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.”
There are so many things to love about the USEA Classic Series: the way the conditioning and preparation strengthens your bond with your horse, the educational opportunities to enhance your skills as a rider, and, of course, your chance to experience the rush of the classic long format three-day event. There are eight Classic Series events taking place across the U.S. in the 2022 season and they are a great goal for many horse and rider pairs to work towards. Featuring the traditional long-format phases of roads and tracks and steeplechase in addition to the three regular phases of a horse trial, a USEA Classic Series event puts partnerships to the ultimate test. For riders who have already ticked off completing a long-format event from their bucket list, looking back on the thrill of steeplechase before heading out on cross-country often comes with fond memories. Check out what these USEA riders had to say about their favorite steeplechase moments!
After traveling the world last year and campaigning on the East Coast to start this year, Julianne Guariglia’s 11-year-old Argentine Sport Horse mare Solaguayre California (Casparo x Solaguayre Calandria) returned to competition in the home state of her rider, Tamie Smith, to win the Advanced level at the Twin Rivers Summer Horse Trials held over Fourth of July Weekend in Paso Robles, California.
The USEA Member Rewards Program has been rewarding USEA members since 2016 with offers ranging from car rentals to hotel stays. Now there are two more exciting offers available for USEA Rewards members. Introducing eHealth and TripPlanet!
It makes perfect sense that a rider would want to partner up with a wild mustang for eventing—big risk, big reward! But more importantly, big heart.