Oct 26, 2009

The Stars Aligned for Three Riders at One-Stars and Half-Star at the Hagyard Midsouth Three-Day Event


Classic Format CCI1*

On October 15, thirteen riders from thirteen different states arrived at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky to tackle one of the few remaining Classic Format CCI1* events in the country. After the dressage tests were finished, the horses were jogged, and the last horse galloped on the steeplechase course, it was Georgia that reigned supreme. Elisa Wallace and Lela Wulf's Good for Me made the eight hour journey up I-75 to compete in the Hagyard Midsouth Three-Day Event.

Elisa and "Goody" sat in second place after dressage with an impressive 36.9. After a clear round on all four phases of endurance day the pair was able to move up to the top spot which they held on to by putting in a clear show jumping round.

"I was ecstatic with my dressage test," Elisa said. "I even got seven 9s from the judge at E! It is definitely a test I want to frame."

Endurance day wasn't a walk in the park for Elisa and Goody, but the team was able to cross all the hurdles to put in a fast clean round.

"I was happy that the weather had been rainy because Goody goes well in mud," Elisa explained. "But he ended up pulling both front shoes on the steeplechase course so I had to do phase C without front shoes. That was a bit stressful! The farrier was able to tack the shoes on very quickly in the vet box, but I was concerned about getting there with enough time."

Goody has always been a bit "ditchy" Elisa explained, but after steeplechase, the tough cross-country course seemed like a piece of cake.

"I competed in this same event four years ago with the horse I was riding at the the time, and the long-format really seasoned him and helped him mature," Elisa said." That was the same goal I had for Goody--to just help knock off the 'bugging eyeballs' and I really think that this event achieved that. I think it is a good idea to bring young horses to the Classic format events because the training, conditioning, and actual run really matures them."

This win was a big achievement for Goody, who is affectionately known around the barn as "Boo Boo Bear." The nine-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred is a bit accident prone according to Elisa. "It took a whole lot of bubble wrap to get him safely to this event." Goody is a survivor of colic surgery, which he underwent three years ago. Elisa took over the ride from owner Lela Wulf about two years ago, and Elisa thinks that there will be no limit to Goody. She plans on moving him up to Intermediate in the next month or so and then run him in some two-stars next year.

"I couldn't do it without his owner--she gives me so much support." Elisa explained.

Short Format CCI1*

Erin Freedman of Oak Hill, Virginia and the seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, Viola, who was imported from France, led the short format CCI1* from start to finish adding only a few time penalties to their solid dressage score of 41.6.

Although this was Viola's first one-star, Erin said that the mare was "absolutely super. Speed is the most difficult aspect of cross-country for Viola, and I was thrilled with her on course."

The "awesome" show jump round sealed the deal for the pair, and Erin and Viola were able to lead the victory gallop.

Erin decided to run the short format rather than the Classic one-star because she hopes that Viola will be able to move up the levels and be a great upper level horse. "I wanted Viola to have the same experience that she is going to have at the two and three-star levels, which is the short format."

Viola is finished competing for the season, but Erin still has big plans. In November she is going to fly over to Germany to interview with a top eventing and dressage trainer for a working student position. If everything works out, Erin hopes to be able to take Viola with her across the Atlantic.

"Viola was bought for me in 2006 after I graduated college by my parents, Renie and Harry Freedman, Stephanie and Mark Ratner, and Jess and Jamie Hedges," Erin explained. "She is such a special horse, and I want to continue to be able to ride her no matter what country I am in."

SmartPak Equine/ USEA Training Three-Day

Gabby Dickerson just turned 14 and has only been competing Folie a Deux, a ten-year-old Polish Warmblood/TB, for little over a year, but the pair still managed to best a field of 31 experienced riders in the SmartPak Equine/USEA Training Three-Day. The only rider to break into the twenties, Gabby added nothing to her impressive dressage score of 29.2 to finish the weekend with the blue ribbon.

"I decided to compete Folie in the long format Training Three-Day because I thought that it was a necessary experience for me, as a rider before I move up the levels," Gabby explained. "Folie's confidence really grew after cross-country, and he ended the event a different horse than he started."

This competition was not just the pinnacle of the season for Gabby and Folie but also the end of their partnership as Folie is for sale. "This was definitely the best he has gone all year long, and it was a great note to end our season on," Gabby said. "Folie has taught me so much in the past year and a half I have owned him. Like anyone, we have had our ups and downs but this fall he has really peaked in his performance and grown in his confidence- the training three day really topped it all off. I know that Folie and I have really bonded and learned so much from each other, and although it is very hard to move on, it is necessary for both of us. He is an amazing horse, and I know that he will give someone else all the opportunities and knowledge that he gave me. My goals are to ride my horses safely and confidently and eventually reach the top levels of the sport and represent the U.S. in the Olympics."

"I would like to make a point to thank all of the organizers, volunteers, anyone who helped make this event possible, and those who are working to keep the long format events going, Gabby said. "I am very glad to have had this opportunity, and I hope that other people get to have the same experience in years to come. My coach, Kim Severson, also deserves a huge thank you for her help in preparing my horse and I for the T3DE."

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