Mar 30, 2024

Smith and Mai Baum Seal the Deal in Galway Downs CCI4*-S

By Kim F Miller - Edited Press Release
Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photos by Sherry Stewart

Temecula, Calif.—March 29— Horses and riders were undaunted by the condensed schedule mandated by Saturday's heavy rain forecast. They embraced an unusually busy day of competition to close out the Galway Downs International Horse Trials with super sport and high spirits.

The CCI4*-S concluded as predicted. Tamie Smith and Mai Baum (Loredano 2 x Ramira) jumped clear and careful, with only a few time faults on cross-country. They retained their dominant lead after a 23 dressage score and double clean show jumping on Thursday.

The 18-year-old German Sport Horse was raring to go. "He was happy to be out of the start box, and pretty wild out there," Smith said of her longtime star owned by Alex Ahearn, Ellen Ahearn, and Eric Markell. The finish was perfect prep for the next phase in their hopeful Paris Olympic journey— the CCI4*-S at the Defender Kentucky Three Day Event in late April.

Young rider Molly Duda and Mickayla Howard's 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding Disco Traveler (by Donatelli) continued an impressive ascent in the sport, finishing 2nd in their four-star debut. They were third after dressage, dropped a rail in show jumping, then roared across cross-country as the only pair to make the time over Clayton Fredericks' track.

A freshman at UCLA, Duda left the gate determined to make the time. "He's the best cross-country horse I've ever ridden and I know I can open him up out there and have him come back to me. We're both very competitive and we had a blast out there."

Doing the USEA EA21 and USEF U25 training camps over the winter built on the super successes this pair had last year. Duda also credited show jumping work with Smith and dressage coaching from Robyn Fisher as key to their continued rise.

Duda was also 4th in the three-star with her newer horse, Carlingfords Hes A Clover (Polanski x Fourleaf Clover), a 12 year old Irish Sport Horse. "Tommy" lives in the Bay Area with Howard, who brought Molly up to the three-star level. Juggling a pre-med academic track, Duda is a time management master. "I compete and go to college full time. Both are really important to me. It's a lot, but I love it!"

The Rebecca Farm CCI4*-L is the next big goal for Molly and Disco Traveler.

Bec Braitling was thrilled to finish third with Arnell Sporthorse's Caravaggio II (Vangelis-S x Courtesan), a 13-year-old British Sport Horse gelding. They are prepping for the Kentucky CCI5*-L after gathering useful experience campaigning in Europe last summer. Today's finish adds to their reserve champion result in the CCI4*-L at Galway Downs last fall.

Pace was Braitling's priority on cross-country. Incurring only 1.6 time penalties allowed them to move up from 6th after dressage to 3rd. And that was even with a new noseband that gave the California-based Australian "more whoa than I wanted."

Braitling loved the track built by fellow Aussie, Fredericks. "I thought it would ride more twisty. But it was smooth and really fun to ride."

She liked the re-shuffled schedule, too, with four-star dressage and show jumping on Thursday. "It makes it busy, but I loved being able to work on the fitness aspect of it for him."

Hoffos & Regalla top the 3*

Tarran Hofos and Regalla.

Taren Hoffos and Carolyn Hoffos' 13-year-old Oldenburg mare Regalla (Sir Donnerhall x Rubbiera) accomplished important goals in logging a wire-to-wire win of the CCI3*-S. This pair won the CCI2*-S in 2022, the CCI3*-S last year, and this year they defended their title by finishing on their dressage score, a 32, and under the cross-country time allowed for the first time at this level.

"Riding a smooth track, taking good lines and trusting her that I don't need to set her up as much as I might think I do," were keys to their winning effort, Taren said.

The forward mentality started with dressage. "Bec Braitling and I have been talking about FEI trends toward judges really wanting to see you ride forward, to put your hands forward and go. And I think that carries over."

Show jumping has been "a struggle" in the past, but it was double clear over Marc Donovan's route today. Taren had ridden in the Ingrid Klimke clinic here in December, where a crowd of 800 auditors buzzed the already electric Grand Prix Arena vibe. Taren thought the exposure contributed to Regalla's focus in the same ring this morning for show jumping. "It was really valuable to ride in that atmosphere and that kind of pressure, but in a fun and positive way."

Next on the pair's agenda is moving up to Advanced at Twin Rivers in April.

Megan McIver and Elle, a 12-year-old Holsteiner by Con Caletto, stayed on their 32.7 dressage to finish second. Bred by owner Tally Chang, the 15.3-hand mare is 70% Thoroughbred and "loves" cross-country, McIver explained.

"I could barely keep her in the start box she because was bouncing around with excitement," said McIver. Once out of the box, they easily made the time to finish a close second. Elle goes in a snaffle, and "barely needs a touch to bring her back," she said. "I never have to look at my watch to know she's making the time."

Elle's sensitivity made dressage a challenge in the early days of their partnership. McIver credits Smith with coaching that clicked for the dressage court, plus ongoing work with Anke Herbert at her Northern California base. The Advanced Combined Test at Twin Rivers will be next for Elle. "She's feeling like the 3* is too easy!"

Auburn Excell Brady and Lauren J. Hsieh's 13-year-old gelding Galliard's Lancer proved themselves a new pair to reckon with. They stayed on their 34.2 dressage to finish third.

McIver & Igor B Top the Parker Equine Insurance CCI2*-S

Megan McIver and Elle.

All three phases of the Parker Equine Insurance CCI2*-S and the CCI1*-S took place today.

After two phases in the 3* with Elle, McIver turned to a newer ride, Igor B (Vittorio x Erica B), an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood, for this division. They moved up one rung with each phase to win on a 31.7.

Igor came from the U.K. with 4* experience. They first ran Training Level at Twin Rivers three weeks ago, then felt fine to advance to the two-star here. "But I didn't expect to win!"

Young rider Hanni Sreenan and Ebenholtz, a 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Ehrentusch x Levantine) owned by Amy Haugen, were tied for 6th after their 28.4 dressage, then went clear in show jumping and added 3.6 time penalties to finish 2nd. The result keeps this pair in the news after their USEF CCI2*-L National Championship and USEF Young Rider CCI2*-L National Championships at the Eventing Championships at Galway Downs in November.

Amber Birtcil and the Cellar Farm Corp. owned 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood Mississippi (Falaise de Muze x Coniek) went double clear on show jumping and cross-country to leap into 3rd place.

Holland and Joshua Tree Win the CCI1*-S

Fiona Holland and Joshua Tree.

Fifteen-year-old Fiona Holland and Joshua Tree, her 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Acore x Gijit), continued to establish themselves as a pair for the future. They won their first one-star by staying on a 27.5 dressage score.

Holland aspires to the top of the sport and credits work with Smith, Kaylawna Smith-Cook and Braitling for her auspicious outing today. That's on top of riding on her own and weekly lessons with Julie Corlett in her Santa Ynez home area.

"We are both learning and I am stoked that we were able to take this step up together," Holland said.

Lauren Billys Shady and her new ride in the 7-year-old Holsteiner gelding Kingston 60 (Kingsroad x Anka VIII) followed on a 29.6, and Grace Brownrigg and Margaret Burchell's 7-year-old Holsteiner mare Dhaulagiri (Diamant de Semilly x Tosca IX) were third on a 31.2.

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