Dressage day one in the CCI5*-L at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event ended on Thursday afternoon. There were 21 pairs who competed in front of judges Nick Burton, Gretchen Butts, and Christian Steiner. At the end of the day, three U.S. riders, all riding American-bred horses, hold the top spots going into the second day of dressage.
While no one broke into the 20s, Tamie Smith and Judith McSwain’s 13-year-old Holsteiner mare Fleeceworks Royal (Riverman x Marisol) came close as they scored a 32.9, earning the overnight lead. “I was really happy with her. She was with me the whole way, she was awesome,” said Smith.
“It’s special because it's a horse that [I've] produced from the beginning. Judith was my first owner, and she’s so happy to be here. It’s been our dream to have an American-bred horse here at Kentucky.” Smith continued, “I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but, she’s a cross-country machine.”
“I am feeling super excited,” McSwain shared prior to the dressage test. “There is a bit of disbelief and a bit of holding my breath until she trots up the centerline. It has been 10 years since the scruffy little 3-year-old walked off the trailer. The journey has been filled with joy, excitement, ups, downs, some delays, and wonderful adventures. It has taken a village to get 'Rory' here so most of all I am grateful for all the support.”
Colleen Rutledge sits in second place on a 33.8 aboard her 16-year-old homebred Thoroughbred cross gelding Covert Rights (BFF Incognito x Let’s Get it Right). “This feels amazing sitting on my personal homebred. It’s awesome,” Rutledge commented. “He’s amazing to ride, and he puts a smile on my face every day.”
“My goal was to just play and have a good time. I was really, really happy with my trot work. He almost was too relaxed in the arena. The judging was tough but, they were very consistent.”
Both Covert Rights and Fleeceworks Royal are graduates of the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) program.
Rounding out the top three is the 2020 Tokyo Olympic pair, Doug Payne and the 18-year-old Trakehner gelding Vandiver (Windfall 2 x Visions of Grandeur) which he co-owns with his wife Jessica Payne and Debi Crowley, who is also the breeder of Vandiver. The pair holds the third spot with a score of 34.9. “I’ve been working really hard to get him more supple and relaxed, and this is by far the best he’s ever been in the ring. I couldn’t be happier with him,” said Payne.
The top three commented on Derek di Grazia’s cross-country track. “There’s a lot of questions throughout the course that are going to be challenging. It’s going to require for a rider to be super sharp, and it’s more of an instinctive test," Payne reflected.
“Derek’s a genius, one of the best, if not the best. I love riding around his tracks,” said Smith.
Rutledge added, “You’ve got to ride not just off your eye but also your leg. Everything he’s asking is clear, but it’s all of those bits and pieces that add up. It will come down to the last fence for every one of us.”
The remaining 24 horses in the CCI5*-L will compete on Friday, April 29 starting at 1:00 p.m. with Jennifer Brannigan being the first to go riding Nina and Timothy Gardner’s 12-year-old German Sport Horse gelding FE Lifestyle (Leo von Faelz x Berina A).
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The 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention came to a close on Sunday with the final USEA Board of Governors meeting. After the call to order, USEA Senior Director of Membership Services/Meeting Planner Jennifer Hardwick gave a brief overview of the annual meeting. There were 321 attendees and 220 who came to the awards dinner. Next year’s Annual Meeting & Convention will be held in Seattle, Washington, from Dec. 10-15 at the Westin Seattle.
Because every horse is different, caring for some senior equines is easy while caring for others can be a challenge. When does a horse become senior, how does the body change, which health conditions become more prevalent, and what can owners do to compensate for their horse’s aging body?
United States Eventing Association (USEA) members from all over the country gathered on Saturday night for the 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention Year End Awards Ceremony. The evening’s ceremony was led by Master of Ceremonies Jim Wolf and recognized riders, horses, and game-changers in the sport of eventing with multiple awards and grants.
Hosting the Annual Meeting of Members each December has been a requirement set forth by the United States Eventing Association (USEA) by-laws (then the United States Combined Training Association) since 1959. This year, USEA members are gathering in St. Louis, Missouri, for the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention from Dec. 7 - Dec. 10 for four jam-packed days of educational seminars and open forums full of conversation surrounding our sport. Lunch on Friday, however, served as an opportunity for attendees to gather together for the USEA Meeting of Members once again.