The final day of the Indiana Eventing Association (IEA) Horse Trials and Training and Novice Three-Day Events was action packed and blessed with a fourth day of sunny, warm weather. Each day of the weekend the humidity has increased, but happily the riders did not have to deal with any rain and the potential problems of difficult footing and slippery tack.
Novice Three-Day Show Jumping Final
Sunday morning at the final jog, Kathleen Neuhoff's Logan was held for re-inspection and the Ground Jury allowed a farrier to reset a shoe with a pad underneath, but after more inspection and discussion the rider decided to withdraw her horse and did not go on to show jumping. All of the other horses in both divisions were accepted at the final horse inspection and went onto show jumping.
Whitney Morris, Lexington, Ky., and her 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Carry Me Home maintained their lead from cross-country by producing a double-clear round over Cathy Wieschhoff’s course for the win. “I’m thrilled. I think the course rode very well. It was a bit of a forward course and I think nerves were getting several people out there today. Thankfully I know him pretty well; it was a fine balance between pushing to make the time, but also being careful to lose the little control you need with him. He was really, really good. We got in and got all of the striding and I think we finished two seconds within the time,” said Morris who was competing in her first classic three-day.
“I am so proud of this horse. He has come so far. So for him to trust me and deal with this whole crazy weekend, I adore him. I plan to move him up to Training at Midsouth Pony Club Horse Trials in June. I would absolutely come back to the Hoosier Horse Park. Everyone has been amazing – the volunteers, judges, officials were all great. Dorothy Crowell was an amazing clinician. ” said Morris.
Show jumping caused quite a few shake ups in the rest of the Novice Three-Day final placings, with the overnight second-placed rider, Jessica Smith falling from Mia and thus being eliminated. Unfortunate rails cost other riders dearly and moved them down in the final standings.
Rebecca Geringer and Hakuna Matata. Allen MacMillan Photo.
Rebecca Geringer, 18, Elburn, Ill., and her 6-year-old Thoroughbred mare Hakuna Matata, jumped to second from a fifth-placed tie after cross-country by producing a double clear round in the show jumping. She summarized her weekend, “Dressage was a great day, it’s the best test she’s ever done for me. She was a good girl. We had a stumble on steeplechase, but it we actually had a lot of fun. We went into cross-country a little nervous, she’s only six. So, she was really confident through there and we went clean on cross-country which was the whole goal. Then going into stadium I was really nervous, but I just tried to stay out of my head and we said that we are going to do it and she kept her feet off the rails. I am super proud of her.”
Geringer, who is headed off to Albion College in Michigan to study pre-vet and kinesiology next fall, has had Hakuna Mata for two years now and says she’s kind of a crazy girl, but that she is also the greatest mare ever. She trains with Pat Bunge at Rose Roses Farm, St. Charles, Ill., and she also thanked Stanbridge Master Saddlers and saddle fitter Kate Ballard, both who helped her get all of her tack ready for the event. Her dressage coach is Rosie Simone from Flying Dutchman Farms in Barrington. “I had never done a classic three-day. I was hoping that maybe it would tire her out and it did,” she laughed. “I was also really excited to do the jog and just get the whole experience. I would do it again!”
Melanie French and Stargazer Lily. Allen MacMillan Photo.
The other fifth-placed horse and rider combination after cross-country, Melanie French, Cincinnati, Ohio, and her 14-year-old Trakehner mare Stargazer Lily, moved up to third by jumping within the time and having only one rail in the stadium. She said she really enjoyed the classic-format three-day. “This is my first long-format. All the educational stuff was great; it really helped lessen the stress. Dorothy was super helpful; I had ridden with her before. Last year Robin Thomas, who was one of the organizers of the IEA Horse Trials, she kind of put the bug in my ear. I needed four horse trials to qualify so we did Kentucky Classic, Jump Start, River Glen and finished up with Spring Bay and here we are. I did a lot of research and developed a conditioning program. I wanted to come out with a sound horse. She came out of it beautifully. She was raring to go on steeplechase; we came in 10 seconds fast. She was wild this morning for the jog, so she wasn’t tired,” she laughed.
French, who rides as an amateur and works as the director of business development for a clothing wholesaler, said she plans to move Lily up to Training sometime this summer. She doesn’t ride with any one trainer, but tries to do several clinics each year. She explained how she found Stargazer Lily and what her background with horses, “I found her on Facebook. I bought her from her breeder in Georgetown, Ky. She was a very green 10-year-old who had maybe 30 days under saddle. My sister and cousin helped me get her started. I grew up riding with my sister and cousin. I went to the University of Findlay and started in the equestrian program and then switched into business.”
Scott Owens, Lebanon, IN, and his 7-year-old Connemara mare Summer Knight, were another pair to move way up on the final placings by producing a clear round in the show jumping. They had been tenth and moved up to fourth place.
The Best Conditioned Horse Award went to Hang Time owned and ridden by Ian Kamenz. Best Cross-Country Ride went to Scott Owens and Summer Knight. Best Turned Out Horse was James Blonde owned and ridden by Kasey Mueller.
