In this series, the pros walk through their approach to riding questions, fences and combinations on cross-country. This Ride Between the Flags is given by Tamie Smith. Click here for all of our Ride Between the Flags series.
Ian Stark’s cross-country courses encourage big, bold riding at all levels from three-star down to Novice. Last weekend, Galway Downs CIC* riders found themselves staring a trakehner combination (6ab) in the face early in the course. Tamie Smith, who won this division with Alexandra Ahearn, Ellen Ahearn and Eric Markell's Mai Baum at his return to competition, shares a course walk with us.
The A element is no simple trakehner, it’s build into a mound. “The terrain is very deceiving,” Smith says. “There’s a long, gradual, downhill approach to that trakehner before you go up the mound.” This means, riders must work even harder to regain the attention of their adrenaline-pumped equine partners after the long gallop.
A view over A to B. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.
A change in pace is necessary to navigate these elements, she continues. “I think what’s hard is people envision galloping trakehners, and courses now have taken us back to needing to canter them. Horses need to understand what’s being asked of them, but riders can’t override either,” she warns. “You don’t want to underride it, but you don’t want to override it either. What that fence did was test bravery, but also accuracy. You had to be able to get the horses back, ride strong, but not override so you didn’t have a huge jump over the trakehner, so that you could navigate the angled brush going out.”
The B element. USEA'Shelby Allen Photo.
Once successfully over the trakehner, riders had to be quick to react to whatever jump they had as a four-stride bending line quickly took them to element B, an angled brush. “You have to keep your eye on that skinny brush. You’ve got to clear the trakehner first, but you have to really keep your shoulders back over it and really hold your line. It was a slight bending line and the horses have been galloping a very long time downhill, and they’re not thinking bending line or anything like that. It’s the first step of teaching these horses to look for the next jump,” Smith determined.
Those familiar with Ian Stark courses may recognize this type of combination, as it mimic, on a smaller scale, a mound trakehner question featured on the three-star course. “It’s a stepping stone,” Smith explained. “It’s a stepping stone to creating a bold, brave horse that can still be careful. One that doesn’t have to use speed to jump the jumps.” This, Smith assured, is a fundamental element of cross-country riding, and one that Ian Stark enforces on his courses.
The one-star combination's "big brother" on the three-star course. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.
“[Ian Stark] has created questions that create a huge amount of bravery where you don’t use speed to jump the jumps. I think it takes a special course designer to be able to navigate that successfully, and I think he’s one of the best that does it. People have to learn that they don’t need speed to jump, and if you do it catches up with you, and you’ll have to go back and do your homework,” she concluded.
About Tamie Smith
Tamie Smith is an accomplished equestrian and ICP Level 4 Certified Instructor with over 25 years of industry experience. Specializing in Dressage, Show Jumping, and Three-Day Eventing, Tamie offers a well-rounded skill set with proven results.
In addition to having ridden Dressage at the Grand Prix level and having earned multiple Show Jumping accolades, Tamie has made a name for herself in the Eventing spotlight. With career highlights that include being named to the United States Developing Rider List multiple times (a proven training ground of the United States Olympic Team), competing at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI4*, developing a two-time West Coast Young Event Horse Champion, and being named the 2015 USEF CCI3* National Champion, Tamie takes great pride in each horse she works with.
To learn more about Tamie, please visit her website www.nextleveleventing.com
Boyd Martin claimed the CCI4*-L victory at the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event riding Luke 140, owned by The Luke 140 Syndicate. California rider Tamie Smith held the lead and second place with Danito and En Vogue, respectively, with the two swapping placings after cross-country, and Martin and Luke 140 maintaining third place through both phases. But two rails down for Danito dropped him to fourth place and En Vogue was relegated to third with three rails down, opening the door for Martin and Luke 140 to clinch the win.
Will Faudree shared the news yesterday that his legendary event horse, Antigua, passed away at the age of 32. In a Facebook post he said:
“I always thought I would have something profound to write. A eulogy that would encapsulate the impact you had on my life. And maybe those words will come. You taught me what a work ethic is, how to think in slow motion and how to just keep going. You laid the foundation for a career I dreamed of as a kid. Thank you will never be enough. I will miss you every day- rest easy my friend.”
While her two horses swapped places for first and second after cross-country, Tamra Smith maintained both the lead and second place with two clear rounds and minimal time faults at the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event Presented by BW Furlong and Associates and Zoetis. The 16-year-old Hanoverian mare En Vogue (Earl x Laurena) is just a little more experienced than her barn mate Danito, also owned by Ruth Bley, so she was also a little quicker around the big, challenging course that twisted and turned through the Horse Park of New Jersey. En Vogue leads on a 27.1 and Danito is second with 31.9, with Boyd Martin maintaining third place with the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding Luke 140 (Landos x Omega VI), owned by the Luke 140 Syndicate.
California rider Tamra Smith holds the lead and second position in the CCI4*-L at the Jersey Fresh International (JFI) CCI at the Horse Park of New Jersey in Allentown. Smith scored 23.9 today with Danito, Ruth Bley’s 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Dancier x Wie Musik), to take the lead from her other mount, the 16-year-old Hanoverian mare (Earl x Laurena) En Vogue, also owned by Bley, who was the overnight leader after scoring 24.3 yesterday. Boyd Martin of Cochranville, Pa. holds third place with Luke 140, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Landos x Omega VI) owned by the Luke 140 Syndicate, on a score of 25.6.