Though the Pacific Northwest sky is uncharacteristically cloud-free, there’s no mistaking Aspen Farms when you hear the Seahawks game blaring over the show loudspeaker or discover the signature Ice Horse cooler/jump stocked with fresh beverages on course.
This weekend Aspen Farms Horse Trials (AFHT) in Yelm, WA will once again host the Pro Tour / Adequan Gold Cup Tin Men Supply $4,000 Advanced division. With just six starters in the Advanced this year, many are looking to Jordan Linstedt and Revitavet Capato for a repeat win. However, all of the pairs entered have demonstrated success at Aspen Farms and elsewhere:
- Allison and Mystic Mojo – This pair is hot off three big second place finishes: second in the Area VII Intermediate Championships, second at their first-ever Advanced at Rebecca Farm in July, and second in the Open Intermediate at AFHT in June. This strong cross-country pair will be looking to turn red into blue this weekend.
- Emily Pestl-Dimmitt and Airlington – In what was their first attempt at Advanced, this duo finished fourth in last year’s AFHT Tin Men Supply Advanced division. This past winter they participated in the Developing Rider/Under 25 training sessions with David O’Connor.
- Jil Walton and Dee Dee Chaser – This pair finished third in the inagural Advanced division at AFHT in 2012. They have competed consistently at Intermediate and Advanced since then and recently completed their first CIC3* at Rebecca Farm.
- Jordan Linstedt and Revitavet Capato – These two convincingly won the Pro Tour / Adequan Gold Cup Tin Men Supply Advanced in 2013. This past July they finished third in the CIC3* at Rebecca Farm.
- Karen O’Neal and Markus – This pair won AFHT Open Intermediate in 2013 and have successfully completed Advanced. This season Markus finished second in the CH-J* at NAJYRC with Karen’s daughter, Patience.
- Rebecca Buehler and Brighton – This owner/rider trained OTTB won the AFHT Open Intermediate division this past June. This will be their second-ever attempt at the Advanced level after an unsuccessful cross-country trip at their first attempt at Advanced at Rebecca Farm in July.
After completing dressage Advanced Test B on Friday, the Advanced competitors will take on Tremaine Cooper’s cross-country course (see the gallery below). This year the course features 26 numbered questions over 3,990 meters with an optimum time of 7:00.
The weather forecast is excellent with dry footing; the crew is hard at work poking holes in the turf to make sure surfaces aren’t too hard on game day. The grass course includes hills as well as hay fields for galloping loops.
Given the late afternoon cross-country start times, shade from the tall fir trees will also be an element on the course. With a small field of competitors, most spectators will want to watch the Kerrits complex at fences 11AB and 12, as that is the first serious question on course. Outside of Advanced, AFHT’s Intermediate and Prelim divisions and lower-level amateur classes boast high turnout, promising an exciting competition for all.