Corinna Garcia and Gun Slinger. Allen MacMillan Photo.
Training Three-Day Show Jumping Final
In the Training Three-Day Corinna Garcia, Fort Wayne, Ind., and her 8-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Gun Slinger continued their nearly perfect weekend with a double-clear round to seal their win. “The day went better than I expected. Show jumping has always been my hardest thing. It’s one of the things that I’ve worked hard on over the last year and a half. It’s nice to actually have a horse that is very talented and athletic enough to do it, so that helps my confidence a little bit. He was really, really good today. I felt like he was more confident coming out today than before. Again, in an event like this, the long format, to see our confidence grow and to see the growth of both the horse and rider, I felt like it was very beneficial for us this weekend,” said Garcia, who is a Lake Erie College grad who is now based out of South Farm in Middlefield, Ohio, where she teaches a number of students and trains.
Garcia said that Slinger will now have a short break, then she will aim him toward moving up to Preliminary sometime this summer. “I definitely have big plans for him. He’s one of those kind of horses.”
Natasha Erschen and FE Gran Torino. Allen MacMillan Photo.
Riders in second and third in the Training Three-Day after endurance day swapped places when Kathy Baar and Quick Car had an unfortunate rail in the show jumping dropping them down one place to finish third. Natasha Erschen, who had been in third after endurance day and her 7-year-old German Sport Horse gelding FE Gran Torino went double clear to move up to second. She also jumped double clear with her other Training Three-Day entry the 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare Emerald Lion. Erschen spoke about her rounds over the rails with both horses, “I was really happy with him. He can get a bit green with all of the atmosphere, but today he was jumping great. I made a few mistakes, but he was really great. Emie was really good. Right from the start she was jumping great. I was really happy with both of them. My plan is for Gran Torino to do the Preliminary at Fox River Valley next and Emerald Lion will do the Training there. The volunteers and staff were great here. They were all so helpful especially with things like roads and tracks where it is easy to get lost.”
Kathy Baar and Quick Car. Allen MacMillan Photo.
Double-clear rounds in show jumping also moved two more riders up in the order: Trudy Pulley, Noblesville, Ind., on the 14-year-old Thoroughbred mare Mega Tsunami moved from fifth to fourth and Michele Clark, Versailles, KY, and the 16-year-old Thoroughbred-cross gelding Zues moved up to fifth from sixth.
Best Conditioned Horse Award went to Natasha Erschen’s mare Emerald Lion. Best Turned Out Horse was Michele Clark’s Zues and Best Cross-Country Ride went to Maggie Hitron and Cole Power. A special Will-Power Award was presented to Trudy Pulley and Mega Tsunami.
Dr. Angie Yates, veterinarian and Janice Holmes, ground jury member. Allen MacMillan Photo
Evolution of the Hoosier Horse Park
The legacy of the 1987 Pan American Games is that the Hoosier Horse Park exists at all, but according to IEA board member and co-chair of the 1987 Pan Am Games Equestrian Three-Day Committee, Lee Ann Zobbe, very few remnants of the Games can be seen on the current cross-country course. Materials used in the original Pan American Games cross-country bank were re-used when the IEA remade the course. The dressage arenas are still located in the same area as for the Games, but more arenas have been added and the footing and fencing have been revamped.
The IEA has just finished a six-year revamp of the cross-country which included adding another water complex earlier in the course and clearing acres of brush to allow for better use of space and more visibility for riders and spectators. IEA President Dan Stickney talked about the changes while he and his daughter Jenny were standing near the new water on cross-country day, “We moved and rebuilt the Pan Am bank about 10 years ago. It was actually the course designer Jon Wells’ idea to situate this new water complex here. Then after some thought, we re-oriented it to make sure that we did not have trouble with bad sun angle to the water which can make it hard to see the jumps.”
“We also included a Novice-height bank coming out of the water even though the rules don’t call for one, but we thought we should include it for schooling purposes since you have to start somewhere when you learn to move up the levels,” continued Stickney. “We just finished clearing the brush between the warm-up and here this year. We actually had to clear it twice since the Autumn Olive bushes grew back again quickly. We do allow schooling of the course for a fee [$20 for IEA members and $35 for non-members] as long as it isn’t closed due to wet conditions or because we are preparing for and hosting an event. Although there may not be water in this obstacle when they school. For events we pump water out of the near-by Cottonwood Lake. The new water complex holds over 200,000 gallons and it takes about 12 hours to fill it.”
Office staff, left to right: Erin Murphy, secretary; Mary Fike, organizer; Rachel Henson, scorer, and Bev Henson, office assistant. Allen MacMillan Photo.
Stickney, whose daughter helps him with IEA duties and wife serves as the warm-up steward for dressage and show jumping at the event, said that the IEA is now 38 years old. “Our organization is full of very loyal volunteers. A few years ago we instituted a life-time achievement award. I wish we had done it sooner; recently some of our early movers and shakers have passed away, so the Park has agreed to let us call this the ‘Memorial Water’ and we will add signage honoring them,” said Stickney.
