The SmartPak Equine/USEA Training Three-Day Event at the Inavale Horse Trials drew 15 riders from near and far to experience the thrill of the ‘chase. Tristen Hooks, DVM and her own Holsteiner/Dutch Warmblood, Learning To Fly, led the event from wire to wire to take home the blue ribbon and a trailer full of prizes. This was the third Training Three-Day event that Tristen and Fly have competed in, and they have been working slowly up to the win. In 2009, the pair placed third at the T3D at Galway Downs, and they returned the following year to Galway and finished second. This year Tristen decided to make the 15 hour journey to Oregon, and earned the win.
Tristen, who is an equine vet in San Luis Obispo, first evented in Germany where she spent most of her childhood. Upon returning to the U.S. Tristen did not have the chance to event until after graduating from Veterinary School in 1997. About five years ago, a classmate found Learning To Fly “Fly” and offered Tristen the ride on him. Fly was barely green-broke, but turned out to be the perfect match for Tristen.
“I absolutely love the Training Three-Days,” said Tristen. For someone who works full time at a demanding job this is the perfect goal for me. Inavale was an absolutely breathtaking venue. Everyone was so helpful especially with the studs as I had never used them before since they aren’t needed in California. I also loved walking the cross-country course with the designer, Tremaine Cooper, and getting to practice steeplechase with John Strausburger. My favorite part was definitely endurance day but especially Phase D. It is the best cross-country round you will ever have after having just completed A, B, and C as your warm-up. Fly came out of the box feeling like King Kong, and I thought I was absolutely flying especially in the woods when the trees were just screaming past, however, we did still end up with some time penalties.”
After her amazing experience on Endurance Day, Tristen kept the momentum going to jump a clear show jumping round over what she described as a “spectacularly decorated course.” After some celebratory Champagne, Tristen was awarded a SmartPak Wellfleet Leather Halter and Engraved Leadshank, a Five Star Tack Bridle, a pair of FITS Breeches, and was entered in a drawing to win a year’s supply of SmartPaks or a Stackhouse Saddle.
Tristen is planning on making the 24 hour drive to the Event at Rebecca Farm next month to try and defend her title at the Training Three-Day there. “I really appreciate that people are hanging on the Classic format,” said Tristen. “I don’t have Rolex aspirations, so I just love having the T3Ds as a goal.”
Fellow Californian, Sierra Mathias riding her own Thoroughbred mare, Regal Exit finished the weekend in second after adding only a few time penalties to their 36.8 dressage score. Anna Medina and Mary Spangler’s Morgan gelding, Nanook rounded out the top three competitors of the weekend.
Full Results can be found here.
The SmartPak Equine/USEA Classic Series is made possible through the support of its many sponsors: Title Sponsor: SmartPak Equine; Presenting Sponsor: Stackhouse Saddles; Silver Level Sponsor: Fleeceworks; Legacy Sponsor: Five Star Tack Elite Sponsors: FITS and Nunn Finer.
It’s been 13 years since an American has stood atop the podium at a five-star event, but Boyd Martin broke the dry spell today with the Turner Family’s 15-year-old Anglo European mare On Cue (Cabri D’Elle x On High) as the winners of the first-ever Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill. It was a thrilling down-to-the-wire finish where Martin and On Cue climbed from third to first to take home champion honors with just .01 points between him and second-place finisher and weekend-long leader Oliver Townend.
Following yesterday’s downpour, the temperatures for the final jog this morning were brisk but the CCI5*-L horses remained professional for the last horse inspection leading into show jumping later today. Of the 35 pairs set to move forward with the final phase of competition, only 34 presented to judges Angela Tucker (GBR), Martin Plewa (GER), and Mark Weissbecker after Lisa Marie Fergusson opted not to bring forward her own 15-year-old Welsh/Thoroughbred gelding (Brynarian Brennin x Dream Contessa) Honor Me.
After a jam-packed week, the final day of competition at the Maryland 5 Star is upon us. Riders have shown off their style in the horse inspection, danced their way down the centerline in dressage, and contested some serious obstacles in cross-country up until this point. Now it's time to demonstrate the fitness and accuracy that each horse possesses in the final phase: show jumping.
It was a great day of cross-country riding at the Maryland 5 Star. There were 35 horses who crossed the finish and 11 of those finished double clear. With British, French, New Zealand, Canadian, and American riders coming through the finish flags – it was a true world class competition. The USEA was at the finish to see what the riders thought of the very first Maryland 5 Star cross-country track designed by Ian Stark.