Galway Downs Day 2: Tamie Smith Stays Ahead

Tamie Smith and Danito. Photo by Tina Fitch Photography.

Sunshine was Friday’s first star after Thursday’s long afternoon of heavy rain. And Tamie Smith ended the day in her same starring role with the 1, 2 and 3 spots in the CCI4*-S after show jumping.

She’s first with Ruth Bley’s Danito, 2nd with Alexandra Ahearn’s Mai Baum and third with Julianne Guariglia’s Solaguayre California. They all stay on their dressage scores of 21.8, 22.2, and 31.7 respectively.

“He was a little casual,” Tamie said of the hard knocks Danito gave the first two fences in Marc Donovan’s show jumping course. “I was like, ‘What are you doing? But, actually that’s kind of normal. Danito thrives in the bigger atmospheres and the bigger tracks.” Drawing on her work with Australian show jumper Scott Keach, Tamie added an extra stride before fence three to “get him back on his hind legs. He really jumped up and around it, and he was like, ‘Oh, okay!” Then, he was in his element and he was great.”

Tamie credits Scott for giving her the tools needed to improve each of her horses’ jumping skills, in their training and in the heat of the moment like today. Danito, Mai Baum and Solaguayre California were double clear and Elliot V, owned by the Elliot V Partnership, had only a .8 time fault.

Mai Baum was “even more spectacular than normal” and California “jumped amazing once she got over being beside herself on the way to the first jump.” Compared to her more seasoned stablemates, the 12-year-old Argentine Sport Horse struggles when show jumping comes before cross-country because of sheer excess energy.

Asked which horse’s performance she was most pleased with, Tamie named Elliot, who’s in 6th place with a 34.6. “He jumped like a million bucks. As I was jumping around, I was thinking that I could really go out show jumping with this one.”

After The Rain Has Fallen

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Tina Fitch Photography.

Uncertain schedules greeted the riders in the morning as the organizing team evaluated the arena surfaces following Thursday’s freak downpours.

The CCI2* dressage scheduled to start Friday’s action in the Grand Prix Arena was postponed in favor of letting the sun dry out the footing. As the day progressed, it was decided that only the CCI4* jumping would be staged. And that was moved to an adjacent arena, normally used as the warm-up for the showcase ring.

Even though both large rings have the same footing material and endured the same amount of rain, “every arena is different,” explained FEI Technical Delegate Andrew Temkin. “We recognized the Grand Prix arena was holding more water than was optimal. The best way to mitigate that was to postpone the 2* dressage, giving it more time to dry.”

Making the decision was an “evolving process,” Andrew added. “We evaluated every few hours, then made the decision at noon.”

While riders respected and appreciated the organizer’s caution, the uncertainty did “make for kind of a chaotic day,” said Marc Grandia, whose double clear with Campari FFF moves him up to 5th, on a 34.3. Owned by Team Rebecca LLC, the 13-year-old Holsteiner made easy work of a course Marc summed up as “fun” with an effective 79-second time allowed.

“I’m riding three other horses, so the changes meant I was shifting around other things, but mainly we just have to go with the flow,” Marc said. “I have a lot of praise for (organizer) Robert (Kellerhouse) for making the right adjustments so that we had the best ground to jump on. The footing is really drying out well and it was great today.”

New Looks Even For Those Based at Galway

Sitting 4th in the 4*, Emilee Libby is thrilled with Tosca, Natalie Valente’s 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare. It’s the beautiful gray mare’s first Advanced level outing, and she was double clear on a 32.9. “She’s the kind of horse that needs a challenge and I think we’re here,” Emilee observed. Today’s biggest challenge for the mare was colorful, fresh-looking new fences. “There were some very big, bright, beautiful jump designs in there that she hadn’t seen before. She was a little more backed off than usual — not as in she wasn’t going to jump, but she was big-eyed and jumped with her knees up to her chest.”

Katy Robinson and her own 11-year-old Thoroughbred, Outrageous Dance, incurred 1.8 time penalties, but the crowd cared only for the spectacular riding Katy did after a stirrup fell off her saddle somewhere around fence 4, a triple bar spread. “I didn’t realize it was actually gone until I saw it lying in the ground on my way to jump 6,” Katy said. With the crowd loudly in her corner, “I think I may have ridden better because I was so focused on staying in the middle of my horse and supporting him!”

Tamie, Emilee and Katy concurred that Saturday’s cross-country will be up to 4* snuff in every way.

2* and 3* Have Double-Duty Saturday

Getting the footing right involved pushing the 2* and 3* jumping to Saturday morning. It starts at 8 a.m. with the 3* contenders, with riders heading out on cross-country starting at 8:30 a.m. It’s not ideal, especially for those riding multiple horses, but it’s another thing the riders accepted as necessary.

Jordan Linstedt is one of those riders with multiple horses. “I’m a little stressed out about the 3* jumping and cross-country both tomorrow. With eight horses going through the day, that makes it challenging!”

After Thursday’s dressage, Jordan and FE Friday are third in the 3*, behind Tamie Smith and Kynan and Karen O’Neal and Clooney 14.

Counterbalancing tomorrow’s worries for Jordan is her joy over her CCI2* dressage test with the Lovas Partnership’s Lovely Lola. The Washington-based rider and the 9-year-old Hanoverian earned a 26.9 to lead the division.

“She was a bit nervous and tense, I think because of the lighting and the late time, but she used it to her benefit in the form of expressiveness,” Jordan explained. “She’s an extraordinary horse that I’m extremely fortunate to ride.”

Friday’s test was the latest fulfillment of predictions for big potential. Lola came into Jordan’s life at the insistence of the late Jean Moyer. “Jean found her in Europe and said, ‘You just have to buy her.'” Jordan’s 5* partner RevitaVet Capato had recently been euthanized after a pasture accident. It was not an ideal time to buy a new prospect, but the Moyers, Bridget and Kevin Brewer and Klaus and Teresa Giloi came together as the Lovas Partnership to make it possible.

Jim Moyer was on the scene Friday to witness this latest stage of the special partnership his wife had envisioned. Jim is a dedicated and much-loved volunteer on the West Coast eventing scene. Galway’s organizers hope he took a break from ring-stewarding to see Jordan and Lovely Lola’s lovely ride.

Lauren Billys and her own Can Be Sweet, an 11-year-old German Sport Horse are second in the 2* on a 28.1, and Gabriella Ringer and Get Wild are 3rd on a 29.8.

Out-of-area fans can catch all the international action on Ride On Video’s livestream, featuring excellent commentary.

Galway Downs International H.T (Temecula, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer][Scoring] [Live Stream]

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