Tamie Smith and her team are on the final leg of a marathon East coast journey that brought 27 horses from the Next Level Eventing base in Temecula, Ca. to Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and now New Jersey. What better way to cap off the trip than with a whole slew of solid cross country outings? The work Tamie’s put in to her string this spring pays off in spades today as she will be your overnight CCI4*-L and CCI3*-L leader at Jersey Fresh International.
Starring as the two-phase leader after a twisting and technical cross country track designed for the first time this year by longtime course builder and event co-organizer Morgan Rowsell is Ruth Bley’s EnVogue. This 16-year-old Hanoverian mare by Earl, who Tamie calls a real go-getter on cross country, came home just seven seconds over time to seal the lead over stable mate and dressage winner Danito (Dancier – Wie Musik, by Wolkenstein II). She’ll take a score of 27.1 – the only remaining CCI4*-L score in the 20s – into tomorrow’s show jumping. Also owned by Ruth Bley, Danito will sit second after collecting eight time penalties for a two-day score of 31.9.
“Holy moly, they were great!” Tamie said. To say Tamie’s (along with a team of working students and her daughter and fellow pro rider, Kaylawna Smith-Cook) trip East started a bit rough and tumble would be accurate: some falls and other trouble at the first events she brought her string to eventually had her second-guessing her program a bit. Here she had left behind her home base for months on end, and she wasn’t getting the results she’d thought she’d trained for. “When we got to Stable View, I said to myself, ‘you know what, you got yourself here, you have a great team, great horses, get your sh*t together,'” she recalled. “I just needed to stop and pump the brakes a bit and then we just hit the ground running again.”
“Hit the ground running” is a great way to describe the three clear cross country rides Tamie turned in today. Despite the fact that Morgan Rowsell’s track rode much tougher than it initially walked – and despite the polar opposite style of her two rides – both EnVogue and Danito rose to the occasion.
“It’s so hard because they’re so different and I had a different plan for both,” she explained. “I came out of the box wanting to be very competitive on both. When you’re on such different horses, you don’t really know how it’s going to ride. I’m just so proud of them.”
Sitting third after cross country is Boyd Martin and the Luke 140 Syndicate’s Luke 140 (Landos – Omega VI, by Limbus), who came home 16 seconds over time to retain his placing overnight on a score of 32.0. Luke 140 is one who didn’t get to run cross country at Kentucky a few weeks ago, but Boyd commented earlier this week that he would really have rather saved the 10-year-old gelding for this Long format anyway.
“I’m kicking myself for not going a bit quicker,” Boyd said after his ride. “I took a bit too much time setting up, so I need to clean than up, but he’s such a good horse and he pulled up really well.”
The tight nature of this track wouldn’t necessarily be Boyd’s preference, he said, but he also noted that many important competitions – Luhmühlen, Boekelo, Pau, the forthcoming Tokyo track – are all similar in nature. “I think this is a bit where the sport is going, so I think we need to take that into account in our training. It’s a bit like a short format over 10 minutes.”
Boyd was initially given 15 penalties for a flag on a corner, but the penalty was removed after review by the Ground Jury.
Earning redemption from their unfortunate parting of ways at the Hollow in Kentucky, Canada’s Karl Slezak and Fernhill Wishes (Chacoa – KEC Galway Boy, by Gildawn Diamond) blasted around today with ten seconds of time to move from sixth into a tie for fourth with Phillip Dutton and Sea of Clouds. Karl was sorely disappointed to have had a miss at Kentucky after an otherwise brilliant round, and today’s effort is surely a salve for that wound.
Phillip and Anita Motion, Sue Haldeman, Annie Jones, Evie Dutton and Sheikh Fahad Al-Thani’s Sea of Clouds (Malibu Moon – Winner’s Ticket) rocketed up from 29th after dressage thanks to the quickest turn of foot today; they came home in nine minutes, 46 seconds for one of two rounds inside the time. You may remember that Phillip elected to delay “Socs'” CCI5* debut this year, originally entering him at Kentucky but deciding to put another 4*-L on the 10-year-old gelding’s resume first. That decision paid off brilliantly today, and Phillip is thrilled with the blooming confidence he’s seeing from this still-young member of his string.
“It’s quite a big step to get to the five-star level – in some ways it’s nearly a different sport when you walk the five-star courses compared to some of the four-stars,” Phillip commented. “‘Socs’ ran well at Carolina but he still gave me a few green moments so I sort of decided after that he maybe needed another few months at the level.”
Phillip says this type of track really suited the former racehorse – cheered on today for the first time in person by Graham and Anita Motion, who had the horse in their racing program early on – because of his rideability.
“He’s so soft in the bridle,” Phillip explained. “It doesn’t matter if you’re going 750 meters per minute or 300, he doesn’t change.”
After having some trouble with his watch and his internal clock at Kentucky with Z, Phillip wanted to get back to his speedy ways, so this context gives more picture to his eventual quickest of the division. “(Socs is) a fast horse and I’d heard from the other riders that nobody was getting the time,” he said. “So it was a great opportunity for me to move him up the ladder a bit.”
