The 17th annual Inavale Farm Horse Trials took place June 27-29 in Philomath, Oregon, with a déjà vu leaderboard in three of the Open divisions from Area VII’s Aspen Farms Horse Trials just two weeks prior. Repeat winners included Rebecca Buehler and Brighton in Open Intermediate, Karen O’Neal and Freudentag in Open Prelim, and Marc Grandia and Indio BMW in Open Training.
Buehler and her self-made Thoroughbred, Brighton, were the fastest pair to jump clean around the rustic Intermediate cross-country course. With only 0.8 time faults, they moved from seventh after dressage to first, finishing on a score of 43.7. Allison Sparks placed second behind Buehler with her 11-year-old Thoroughbred, Mystic Mojo.
“I was really excited and pleased with Mojo,” says Sparks. “His dressage is coming along… The cross country course was a lot of fun, and I was elated with how well he handled some questions that we haven’t seen before. He’s really getting a feel for his job and takes great care of me. I have to thank my coach, John Camlin for all of his help developing this horse. I think the thing that I was most pleased with was how great Mojo felt on Sunday, he came out for show jumping and just felt so relaxed and elastic.” Like Buehler, Sparks is planning to debut her horse at Advanced at Rebecca Farm later this month.
A celebrated new addition to the horse trials this year was the Area VII Adult Team Challenge, co-sponsored by Area VII Adult Riders. For a mere $10, adult riders could form teams of four in pursuit of additional ribbons and prizes, not to mention camaraderie and cheer! Area VII Adult Team Challenge winners included:
- Intermediate: Rebecca Buehler and Brighton, Allison Sparks and Mystic Mojo, Aimee Witherspoon and Worth The Wait, and Andrea Nielsen and LC O’Shawnisee.
- Prelim: Team “Lunachicks” including Kelsy Smith and Huxley Heights, Catie Cejka and Light In The Dark, Jessica Bryant and HPB Black Magic, and Suzanne Garofalo and Esquire.
- Training: Team “50 Shades of Hay” including Erika Graff and Fun and Games, Lisa Eppley and Sweet Basil, Samantha Bergin and Loki, and Cynthia Bayles and Accolade.
- Novice: Team “Rode’em Like We Stole’em” including Ashley Colonel and Cipollino, Erin Jordin-Carlson and High Flight, Michele Pestl and Touche’ par le Feu, Pamela Sturbaum and Cowboy Casanova.
- Beginner Novice: Team “Pardon my Dust” including Kady Ellifritz and Dear Henry, Terry Hilst and Victory Trail, Heidi Rosendahl and Captain Andy, and Nicola Swanson and Pogo Moki.
Jessica Bryant and her American Warmblood, HPB Black Magic, helped team “Lunachicks” earn the top spot in the Open Prelim Adult Team Challenge. “It was my first time ever riding on a team,” says Bryant. “I would definitely do it again! We didn’t really have a team strategy, I think everyone just tried to do their personal best and it worked out. For Catie [Cejka], it was her horse’s fourth-ever prelim and [my horse] Bravo’s second, so it was more about making it a positive and confident outing rather than the placing. Kelsy [Smith] and Suzanne [Garofalo] were really supportive and relaxed so it took all of the pressure away.”
Top finishers individually and in the Team Challenge won ribbons and prizes from Inavale’s sponsors, including Deco Pony, Gallops Saddlery, Toklat, and Kerrits. Jenn Hogan of Deco Pony reflects, “I always look forward to coming to Inavale–aside from the obvious excitement and hanging out with friends–because it’s so picturesque, it’s like living inside a gorgeous landscape painting.”