The Event at Rebecca Farm took place from July 21-25, 2021, in Kalispell, MT. Thirty-three horse-and-rider combinations entered the Training Three-Day division, while the Novice Three-Day saw 25 entries.
Shelby Murray and Reverie GWF (Rotspon x Chatari), owned by Laurel Ritter, took home the top prize in the Training Three-Day with 30.7 penalties. Second place honors were awarded to Kristen Davignon aboard her own Fürst Floid. The pair received 31.1 penalties. Avery Hughes and her own Faya rounded out the top three with 31.7 penalties.
“This was my first time at Rebecca Farm, and I really enjoyed it,” commented Murray. “I loved the long format, that was my first time doing it, and I thought it was such a blast. It was overall so much fun, and I can’t wait to go back! I did a lot of fitness work and took a lot of lessons to prepare for this event. I am a working student for Erin [Kellerhouse], so I’m always out there trying to get the most prepared that I can.”
Although Murray’s partnership with Reverie GWF is still relatively new, the rider has watched and known the mare since she was a young horse.
“I was able to watch my trainer, Erin, start and develop [Reverie GWF],” explained Murray. “Then my horse took some time off, so I got the ride on her about a year and a half ago. I’ve been riding ever since I could walk, and it’s been great to be able to ride such a fun horse. My mom has always been in the horse world and loves horses, so I grew up on an eight-acre farm with tons of horses and a little pony that I learned to ride on!”
Sixteen-year-old Murray is thrilled with this recent victory and hopes to continue on a successful streak with Reverie GWF.
“This win means everything to me,” said Murray. “I am so grateful to have an opportunity to ride a horse like her and so thankful for her owner, Erin, and everyone involved. Seeing our relationship progress has just been amazing, and I’m so happy with how it is all going.”
Earl McFall piloted Ann Patton’s Iluminada (Mighty Magic x La Patrona (Tynagh)) to the blue ribbon in the Novice Three-Day with 27 penalties. Sarah Wildasin rode her own Charlie Tango to finish in second place with 29.8 penalties. Third place honors went to Katy Hood and her Padric after they received 31.
“I really want to thank Rebecca Farm for putting on the long format,” said McFall. “I’ve done that with a lot of young horses and, I think it’s been an important part of their development, and I really appreciate that they do that. It was really good for this mare in particular because they have the steeplechase, and you get to go for it a little bit over the bigger brush jumps and see what she can do.”
McFall and Iluminada are no strangers to the winner’s circle and have had many top-place finishes, starting when the mare was a yearling. Each win is a testament to McFall’s training since the mare was born and started at his facility.
“It’s pretty exciting because the horse’s owner is a gal named Ann Patton, and she came to us with a mare and wanted to get our advice on who to breed her mare to,” explained McFall. “My wife and her mother are expert sport horse breeders, and a lot of people come to them to get their opinion, so they recommended Mighty Magic, who is a Holsteiner. The mare stayed at our facility, was bred at our facility, foaled out at our facility, the whole thing! We were involved all along. Ann has been a good supporter of the young event horse and future event horse programs, as well as my wife, so I showed the horse as a yearling.”
She likes the limelight and enjoys to show, but she doesn’t get overly excited, which is the perfect combination,” continued McFall. “She becomes more than some of her parts, which is a cool thing that mares can sometimes do more so than geldings. She has outperformed what we expected of her. When you get that good relationship with a mare, they can be really special.”
Although McFall opted not to do the practice day because Iluminada felt a little tired after the trip due to the wildfire smoke, the pair still proved that they were prepared and ready for competition.
“We put a lot of time in, we have a big track on our property that we built, it’s about 0.8 of a mile with a hill,” described McFall. “I made sure that she had the foundation and fitness, especially because she is a young horse. She went a great speed, not quite preliminary speed but faster than novice speed, and I finished the last jump, and I had a nice gallop to the finish line and ended up a minute early! I didn’t feel like I was hurrying, so she’s quicker than you think, which is exciting to know.”
For a full list of results from the Event at Rebecca Farm, click here.
About the USEA Classic Series
The 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 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 USEA Classic Series.
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