This upcoming weekend is positively stacked with exciting competitions, with most of the upper-level West Coast riders heading to Rebecca Farm and our Team USA final WEG prep trial in Virginia at Great Meadow. We will have more previews for the Great Meadow prep trial coming your way this week, but for now, we’re focusing on Rebecca Farm, which is one of the best competitions of the entire year. Known for its incredible views, immaculate facilities and challenging yet rewarding cross-country courses, Rebecca Farm is a destination competition for everybody who is willing to make the long haul to Montana.
This year, the CIC3* is 21 competitors deep, and while some of the top riders in the country are busy at Great Meadow, the division is nonetheless stacked with talent. There are some seriously nice horses and very talented riders competing at Rebecca this weekend, and I expect it to be quite competitive. Competing at Rebecca Farm is a huge accomplishment for any rider, and to be included in the prestigious CIC3* entry list is a big deal, so without further ado!
James Alliston & Mojo: James and Mojo have been recently reunited, as James brought the horse to Advanced in 2012 before the OTTB gelding was ridden by McKenna Knott for two years at Preliminary and Intermediate. This spring, James got the ride back on this horse, and they’ve done one Advanced HT and one CIC3* together thus far. They were sixth together at Twin Rivers earlier this spring, scoring a 60 on the flat and unfortunately racking up 20 penalties on cross country. This will certainly be the biggest challenge they’ve had so far, but James is an excellent jockey and is sure to bring this horse home safe.
Andrea Baxter & Indy 500: Indy has been competing at the Advanced level with Andrea since 2012, and they’ve completed multiple CIC3* events together. Last year they competed in this division, finishing in 17th place. They’ve had a light spring, completing only one Advanced HT together and seem to be encountering trouble on cross country. Hopefully all of their issues have been resolved and they can get together once again for some more success at this level.
Andrea Baxter & Fuerst Nino R: Andrea’s other mount has less experience than his stablemate, having only moved up to the Advanced level this spring; however, he has been out and about quite a bit this year, completing four events at this level, including a fourth place just recently at Copper Meadows. This competition will be a good step in furthering this horse’s education at this level and a nice challenge for the pair.
Hawley Bennett-Awad and Gin & Juice: What can we say about Ginny and Hawley that you don’t already know? Ginny has been around six CCI4* competitions, and we have never once seen her look tired or even a little less enthusiastic than the day she was first introduced to jumping. They are heading to the WEG for Canada in a few weeks and are using this event to prepare, and hopefully Ginny will settle down and behave. They can post a very nice dressage test if she keeps a lid on it and then will be sure to bounce around the jumping phases like it’s Novice.
Lauren Billys & Ballingowan Ginger: Lauren and Ginger have a wonderful partnership, having come up the levels with one another. They know each other very well and have competed at Intermediate and Advanced for awhile now. Last year, they competed in this division and finished in a very nice fourth place, posting a 53 on the flat and adding only cross country time to that score. They have the ability to repeat that performance here this weekend and are coming off a second-place finish at Twin Rivers CIC3* this spring to prepare them well for the challenge.
Helen Bouscaren & Ben: Helen and Ben have been competing at the Advanced level since the beginning of 2013 and have been consistently placing in the top five for most of that time. They have scored several top placings at CIC3* competitions and are just coming off a win in the Advanced at Twin Rivers this spring. They are fully capable of putting together a competitive dressage score and finishing on that note, so I hope to see them near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.
Leah Breakey & Master Plan: This pair just moved up to the Advanced level, but have already racked up a second place at the CIC2* at Galway, the CCI2* at Twin Rivers and just recently another second place at Copper Meadows in the Advanced. This will be their first CIC3*, and I expect them to have a good round for some more education at this level.
Matthew Brown & Super Socks BCF: Flaxen and Matt are an imposing pair and could be quite competitive here this weekend. Matt is building a great string of top level horses, and while this horse just moved up to the Advanced level this spring, he has yet to be outside the top four, including a fourth place at Twin Rivers CIC3* and, most recently, a win at Woodside in the Advanced. Look for them to turn in a polished dressage test and two stylish jumping rounds to put them near the top at the end of the weekend.
Anna Collier & Gleaming Road: This is another pair that is relatively new to the Advanced level, having completed one HT last fall and one this spring, looking to complete their first CIC3* here at Rebecca Farm. They were ninth last year in the CCI2* here, so they are familiar with the grounds, and are coming off a second place at Twin Rivers in the Advanced. This will be a good challenge for both of them, and I know they’ll be thrilled to be here.
Barbara Crabo & Eveready: Barb and Eveready have quite possibly the most experience together of any other pair here this weekend. This gelding has been competing at the Advanced and three-star level since 2007 and has competed at Rolex twice, although sadly never completing. They are a super pair with a great relationship, and despite a few problems this spring, I have no doubt that they can bounce back for some success here at Rebecca Farm.
