With a career spanning ten years and over seventy competitions from the Novice to Two-star levels, the veteran Thoroughbred, Much Ado II, used his considerable experience to partner with Brooke Baker to take home the blue ribbon in the SmartPak Equine/USEA Training Three-Day at Texas Lions Camp Charity H.T. at Meadowcreek in Kosse, Texas last weekend.
Brooke and Much Ado II “Cooper” started their weekend in second place with a 34.3 in the dressage phase. No jumping or time penalties on Endurance day boosted them into the top position which the pair held onto with a double clear show jumping round on Sunday.
“Endurance day was definitely my favorite part,” said Brooke. “However, the entire show was very educational and well run. The organizers stressed safety and our horses’ well-being. When it came down to the actual Endurance day everything was handled like a dream. I loved leaving the vet box and seeing that all my hard work had paid off as Cooper was barely puffing. I just learned so much.”
Like many eventers Brooke started out her riding career in the Hunter ring, but seven years ago she went cross-country schooling for the first time and just fell in love. In 2008 Cooper’s owner went to college and turned him out at the facility where Brooke is a riding instructor and trainer. Brooke began leasing Cooper and then ended up purchasing him a short while later.
“For the past few years Cooper has been having soundness issues,” said Brooke. “So I have been very carefully bringing him along. I first saw a Training Three-Day Event two years ago and knew right away that I wanted to compete in Cooper in one. At first I just wanted the challenge of gaining all of the qualifications and making it there, but once I started doing all of the conditioning and preparations I just fell in love with the long-format. I feel like it is a great test of my barn management, horsemanship, and training ability which is what really drew me to it.”
Brooke teaches a large group of up-and-down beginner riders who start out in the Hunter ring, however, she also has many young teenagers who she is developing as a new generation of eventers. “I definitely recommend that my students make the T3D a goal,” said Brooke. “There is just so much for them to learn and it prepares them to be great horsemen. They are all being groomed to love the Classic Format and I hope that I have students competing in the Training Three-day events as long as they continue.”
Cooper has already qualified for the Nutrena/USEA American Eventing Championships and Brooke is planning on making the journey to Georgia in the fall. If all goes well there, Brooke is aiming at moving Cooper up to Preliminary and then heading to a Preliminary Three-Day. Her true goal for Cooper is for him to just have a long, successful, and sound career.
For her win in the Training Three-Day, Brooke took home a SmartPak Wellfleet halter and engraved leather leadshank, a Five Star Tack Bridle, a pair of FITS Breeches, and she was entered in a drawing to win a year’s supply of SmartPaks or a Stackhouse Saddle.
Ellen Doughty riding the Thoroughbred gelding, Royal Flush, took second place finishing on their dressage score of 36.4. Ellen and Royal Flush just began their partnership last year, however, Ellen has competed through the CCI2* level with Sir Oberon.
Rounding out the top three was another Thoroughbred, Cabana Boy, with Rachel Birkes in the irons. The pair also finished on their dressage score of 39.3.
Full results of the competition are available here.
The special Five Star Tack Horsemanship award was presented to 18-year-old Ashley Falls and her horse, Shannon’s Native. Ashley was able to take home a Five Star Tack Halter for demonstrating the utmost horsemanship and care throughout the weekend.
The SmartPak Equine/USEA Classic Series is made possible through the support of its many sponsors: Title Sponsor: SmartPak Equine; Presenting Sponsor: Stackhouse Saddles; Silver Level Sponsor: Fleeceworks; Legacy Sponsor: Five Star Tack Elite Sponsors: FITS and Nunn Finer.
It’s been 13 years since an American has stood atop the podium at a five-star event, but Boyd Martin broke the dry spell today with the Turner Family’s 15-year-old Anglo European mare On Cue (Cabri D’Elle x On High) as the winners of the first-ever Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill. It was a thrilling down-to-the-wire finish where Martin and On Cue climbed from third to first to take home champion honors with just .01 points between him and second-place finisher and weekend-long leader Oliver Townend.
Following yesterday’s downpour, the temperatures for the final jog this morning were brisk but the CCI5*-L horses remained professional for the last horse inspection leading into show jumping later today. Of the 35 pairs set to move forward with the final phase of competition, only 34 presented to judges Angela Tucker (GBR), Martin Plewa (GER), and Mark Weissbecker after Lisa Marie Fergusson opted not to bring forward her own 15-year-old Welsh/Thoroughbred gelding (Brynarian Brennin x Dream Contessa) Honor Me.
After a jam-packed week, the final day of competition at the Maryland 5 Star is upon us. Riders have shown off their style in the horse inspection, danced their way down the centerline in dressage, and contested some serious obstacles in cross-country up until this point. Now it's time to demonstrate the fitness and accuracy that each horse possesses in the final phase: show jumping.
It was a great day of cross-country riding at the Maryland 5 Star. There were 35 horses who crossed the finish and 11 of those finished double clear. With British, French, New Zealand, Canadian, and American riders coming through the finish flags – it was a true world class competition. The USEA was at the finish to see what the riders thought of the very first Maryland 5 Star cross-country track designed by Ian Stark.