With roads and tracks, steeplechase, and cross-country, the Hylofit USEA Classic Series gives horses and riders the opportunity to experience the thrill of endurance day and a long format three-day event. The Hagyard Midsouth Three-Day Event hosted a Training Three-Day division at their event on October 16-20, 2019. Elissa Gibbs and Voltaire’s Masterclass emerged as the winners of the Training Three-Day division.
Gibbs and Voltaire’s Masterclass, aka “Walter,” scored a 27.3 in the dressage to lead the pack of 19 at the outset of the competition. A double clear cross-country round allowed them to maintain the lead, just over four points ahead of second place. They would need the room as they had one rail down in show jumping but still managed to take home the win on a score of 31.3.
Gibbs, an Advanced level rider and trainer, began riding at the age of 8 when her family moved from the city to the country. “My mother enticed me with riding lessons to keep me agreeable through the move,” Gibbs recalled. “I started eventing when I was 10.”
In 2005, Gibbs completed her first Advanced horse trials aboard Loughnatousa Max, an Irish horse that Gibbs bought from Ireland with 30 days of training. “Fortunately he was a very kind horse and we overcame many obstacles,” she said.
While competing with Max at the Advanced level, she brought along Medici, an off-the-track Thoroughbred she bought as a coming 6-year-old with help from Nanette and Harold Eichell. “Medici had close to 20 owners before myself,” Gibbs said. “Though he was a very tough horse to earn trust and respect from he was a natural jumper and cross-country horse. Medici finished his first Advanced horse trials in less than three years after his first Beginner Novice horse trials. We spent five years together at the Advanced level with several top finishes due to his consistent clean rounds. I still have Medici and he is enjoying his retirement, and at 19 years old he isn't much easier than he was at 5.”
Over the course of the last five years, Gibbs has ridden green-broke horses to three-star horses and everything in between. “I was fortunate enough to have several great owners and a variety of mounts,” she said. “Last April I purchased Voltaire's Masterclass through Tim Bourke. At that point in my career, I had either redone horses for myself or had nice horses for others. I wanted to find a green, possibly unstarted young horse that I could produce start to finish for myself. Walter struck me as unique and special. He arrived in April of 2018 and competed in his first starter competition in July of 2018.”
At the beginning of the year, Gibbs’ goal with Walter was to compete in the USEA Young Event Horse 5-year-old Championships at Fair Hill. In their qualifying event at Virginia in May of 2019 they scored an 82.30, qualifying them for the Championships this fall. But, as the Championships approached, Gibbs felt something was missing. “As the year progressed the piece that seemed to be missing was the gallop on cross-country,” she said. “After weighing the pros and cons I decided running the long format with steeplechase would be more beneficial. As the Training Three-Day at Midsouth was the same week as the YEH Championships, I had to make a choice. I feel that I made the right choice and this special young horse will be better prepared to make the move to Preliminary next year.”
“The best part of the long format is it teaches novice riders horsemanship and how to schedule a progressive schedule and fitness preparation for their horses leading up to the event,” Gibbs reflected. “It is also a wonderful reminder of the team aspect of an otherwise solo sport. It's such a rewarding feeling to have a special group of people follow and assist through the endurance day. I was fortunate to be able to have both the long and short format experience through the years. I will continue to participate in the Training Three-Day with my young horses and encourage my amateur clients to participate as well.”
About the Hylofit USEA Classic Series
The Hylofit USEA Classic Series keeps the spirit of the classic long format three-day events alive for Beginner Novice through the Preliminary levels. Competitors can experience the rush of endurance day, including roads and tracks, steeplechase, the vet box, and cross-country, as well as participate in formal veterinary inspections and educational activities with experts on the ins and outs of competing in a long format three-day event. Riders who compete in a Hylofit USEA Classic Series event during the year will have the chance to win a variety of prizes at the events from USEA sponsors. Click here to learn more about the Hylofit USEA Classic Series.
Now available to purchase, the Hylofit system hit the marketplace in 2018. The Hylofit system is the only equine wearable to offer in-ride feedback for horse and rider. Hylofit’s state-of-the-art product is designed to maximize communication between horse and rider, improve training results, and promote the overall health and well-being of the horse. Hylofit unique features include real-time feedback, post-ride insights, rider insights, overall well-being of the horse and rider, zone training, sharing features, video features, weather impact features, and more. The Hylofit system that tracks both horse and rider’s heart rate is comprised of four hardware components, an app for iOS or Android, and an optional app for the iWatch.
Hylofit is generously providing a 10 percent discount for Hylofit products to all USEA Classic Series competitors! Hylofit will also provide 11 Hylofit systems to the high scorers of each USEA Classic Series event at the 2019 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.
Following the popularity of Rules Open Forum held virtually during the 2020 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention in December, the USEA Competitions, Calendar, and Rules Committee decided to host another Rules Webinar to share information about the extraordinary rule changes going into effect on April 1, 2021 and the rule change proposals being put forward to the USEF by March 1, 2021 for approval for the 2022 competition season.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.
Chris Ryan’s initial assessment of this 3-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred gelding is that he’s a “good quality sort. Brown is a great color – a strong color in ‘nature.’ One of the first questions I ask myself when evaluating a horse is if he has refinement. We know the breed type here is Thoroughbred but I still ask the question."
The USEA Event Companion App was launched in late 2016 for iOS and Android devices to provide USEA members with easy, at-your-fingertips access to the USEA calendar of events, dressage tests, rules, news, and more. The app, now in its fifth year, has rolled out a new feature for users - push notifications are here!