You couldn’t have asked for a more spectacular day for cross country at Copper Meadows in Ramona, California: Temperatures loomed in the 60s and 70s for daylight hours, and the footing was ideal after a winter with above-average precipitation. Organizer Robert Kellerhouse and course designer Hugh Lochore have poured their lifeblood into a complete course redesign that keeps riders at all levels on their toes, and good, safe tests were the outcome today.
In the advanced division, time faults created a bit of a shakeup with no one going double clear, but Nikki Ayers and Andree Stow’s Rubicon managed to maintain their lead – they added 7.6 time faults to a dressage score of 29.1 to give them two rails in hand going into show jumping tomorrow.
“My plan was really just to go around clean,” Nikki told EN. “I really wanted to work on his rhythm and rideability. I felt this course was a really nice big gallopy-type course, and he’s really good with his footwork to begin with, so I figured if I can just keep a good steady gallop all the way around he would answer all the questions.”
Bunnie Sexton and Rise Against are holding second in the Advanced division at the moment with a 48.3 after adding a handful of time faults as well.
“I think the course rode really well in the sense that they started off with some really straightforward concepts,” Bunnie said. “Then I was able to pull my horse up a little bit – he likes to get really strong and I let the combinations do their job. I’ll give him a hint, ‘you’re going to wait, you’re going to wait,’ and then if he’s a little bold for it, he’s got to shorten himself in the combinations because when they start getting bigger and harder, he’s going to need to have some self preservation. So he got himself in a little tight in the out part of the first coffin, and actually it did great things for him.”
Bunnie added that she appreciated having the brand new bank just installed as part of the advanced course.
“I really like the fact that they have a big down bank here. That was something that was very healing for me after Burghley, and even though he jumped it tentatively, he was so soft and easy to get right back on track and went forward with all the confidence in the world.”
Robyn Fisher went clear on her two Advanced rides today; she jumped from fifth to third on Vicky Koss’s Look Again, and had a nice steady ride on Carol Singh’s Betawave to sit in fourth.
In the Open Intermediate, Barb Crabo currently leads the pack with Waterford (owned by the Waterford Syndicate, LLC). This is Barb’s first intermediate start with the gray Danish Warmblood gelding since joining forces over the off season; they previously had successful starts going Prelim at Fresno and Galway Downs this year.
In Open Preliminary, Christi Payne and Connie Dunham’s lovely Trakehner gelding Maxwell Smart got their season going with one of the few double clear rounds of the day to maintain their lead on a score of 25.7 going into show jumping.
There is still a lot more action to come from sunny California including more cross country tomorrow for the lower levels, but in the meantime, Copper Meadows Eventers are blowing up social media – see a good smattering of Dressage and Cross Country happenings below!
Two awesome Prelim XC rounds. Clear jumping with just a couple seconds of time. Thanks for keeping me organized and cooling my horses out Jess! @albertaeventer #jumpallthethings #crosscountry #thoroughbred #eventer #coppermeadows #canadianwarmblood #eridani #kingslanding A post shared by Sam Pritchard (@elated_eventer) on Mar 18, 2017 at 11:21am PDT
A post shared by Vanessa Hughes (@ladyphotographic) on Mar 18, 2017 at 1:59pm PDT
And so it begins. Another beautiful morning surrounded by the grace and power of so many beautiful animals. “Girl and Her Horse” series. • • • #cursive #eventing #equestrian #happy #horse #horsejumping #trinityeventing #xcountry #dressage #showjumping #sunrise #coppermeadows A post shared by George Woods Baker (@gwbaker) on Mar 18, 2017 at 7:09am PDT
Getting cuddly here at Copper Meadows! #horses #renegadeequestrian #ottb #eventing #babysfirsthorseshow A post shared by Lindsey Smith (@renegade_equestrian) on Mar 18, 2017 at 10:36am PDT
When the rednecks come to California… A post shared by Rebecca Bird Mortensen (@beckybuckwyld) on Mar 16, 2017 at 8:45pm PDT
So we started out the weekend on a 31.8 and we’re sitting in 5th, with our best dressage score in Eventing in our 1st prelim. Sadly coming out of the water after a water fence we jumped and then fell/slipped coming out of the water. Up until that everything was perfect! Very proud of our first Prelim and no we weren’t eliminated. It’s considered a retirement, so Bartok didn’t do anything wrong just slipped. Very happy with this weekend, thank for everyone supporting me and making sure we were okay. Can’t wait to get to Galway! Silly stuff happens in the upper levels!! But Bartok is okay which is the biggest thing. Going to ride him later today, probably just walk and make sure he is all good in the hood. This won’t hold us back from anything just not a lucky turn u guess. 🙁 #eventingslr #slr #eventing #prelim #13 A post shared by Mahari Blanks (@maharieventing) on Mar 18, 2017 at 11:52am PDT
And because Dogs need a cross country day, too:
Best of Day 1:
The legendary Axel Steiner judging dressage:
Lauren and AJ back at it. A post shared by Jay Benge (@jay.benge) on Mar 17, 2017 at 7:35pm PDT
@pineapple_lyss, getting ready for fancy pony walky time. A post shared by Dave Bernhardt (@zbernhardts) on Mar 17, 2017 at 6:39pm PDT
Keep it locked on EN for more from Copper Meadows this weekend and around the world! Go Eventing.