The CCI4*-S had an exciting shake-up of the top placings to finish out the International divisions at the Twin Rivers Fall International. It was Tamie Smith and Passepartout, an 11-year-old German Sport Horse gelding (Pasco x Preschel) owned by Tamie's daughter Kaylawna Smith-Cook, who came out on top with the fastest cross-country time of the group. Ruth Bley’s 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding Danito (Dancier x Wie Musik) took second. Erin Kellerhouse and her own Woodford Reserve rounded out the top three.
Smith has made the most of the long break in the show schedule. Show jumping focus with international Grand Prix riders Ali Nilforushan and Peter Wylde at home at Kings Way Farm in Temecula, Calif. paid off in the performances of Passepartout and the rest of the deep string of talent she brought to Twin Rivers. "It's been really good to have the extra attention in jumping," she said after logging three clear rounds on Friday over Jose Nava's courses, including on Passepartout and Danito.
"It was my plan to go out and have a steady quiet go with Danito." The handsome chestnut is "really coming into his own," Smith explained. He led yesterday's standings on his 25.1 dressage score and a clear show jump. "I asked Kaylawna if she wanted me to go fast on her horse and she said yes. I had never ridden him cross-country and so was pleasantly surprised at what an incredible horse my daughter has! I am so excited for their future together.” Smith-Cook and Passepartout have had a remarkable first year together, logging their first Advanced finish at the Twin Rivers Winter Horse Trials in March. Smith has the ride on the talented horse now because Smith-Cook is pregnant.
"All my horses were incredible today,” Smith said. "The courses and footing rode great, the attention to the footing was greatly appreciated.”
While she has been back competing since July, with a trip to Rebecca Farm, Smith acknowledges that the "new normal" still takes some getting used to. "We feel so fortunate that the organizers are going above and beyond to enable us to enjoy competitions again. It seems like we have figured it out. Everybody is diligent about wearing masks and the organizers are enforcing things like taking temperatures. It's a new era for all of us."
Erin Kellerhouse was thrilled with her own 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Tinarana's Inspector x Laharns Laughton), Woodford Reserve's performance. “Woody was really good in his first CCI4*-S, he answered all the questions easily and galloped really well. The courses were really fun and gallopy with good questions.”
In addition to her win in the CCI4*-S, Smith also won the CCI3*-S aboard Linda and Terry Paine's 8-year-old homebred Thoroughbred cross (Blauer Vogel x Qtrapastree). Cheers was the only horse without time faults on Hugh Lochore's CCI3*-S cross-country. That speed helped him move up from an 8th ranked 34.3 dressage score, and just one show jumping rail down, which Smith described as "my rail," to win the day. "He's been a work in progress, and it's really cool to have him seal the deal here. Every horse is different: he's hot and has been a bit slow to develop." As the final phase neared, Smith's "right-hand person," Bridget London calculated that a double clear would earn the win, and that's what the pair delivered. "He is an amazing cross-country horse," Smith concluded.
Smith had a different tact with her second-place winner, Solaguayre California (Casparo x Solaguayre Calandria), a relatively new ride. Third after dressage on a 32.3, they had rail that Smith again took the blame for, then four time penalties on cross-country. "Out of the box, I am always going for what I need with each different horse. She'd had a beautiful, solid show jumping round and the time was hard to make on cross-country. It was not an easy track to make up time on. So, I wasn't trying to go crazy fast on her because she is green and more spooky than Cheers. We went at the level that I needed to for her training."
Julianne Guariglia's Argentine Thoroughbred mare was developed by David Adamo, who "did a phenomenal job with her," Tamie added.
Bec Braitling and Arnell Sport Horses' 9-year-old British Sport Horse gelding Caravaggio II (Vangelis-S x Courtesan) finished third in the division. After leading dressage with a 30.6, a show jumping rail and cross-country time faults slipped them to third.
"It was amazing!" said almost-18-year-old Haley Turner of her win with Shadow Inspector in the CCI2*-S. Yesterday's 26.8 dressage score stayed put over this morning's show jumping designed by Jose Nava. The afternoon's run over totally new routes by Hugh Lochore went smoothly, too. Just a .4 time fault, to end on a 27.2.
"It's been quite a long journey for us," said the student of Bea and Derek DiGrazia. The 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Tinaranas Inspector x Caragh Roller) sustained an injury the first year Turner had him, then she was injured in the second year of their partnership. This year, their third together, began with high hopes for a North American Youth Championships spot and started well at the Twin Rivers Winter Horse Trials in March, when they finished second in the Preliminary JR/YR division. Then came COVID.
"It's wonderful to get back out there. The cross-country course is completely different than it was in March," reports Turner. "It was fun and a good challenge while also being inviting."
An online student through high school, Haley graduated early last spring and plans to take a gap year partly because of COVID's impact on the college experience. The opportunity to focus full time on her riding has been a plus and a pleasure, she says. "It's almost like we've had a second winter to practice and improve our skills."
Amateur rider Lauren Burnell and Counterpoint finished second, on their 29 dressage score. Emilee Libby and Natalia Valente's Toska moved up steadily, from an eighth-place tie after dressage, into third thanks to penalty-free show jumping and cross-country.
Along with national level competition, the Fall International hosted qualifiers for the USEA Future Event Horse West Coast Championships and The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse West Coast Championships. This special showcase for young horses will be hosted by Twin Rivers on Oct. 23-24. An unrated one-day event is slated for Sunday, Oct. 25, and a new, recognized Horse Trials offering Introductory to Intermediate is slated for Nov. 13-15.
As they hiked through the Galway Irish countryside, Shelley Bridges and John Whelpley soon found themselves amid a herd of curious Irish Draught mares grazing calmly around them. Bridges, an endurance rider extraordinaire with a well-known, educated eye for all things horse, noticed one of the mares in particular and said, “What about that one?” and our unlikely story began.
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.
The United States Eventing Associations’ (USEA) Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) is pleased to announce the dates and location of the upcoming 2024 ECP Symposium. The annual ECP Symposium, which is held in the southeast to accommodate the migration of eventers for the winter season, will be hosted at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, Florida, on Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2024. This three-day immersive educational experience is recommended for anyone who is interested in learning more about eventing coaching, including current coaches, riders, parents, owners or avid supporters. Click here to download the registration form today!