Lauren Billys’ road to Rebecca Farm has been laden with potholes, but injuries, colic surgery and respiratory struggles, weren’t enough to dull her determination, and now she’s got one thing on her mind: achieving a qualifying score to secure her place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Less than a year ago, Lauren faced the terrifying reality of sending her longtime partner Castle Larchfield Purdy into a life-saving colic surgery.
“When I got back from Rio, I prepped him for two or three four-star longs, and he’s gotten colic surgery or injured the week before,” she said. “In September he refluxed in his stall. He was colicing and required surgery. We caught him within 30 minutes of his bowel rupturing–it happened in the middle of the night. His signs in the clinic didn’t show that he was in severe distress, but fortunately we know his signs so well.”
Out of surgery, breathing limitations showed themselves to be another major roadblock. Further exploration led Lauren to Haygain and a Flexineb Portable Nebulizer, which have made a world of difference for the big Irish horse. Click here to read more about the science behind managing Inflammatory Airway Disease and Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhaging.
Now with incision scars healed and a new respiratory issue sorted, it’s all systems go for Lauren and The Purdy Syndicate’s 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Karistos x Hallo Purdy, Hallo), who are leading Rebecca Farm’s feature class on a score of 31.
“My spirit when I ride is of gratitude–every day I get to ride him and show him it’s a huge thing to appreciate. We’ve gone through so much together. We are going to Tokyo together next year come hell or high water,” she grinned.
“I have really been hammering away at the dressage, and to be awarded for that is huge. His canter is always the weakest gait, so the parts to improve are the right lead canter and also just anticipating the changes and halts–little moments like that I was able to smooth over, but there’s still room for improvement.”
Jennie Briannigan follows in second aboard Tim & Nina Gardner’s Stella Artois, an 11-year-old Holsteiner/Thoroughbred on a score of 32.5.
Local Montana eventer Kim Lidell sits third with her own Eye of the Storm on a score of 38.8. EN’s predicted winner Clark Montgomery is fourth aboard Caribbean Soul (39.2), and James Alliston is fifth with Pandora (39.8).
Now for the fun stuff! Tomorrow they’ll let their inner child loose on Ian Stark’s cross country course (check out our course preview here!).
Madison Temkin piloted her own Dr. Hart to lead the CCI4*-S class, winning the dressage on a a 34.6.
“He felt great in the warm up. He was really relaxed and confident and ready to do the job. He went down into the ring and sometimes he gets a bit up going in, so a little of that came, but now it’s starting to work in my favor. He started show off. He was reliable and relaxed and had a nice, steady, accurate test,” she said. “I really have to believe in him for him to believe in me.”
Having represented Area VI three times at young rider championships, she wore her team ear bonnet today as a thoughtful nod toward her friends who are currently leading the NAYC CCIJ2*-L.
“They’ve done a great job here this year–they are quite the DQs. Actually, it’s kind of sad not being with all fo them, but it’s kind of the next step. I’ve got a few more years, and hopefully I can be on the team again, but it’s as fun to watch them as it is fun to be with them,” Madison said.
The CCI3*-L belongs to first-timers Kalli Core and Cooley Master Courage. Texas natives, she and her 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Courage II x Bishop’s Queen) earned a 30.7 in the first phase.
Here’s tomorrow’s cross country schedule:
- CCIY3*-S: 9:00-9:45
- CCI3*-L 10:15-11:10
- CCI4*-L 11:30-12:00
- CCI4*-S 12:15-1:00
- CCIJ2*-L 1:20-3:40
- CCI2*-L 3:50-5:50