The FEI competition at Rebecca Farm continued today with the CCI2*-L, CCI3*-L and the Horse Scout Design CCI4*- S and CCI4*- L dressage.
An overcast, cool morning kicked off with the CCI2*-L division. Grace Walker Alonzi and her self-owned 16-year-old Westphalian gelding, Frantz (Fahrenheit x Stutbuch 1) scored a 29.9 to lead the division. Grace said her horse was a bit spooky with the cool morning weather, but settled into his job and “going up centerline, I felt like he was with me.”
Helen Alliston and Alliston Equestrian’s Flinterro Z, a 7-year-old Zangersheide gelding out of sire, Figaro, stand in second place with a score of 30.3. Helen started riding Flintero (as he’s known in the barn) in June after her husband, James Alliston, produced him as a youngster. “He's a lovely horse. He's young. But his temperament’s amazing. He’s very quiet in dressage and quite hot to jump, which I like. Normally, my goal for the jumping is just to not get bucked off because he’s… pretty playful. But yeah, I love him…especially for such a young horse. He's just all business…like a pro.”
Currently standing in third place with a score of 30.5 are Taren Hoffos and Regalla (Sir Donnerhall x Rubbiera), an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Carolyn Hoffos. “The Queen” aka Luna is a homebred for Taren, who said it is, “Pretty special to have ridden her throughout her whole life. She's the nicest horse I've ever sat on. She was a bit tense at the beginning, but she got better and better as we went along and relaxed into it. And I’m really proud of her.”
The CCI3*-S competitors completed dressage on Thursday. Lucienne Bellissimo holds the lead in the division with a score of 32.3 on Tremanton (Grafenstolz x Trevia), a 10-year-old Trakehner mare owned by Horse Scout Eventing, LLC. Sitting in second with a score of 33.7 is Cinzano (Classe x Walta), an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Cellar Farm Corp and ridden by Amber Birtcil. Birtcil has been coming to Rebecca Farm for over 10 years and commented, “It's such a destination event. And it's always stunning. They always do such an amazing job here.” Kaylawna Smith-Cook and AEV Above Authority (Lancelot x Aldatus Z) follow in third on a score of 35.4. The nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding is owned by Marcella Ashton. Smith-Cook said, “It's amazing here. I love the event.” She also praised her horse, saying “He's done a couple of intermediates so he's new to the level and he really stepped up and just tried really hard for me so I'm super proud of him. I'm excited to get out there tomorrow.”
The scores in the CCI3*-L division are very close. Liz Halliday-Sharp leads the group with 29.4 on the 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Cooley Nutcracker (Tolant R x Ballyshan Cleopatra) who is owned by Deborah Halliday, Renee Lane, Ocala Horse Properties, and Halliday-Sharp. Halliday-Sharp was very complimentary of him, saying, “This is still a relatively new partnership for me with this horse. But he's one that I think is a real one for the future. I really think the world of him he's only an 8-year-old…and he's still getting a lot stronger.”
Lucienne Bellissimo and Caitane Z (Concoird Z x Deka VD Cumul), an 11-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Horse Scout Eventing, LLC, follow closely behind with a score of 30.8. Meg Pellegrini and her own RF Eloquence (Contender x Ginger), a 17-year-old Holsteiner gelding, follow in third with a score of 31.9. Pellegrini said this is her fourth season with the “old pro” and that she is, “...very lucky to get to sit on this horse, and to be able to be at this event is a huge honor. He knows what to do and he really gave it his all.”
The top three placings after the Horse Scout Design CCI4*-S dressage are held by Liz Halliday-Sharp and Tamie Smith. Halliday-Sharp is standing in first place with a 26.3 on Miks Master C (Mighty Magic x Qui Luma CBF), the 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding owned by Ocala Horse Properties & Deborah Palmer, and third place with a 29.1 on Deniro Z (Zapatero VDL x Zonne-Trend), the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Ocala Horse Properties, LLC. When reflecting on the horses’ performances today, Halliday-Sharp said, “It's my first four star with the Miks Master C horse. I think he is totally world class. He's an incredible horse. I've only been riding him for two months, just getting to know him.” Halliday-Sharp was happy with Deniro’s test today, saying, “You know, we're very good friends, me and Deniro. And we have a long history together and I figured we'd have amazing grounds here at Rebecca Farm. He was very, very excited to be here.”
Smith and Danito (Dancier x Wie Musik) a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding sit in second with a score of 28.2 in the Horse Scout Design CCI4*-S.
The FEI dressage concluded on Friday with the Horse Scout Design CCI4*-L. 13 looks like a lucky number for this division, as the top three horses are all 13-years-old! Helen Alliston sits in the top spot with her Oldenburg gelding, Ebay (Escudo x Contessa), on a score of 28.9. Alliston said, “He was really wonderful” during his test and that Ebay always comes out as a professional.
Oskar (Coriando x Nicole) is currently in second with a 31.4. The 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding is owned and ridden by Alyssa Phillips. “He was really good,” Phillips said of his trot work and added the canter work and “got a bit spicy,” so she is excited for the cross-country tomorrow. Tamie Smith and the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Elliot V (Zavall VDL x Vera-R), owned by the Elliot V Partnership, sit in third place with a score of 32.7.
The sun came back out by the end of the day and the gorgeous Montana skies are looking clear for FEI cross-country on Saturday. Best of luck to all the horses and riders!
One of my passions is continuing to be a good student, because I think no matter how old I get, there are multiple reasons learning new things inspires me. First and foremost, it helps me be a better rider and trainer, so my horses benefit. Second, it helps me be a better teacher by exposing me to different ways to have a relationship with a horse or a student.
This month we’re going to begin a three-part series on how to create positive riding experiences by making sure the words you say to yourself and the thoughts you think to yourself are positive. Referred to as self-talk, internal dialogue, or brain babble; the words you say to yourself can have a huge impact on your performance. In fact, your thoughts and voice are actually considered behaviors, and just like how positive physical behaviors (i.e. a balanced transition) can create success, your verbal behaviors can also accomplish the very same thing. So let's spend the next few months talking about how to talk to yourself!
Being spontaneous has paid off for Kevin Keane and Sportsfield Candy. “I bought him on a Wednesday and showed him on a Thursday,” Keane recalls about his first event with his Irish Sport Horse gelding, then 9 years old, at Plantation Field Horse Trials (Unionville, Pennsylvania) in September 2016. “I owned him for part of a day, and the next morning I showed up at a CCI and jogged him up for a two-star, and we went clean and clean and clean.”
THANK YOU to everyone who has already entered the USEF/USEA Recognized CDCTA Spring Horse Trials scheduled for Sunday, April 9 in Berryville, VA. We will continue to take late entries through Friday, March 24 using USEA’s Xentry system. If you still want to come compete, please enter! The late fee has been waived through Friday, March 24.