With the support of excellent show sponsors, Aspen Farms in Yelm, WA awarded over $25,000 worth of prizes to the top finishers at Aspen Farms Horse Trials and the FEI CCI3*-Short and CCI2*-Short on June 13, 2021.
“Overall everything went smoothly,” said Show Organizer Jonathan Elliott. “I think the cross-country courses rode quite well. There were some tough questions out there, but people rode them well. It was a great show.”
The top honors of the weekend went to Marc Grandia, who moved up in the placings after convincing cross-country rounds to win both the CCI3*-Short aboard Campari FFF, owned by Team Rebecca LLC, and the CCI2*-Short with Sunsprite Seryndipity (pictured below), owned by Pamela Duffy of Sunsprite Warmbloods.
“I thought the addition of Chris Barnard and Morgan Rowsell to an already amazing event made for exciting new changes in the jumping phases,” said Grandia. “The creativity of Travers Schick and the rest of the building crew was really on point. They could turn a leftover stump into a masterpiece. The courses rode well, and my horses were fantastic. I’d like to thank my team, and especially the owners of these horses for the opportunity.”
Marc Grandia and Campari FFF progressed up the standings to win the CCI3*-Short thanks to clear jump rounds. They laid down the fastest cross-country time of their division, adding just 9.2 time faults to their dressage score.
Young Rider Haley Turner and Shadow Inspector jumped clean on cross-country but dropped down one placing from their overnight lead due to their 19.6 time penalities.
“I was really happy with [Shadow Inspector] on cross-country,” said Turner, who also spoke positively about the helpful influence of her coach, Alexis Helffrich. “The ground was tough with it being a little sticky from the rain. Also, it was my first time running on grass. He’s a little more used to the grass, coming from England. He was super good out there.”
Dani Sussman and Jos Bravio and Kelsey Holmes and NZB The Chosen One both added just 14 time faults to their overnight scores in the CCI3*-Short to finish third and fourth, respectively.
Marc Grandia and Sunsprite Seryndipity laid down an impressive cross-country round in the CCI2*-Short, clear, and inside the time–one of only three pairs in the division to make time. They finished on their dressage score of 29.3 for the win.
Young Rider Kayla Dumler and Faramir were hot on the heels of the leaders, finishing on their dressage score of 29.8.
“He is a stellar cross-country horse,” said Dumler after her cross-country ride. “Every time he goes out there, he always gives me a great feel over all the jumps. I was definitely a little worried about going out later in the day–I didn’t know how well the footing would feel with all the rain. I was pleasantly surprised. They did a really good job. It was still holding up well. And I was happy I was able to push him and keep building his confidence as we went through the course.”
Amber Birtcil and Keep Calm, owned by Cellar Farm, offered solid performances throughout the weekend, adding just 3.2 time faults on cross-country to move from first overnight to third. Young Rider Abigail Cochran and Mixologeigh jumped clear and inside the time to move up two spots to finish in fourth.
Adequan®/USEF Youth Team Challenge (YTC)
Kayla Dumler and Faramir finished first in the CCI2*-Short YTC ahead of four other competitors.
“I think it’s really special,” said Dumlar of her YTC win at Aspen Farms. “Faramir is such an amazing horse. We’ve done a lot together; I’m lucky to have such an amazing partner. I think it’s a really cool experience and opportunity to offer this new YTC challenge.”
Abigail Cochran and Mixologeigh finished second in the CCI2*-Short YTC, Eliana Thompson and Surelock third, Alexis Larson and PL Diamond’s Inspiration fourth, and Hailey Blackburn and Kilbunny Amigo fifth.
The CCI2*-Short Adequan/USEF Youth Team Challenge top 5 finishers.
Haley Turner and Shadow Inspector led the CCI3*-Short YTC from start to finish, winning on a score of 46.7. Sophie Click and Quidproquo finished second on 53.6.
“It was really fun,” Click said about participating in the YTC. “It was great to get to know the other girls and spend time with the team. It was a fun extra layer of competition. I liked it.”
Click was pleased with Quidproquo’s performance throughout the weekend. She said, “He was really good. He got a better-than-average dressage score. Our show jumping was not as good as it normally would be, but he was awesome on the cross-country; really smooth, right on everything, and had a good time. I’m really happy with this result!”
Alina Patterson and Flashback finished third in the CCI3*-Short YTC.
