Mar 06, 2023

Wins by Smith at Advanced and Intermediate and First-Ever Modified Held at Twin Rivers Highlight Winter Horse Trials

Tamie Smith and Elliot V. Ride On Photo photo

The 2023 Twin Rivers Winter Horse Trials were an event to remember. A hard‑working crew and community support stepped up after record rains in Paso Robles, California, flooded the cross-country course prior to the show. Tamie Smith’s wins at the Advanced and Intermediate levels highlighted top-class performances. And, Twin Rivers hosted a Modified level for the first time in the event’s history.

That the Twin Rivers Winter Horse Trials even took place was a feat in itself. The bottom field at Twin Rivers Ranch where the dressage rings and the lower part of the cross-country course are located was under approximately four feet of water six weeks prior to the event because of severe flooding to the area. The combination of grounds crews working round-the-clock, the strong response to a GoFundMe campaign, and a break in the weather during a particularly rainy California winter allowed for a “miracle,” as organizer Connie Baxter described hosting the event.

“We’ve gotten quite a bit of weather here in California, more so than ever, and the river flooded out the lower part of the cross-country,” Smith said. “So, it was a little nerve-wracking knowing whether they were going to be prepared, but they did a great job.”

Tamie Smith and Elliot V. Ride On Photo photo

Smith won the Advanced division with the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Elliot V (Zavall VDL x Vera-R) owned by the Elliot V Partnership. They led after dressage with a score of 30.0 and added 6.4 time penalties on cross-country for a finishing score of 36.4.

“2023 is going to be his breakout year, and he’s really come out fantastic,” Smith said.

Following what Smith described as a challenging 2022 for Elliot V, she plans to step him up to the five‑star level for the first time in 2023 at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event where he will join Mai Baum as Smith’s rides in the CCI5*-L at the Kentucky Horse Park.

“He’s kind of been a little bit in the background, and I’ve been trudging along developing him,” Smith said about Elliot V. “Although he didn’t have the best year last year, it was more bad-luck-type stuff, and it always felt like he couldn’t catch a break.”

Tamie Smith and Kynan. Ride On Photo photo

Smith also won the Intermediate division with Kynan, owned by the Kynan Syndicate, adding 5.2 time penalties on cross-country to their dressage score of 28.6 to finish with a score of 33.8. It was Kynan’s first Intermediate, and the 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding has made a quick ascent since his first USEA‑recognized event with Smith at Training at the Twin Rivers Summer Horse Trials in June 2022.

“I took my time last year just trying to get to know him, and over the winter, I felt like I solidified a partnership,” Smith said. “He’s a real all-around super horse. He’s really good in all three phases and has an intelligent mind and is game.”

Kynan finished 2022 with a win in the CCI2*-S at the Morven Park Fall International in Leesburg, Virginia, and then a third-place in the CCI2*-L back in California at the Galway Downs International. He started 2023 winning at Preliminary at the Ram Tap Horse Trials in California before moving up to Intermediate at Twin Rivers.

“Everything went to plan, which is always nice, and the horses felt really prepared,” Smith said. “The courses really felt up to par with a good track, and it was great.”

Smith was also second in the Open Preliminary with Julianne Guariglia’s 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Crafty Don (Tolan R x Diamond Breaker) to Helen Alliston and Alliston Equestrian’s 8-year-old Zangersheide gelding Flinterro Z, by Figaro. Elsa Warble won the Preliminary Rider division with Anna Meegan’s 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding FE Unlimited (Uriko x Viona III).

Molly Duda and Carlingfords Hes a Clover. Ride On Photo photo

In the first ever Modified held at Twin Rivers, Molly Duda and her 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Carlingfords Hes a Clover (Polanski x Fourleaf Clover) finished on their dressage score of 25.3 to win. That tied for the lowest finishing score across all levels with Kelly Estes and Waltz With Me (Wild Dance x Point of Grace) in the Beginner Novice Rider Division.

“It was a tricky course. My trainers were joking that it looked like the Modified Olympics,” Duda said with a laugh. “It felt really good. My horse, Tommy, was just incredible through it. He’s just a cross-country machine. He loves it out there. The footing really held up with the rain, so it was great.”

This was the second event together for Duda and “Tommy” following a fourth-place finish at Training at Ram Tap last month. Tommy was competing at the three-star level in Great Britain with Lizzie Baugh in 2022 before partnering with Duda.

“I’ve only had him for about two months. He’s very new to me,” Duda said. “He’s just such a gentleman. He’s a very well-trained horse, and he loves his job. We pretty much clicked right when he got to the States. He’s always been so level-headed about everything. He’s just got the sweetest personality.”

The Baxter family that hosts eventing at Twin Rivers Ranch was incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support received in response to the flooding that led up to the Twin Rivers Winter Horse Trials. There was a significant private donation and a strong community response to the GoFundMe campaign to have the facilities ready for the event.

“The support we received was so heartwarming,” Connie said. “It was a real team effort, and after all the hard work that went into hosting these horse trials, we’re looking forward to the internationals, as well as the Young Event Horse West Coast Championships, that make up our show schedule in 2023.”

The next event that will take place at Twin Rivers Ranch will be the Twin Rivers Spring International on April 13-16.

Mar 30, 2023 Profile

Historic Results and Determination Propel Smith to 2022 Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year Title

From horse trials in her home state of California where she prepared herself and her horses to take on the best in the nation and around the world to five-star events overseas where she represented the United States on some of eventing’s biggest stages, Tamie Smith had a remarkable season and finished 2022 as the Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year for the second year in a row.

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Fast Facts: The Event at TerraNova

TerraNova Equestrian Center in Myakka City, Florida, held its first CCI4*-S competition in the fall of 2021 and is now gearing up for the location’s third-ever FEI event and inaugural spring event this weekend during The Event at TerraNova which takes place March 30-April 2.

Mar 29, 2023 Competitions

Weekend Quick Links: March 30-April 2

Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.

Mar 29, 2023 Grants

Learning about Young Event Horses: Setting Goals

Many riders across all levels have found that working with young horses has provided them with the most valuable experiences in eventing. The opportunities for young event horses have never been more exciting. The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse East Coast and West Coast Championships continue to grow in profile as the culmination of a calendar of qualifying events is expanding to more areas of the country. More American riders and their young horses are aiming for the FEI WBFSH Eventing World Breeding Championships at Mondial du Lion in Le Lion D’Angers, France, particularly thanks to programs like the Holekamp/Turner YEH Lion d’Angers Grant. That’s become one of the most attended sporting events in the entire country. It’s given young event horses from the United States a chance to represent the growth of the American eventing community’s dedication to properly developing talent in the sport.

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