Winning an Advanced division anytime is a big deal. It was even bigger for Canadian professional Sara Sellmer, who did so at the Spring Event at Woodside aboard Jill Walton’s PDQ Leigh. In 2016 at the same venue, Sara’s horse, TF Kreisler, died following an incident on the CCI3* course and Sara hadn’t been back since.
“I wasn’t sure how I would handle it,” the rider acknowledged. “To be doing Advanced again and to win today is amazing. The support of the community here has also been amazing. All weekend I’ve been getting pats on the back in the warm-up ring and everybody telling me that I can do it.”
Sellmer has had the ride on PDQ Leigh just under a year and describes him as an especially “kind, generous and honest” horse. The pair started the weekend on a 33.80 dressage score from judges Valerie Crail and David Schmutz. On Saturday, they were one of just two pairs, out of 11, to go double clear on cross-country, putting them in Sunday’s catbird seat. They had a rail in hand and needed it. “It was totally mine,” said Sellmer of the downed pole in the triple element on a Chris Barnard track that used every inch of the Horse Park at Woodside’s big Grand Prix arena.
The win seals their qualification for the Rebecca Farm CCI4*-L in July, the next stop for the rider who is based in Langley, British Columbia.
Lauren Billys and her 2016 Olympic partner Castle Larchfield Purdy continued their return to West Coast prominence, finishing second after their 35.50 dressage score started them tied for fifth. Conscious of Purdy’s 17 years and with the Tokyo Games in her sights, Billys did not put pedal to metal on cross-country, so penalties there moved them down to sixth. An exuberant clear jumping round with only .40 over the time moved them into second. Billys is thrilled with Purdy’s fitness and finishing so well was “icing on the cake,” she said. Next up is Rebecca Farm, where she hopes to earn an Olympic-worthy score.
Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin led after dressage with a 27.30, but took their time Saturday morning to sit fifth coming into the Grand Prix arena. They jumped clear with a .8 time fault, to leave Woodside with a yellow rosette and great prep for Luhmühlen Germany in June.
Fans of James Alliston’s popular palomino-colored mare, Pandora, were disappointed not to see her contend show jumping. She and James were second after cross-country, but James withdrew her after “being a bit banged up yesterday.” It was nothing serious, he assured. “She just seemed a little bit stiff last night.”
Advanced prize money was $500, $375, $300, $225 and $100, respectively, for first through fifth. As the winner, Sellmer also earned a Western Saddlery halter, certificates from Ride On Video, Marcus Green Photography and Devoucoux, plus gear and goodies from Professional’s Choice, Hilton Herbs, SmartPak, and Smartlyte, which also provided prizes to second and third place finishers.
James Alliston’s other colorful star, Cassio’s Picasso KD, was in fine form Sunday to win the Intermediate division, the 7-year-old’s second run at this level. The Paint Trakehner’s characteristic elegance in dressage earned the stallion a 22.20, and a confidence-building pace on cross-country added time penalties to put them in second coming into show jumping, where they were easily fault-free.
Pouring rain arrived about halfway throughout the 21-pair Intermediate field at the end of a weekend otherwise graced by mostly sunny skies and cool weather. The day-two leader, 15-year-old Jordan Crabo, could have blamed a first fence refusal on the downpour, but she didn’t. Riding the seasoned upper lever campaigner, Over Easy, Crabo blamed herself. The mare is a reliable, yet tricky ride, she explained. “I have to really be kicking but also leaning back and give her just the right approach to the jump.” Rather than get rattled, however, the NAYC-bound Area X rider piloted the mare onto their first clear jumping round at the Intermediate level. Their previous two Intermediate outings, they’d had two rails, so Crabo was pleased about the round.
Crabo’s 25 dressage score put them in third on Friday, then they flew fault-free around a cross-country track she described as “so much fun.” Many pairs had time faults, but Over Easy’s efficiency and agility enabled them to make the time easily.
Kelsey Holmes and NZB The Chosen One also jumped in the deluge, but keep their cool and their third-place position, finishing on Friday’s 30.30 dressage score.
Intermediate top finishers earned $300, $225, $180, $135 and $60, respectively, for first through fifth, plus several items from much-appreciated Spring Event sponsors.
A Sold-Out Weekend
Sunday concluded three days of competition ranging from Intro to Advanced and featuring Saturday’s special event, the Preliminary Challenge. Now in its 11th year, the Challenge drew a record number at nearly 50 participants, all vying for $30,000 in total cash and prizes divided equally between the Rider and Horse divisions. The Challenge concluded with show jumping Saturday night in the Grand Prix arena in front of a full house and in an electric atmosphere. On the rider card, Meg Pellegrini took top honors aboard her veteran star, Ganymede, and finished third with her new horse, RF Eloquence. The Horse division was won by Penhill Celtic, piloted by professional Bec Braitling.
Organizer Robert Kellerhouse was very happy with the weekend. “Even the things we can’t control – like the weather – went well,” he said. All tolled, 450 horses/rider pairs enjoyed a sold-out weekend of competition, furthering The Spring Event’s reputation for top sport in a beautiful environment.
Upgrades to stabling, cross-country, infrastructure and in other areas were appreciated by all from visiting dignitaries, like US Eventing CEO Rob Burk, to first-time exhibitors. Saturday night’s Preliminary Challenge Dinner Gala crowd was treated to a down-to-the-wire finish and a new cross-country VIP viewing tent was well received. As always, volunteers – about 125 through the weekend – made the Event work, and sponsors were equally critical to its success.
The Fair Hill Organizing Committee (FHOC), an affiliate of the Sport and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland (The Sport Corp.), today announced athletes and horses in the inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill (CCI5*-L) will be competing for $300,000 in prize money. Additionally, the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) Eventing National Championship (CCI3*-L), running in conjunction with the 5 Star, will award $25,000 in prize money. Both events, as well as the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Young Event Horse East Coast Championships, will take place this October 14-17 at the new Fair Hill Special Event Zone in Cecil County, Maryland.
You’ve seen a horse you like. You’ve ridden it; you love it. The money’s right; you’ve agreed to buy it. What happens next?
Pre-purchase veterinary examinations are one of those topics that a roomful of horsey people could discuss - and argue amongst themselves about - for hours. For the amateur rider, that can be confusing and slightly alarming.
So, let’s simplify it. What is a pre-purchase examination, why are they done, and what should you expect?
The USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships will take place later this month at the Virginia Horse Trials (VHT) in Lexington, Va. across May 27-30. Following the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan, the USEA is working with VHT organizer Andy Bowles to ensure the Championships are still a destination competition for all Intercollegiate event riders, packed full with an opening ceremony, the traditional “college town” area, the prestigious spirit award, and an abundance of prizes.
The FEI passed rule changes impacting Minimum Eligibility Requirements in November 2020 that go into effect on July 1, 2021. The changes will impact athletes who are uncategorized, “D” and “C” athletes competing at the CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, CCI4*-L, and CCI5*-L levels. Please see below for the highlighted changes. The USEF requirements to compete at these levels remain unchanged, but please remember that the USEF requirements must be achieved within 12 months of the competition. These changes will be adopted into the USEF Eventing Rulebook by July 1. See Appendix 3 for qualification requirements.