The 2018 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series featured 11 qualifying events over the past 12 months and culminates this weekend with the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Advanced Final at the 2018 USEA American Eventing Championships at The Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado. Nine horse-and-rider combinations trotted down the centerline in front of judges Marilyn Payne of the United States and Peter Gray of Canada this afternoon in the first phase of the hunt for the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Trophy and the lion’s share of the $40,000 purse.
Adequan USEA Gold Cup Advanced Final
Tamra Smith and Alexandra and Ellen Ahearn and Eric Markell’s 12-year-old German Sport Horse gelding Mai Baum (Loredano x Ramira) sailed to the lead in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Advanced Final. It’s been a while since Mai Baum has been inside the little white box, but he certainly seemed to be enjoying the spotlight, strutting to the lead on a score of 26.4.
Since winning the Fair Hill International CCI3* in 2015, Mai Baum has had just three outings, two in 2017 and one this summer at the Intermediate level at Twin Rivers. Smith explained that, after recovering from a mild strain sustained at Fair Hill, Mai Baum contracted an infection in his gut that prolonged his return to competition in 2017. Then, on the way home from an event, he fell in the trailer and injured his leg, requiring more time off. “Dr. Rantanen and Dr. Martinelli at California Equine Orthopedics have this high-powered laser, there are only a handful in the world, and we decided that since he was going to have time off that we would do the laser on the leg he strained at Fair Hill, and that gave us even more time,” Smith elaborated. “We’ve been bringing him back slowly. He had that time off, so it’s taken quite a while to get him fit and strong, but he feels fit and strong now.”
“He was completely wild today,” Smith confided. “Well, he likes to run and jump!” Eric Markell chimed in. “He smiles when he runs cross-country.” Smith continued, saying, “I wasn’t sure what he was going to do in the ring and he was strong, not listening to my half-halts and flinging his legs. I think he was very happy to be on a stage like that. I picked up the canter and went around the ring and I couldn’t help but smile. He’s so special and he’s such a showman, it’s really fun. It’s hilarious when he’s naughty because it’s not often that he’s naughty. In my test I was doing my half-pass and then I went to go forward to do my change and he leapt in the air, kicked my right foot, and then bolted. And right after that came my stretchy circle so I didn’t even start it until it was too late. It was fun, but he was wild.” Markell commented that, “When I was leaving I heard one man say to another, ‘That horse comes in the ring and takes it over with his personality.’”
Sharing her thoughts on the cross-country course, Smith said, “They’ve done a tremendous job on the footing. They’ve been working all night and my hat goes off to the officials who have been very diligent about getting a plan. I just got done from walking the course and they’ve aerated it and gone over it again and now they’re watering it and it feels great. The track is very good. It’s not overly technical, but technical enough, and it’s big. I think Tremaine Cooper did a super job. The design and the fences are beautiful.”
Tomorrow, Smith’s plan is to go out and have a smooth ride across the country. “Phillip [Dutton] told me once that the challenge when you go out of the start box is to look slow but be fast,” Smith said. “That’s my plan, just be efficient in the lines and be smooth and feel what the ground feels like and if it feels good then kick on and if it doesn’t just stay steady.”
Second place went to Jordan Linstedt and Revitavet Capato (Contendro x Annabelle), Barbara and Gary Linstedt’s 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding, who scored a 27.5. Smith also sits in third place aboard Judith McSwain’s 9-year-old Holsteiner mare Fleeceworks Royal (Riverman x Marisol) on a score of 30.8.
Heather Morris and Charlie Tango. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.
Heather Morris and The Team Express Group LLC’s Charlie Tango, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Shannondale Sarco St. Ghyvan x Our Queen Bee), lead a competitive Open Intermediate division on a score of 25.8. “I actually imported ‘Chuck’ from Ireland when he was a 4-year-old,” commented Morris, “so I’ve really had him since the beginning. He’s done some Advanced, we did drop him back down for AEC and for the remaining shows this year, he’ll just do the CCI2* level, and then we’ll move him back up next year."
"He’s a pretty reliable horse, he’s quite good in there, quite accurate," she continued. "I think I would like for it to be more expressive, so that is what we will work toward in the shows this fall, and focusing on just making it a little more rideable.”
Morris, who has competed at the venue before, conveyed her excitement about being back in Colorado this week. “Being from the West Coast now, having the AEC here makes everything so much easier,” she said. “I’m happy that this was out here because I love coming here, it’s great.”
Erin Kellerhouse and Woodford Reserve (Tinarana’s Inspector x Laharns Laughton), her own 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, have a tight grasp on second place with a 28.0, while Bella Mowbray and Ruth Bley’s 13-year-old Hanoverian mare En Vogue (Earl x Laurena) rounded out the top three on a 30.5.
Tomorrow afternoon, Intermediate will set out across the country at 3:00 p.m. followed immediately by the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Advanced Final at 4:10 p.m.
Click here to view the complete scores.
About the USEA American Eventing Championships
The USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) is the pinnacle of the sport for the national levels. Held annually, the best junior, adult amateur, and professional competitors gather to vie for national championship titles at every level from Beginner Novice to Advanced. This ultimate test of horse and rider draws hundreds of horses and riders from around the country to compete for fabulous prizes, a piece of the substantial prize money, and the chance to be named the National Champion at their respective levels. This year, the USEA American Eventing Championships will be held August 29-September 2, 2018 at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado. Click here to learn more about the USEA American Eventing Championships.
The USEA would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of the USEA American Eventing Championships: Presenting Sponsors: Nutrena Feeds; Gold Cup Advanced Title Sponsor: Adequan; Platinum Sponsor: Devoucoux; Gold Level Sponsors: Charles Owen, Standlee Hay, Merck Animal Health, Parker Equine Insurance; Silver Level Sponsors: VTO Saddlery, Mountain Horse; Bronze Level Sponsors: SmartPak, Dubarry, The Chronicle of the Horse, Stackhouse and Ellis Saddles, Auburn Laboratories, FITS Riding, CWD, Ovation, Acuswede, and Equipparel; Contributing Level Sponsors: Nunn Finer, RevitaVet, Emerald Valley Natural Health, CrossCountry App; Prize Level Sponsors: Ride Safe, GumBits, Equus Magnificus, Scoring Chix, Ride Heels Down, C4 Belts, A Little Pet Vet, ChubbyCov LLC, The Jockey Club, Absorbine, Arenus Animal Health, Equestrian Athlete Camps at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
About the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series
The 2018 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series features 11 qualifying competitions throughout the United States at the Advanced horse trials and CIC3* levels. The qualifying period begins August 2017 and continues through August 2018 with the final taking place at the 2018 USEA American Eventing Championships at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado, August 29 – September 2, 2018. Riders who complete a qualifier earn the chance to vie for $40,000 in prize money and thousands of dollars in prizes and the title of Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Final Advanced Division. Click here to learn more about the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series.
It’s the turn of the world’s best Eventing athletes to stand under the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games spotlight over the next few days as all but one of the horses presented at this morning’s horse inspection at Baji Koen Equestrian Park were confirmed for action by the Ground Jury.
And they're off! Eventing kicks off today in Tokyo (Thursday, July 29 – 7:30 p.m. ET), with the first of three Olympic dressage sessions. Competitors from 29 nations will go head to head, vying for a spot on the coveted Olympic podium.
There were a few last-minute dramas at the first horse inspection for the Tokyo Olympics which took place in the main equestrian park at Baji Koen Equestrian Centre at 9:30 a.m. JST today.