California eventer Tamie Smith had a big victory on home turf at the 2020 Galway Downs International on Halloween weekend, winning the USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship with Elliot-V, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Smith’s student, Luisa Southworth.
Smith took over the ride on Elliot-V when Southworth left for college, and he’s become an exceptional horse at the Intermediate level.
“We did our first Intermediate here last fall,” said Smith. “I did my second Intermediate at the CCI3*-S at Woodside three weeks ago to get him qualified for this weekend. He was great there and then he was just super here this weekend.”
Smith and Elliot-V took a narrow early lead with a 29.8 in dressage, putting them just barely ahead of Asia Vedder and Isi, who scored a 29.9. But Smith held her lead with a double clear cross-country and just 0.4 time faults in show jumping.
For 2020, Clayton Fredericks took over the task of designing the cross-country course at Galway, and it suited Elliot-V well.
“It was an awesome, super galloping course,” said Smith. “A little bit twisty here and there, but it was great. Clayton and [course builder] Bert Wood did a great job on the design. I was first out, so we weren’t sure how the time was going to be, but that horse has such a ginormous gallop stride that it was great.”
Vedder and Isi, her own 10-year-old Thoroughbred/Holsteiner gelding, maintained their second-place standing through all three phases, with only 1.2 time penalties from cross-country day and 4 jumping and 0.4 time penalties in show jumping.
Andrea Baxter and her 10-year-old Holsteiner/Thoroughbred gelding, Laguna Seca, rounded out the top three in the USEF CCI3*-L National Championship, finishing fifth overall in the division with a score of 44.0.
The National Young Riders Championship for the John H. Fritz Trophy is awarded to the highest placed U.S. citizen in the USEF National Young Rider Eventing Championships, which is open to riders ages 16 through 21. For 2020, Charlotte Babbitt took home the John H. Fritz Trophy with her own Dutch Warmblood gelding, 2 A.M. Sophie Click was Reserve Champion with her own and Amy Click’s 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Quidproquo.
This year’s event marked the first time that the USEF CCI3* National Championship has been held on the West Coast, and after a challenging 2020 season marked by event cancellations and unexpected changes, a successful event was a welcome occurrence.
“Galway Downs really pulled out all the stops to make it an amazing National Championship,” said Smith. “We’re grateful that they really stepped up to the plate. I can see the competition growing into a great event. It was really fun because it’s my hometown and it’s the West Coast, and I really wanted it to run the way it did for the east coasters coming out here to show that we have great events out here. It was super to have the support.”
A case of EHV-1 (neurological) has been reported in Ocala, Florida, similar in nature, but unrelated to the neurological strain of EHV-1 impacting Valencia (ESP) and other European countries. The horse was not shipped from Europe and was not on show grounds at the onset of symptoms. USEF is working closely with the Florida Department of Agriculture and state authorities who are completing contact tracing and identifying the potential source of the virus exposure.
Five-star eventer Kim Severson taught a show jumping clinic in January at Milestone Sport Horses in Lovettsville, Virginia where she instructed riders on the importance of forward riding for successful jumping. In this exercise, which Severson progressively adds additional pieces to, riders are instructed to focus on the quality of their canter.
On Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Central time, join Eric Dierks for a live stream interview with David O'Connor. David was an alternate for the 1988 Summer Olympics, and riding Wilton Fair, was part of the U.S. team at the 1990 World Equestrian Games, where he placed 35th individually and the team finished fourth.
Billy Jackson was introduced to horses at a young age through his local 4-H program. “One of my mom's close friends was a large animal vet and she really encouraged me to stay with it,” Jackson said. As an adult, he is a Marketing Project Manager, and when he’s not at work, he’s a lower level eventer based at Poplar Place Farm.