The CCI3*-Short Adequan/USEF Youth Team Challenge Top 3.
Aspen Farms Horse Trials Divisions
In Open Intermediate, Anna Collier and Resolve It moved up to win after a conservative but jump-fault-free cross-country round–the last cross-country ride of the rainy day.
In Open Preliminary, Anna Stein and Zaboomafoo soared up the leaderboard from thirteenth after show jumping to first after cross-country–the only pair in their division to deliver a clear cross-country round inside the time.
Stein explained the highlight of her weekend was having Zaboomafoo feel so bold and confident on course after a hesitant cross-country trip earlier this season in Florida: “Boomer stormed around today. He knows his job so well, I didn’t even think about the footing or the time. I just kept at a pace, trucked around, and then got to the end of the course, looked at my watch, and realized ‘We’re good!'” Friends at the Ice Horse Finish line broke the news that she was more than good–she had won. Stein also finished seventh in the division with her off-the-track-Thoroughbred mare, Lucy Lucy Lucy.
Madison Langerak and Normandy Kivalo led Preliminary Rider from start to finish, even after adding some time penalties to an otherwise clear cross-country round. They finished on a score of 34.5, 6 points ahead of second-place finishers Patricia Schaefer and Rockster, owned by Tricia Arnold.
“This horse has had two colic surgeries and a torn tendon in the past 2 years and this is our first Prelim back,” shared an emotional Langerak. “Just to still have him here is so cool. I adore him with my whole heart. His clear show jump round has to be the highlight of the weekend for me. He jumped everything huge. There were a lot of rails going everywhere, and to have that nice of a round was very special.”
Aspen Farms hosted five Training level divisions. Karin Saltzman and her rescue gelding, Wesson, won Training Rider A.
“I had a great dressage round; I was really happy with it,” said Saltzman. “Cross-country was super fun; it was a really fun course. It felt great to get out there and gallop, and my horse was super.”
Kate Helffrich made the trip up from California to compete at Aspen Farms for the first time with her mare, Coquette. They won the Training Rider B division on their dressage score of 25.5.
“Coquette was amazing,” said Helffrich. “We’re from California, so we’re used to dry. The dressage and then jumping today with the wet was a very different ball game for her. I could feel she was disturbed, but she is a competitor and rallied.”
The Novice divisions were heavily influenced by the jumping phases this weekend. Periods of rain struck the show jumping in the Tack Room Too outdoor arena.
Adelaide Rudkin and her imported gelding, Confetti 42, traveled from California and won the Novice Rider division on their dressage score of 30.2.
“I’ve had him for about a year,” said Rudkin. “We’ve gone through so much. We just came out here to have fun; give him a good, confident go. We finished on our dressage score. It was everything we could have hoped for.”
Aspen Farms is already looking forward to welcoming everyone back September 17-19 for the September Aspen Farms Horse Trials and USEA Area VII Championships. “We’re also getting the Advanced track back up and running in September with Course Designer Morgan Rowsell,” said Show Organizer Jonathan Elliott. “We’re excited to see a new design for that track.”
See the final show results for all divisions online at Startbox Scoring, here.
* Photos courtesy of Cortney Drake Photography
Ninety percent of training a horse is getting the horse to understand exactly what you want them to do. In general, horses are generous and willing creatures who want to please us; very seldom do they behave badly on purpose. Horses don’t come out and say, ‘Let’s make Mom’s (or Dad’s) life miserable today by going as poorly as possible - most prefer to do the right thing, as long as they know what that is.
Regardless of the level at which a horse is competing, its veterinary team is at the forefront of most decisions regarding its career and well-being. Liz Arbittier, VMD, CVA, has been working with equine athletes for over two decades. Graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) in 2001, she worked in private practice with a focus on sports medicine and pre-purchase exams until joining Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center Field Service team in 2013. Situated in the heart of Area II’s eventing scene, the team provides ambulatory services to the surrounding area, which is home to multiple Olympians.
US Equestrian (USEF) announces the appointment of David O’Connor to the newly created position of Chief of Sport beginning October 3, 2022.
Aspen Farms in Yelm, Washington was host to this year’s USEA Area VII Championships on September 16-18 and put on a spectacular show where 10 horse and rider pairs celebrated victory by being awarded the title of Area VII Champion in their respective divisions. Hear about each pair’s weekend below.