It was the best bit of our chat, though, when Phillip chimed in to say how over the moon he was for the rising star Alex Baugh, who piloted his former ride, Mr. Candyman, to the other double clear of the division. “That was so rewarding to see ‘Elmo’ go,” he said. “He’s found the perfect home and the perfect rider to be with.” Alex’s fast clear was rewarded with a leap from 51st into 13th.
Problems were scattered throughout Morgan Rowsell’s track, with nine pairs incurring jump penalties, seven retiring on course and two horses given Mandatory Retirements. The horse falls were given to Sharon White’s Claus 63 and Erin Renfoe’s Monbeg Myth. As of publication, no horse or rider injuries have been reported.
Two riders were given 11 penalties for knocking a frangible pin/MIM clip: Clayton Fredericks and FE Stormtrooper took a pin at fence 11 and Jacob Fletcher and 5o1 Mischief Managed had one at fence 24. Boyd Martin and Luke 140 were initially given 15 for a flag, but it was later removed. Sydney Solomon and Early Review C incurred a 15-point flag penalty at fence 19A.
Tamie Smith and Solaguayre California Retain CCI3*-L Lead
It was also a day for Tamie Smith to celebrate in the CCI3*-L as she rocketed around the track aboard Julianne Guariglia’s Solaguayre California (Casparo – Solaguayre Calandria, by Casall) clear inside the time to remain in the lead on a score of 26.7.
This was the first CCI3*-L track (and the first Long format, in general) the 10-year-old Argentinian Sporthorse mare has gotten a chance to tackle, having been withdrawn from her first start at the level at Tryon last fall after a mild tie-up episode. After returning home from the East coast last year, some dietary tweaks were made and the mare has felt like a million bucks since. She’s also a cross country machine, Tamie says, and she proved that growing prowess this morning.
“I really haven’t found a course that hasn’t suited her yet,” Tamie said. “It was just really easy for her. I went out of the box not totally sure – this is her first Long format and she stepped on herself pretty bad the week of Kentucky, so she missed some rides – but I actually slowed down after the last combination and just cruised home because we were up on the time.”
The remainder of the top three in the 3*-L remains unchanged as Phillip Dutton and Caroline Moran’s Quasi Cool (Quo Vados I – B-Estelle, by Lord) also jumped clear inside the time to remain in second on a score of 27.4.
The 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding completes his first Long format cross country this weekend and further establishes himself as another bright star in Phillip’s program.
“He was well within himself, I didn’t have to push him too much,” Phillip said. “You don’t get to practice riding a tired horse at horse trials, they don’t really get tired. So it’s a little unknown how it’s going to be. But I don’t think I had a bad fence on him.”
Caitlin Silliman and the Ally KGO Syndicate’s Ally KGO also retain their placing, jumping clear inside the time to stay on their dressage mark of 27.5. While she’s still focused on the task at hand and bringing it all home tomorrow, she’s still thrilled to have the mare rocking and rolling as she continues to get stronger.
“Last year I moved her up to Advanced, which went really well and then Covid hit, so we didn’t compete as much,” Caitlin said. “We both were a little green at Great Meadow so I backed it down a bit and we came out this spring at Intermediate. She’s the type that needs to run, so losing most of the year last year I think I made a bit of a mistake not doing a three Long last fall. It made sense to run around the three Long just for the experience and fitness and after today I’m 100 percent sure that was the right decision. She finished really confident and wasn’t tired, so hopefully we can finish it up tomorrow but I think this was just what she needed.”
The optimum time of eight minutes, 30 seconds proved to be a bit more attainable in this division; 19 of 47 pairs coming home inside the time. Two riders in this division were given 25 penalties for Dangerous Riding: Doug Payne and Camarillo as well as Katie Lichten and Sapphire Blue B.
Edit: 11:40 a.m. EST on May 9:
Doug posted some context for his 25 on his Instagram, saying that he had done his due diligence to identify a shortcut he had mapped out between fences. “During the 3* XC I took a path outside of the normal route between 2 fences,” he wrote. “The path was mowed, prepared and used on courses throughout the day. I did not get near any person, jump any rope to endanger anyone, my horse or myself. I was given a dangerous riding penalty as a result. I spoke with the TD prior to the Friday briefing about another potential shortcut over a fence. I was told it was at my own risk and if I endangered any of the following I was open to penalty. In an abundance of caution I checked the area prior to my ride the morning of and twice while on course in the area. I would have not proceeded if people, vehicles etc existed. None of which did.”
Watch the line:
Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Moonshine Take CCI4*-S Victory
Meanwhile, the Short format divisions show jumped this morning before tackling cross country this afternoon to decide the winners.
In the CCI4*-S, it was Liz Halliday-Sharp and the Uber-talented Irish Sport Horse Cooley Moonshine (Cobra – Kilpatrick Duchess, by Kings Master), owned by The Monster Partnership, who moved from second to take the win on a score of 32.8. This pair came home a few seconds closer to the optimum than dressage leaders Boyd Martin and the Long Island T Syndicate’s Long Island T (Ludwig von Bayern – Highlight, by Heraldik xx), who will take home second place for their efforts on a final score of 33.8.
