It was a beautiful afternoon at Le Lion d’Angers in France for the first horse inspection at the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships. We’re excited to have two combinations representing the U.S. at Le Lion: Tamie Smith and Fleeceworks Royal and Robyn Fisher and Betawave.
Fleeceworks Royal (Riverman x Marisol, by Corofino I) is a a 7-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Judy McSwain that made the trip to France thanks to the Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Lion d’Angers Grant.
The grant, founded by Tim and Cheryl Holekamp and Christine Turner, enables the highest scorer of the USEA Young Event Horse 5-year-old Championship to travel to the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championship in France as a 7-year-old if the horse obtains the proper CCI2* qualifications.
Not only did “Rory” emerge this year as the top qualified horse to obtain the grant, but she was also bred in the U.S. by Charlotte Wrather, making her eligible for the full $17,500 in funding to travel to France for Le Lion. (Imported horses receive $8,000 through the grant, as Kelly Prather and D.A. Duras did last year.)
Rory finished 14th in the CCI2* at Jersey Fresh in May but soon after battled a troubling corneal scratch that put Tamie and Judy’s France plans in jeopardy. But Rory’s eye is all healed up now, and you can read all about her path to France in Judy’s guest blogs on the USEA’s website this week.
Betawave, a 7-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Carol Singh and Robyn Fisher, is also U.S.-bred, by Linaro out of Wavelength, by Wodan. Robyn and “Leta” won the CCI2* at the Colorado Horse Park in June, and Robyn talks in detail about their journey to EN in this guest blog.
All the U.S. ladies looked super today on the jog strip today, and we’re excited to have beautiful photos of Tamie and Rory and Robyn and Leta this week thanks to Libby Law Photography.
We checked in with Tamie this afternoon after she and Robyn walked the cross country course. “It has a big climb at the beginning and starts out very nice and inviting and builds as the course goes on. There are tighter combinations at the beginning with turning questions, as well as some bravery questions with a skinny ditch wall bending line to a big trakehner and then to an opposite bending line to a skinny,” Tamie said.
“It’s very long and by the end we jump what I would consider a three-star question: off of a very large bank, six strides to offset brushes in two strides — very big. It’s a very good test, and you will know what kind of horse you have at the end. The venue is beautiful, and the fence structure is like I’ve never seen — masterful.
“Rory feels fighting fit and ready, and I’m so grateful to be here with the generous support of the Turner/Holkamp Grant through the USEA. I’m also so happy to have Robyn and her team here. It’s what it’s all about — supporting each other and enjoying this exciting and memorable journey. And the best part is that we are California girls riding our California-bred girls! It’s really fun to experience this with all of the support. It means so much.”
We’ll be checking in with Tamie and Robyn throughout the week, so stay tuned for much more from Le Lion. There are 40 6-year-olds and 59 7-year-olds entered from all over the world. Click here to see the 6-year-old entries and here to see the 7-year-old entries. Who do you think will take the win?
Both of our U.S. combinations do their dressage tomorrow, with Tamie and Fleeceworks Royal leading the way at 1:14 p.m. local time, 7:14 a.m. EST. Robyn and Betawave go at 3:28 p.m. local time, 9:28 a.m. EST. Click here to see the 6-year-old dressage order of go and here for the 7-year-old order of go, and be sure to check out the preview video for the event below. Go Eventing.
EN’s coverage of Le Lion d’Angers is proudly presented by Fleeceworks!