The IEA is currently conducting a fundraiser to upgrade the footing in the arenas. They had a raffle during the horse trials and are selling IEA logo hats, tee and sweatshirts and water bottles with the proceeds going to footing improvements. There is also an Octoberfest Show at the HHP which offers both Western and English discipline classes as well as breed-specific, contest and driving classes. This show is a joint effort between the Indiana Horse Council, the IEA, the Indiana Dressage Society and some other breed and discipline organizations and was created to help fund upgrades to the HHP.
Rob Mobley, assistant course builder; Dan Stickney, IEA President; Jon Wells, cross-country course designer. Kim MacMillan Photo.
About the Indiana Eventing Association Horse Trials
The 2017 IEA Horse Trials saw over 260 contestants over the four days of competition (including the 33 in the two classic, long-format three-day events) participated in divisions spanning Beginner Novice through Intermediate/Preliminary.
The upper divisions did their dressage on Friday and the Novice and Beginner Novice performed their dressage tests on Saturday. On Saturday and Sunday the horse trials divisions alternated doing either show jumping or cross-country and then they swapped phases the next day. The long-format three-days held to the traditional schedule of a first horse inspection on the first day, dressage on the second, endurance on the third and a final horse inspection, show jumping and awards on the final day.
The Ground Jury members were: Sue Smithson, president; Janice Holmes, jury member; Wayne Quarles, technical delegate; Dr. Angie Yates, veterinary delegate; Jon Wells, cross-county course designer assisted by Rob Mobley, and Cathy Wieschhoff, show jumping course designer. A special thank you to the over 250 volunteers and volunteer chairmen, including many IEA members, who were always pleasant and knowledgeable about their jobs. Many thanks as well to the well-schooled and patient event staff as well: Three-Day Classic Format Clinician Dorothy Crowell; Organizer Mary Fike, Secretary Erin Murphy; Scorer Rachel Henson assisted by Bev Henson; Safety Officer Mary Tinder; Farriers Cody Board, Justin Decker and Zack Henry; Treating Veterinarian Dr. Angie Yates; Announcer Eric Sampson, and EMT Jeff Brown.
Cathy Wieschhoff, show jumping course designer. Allen MacMillan Photo
According to Dan Stickney, IEA president, the association has been staging a horse trials since 1988, beginning the year after the Hoosier Horse Park hosted the Pan American Games. He stressed that the IEA has a dedicated group of volunteers and that until this year volunteers ran everything with the exception of the hired course designers and judges. This year since many of the IEA volunteers also wished to participate in the horse trials as competitors, the IAE board made the decision to hire an organizer and a secretary and Mary Fike and Erin Murphy were hired to fill those positions.
It was at IEA board member Lee Ann Zobbe’s urging that the IEA decided to accept the challenge of staging a classic format three-day. “This is our ninth year to hold a classic three-day event. I felt that an important aspect of the sport had been lost [when the long-format was abandoned at the upper levels]. It is important for people coming into the sport and for young horses to experience all phases of a three-day event and for the riders, and their crew members, to learn the horsemanship skills that can be gained from participating in a classic, long-format three-day event,” said Zobbe.
Besides the recognized IEA Horse Trials and Classic Three-Day Event held in early June each year, the IEA also stages a schooling event, called the Leg Up Horse Trials, this year to be held on August 5 at the Hoosier Horse Park near Edinburgh, IN. Leg Up offers Novice, Beginner Novice and Starter divisions. For more information about the horse trials or the IEA go to: http://indyeventers.org/.
About the USEA Classic Series
The thrill of the 'chase lives on for those who want to experience the unforgettable rush of the classic long format three-day event!
Long-format events from the Beginner Novice to Preliminary levels are still a reality with the USEA Classic Series and include roads and tracks, steeplechase, and cross-country on "endurance day," as well as horse inspections. Educational activities are offered at the Classic Series Events. Check out the schedule below, and check here to see if you are qualified!
Thanks to our generous sponsors, the USEA Classic Series Event winners have the opportunity to compete for a variety of prizes including SmartPak engraved halters and leadshanks; the chance to win a year of SmartPaks; Point Two Air Jackets; online subscriptions to Eventing Training Online; USEA logowear; Fleeceworks saddle pads; and Stackhouse saddles!
We all work hard to get our horses shiny and clean for competition day, but it can sometimes take a bit of extra elbow grease to get those grey or white horses looking their best. Rachael Livermore, head groom for Sharon White at Last Frontier Farm, shares some of the tricks she uses to get Sharon's horses looking spick and span - and it starts with everyday care!
This is it! The weekend we've all been waiting for is finally here - the return to competition has arrived! After nearly three months of suspended competitions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the country and the world, riders are shining up their boots and preparing to trot down the centerline. While our "new normal" will certainly look different than things did before the pandemic, these new regulations are in place for all our safety.
The return to competition upon us! This week on the show Nicole Brown is joined by Sinead Halpin Maynard to talk about how you can make sure you and your horse are prepared to get back to competing.
This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).