peterson stumbled across her winning Irish Sport Horse mare, Lochlann Fiona, online. “I got Fiona and her mother, [Cheris’ Novelty] when Fiona was two weeks old from Florida. I found them online and things just all fell into place. She has been a very opinionated mare, but she has so much drive it’s contagious. I’ve never known a horse who wanted to work as much as she does.”
The driven and ambitious mare has several opinions about her workload, Peterson explained. “We did the [classic three-day] because, while she might think otherwise, we aren’t ready to move up to Preliminary yet. I felt it would be a good challenge for her and the long format really helps her settle.”
Fiona settled into first place and Peterson shared some thoughts on her experience. “You can’t do long formats on your own, so I’m really grateful to the whole crew who helped out in the vet box and all along the way.”
Hailey Dahlstrom and Stetson
Novice Three-Day winners Hailey Dahlstrom and Stetson. Photo courtesy of Hailey Dahlstrom.
Dahlstrom was the victor in the Novice Three-Day division with her Appendix Quarter Horse gelding, Stetson (Jr Sugar Fix x Ultimate Touch). Along with earning blue, Dahlstrom explained her favorite part of her weekend was gaining new friendships with fellow competitors.
Dahlstrom, Aaron Bird, Heather Rhodes, and Casey Hansen formed a Novice Three-Day team named Three Stooges + 1. “We were all acting goofy trying to decide [on a team name] so one of the people in the office said that we were acting like the Three Stooges. We decided on the name Three Stooges + 1 since there were four of us. We all had a great time and I enjoyed making new friends.”
From the backyard to blue ribbons, Dahlstrom shared that, “Stetson used to be just a backyard pony with no experience at all in eventing. I worked hard to get him in shape and trained until he was ready for his first show. We did Beginner Novice for a while until the beginning of this year when we moved up to Novice. Stetson and I have an amazing connection like I have never had with any other horse.” The special connection has helped Dahlstrom and Stetson secure over six top-two finishes with four out of the six being wins.
Dahlstrom is grateful for her village that’s behind the blue. “I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without my mom or dad. My support group in the vet box was amazing, I couldn’t have done it without them. I had Kelly Rischard and Hegert Lulaj at the assistance area after steeplechase handing me water, sponging Stetson off quickly, and checking for missing shoes. They were in the vet box along with my mom, dad, Barb Middleton, and of course my amazing trainer, Terri Buzan. Again, thank you to all of those who have helped me to get where I am today.”
Lisa Jacobs & Kung Fu Slew
Beginner-Novice Three-Day winners Lisa Jacobs and Kung Fu Slew. Karen Bjorn Photo.
It was a sentimental win for Lisa Jacobs who guided her Thoroughbred gelding, Kung Fu Slew, to victory in the Beginner Novice Three-Day. “I felt like I won the Olympics. I have much so gratitude and can't be more thankful for my trainer [Denise Krause-Spangler], family, friends, and God for their loving support.”
Another Internet love story, Jacobs found Kung Fu Slew, "Jax" for short, on an online ad. “Jax is a Pennsylvania-bred [off-the-track Thoroughbred] with the jockey club name of ‘Tak Gamo.’ Fortunately for me, he was very unsuccessful on the track. I found him for sale on Craigslist in Phoenix, Ariz., and purchased him in September 2014.”
The comeback kid, Jax had just started his eventing career with Jacobs before being rushed into emergency colic surgery in May 2015. “The time off and rehab were difficult, but it only strengthened our bond. Now he's back strong and I feel that he knows, loves, and understands his job."
The highlight of Jacob’s winning weekend was the fan-favorite, adrenaline pumping steeplechase phase. “We both loved every minute of it!”
Congratulations to Peterson, Dahlstrom, and Jacobs who experienced the thrill of the 'chase at Coconino!
About the USEA Classic Series
The USEA Classic Series keeps the spirit of the classic long format three-day events alive for Beginner Novice through the Preliminary levels. Competitors can experience the rush of endurance day, including roads and tracks, steeplechase, the vet box, and cross country, as well as participate in formal veterinary inspections and educational activities with experts on the ins and outs of competing in a long format three-day event.
Riders who compete in a USEA Classic Series event during the year will have the chance to win a variety of prizes at the events and will also be entered in a drawing held at the USEA Year End Award Ceremony for a year’s supply of SmartPak supplements and a custom fitted Stackhouse and Ellis saddle. Click here to learn more about the USEA Classic Series.