The mother-daughter team of Tamie Smith and Kaylawna Smith-Cook dominated the Advanced division at The Event at Rebecca Farm, staking out the top four placings of the 10-horse division. Tamie Smith finished first through third respectively with her three rides — Mai Baum, Danito and En Vogue — and Kaylawna Smith-Cook with Passepartout finished fourth.
Tamie and ‘Lexus,’ a 14-year-old German Sport Horse gelding owned by Alex and Ellen Ahearn and Eric Markell, began their weekend with a jaw-dropping dressage score of 17.7 and increased their lead throughout the jumping phases. They posted the fastest cross country run in the division, collecting just 6.4 time penalties, and capped it with a clear show jumping round today to win by a margin of nearly 14 points.
This seasoned combination, who represented the gold medal-winning Team USA at the Pan Am Games in Lima last summer, have been a partnership for five years now, and the mindmeld is complete. “Lexus and I, we think the same now,” Tamie told EN over the phone while grazing her horse. “I think ‘turn’ and he turns. It’s so amazing.”
Tamie has been putting the caesura in this year’s competition schedule to good use. In addition to regular training sessions with USEF Performance Director for Eventing Erik Duvander, Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin have helped her with cross country, Johann Hinnamenn with dressage and Ali Nilforushan for show jumping. Aside from a couple abridged combined test outings, this is her and Lexus’ first full event since Boekelo last October, where they finished an admirable 11th. “We’ve been plugging along and it’s great to put it to a test,” she says.
Tamie is 2nd with Ruth Bley’s Danito, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding. They scored a 23.6 in dressage — Tamie said he got a bit tired in the canter work — and collected 10.4 cross country time penalties. “He got a little barn bound going to the first water; I had to get a little scrappy there,” she remarked over their round. They sat 3rd heading into show jumping this morning, with Tamie and En Vogue in 2nd, but the horses switched places when Danito had one rail and En Vogue had two.
En Vogue, a 15-year-old Hanoverian mare also owned by Ruth Bley, finished third, and Tamie says she couldn’t be more pleased with the trifecta. “They were all three great,” Tamie says. “I’m so lucky. I’m on cloud nine getting to ride the horses I get to ride now. All three are just firing on all cylinders. They’re all so trained and ready to go.”
The Event at Rebecca Farm’s usual marquee events — the 2020 FEI Adequan NAYC, international divisions through the four-star level, and popular Classic Three-Day divisions — were of course canceled due to the pandemic. But Tamie says the course was top-class despite the damper on this year’s competition: “It was a great track. It rode great. There’s been a ton of rain so the ground was the best it’s ever been.”
As show jumping continues today, Tamie also leads the Intermediate division with Julianne Guariglia’s Galicia and Open Prelim B with Solaguayre California, also owned by Guariglia.
Nipping at Tamie’s heels throughout the weekend was Kaylawna Smith-Cook with Passepartout. “I love how good she’s going and that horse is incredible, he’s on fire,” Tamie says, adding before handing the phone over to her daughter. “She’s way better than me.”
Kaylawna had a cracking cross country round with Gretchen and Mark Cook’s 11-year-old German Sport Horse gelding. “He was really phenomenal,” she says. “It feels so easy for him and it was exciting to open him up for the first time.” They followed that up with a clear show jumping round this morning.
Kaylawna and “Pasco” have been a pair since March of last year, getting to know one another at a couple Prelims before moving up to Intermediate, training through the winter, and moving up at Twin Rivers. Rebecca Farm marks Kaylawna’s third Advanced and Passepartout’s second.
Kaylawna was named to the 2020 USEF Eventing 25 Emerging Athletes Program and it’s great to see her linking up with some talented partners. A recent profile of Kaylawna in Chronicle of the Horse, “One to Watch: Smith-Cook’s Star is Rising at Rebecca Farm,” is a must-read. We also caught up with Kaylawna about how she spent the competition break (spoiler alert: training!) and her newer ride, Mai Blume, on EN last week.
As for the experience of going toe-to-toe with her mother, Kaylawna says, “I feel like this has been my most competitive year. She’s basically in her own league but I am competitive as well.”
Sara Mittleider and her own La Paz finished 5th. They posted one of the three clear show jumping rounds this morning, the other two being Tamie with Mai Baum and Kaylawna with Passepartout.
Marc Grandia and Team Rebecca LLC’s Campari FFF finished 6th. Marc is also leading the Prelim A division heading into the final phase with Sunsprite Ranch LLC’s Sunsprite Seryndipity. We already shared this video on EN once, but we think it warrants another view.
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Ryleigh Leavitt and her own MoonLight Crush finished 7th.
Brennan Kappes and Willis Kurtz’ Amistoso finished 8th; Sophie Click and her own Quidproquo were 9th. Andrea Nielson and her own LC O’Shawnisee were eliminated cross country at fence 15.
Many thanks to Shannon Brinkman for the gorgeous photos! Enjoy an Advanced show jumping photo gallery here.
Advanced Final Top 10: