A double clear cross-country round propelled Rebecca Braitling and Arnell Sporthorses' 11-year-old British Sport Horse gelding Caravaggio II (Vangelis-S x Courtesan) to their first blue ribbon together in the CCI4*-S, and Haley Turner and her own 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Shadow Inspector (Tinaranas Inspector x Caragh Roller) continued their run of sub-30 dressage tests to win the CCI3*-S at the 2022 Twin Rivers Fall International in Paso Robles, California.
Other highlights included victory by Grace Wechser and her 16-year-old Westphalian gelding Raskadero (Rascalino x Naddel) on their dressage score in the CCI2*-Short, the best 5-year-old qualifying score in the country this year for the USEA Young Event Horse Program (YEH) produced by the Irish Sport Horse gelding Carrigfadda (Luidam x The Big Lady) ridden by owner Michlynn Sterling, and the YEH 4-year-old win by Oldenburg mare Jungle Love DF (The Twain x Vanity) and owner/rider Nicole Fuentes.
The CCI4*-S marked a return to FEI competition for Braitling and Caravaggio II following their fourth-place finish in the CCI4*-Long at Galway Downs in November 2021.
“I had my sights set on Kentucky, and we had a health setback in March,” Braitling said. “So, this has been pretty exciting to get him back at that level.”
They continued their streak of never having a cross-country jump fault in the 26 events they’ve completed since they started competing together in 2019. They added just 1.2 time penalties in stadium jumping to finish on a score of 42.6.
“He’s a super cross country horse,” Braitling said about Caravaggio II. “He really loves it. It’s funny because he’s quite a spooky horse, so it’s odd that he’s so brave at the same time. But, he is a little bit spooky, which is a good thing because it keeps him careful.”
Braitling said that she and the owners of Caravaggio II plan to donate their prize money back to the show in appreciation for Twin Rivers’ hosting the FEI levels of eventing.
Kaylawna Smith-Cook finished second and third with the 13-year-old German Sport Horse gelding Passepartout (Pasco x Preschel) that she co-owns with Gretchen Cook and the 12-year-old German Sport Horse mare MB MaiBlume (Sir Schiwago x Free Lady) owned by the MB Group LLC.
In the CCI3*-S, Turner and Shadow Inspector improved to 21 of 23 events with sub-30 dressage scores since they started competing together in 2019 after the horse had previously done FEI events in Great Britain. They added 6.8 time penalties on cross country to their dressage score of 26.1 to finish on a score of 32.9 while leading after each phase.
“He really kept the energy well,” Turner said. “I was very happy with him because he’s always so steady and obedient. It’s just adding that next level of brilliance to help continue to get our scores better.”
The victory was their first since the CCI2*-S at the 2020 Twin Rivers Fall International. In 2022, the CCI2*-S was won by Wechser and Raskadero, who finished on their dressage score of 28.1.
With Twin Rivers Ranch set to host the USEA Young & Future Event Horse West Coast Championships on October 28 and 29, Sterling and Carrigfadda recorded the best qualifying score in the nation for 5-year-olds in 2022.
Sterling said she plans to return to Twin Rivers to compete in The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH West Coast Championships for the first time, a milestone in a journey that began when she bought Carrigfadda off a video from Ireland in July 2021.
“He has been a handful,” Sterling said. “We call him ‘Oscar the Grouch’ and ‘Trashcan Man’ depending on the day. I actually did not show him at all last year. I tried to sort him out and get to know him. He had such a huge ego. He’s not mean and thinks it’s funny. But, his saving grace is that when you get on him, he’s pretty amazing.”
Sterling and Carrigfadda earned 22.4 out of a possible 30.0 in dressage and 64.9 out of 70.0 in jumping and potential for a total score of 87.3. They also won the Novice Amateur division, finishing on their dressage score of 23.9.
“It felt amazing,” she said. “He is the best jumper I’ve ever sat on. He loves to jump. He just eats it up. I’ve never felt something like that.”
The next best YEH 5-year-old qualifying scores in the United States this year are 86.7 by the Anglo-Arab gelding A-Debussy Royale (Adzaro de L’Abbaye x Zorosa) ridden by Michael Pendleton and owned by Kelli Temple at the Waredaca Farm Horse Trials in Maryland in August and 86.4 by the Dutch Warmblood mare K.M. Baliaretto (Adagio de Talma x Ubalia) ridden and owned by Kurt Martin at the Flora Lea Fall Horse Trials in New Jersey in September. One more YEH qualifying event will take place at the Spokane Sport Horse Fall Horse Trials in Washington on September 29 before the East Coast and West Coast championships are held in October.
