Temecula, Calif.—April 2—Clayton Fredericks' April Fools Day international cross-country track left no place for foolin' around Saturday in the final phase of the Galway Downs International's FEI divisions.
Tamie Smith retained her two spots atop the leaderboard with the seasoned veteran Mai Baum (Loredano 2 x Ramira) edging Danito out of a lead he'd carried from dressage and after both show jumped double clear Friday night. While both horses made it look easy, it was not, Smith asserted. "The course rode very difficult and technical and very reactive. There wasn't any part where you could count on something riding like you'd planned it."
The Bank and Double Houses at 13ABC, the Land Rover Mission Viejo Water Complex at 18 ABCD, and the Brush Ditch-Pig Hut-Angle Brush at 21ABC were especially challenging.
Even with her "old, trusted partner," Tamie admitted she was a bit nervous because Alexandra Ahearn, Ellen Ahearn, and Eric Markell's 17-year-old German Sport Horse had not run since their FEI Eventing World Championships team silver outing in September, and the course "was riding way harder than I anticipated."
Smith considered the 6 minutes 19 second optimum time "unmakeable" and, indeed, she and Mai Baum were the closest to it. Their 9.2 time penalties bumped up their 22.2 dressage score, and they won on a 31.4, ahead of Ruth Bley's 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding Danito's (Dancier x Wie Musik) score of 34.8, which included 14 time penalties.
"I went for it with both horses, and I really tried to go faster with Danito," Smith reported. "He's more of a long-format horse. I can ride Mai Baum a little faster because he sets himself up for the jumps so well. Danito is not quite as careful, and he's a bit strong, so that's part of it. But, both were awesome, and I'm thrilled."
Saturday's CCI4*-S cross-country was ideal prep for Mai Baum and Danito going into the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5*-L later this month, Smith said.
Marc Grandia and Team Rebecca's 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Campari FFF (Camiros x Tanner), moved up into third with 19.2 time penalties to end on a 53.5. Katy Robinson and her own 11-year-old Thoroughbred Outrageous Dance (Outrageous Limit x I Wanna Dance) had the biggest jump up the standings, their 12.8 time penalties boosted them from ninth into fourth.
With the holiday spirit in full swing and the New Year just around the corner, it’s time to get ready for the 2024 eventing season. From paperwork to packing, there’s quite a bit to do before you’re ready to get out there and enjoy the season with your horse. Check out these tips from the team at STRIDER, and get your 2024 season kicked off in the most organized way possible.
The U.S. Equestrian Federation is pleased to announce the Eventing Pathway Program Lists for 2024, including the Elite, Pre-Elite, Development, and Emerging Programs. In addition to these Eventing Pathway Program updates, several opportunities will be available in 2024 for both Program and non-Program athletes.
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