Kelli Temple was having such a great day in the 5-year-old YEH Championships here at Fair Hill that she decided to go ahead and take the lead in the 4-year-old division as well, this time aboard Frame Bye Bye America, a Selle Francais gelding bred by Martin Douzant and owned by Christine Stiller. This is an exciting weekend for Martin, who is also here competing in the YEH-5 division.
Kelli and “Bye Bye” earned a 39.78 from the judges as just the second pair in the ring this afternoon, setting the standard and never letting it go throughout the remainder of the division.
“I’ve had him for a couple of months now, I’ve done two events on him,” Kelli said. “(Christine) has been a really great support of mine for many years, so I feel really lucky that she has given me the opportunity to ride him.”
A big believer in the value of YEH competition, Kelli has brought young horses in her program to this event for many years. “This is a great venue, and it gives the horses just a leg up on learning about being at such a big competition and having the people and the flags and the crowds. I think it’s a wonderful experience for them. And it’s good for us and for their breeders and for their owners to get the kind of exposure early on in their career as young horses.”
Jessica Brumfield had two rides in the 4-year-old class today, ultimately finishing second in the first two phases with Ms. Mars’ Landmark’s Apollo after earning a total score of 39.69.
“It was unexpected,” Jessica said. “It’s really exciting for (Ms. Mars) to have a homebred in the top three. He is out of a mare that was campaigned by Karen O’Connor … and I actually broke him as a 3-year-old last fall. He’s a big guy and I feel like a very small person on him!”
Speaking to the greenness of these horses, both Kelli and Jessica agreed that without ring familiarization last night — for the equality of competitors, this was not offered last night since some horses were not arriving until today — it was hard to know what to expect at a big competition with plenty of atmosphere to spare. Remarkably, though, both the 4- and 5-year-olds really held their composure well overall and put in some really lovely work.
Completing the top three in the 4-year-old class is Morgan McCue and Ally KGO, a Trakehner mare by Hirtentanz *E* out of Annabel Lee. Ally is a lovely, athletic looking type and Morgan posted on her Facebook page that the jumping is her favorite, so this pair is definitely looking forward to showing off their moves tomorrow.
Oh, also: check out what Ian Stark used as the whistle for this division. Can’t fault the guy for being creative!
Speaking of tomorrow, it will be a formidable test for these horses, who will be tested over Training (YEH-4) and Prelim (YEH-5) level fences. The horses’ gallop and overall impression will also be scored for a total of 50% of the overall score — we’ll be on the look out for any shuffles on the board following the final phase of evaluation.
I have many more photos to upload, so I’ll add a gallery to this post as well as the 5-year-old post. Keep checking back for that and stay tuned for much more tomorrow!
Please enjoy this gallery from the YEH-4 division’s dressage tests this afternoon!