“I was totally thrilled,” Liz said. “He’s only nine so he’s young and this is really his first season at this level. I think Kentucky was really good for him. He came here more professional and more settled.”
Cooley Moonshine – who Liz refers to as quite bloody and a rather difficult ride – has been a challenge in terms of figuring out rideability, and the fact that Liz made the time on a twisting track speaks to the progress this element of their partnership has made.
“He’s very brave but he’s a very difficult ride,” she explained. “It’s taken time to find his rideability – he can really run you into the fences a bit, where you go to set him up and he kind of goes through the bridle. He felt like he was with me more and it was one of his best rounds.”
Liz is eyeing a trip to Boekelo this fall thanks to the receipt of the Connaught Grant, pointing out the competitive nature of the dressage and show jumping and its suitability to his style.
“To be honest, he was a bit buzzed up I think from Kentucky, so the first third of our course was a bit ragged,” Boyd recalled of his ride with Long Island T. “So I was quite pleased with the way he settled in after that. I would’ve loved to win but this was more making sure the horse was back in good confidence for whatever’s next.”
Boyd’s tentatively considering a trip to the CCI5* at Luhmühlen in June, but only if he feels he has a strong chance of going to compete, not just participate, with Long Island T.
Moving up steadily through the weekend are Jacob Fletcher and Atlantic Domino, who finish the event in third place on a score of 44.7. This is the first time we’ve seen Atlantic Domino, who was one of Jacob’s first Advanced horses, since 2019 so it’s a great return to the level for this pair.
Cosby Green and Copper Beach Win CCI3*-S
Cosby Green is celebrating tonight after taking home her first FEI win, moving up from fourth on Copper Beach with one rail in show jumping and 1.2 seconds of time on cross country to take the win on a score of 33.2. It’s a homecoming of sorts for the 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Radolin, who won the Long format event here with Buck Davidson in 2014. After joining Cosby’s team last year, he’s taken on the role of teacher and experience-giver – and he certainly delivered on that promise today.
The week started off rather the opposite of ideally for Cosby, though. On Thursday, she suffered an anaphylactic reaction that sent her to the hospital. Once the symptoms had subsided and she was cleared to go, it was time to tackle her dressage test.
“It feels unexpected!” Cosby, 20, said of the win. “It’s really the last thing I was expecting. The course rode a bit different than I thought it would, but my goal today was to have as smooth of a round as possible and to try to plan the track to be as close to the time as I could.”
Cosby enjoyed some time in Florida over the winter working with Buck Davidson, and she says that practice that complements the coaching she receives at home in Kentucky from Allie Knowles. Coupled with Buck’s knowledge of “Sean”, Cosby says she feels the two are becoming more and more of a pair. “(Sean) has taught me more than I’ve learned in 10 years,” she said. “He’s been so properly trained and he’s taught me and it’s made my other horses go better, too.”
Balancing a full plate of riding, some coaching and attending college at the University of Kentucky isn’t easy, but it’s 100 percent possible and worth it, Cosby says. She’ll next head to her first CCI3*-L with Copper Beach at Virginia Horse Trials at the end of May.
It wasn’t the ideal day in show jumping that Dan Kreitl wanted for his dressage winner, Kay Dixon’s Carmango (Chirivell – Taramanga, by Templer GL xx), but a clear inside the time run across the country this afternoon was good enough to move the pair back up into second on a score of 34.7. Dan had told us yesterday that a good show jumping would set him up to feel the most confident for the cross country – but he certainly was able to brush off a couple of rails in favor of the big picture and laid down a lovely trip with both of his three-star horses. His second ride, Horales, moved up to finish in 13th place after starting the weekend in 21st.
Third in the CCI3*-S are Mia Farley and David O’Connor’s Phelps, an 8-year-old Thoroughbred gelding with whom Mia has been partnered since his early eventing days. This was the first three-star attempt for Phelps, who moved up to the Intermediate level last summer. They end their weekend on a final score of 37.2, moving up from 12th after show jumping.
“He’s so consistent and he had an amazing weekend,” Mia commented. “It’s been huge for my education to produce these young horses and you can never really have enough. I’m really lucky that I’ve been able to ride these young horses as well as Phelps and (BGS Firecracker). It definitely teaches you patience and understanding.”
We’ll conclude the action at Jersey Fresh International tomorrow beginning with the Second Horse Inspection at 8 a.m. EST. Show jumping will then begin at 10 a.m. EST with the CCI3*-L followed by the CCI4*-L at 1 p.m. EST, both in reverse order of standing.
Thanks for following along with us (and, if you’ve made it this far, you deserve a Golden Chinch of your own). This article will be updated with more photos. Go Eventing!
More stories from the day:
Could not have asked for more from Chuck McGrath and Meghan Richey’s Prophet. This horse truly is a cross country machine. So unbelievably proud of the horse he has become. #babyprophet #hollingeventing
Posted by Jonathan Holling on Saturday, May 8, 2021
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