Nearly 100 eventers participated in the new Career2 program’s Grand Finale, held earlier this month at the Millbrook Horse Trials. Millbrook served as the last event in the Career2 series, which this year included eight horse trials across New York state. The Career2 program was created to promote eventing as a second career for thoroughbreds, many of which come off racetracks at early ages.
“The response to Career2 has been just tremendous,” said the program’s co-founder Beth Ledy. More than 200 horses registered for the program, which began in June. The program is funded by the New York Racing Association and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, which represents the interests of racehorse owners and trainers.
“It’s clear that eventers really appreciate and embrace the thoroughbred for the breed’s athleticism, stamina and heart,” Ledy said. “Based on all the interest, we’re hoping that the program can be expanded in the future.”
Participants in the Career2 program received cash and other prizes at each event on the circuit. Riders accumulated points throughout the season heading into the Career2 Grand Finale at the Millbrook Horse Trials. First-place Grand Finale winners in all divisions each received $700; second-place finishers received $300.
The 2013 Career2 circuit begins on Aug. 19 with the Great Vista Horse Trials in Fort Plain, N.Y., and is followed by the Genesee Valley Riding & Driving Club event in Geneseo, N.Y., held Aug. 25 and 26. The remaining the events in the circuit will be held in 2013.
Organizers said the Millbrook Horse Trials was an excellent setting for the Career2 Grand Finale. Millbrook attracted 480 horse and rider teams this year and is the only event in the Northeast to host an Advanced division.
“It was another terrific year,” said Millbrook Horse Trials President Louise Meryman. “We had a great field of riders and horses, an interesting and challenging course that included a revamped water complex, and thousands of enthusiastic spectators who have come to distinguish our event.”
Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin, both members of the U.S. Olympic Eventing Team, travelled to Millbrook just days after competing in the summer games in London. Dutton rode four horses at Millbrook; Martin also rode four, all at the upper levels. Bruce “Buck” Davidson, an international event rider who was an alternate for the U.S. Olympic Team, competed 10 horses.
Winners in the two Advanced divisions were Buck Davidson riding Ballynoecastle and Phillip Dutton on Young Man.
First-place winners in the Career2 Grand Finale were Linda Pressmar on Storming Ocean in the Begnniner/Novice division; Jack Walnes on The Country Gentleman in the Novice division; Cindy Welch on Just Jack in the Training division; Debbie Foote on Fly Me Courageous in the Preliminary division; Kathryn Reed on Parker and Sarah Cousins on Tsunami III tied for first place in the Intermediate division, and Laine Ashker on Anthony Patch in the Advanced division.
For a complete list of results for both Millbrook and Career2, go to www.millbrookhorsetrials.com.