Tamie Smith The Star So Far in Galway Downs CCI4*-S

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Sherry Stewart. Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Mai Baum is 18. He’s hot. And he knows it.

The German Sport Horse and his 2023 Land Rover Kentucky 5* champion partner, Tamie Smith, established a distant lead in dressage — scoring a 23 — in the Galway Downs International Horse Trials CCI4*-S.

With a rainy weekend forecast causing dressage and show jumping to be held on the same day in this division, the pair held that lead by easily clearing the jumps within the time allowed.

Emilee Libby and the Dutch Warmblood Toska sit second, also clear in stadium jumping, to retain their 32.2 dressage score.

Tamie occupies two more top 5 spots going into Friday’s cross-country finalĂ©. Kynan is third after today’s two phases, with a 34.7, and Elliot V, is fourth on a 36, after 1.5 time faults in show jumping.

Best Ever

“I think that was his best dressage ever,” Tamie said of Mai Baum’ effort.

Ground Jury president and judge Sandy Phillips concurred. “It was wonderful to see,” she said of their test. “That is the picture we are looking for, with uphill self-carriage and in balance. When I talk about balance at the 4* level, we want to see engagement of the hindquarters, so the horse can lift the front end.”

Mai Baum’s performance reflected both a continuation of Tamie’s program – in which she works with several dressage luminaries — and an extra dose of forward emphasis, courtesy of British eventing legend Ian Stark. “I know not everybody would think of Ian for the flat work, but he really helped with the forward for all my horses.”

“I have a dressage background and I think we can tend to ride almost with a little bit of a backwards feeling,” Tamie continued. “Today Lexus was really forward and in front of my leg.” In short, “We’re just right with each other.”

That was true for show jumping, too, over Marc Donovan’s stout track. This was Mai Baum’s first eventing competition after earning individual third and team silver at CHIO Aachen last July. He prepped at show jumping and dressage competitions this year, and “was happy to be out here and running around” back in the eventing realm.

Mai Baum goes next to the Defender Kentucky Three Day Event in April, to run the CCI4*-S as a prep to peaking, hopefully, in Paris for the Olympics. “It’s about doing whatever is best for each horse,” Tamie explained. “Paris is going to be a very big test. I think some horses need to run a long format before and some don’t. I think it’s best for Lexus not to.”

Tamie was equally thrilled with Kynan, and Elliot V, both Dutch Warmbloods, and with two new horses. The Irish Sport Horse, Sumas Tina Turner, and the Selle Francais stallion, Pierre’s Farceur du Bochard, are 2nd and 4th in the CCI3*-S after dressage.

Asked about her deep string of high-quality horses, Tamie said, “I’m just going to keep enjoying it! It was a longer time that I had really difficult horses!”

Drilling The Dressage

Emilee Libby described Toska’s test as crossing a new threshold in rideability. “We’ve been drilling the dressage more this last month. I realized she can do 3, 4, 5 days of dressage in a row and get better. Sometimes a horse can get annoyed or tired of it, but she’s getting stronger and we’re putting those pieces together. She is starting to mentally come back to earth for me.”

Clean show jumping looked to be a breeze for the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood. Emilee hopes that Toska will retain her new level of rideability over Clayton Fredericks’ cross-country course tomorrow. “Basically, though, she knows her job. I just need to point her in the right direction.”

Organizer Robert Kellerhouse’s crew, Galway’s officials and exhibitors are adept at working around the weather. With rains forecast to hit Saturday, this year’s CCI-Short became even shorter. The 3* and 4* were condensed to Thursday and Friday and the CCI1* and Parker Equine CCI2* will hold all three phases on Friday.

The 14-horse CCI3*-S field did dressage this afternoon, with Taren Hoffos and Regalla, an Oldenburg, sitting first on a 32 score. The pack is close. Tamie Smith and Sumas Tina Turner are second on a 32.6 and Megan McIver and Elle, a Holsteiner, sit third on a 32.7.

Cross country for the 4*-S begins today (Friday) at 9:30 am PST / 12:30 pm EST and will be live streamed here.

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

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