The new Hugh Lochore designed Copper Meadows cross country course seemed to produce either a great round or a not-so-good one. Time, as always, played a factor out on course, with no double clears on the CIC3*/Advanced track, and only four double clear in the CIC2*.
Twin Rivers Ranch found themselves in a similar position after completely redesigning their course in 2014, but riders and horses have now adjusted to it well. All eventers know that numbers can predict, but there’s something about fate and horses that happens which sends everything up n the air.
CIC 3* Winners: Andrea Baxter and Indy 500
Andrea and Indy have been out campaigning this spring, taking advantage of the wealth of FEI opportunities in Area VI. The pair cruised over the new course, adding only 3.2 time to their dressage score. While they did not beat their personal best score in the sandbox, this is their best finish in the CIC3*.
The only other pair to complete the course was Avery Klunick and In It to Win It. Winston was great out on course, but after pulling those unfortunate rails earlier this morning, they left the door open for Andrea and Indy.
Our leader after stadium, Barb Crabo, withdrew Eveready after a fall earlier in the Advanced. Both horse and rider are fine. “I scratched all my horses that I haven’t yet ridden today, which was all but one. She currently in 3rd in the Intermediate and I’m waiting to see how I feel tomorrow.” We all hope you feel better in the morning, Barb!
Amber Levine Leads From Start to Finish in the CIC2*
Guiness St James’, owned by Amber Levine and Valerie Mackie, didn’t let his small stature get in the way of his plan to win this weekend. “JJ” took the lead after dressage and never looked back.
While maybe not being the best mover, Amber says that what JJ lacks in flash, he makes up for in accuracy. Her goal was to ride him relaxed and comfortable all weekend, and that seems to have worked perfectly. And his economical style helps him keep his rhythm, as Amber was one of the few riders to not incur time faults either.
In second, Lauren Billys and Marseille had a great confidence building run.
“Hugh did really great,” Lauren said. “The big thing here at Copper is that they are limited by space, but he did a really good job with what is here. Time will most likely be difficult to make, and the new course is adjusted in terms of where you are on course. There’s more galloping. It’s a course you need to kick on, rather than pull, and that’s perfect for where Oz and I are in our relationship.”
Indeed, the two added 6 time faults to an otherwise clear round. Considering this is the pairs second event, we feel safe in saying they have a bright future ahead!
Heather Morris and Team Express Group’s Charlie Tango certainly made it close, adding only 0.8 time to their final score, which meant that Lauren and Heather finished separated by only 0.2 penalty points.
Heather’s teammate and BFF, Tamie Smith, finished in sixth aboard the Company West Coast Dempsey Syndicate’s Dempsey. This was Dempsey’s move up, and he certainly stepped up to the challenge.
The jumping was clearly easy for him, and knowing Tamie, Dempsey’s dressage will only improve. Look for a strong fall season for this pair.
Sarah Braun and Perfect Intentions Win Their First Advanced
It was a crazy day for the Advanced division, and two Advanced rookies were the ones to rise above.
Sarah Braun and her Young Rider partner, Perfect Intentions, didn’t have their best dressage test to start things out, but pressed on anyway. After their turn in the sandbox, Sarah said, “[Candy] was a bit tense in a few movements but was super everywhere else and worked through it!”
That seemed to be their motto for the weekend, as the Hawley Bennett-Awad coached and employed pair moved up the levels.
For those of us that know how hard Sarah worked to save Candy when she suffered a life-threatening colic, this win is especially sweet. They are quite the pair for determination and never giving up. Thanks for the inspiration this weekend, Sarah!
In second, Erin Murphy and Athlone Travel On contested their first Advanced together. This pair has also put together a great spring, including a couple good FEI finishes.
Spotting Erin on course or in warm up is easy, as she and the skewbald gelding are not just flashy, but fun. He had no trouble with the jumping efforts, just picking up time to finish behind Sarah.
Our leader after stadium, Barb Crabo and Over Easy, had a fall at 11 – the angled brushes. Both horse and rider are fine. This fence caused a shake up in the division, as second place Ashlynn Meuchel and Morning Star retired there, and Gina Economou and Calidore picked up a stop.
With such a small class it’s hard to tell how difficult the question was to read. With so many in this division contesting the Advanced level either for the first time, or the first time in a while, Hugh mentioned that his course would reward the forward, committed ride.
That wraps up the final FEI event of the season for Area VI, and many eyes will now be turning to Kalispbell, MT, and The Event at Rebecca Farms.
More news and notes from Copper Meadows to come! Thanks to Ride On Video for the great recaps of all three phases here: