Jul 28, 2023

Baughman Takes Advanced Dressage Lead at Millbrook Horse Trials

By Amber Heintzberger - Edited Press Release
Woods Baughman and C'est La Vie 135. Photo by Amber Heintzberger.

Millbrook, N.Y. - July 28 - The Millbrook Horse Trials, held July 27-30 in Dutchess County, New York, wrapped up the first two days of competition today, with the upper levels taking to the dressage phase at Riga Meadow at Coole Park Farm, and the lower levels heading out on the cross-country course across the road.

In the Advanced division, Woods Baughman and C’est La Vie 135, a 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I x Anette), owned by Baughman, Kim Baughman , and James Baughman Jr, took the lead on a sore of 25.7. With a heat advisory in the Millbrook area today, Woods said that the big, black gelding was feeling the effects of the weather and was less energetic than usual.

“He’s a really fun horse; at home he’s normally pretty terrible to ride but he really knows his job. I usually work on suppleness and keeping him feeling good in his body. At shows he’s like a different horse and all I really have to do is guide him.” Woods has been working with German dressage coach Bettina Hoy on improving his performance in the first phase.

For tomorrow’s cross-country, hot temperatures would be to Woods’ advantage, as “Contendro”, as he calls C’est La Vie at home, tends to be strong and hard to handle in the cross-country phase. But the forecast appears cooler tomorrow, so time will tell if the weather helps or hinders their performance.

“He’s a bit of a beast,” said Woods. “We’ve tried everything. I’ve been working with Will Faudree on adjustability and he’s helped me with cross-country technique, managing rather than trying to control the horse, trying to regulate him and take advantage of his unreal athleticism.”

They’ll be heading to the USEA American Eventing Championships, presented by Nutrena Feeds, in Kentucky next, and will plan their fall season depending on their performance there and at the Plantation Field horse trials in September.

Woods' coach, Will Faudree, holds second and third places in the Advanced division riding Pfun, a 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Tadmus x Celerina) owned by Jennifer Mosing with 27.3 after the dressage and Mama’s Magic Way, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Mighty Magic x Straightaway), also owned by Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables, who scored 28.6. Young Rider Cassie Sanger is in fourth place on a score of 29.8 riding her own 15-year-old Anglo European gelding Fernhill Zoro, (Verdi x Oronia 2).

Faudree has competed Pfun internationally and said that since the gelding is 16 years old he plans to back him down from the five-star level. He said that the lesser demands on the horse’s fitness have resulted in him being more supple in the dressage.

Of Mama’s Magic Way, he said, “He’s one the nicest horses I’ve ridden – he’s amazing – but he’s tough. We’ve been working really hard with Bettina Hoy; he’s done four five-stars now and he’s mentally strong enough that he’s handling the pressure at home to really train him. I was conservative on him today but he went in the ring and really stayed with me, I was thrilled.”

In the Open Intermediate A division local rider Ariel Grald, who represented the USA at last year’s World Championships at Pratoni, Italy took the early lead riding Annie Elridge's 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding Forrest Gump 124 (Furst Nymphenburg x Amaterasu). In the Open Intermediate B division, Caroline Pamukcu (nee Martin), who just returned to the US after representing the U.S. on the Nations Cup team is Strzegom took the lead riding Luann McEldoff and Sherrie Martin's 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding HSH Connor.

Beginner Novice through Training level did the cross-country phase of the event today and Preliminary through Advanced will go cross-country tomorrow.

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