Barbara Crabo & Over Easy: Barb’s second mount is a lovely Swedish mare who was 11th last year in the CIC3* here at Rebecca, as well as 11th at the CCI3* at Galway in the fall. They made the big trek east for Jersey Fresh CCI3*, but sadly Barb suffered a fall on cross country, cutting their chances short there. They bounced back with a ninth place at Copper Meadows a few weeks ago and will be looking for a bit of redemption here this weekend, which I’m sure they will find easily.
John Michael Durr & Esprit De La Danse: This lovely mare is relatively new to the level, with only two Advanced HTs and one CIC3* under her belt, but nonetheless seems to be consistently competitive. They logged a second place at Galway CIC3* this spring, with a 53 on the flat and just a rail to add, and are coming off a fourth place at Woodside in the Advanced. With any luck, they will be able to stay in the top 10 here for a good finish here at Rebecca Farm.
Katie Frei & Houdini: Hewie and Katie have had a great run at this level, with a fifth place last year at Jersey CCI3*, followed by a second place here at Rebecca Farm in the CIC3*. They made their move up to the CCI4* level this spring at Rolex, with a 60 on the flat and an unfortunate 20 on cross country, but a completion nonetheless. They are very capable of turning in three lovely phases to position themselves for a repeat performance this year, and I would not be surprised to find them in the top five at the end of the weekend.
Angela Grzywinski & Novelle: This pair is also new to the level, having moved up this spring at Rocking Horse with a nice fourth-place finish. They attempted their first CIC3* at Red Hills, but were sadly amongst the many victims claimed by the cross country course. However, they rebounded with a win at Texas Rose in the Advanced and were third recently at that same venue in the Intermediate. This will be an awesome challenge for them as they jump around their first CIC3* in their first visit to Rebecca Farm.
Jordan Linstedt & Revitavet Capato: One of my personal favorites, Capato is a really athletic horse who has a great future before him. He is relatively new to the level, with one Advanced HT and two CIC3* events under his belt, and still some learning to do before he becomes really confirmed. However, he has all the makings of a top horse, and if he can string three good phases together this weekend, you better watch out! I expect them to be competitive in the dressage and hope they can jump clean around this big track to finish in a good placement.
Maddy Mazzola & Mojito: Mango is an absolute star and a gentleman through and through. He was Kate Brown’s partner at Rolex in 2012 before going to West Coast young rider Maddy to show her the ropes. Last year, they were eighth together in the CCI2* here and recently completed their first CCI3* at Jersey Fresh, also placing eighth there. Mango has never been a big fan of the dressage, but he’s all over the other two phases, and it will be a good return for them after their Jersey vacation.
Jennifer McFall & High Times: Jen and Billy completed their lifelong dream of romping around Rolex this spring, and you literally could not find a bigger smile in the house at the end of the weekend. Last year they were 14th together in this division, and after their Rolex vacation this spring, they bounced back to win a division of Intermediate to set them up for this competition. Billy might not be too fond of dressage, but they’ll have a blast on cross country and jump around well.
Natalie Rooney & Jefferson: This pair was 13th together in the CCI2* here last year and following that made a successful move up to the Advanced level. They completed the Galway Downs CCI3* in 10th place in the fall and returned to competition this spring with an 11th place at Galway CIC3* and ninth place at Woodside in the Advanced. Natalie is an incredibly experienced rider, and Jedi is a really nice horse for the future with scope to spare, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they snuck up the leaderboard this weekend.
Bunnie Sexton & Rise Against: Bunnie and Ecko were all set to make their Rolex debut this spring, but were thwarted by some problems with a shoe pulling too much foot off the gelding and decided to take the spring to get his feet back together and get more miles at the three-star level. They were third recently at Copper Meadows in the Advanced in their first event for 2014, with a 47 on the flat and only a rail and some time to add. Bunnie will be thrilled to have her partner back at this level and will romp around easily.
Kimmy Steinbuch & Pikture This: Yet another pair that is new to the level, Kimmy and this lovely chestnut just moved up to the Advanced level this spring, posting a ninth place at Woodside and an eighth place at Copper Meadows. This will be their first attempt at the CIC3* level and a good step in furthering their education. They still have some learning to do before they are competitive at this level, but they are a good pair for the future.
Jill Walton & Dee Dee Chaser: This chestnut Thoroughbred mare was 12th last year in the CCI2* here at Rebecca Farm, and since then has completed two Advanced horse trials, one in 2013 and one this spring at Galway Downs, where they placed third. They are fully capable of putting together three good phases, but I think Jill will be looking for a nice clear round for this horse to complete her first CIC3*.