Heather Morris and Get Rowdy grabbed hold of the Rebecca Farm CCI* lead early on in the nearly 50 horse strong division, and the only one who could wrestle it away from them was Heather’s own student of 14 years Bonner Carpenter.
Bonner and Darkside, an 8-year-old Dutch gelding owned by Cele Carpenter, scored a 43.1 to squeak past Heather’s score by just 0.2 of a point.
This is the first CCI* outing for both Darkside and Get Rowdy, a 6-year-old Dutch gelding owned by Team Express Group, with their first CIC*s being at Copper Meadows last month. At that event Get Rowdy finished fourth and Darkside finished seventh, so perhaps Bonner’s horse is out for a bit of revenge here at Rebecca.
Both riders are based at Next Level Eventing, the training operation Heather runs alongside Tamie Smith in Temecula, California — a solid 24 hours away. The Next Level crew are repeat Rebecca offenders; Heather won the CCI2* here last year with Charlie Tango and Tamie won the CIC3* with Mai Baum, so Montana apparently suits the both of them quite well!
It will be fun to see how this weekend shakes out — a little friendly rivalry is never a bad thing.
“I’ve been riding with Heather since I started in eventing 14 years ago,” Bonner explains. “It’s a great partnership because everyone helps each other.”
Morris commented, “It’s awesome. As a coach, you always hope to see your students do well. Riding together helps put a little pressure on too and that’s a good thing.”
Both riders kindly stopped by the press tent at the end of the day to recap their rides:
Jessica Heidemann of Bellingham, Washington and her own Encore, an 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding, round out the top three in the CCI* division on a score of 44.7.
Chill vibes and a sense of community are in the air at Rebecca — between the panoramic blue skies and first-class hospitality it’s hard not to have a smile on your face around here!
CCI* top 10 after dressage:
In addition to the CCI* the USEA Classic Series Novice and Training Three-Day divisions completed dressage and the Novice horse trials divisions ran cross country. Check out this highlight video from our friends at Ride On Video:
Friday’s action kicks off at 8 a.m. MT in the dressage ring with the CCI2* and the CIC3*/CCI3* running from 11:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT. Cross country continues with both the Novice and Training Three Day divisions from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT.
Much more coverage to come — keep it locked here!