Lauren Billys and Castle Larchfield Purdy continued their dominance of the CCI4*-S Saturday at Twin Rivers Spring International Event in Paso Robles, California, where bold cross country riding tied a big, beautiful bow on their wire-to-wire win in the division.
Any big success like this is special, but this one even more so for the Puerto Rican rider. It marked “Purdy’s” triumphant return to full health after a colic surgery last fall, and it officially qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“That horse has such courage and bravery and even when I’m hesitant he gives me the feeling that I can be brave with him. I just love riding him,” Lauren said to the USEA. ““I can’t believe he’s back, he’s really back. I started tearing up as I came across the finish line. I have a really great group of owners behind him and they love him. It’s been really cool to honor them and honor Purdy along the way.”
The 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Karistos x Hallo Purdy, by Hallo), owned by the rider and Purdy Syndicate LLC, soared around James Atkinson’s track with ease, adding just 0.8 time penalties to their dressage score for a final result of 30.6.
“It was important for me to finish on a score that would be competitive anywhere. I feel like I did that – I finished on my best score yet. That made me feel excited for him. Like a fine wine, he just keeps getting better!”
Bold cross country riding moved Liza Horan right into second place aboard her own Lafite. She and the 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Linaro x Sundrift Sandal) jumped clear with 18 time penalties to close the weekend on 66.8 points.
A runout at fence 11B dropped Leah Breakey and Master Class, her 10-year-old Canadian Warmblood gelding (Cree x Night Destiny xx), into third on a final score of 83.9, and Derek di Grazia decided to call it a day with Ringwood Justice, his 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Ringwood Harley Carol x Ringwood Venus), after having at stop in the sunken road.
Tamie Smith kept a tight grip on the top three CCI3*-L spots after cross country day. She still leads with heartthrob Mai Baum, a 13-year-old German Sport Horse (Loredano x Ramira, Rike), who finished one second behind the clock for a two-day score of 25.3. Tamie holds the next two placings with Ruth Bley’s En Vogue (25.6) and Judy McSwain’s Fleecework’s Royal (29.7), who both went double clear.
Shannon Lilley and Greenfort Carnival, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Aughrim Knight x Easkey Princess) owned by Shannon and Cassandra Ertl, slowly climbed the ranks this weekend in the CCI3*-S division, starting in fourth after dressage, and ending with a win on their dressage score of 34.8. This was the geldings first international win, and a solid finish as he next heads to his Advanced debut at Woodside.
Liza Horan and Jennifer Salinger’s Hollister 13 were second on 41.1., and Jess Hargrave was third with her own Regenmann (46.3).
Marc Grandia piloted Team Rebecca’s Campari FFF to a win of the Advanced division in the horse’s debut at the level. The 9-year-old Holsteiner added six time penalties to finish on 49.6.
The CCI3*-L and CCI2*-L riders now move onto the show jumping phase. Don’t forget it watch it live right here on EN starting at 12:50 p.m. local/3:50 p.m. EST for the two-star and 2:35 p.m. local/5:35 p.m. EST for the three-star.