For Fuentes and Jungle Love DF, the YEH 4-year-old winners at the Twin Rivers Fall International with a score of 75.7, their connection began with the bay mare being foaled at the Dragonfire Farm of Earl and Jennifer McFall where Fuentes is a working student, in addition to having a full-time job in IT for the State of California. Fuentes bought Jungle Love DF as a 2-year-old and finished third with her at the USEA FEH West Coast Championships for 2-year-olds in 2020.
“She loves her job, so it’s been a treat to have a horse that loves to do what they’re doing,” Fuentes said. “She’s always been really brave to fences. She took to jumping really well. It’s one of her favorite things.”
Winners of FEH qualifiers at the Twin Rivers Fall International were Andrea Baxter and her Irish Sport Horse gelding The Big Easy (Mr Lincoln B x PLS Hippo Q) for 4-year-olds, Anastasia Keyser and Sharon Steinhauser’s Belgian Warmblood mare Saphira De Lune (Clair de Lune SE x Bella Luna) for 3-year-olds, and Gemma Forshaw and her Belgian Warmblood gelding Uno Momento (Donar Weiss x K GFF Cailida) for 2-year-olds.
“There was great turnout and quality this weekend, particularly for Young Event Horse and Future Event Horse, and we’re excited about the momentum heading into the West Coast championships,” said Connie Baxter, organizer for events at Twin Rivers. “We’re looking forward to hosting and continuing to promote these valuable series.”
Entries for the USEA Young & Future Event Horse West Coast Championships, the final recognized event to be held at Twin Rivers in 2022, close on October 11.
The full list of winners from the 2022 Twin Rivers Fall International:
CCI4*-S: Rebecca Braitling and Caravaggio II (42.6)
CCI3*-S: Haley Turner and Shadow Inspector (32.9)
CCI2*-S: Grace Wechser and Raskadero (28.1)
Open Intermediate: Josey Thompson and Pistol Annie (50.3)
Open Preliminary: James Alliston and Keep Calm (28.1)
Preliminary Rider: Sophia Merz and Clara Bö (31.9)
Open Training: Nicholas Cwick and Lowmax (24.8)
Jr. Training Rider: Kelson Frieden and RHS Caspar Conthargos (30.0)
Sr. Training Rider: Kendra Mitchell and Calcourt Legend (28.3)
Training Amateur: Stacia Lloyd and Kid A (28.3)
Open Novice: Alexis Helffrich and Dolce Flame (25.8)
Jr. Novice Rider: Sofia Seto and Armi (23.9)
Sr. Novice Rider: Isabella Robinson and Ringwood Rouge (24.4)
Novice Amateur: Michlynn Sterling and Carrigfadda (23.9)
Open Beginner Novice A: Toora O’Mahony and Kiki’s Delivery Service (25.0)
Open Beginner Novice B: Chloe Smyth and Constantine Stanislavsky (26.9)
Jr. Beginner Novice Rider: Fiona Holland and Joshua Tree (22.8)
Sr. Beginner Novice Rider A: Kelly Schwisow and Redfield Out Of The Blue (25.9)
Sr. Beginner Novice Rider B: Erin Rousey and Winsome Willow (29.7)
Introductory A: Kassandra Barajas and Sean O’Connor (27.3)
Introductory B: Toora O’Mahony and Presumida MR II (26.0)
FEH-2: Gemma Forshaw and Uno Momento (81.2)
FEH-3: Anastasia Keyser and Saphira De Lune (80.5)
FEH-4: Andrea Baxter and The Big Easy (82.4)
YEH-4: Nicole Fuentes and Jungle Love DF (75.7)
YEH-5: Michlynn Sterling and Carrigfadda (87.3)
In the final USEA Classic Series event of 2022, three horse and rider pairs rode their way to the top of the podium in the Training, Novice, and Beginner Novice 3-Day divisions offered during the Ram Tap Horse Park Horse Trials which took place November 18-20 in Fresno, California.
US Equestrian opened a bid process for one event to host the Advanced level in Area 3 on Week 10 for 2023-2027 due to an event cancellation. The bid process was conducted in accordance with the 2023-2027 U.S. Eventing Calendar CCI4*-L, CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, & Advanced Policies and Procedures. The USEF Eventing Strategic Calendar Review Task Force made recommendations to the USEF Eventing Sport Committee who made recommendations for final approval by the USEF Board of Directors.
Concluding the 2022 Area Championships season was the Area X Championships held during the SAzEA H.T. which took place November 19-20 in Tucson, Arizona. Three Championship divisions were offered, allowing three horse and rider pairs the opportunity to conclude their 2022 eventing season by being crowned champion!
“The highest priority must be given by instructors to developing in their riders a correct, balanced, supple, effective, and independent seat for dressage and for jumping.” - “Teaching Principles” in the new ECP Eventing Handbook by the Levels