The Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colo. hosted USEA Classic Series Novice and Training Three-Day events at their horse trials on August 10-13, 2017, giving the 16 Novice and Training level competitors the opportunity to experience the thrill of competing in a long-format event.
Samantha Tinney riding her 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, All Heart, quietly stalked the lead all weekend, moving from third place after dressage up to second after endurance day to finally take the win on their dressage score of 34.3. The pair made the 12-hour drive from Dallas, Texas to compete in the Training Three-Day.
Tinney got her first taste of horseback riding at pony camp as a child, but didn’t start eventing until just two years ago when her father, an ex pro-motocross rider, took her to a racetrack-turned-eventing facility. “I started out with the legendary Becky Brown, who taught me all the basics and my dressage foundation,” said Tinney, “and then moved to Bethany Quine when I became more interested in eventing. About a year ago I moved into the Rebecca Brown show team and have been there ever since!”
Samantha Tinney and All Heart. Altitude Equine Photography Photo.
All Heart, aka “Poppy,” was imported from Ireland by Joe Meyer and competed through the Preliminary level before Tinney purchased her last year. “Poppy is my first horse that we ever purchased and has taken me from Novice to Training with the hopes of running a four-star someday,” commented Tinney. “I have to admit, I've never met a horse with this much personality. She's very lovable and sassy as well as extremely intelligent! I'm very lucky for the special bond Poppy and I have, she would risk anything to keep me safe.”
The pair moved up to Training level this spring and quickly earned the qualifications necessary to compete in the Training Three-Day. “I chose to compete the Training Three-Day [instead of the USEA American Eventing Championships] because I felt it was a better experience and a good practice for FEI competitions which I hope to run next year. My favorite part of the competition was the steeplechase. It was so incredibly fun to go that fast, especially when you're on a horse that loves running!”
Angelika Beutel and her 6-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, SE Gin Fizz (Phin Phin x Cantarina), commanded the Novice Three-Day all weekend, leading wire-to-wire on their dressage score of 26.3.
Angelika Beutel and SE Gin Fizz after a successful endurance day. Photo courtesy of Angelika Beutel.
Beutel moved to Colorado 12 years ago from Germany and initially competed in dressage and pure show jumping until getting into eventing two years later. Beutel loves working on bringing young horses up the levels, and SE Gin Fizz is one of those horses. Imported from Holland as an unbroken 4-year-old in 2015, “Felix” has come a long way in the two years that Beutel has had him.
Beutel was planning to compete with SE Gin Fizz in the Training Three-Day, but the pair took a nasty fall at the Colorado Horse Trials in June and she made the decision to step down a level and compete in the Novice Three-Day instead.
“I did [a long-format event] two years ago and it’s just a blast,” said Beutel. “I think it’s such a good confidence builder for the horse. You get to spend a lot of time with your horse, because it’s a lot more than just doing one phase and you get to know your horse quite a bit. I think [endurance day] teaches the horse and rider quite a bit about what kind of warm-up you actually need to run a good cross-country course. The two times I’ve done it have been the two best cross-country rounds I’ve had, just because I’d done the steeplechase phase and been on the roads and tracks.”
According to Beutel, SE Gin Fizz benefitted greatly from the warm-up on roads and tracks and steeplechase compared to a traditional short-format pre-cross-county warm up. “He gets kind of nuts in there,” she said, referring to the warm-up arena, “so it was nice [for him to be] on his own, walking, trotting, and cantering, and he was ready to rock and roll.”
Beutel’s advice on preparing for a long format event? “Make sure your horse is conditioned enough so that you don’t run out of horse, and have a good crew in your vet box!”
Tinney shared Beutel’s opinion of the effort it takes to prepare for a long-format event. “It is a lot of work. The best thing to do is make sure you know as much as possible before competing and make sure your horse is fit enough since the long format requires a lot more endurance.”
Complete scores from the weekend can be viewed here.
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. Visit the USEA Classic Series page to learn more about the Series and see upcoming classic format events in your area, 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!
Having this historic competition close isn't the right result for the sport, and the United States Eventing Association (USEA) is working hard to find a solution. The organizer and landowners operate exceptional events on a beautiful piece of land. We are deeply sensitive to the history of the word "plantation" and its connection to slavery; however, this property has no known connections to slavery and was instead named after 'plantings' on the property.
After a quiet spring season due to COVID-19, the fall season is ramping up and this weekend we have the first of two West Coast CCI4*-S events taking place at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California.
Dawn Robbins is a current USEA Board of Governors member, Area VI adult rider, and a contributor to the development of the Event Management System (EMS). Note that this article was written more than a year ago and serves as a guide for future USEA software development.
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