On Friday the 13th, a fitting group of 13 competitors began their weekend at The Event at Rebecca Farm’s CIC3*, a division in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series, at the breathtaking Kalispell, Montana facility. Kristi Nunnink and her own 11-year-old Holsteiner mare R-Star (Riverman x Marisol) topped the field with a 50.6.
“[R-Star] is growing up and we are a team,” said Kristi. “Overall I think the quality of her work is getting better and better, she goes in and gets a bit electric.”
Currently sitting on a 4.2 lead, Kristi and R-Star only have a small cushion for tomorrow’s cross-country phase – a formidable course designed for the first year by Ian Stark.
“This is a great event, you can’t beat it,” continued Kristi. “It just can’t get any better than this. That big old ditch and brush to the wedge is really big. R-Star and I continue to get more comfortable with each other though, and I am really excited for tomorrow.”
Contesting their very first CIC3*, Katherine Groesbeck and Oz The Tin Man, were recipients of the Rebecca Farm travel grant which helped offset the cost travel from California to Montana. The pair proved their worth by scoring a 54.8 which was good enough for second place.
Rounding out the top three is Mackenna Shea and Landioso who are a mere point behind Katherine on a 55.8.
Training Three-Day Slideshow
The 13 three-star competitors will have their chance to tackle Ian Stark’s cross-country course at 1:20 tomorrow.
The CCI2* kicked off the afternoon of dressage in the main arena and Tamra Smith with Krystie Bush’s Top Secret bested the seven pair strong division with a 54.5.
“He is a 10 year old TB of the track who has the biggest heart of any horse I have ever ridden,” said Tamra. “We have been working on the flat work and he has improved and been unbelievable. I was really, really happy with him in there.”
Tamra is already looking ahead to tomorrow’s cross-country phase with Top Secret.
“Every time I go out there he never ceases to amaze me,” said Tamra. “I feel like I have a bit of an advantage as I have ridden a tricky course of Ian’s on him once before at the Intermediate level, but you just never know what can happen out there. I really want this horse to step up to the plate so I hope he does. This is a solid CCI2* track.”
A familiar sight this weekend, James Alliston rode his own Mojo into second place with a 58.9 while Montana native, Florence Miller scored a 61.8 for third.
The CCI2* pairs are the first out on cross-country tomorrow at 7:30 AM.
Jordan Linstedt and the nine-year-old Hanoverian Revitavet Capato are leading the CIC2* on a 54.8 – the only pair to score a sub-60 in the division.
“Capato is amazing and keeps stepping up to the plate the more that I throw at him,” said Jordan. “I thought our test was pretty good, and really I thought he was really giving me a lot so I was very happy.”
“He was originally imported by my mom and a partner of hers to be for my younger sister,” explained Jordan. “He ended up being too much horse and my mom sent him to me eventually to be sold. During that time he just grew up and was a different horse. Three years later he gets better and better each time I move him up. The course tomorrow is quite impressive and tough for his first two-star.”
Californians, Maddy Mazzola and Emilee Libby are neck-in-neck for second and third positions on their mounts, Man on a Mission III and Nonsensical.
The largest FEI division of the competition is the CCI1* and Jennifer McFall riding her own 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding, High Times, scored an even 50 to lead the division of 24 pairs.
“He was really exceptional,” said Jennifer. “He has been a bit tough lately and we have really figured out his routine making him easy to ride.”
“This is the most gorgeous show ever,” continued Jennifer. “It is pretty much Disneyland for eventers. The course looks like it has good gallops and some pretty fun jumps.”
Erin Kellerhouse and Joy Simon’s Cat Ballou scored a 52.3 for second while Samantha Bergin with Patra Mara earned a 54.6 for third.
Lisa Peecook and her eight-year-old Thoroughbred Blackfoot Mystery lead the CIC1* on a 50.6.
“He was extremely well behaved and flashy,” said Lisa. “I was so happy with him.”
“I got him off the track and he has evolved so much. I could not do this without my best friend and groom, my husband Mike. Andrea Pfeiffer has helped me with this horse since he was three and he has definitely been a work in progress. He has just grown up so much and we feel like he is coming into his own as an eight-year-old now. I am looking to have a fun, safe round tomorrow and to enjoy myself”
Hilary Bates with Cassiopeia and Tamra Smith with Leigh Meshear’s Rafflasia Z round out the top three.
The SmartPak Equine USEA Training Three-Day was a popular choice of divisions at this year’s event with two divisions of nearly 20 riders each. Topping division A with a 29.3 is Matthew Brown and Chelsea Clyde-Brockway’s 10-year-old gelding, Che Landscape.
“‘Squishy’ is an Argentinean horse who has springs on his feet and loves to jump but has had to work on the dressage,” said Matthew. “My wife has been riding him with our dressage coach and he is starting to move in the flat like he jumps which is just super. I had to ride him every minute of the test, but his jump is so fun it makes up for it. He was really good today and now we get to go have fun.”
“I love the long format,” said Matthew. “I loved it growing up and for a horse like this who is not quite ready to move up to Preliminary, but is getting the chance to go out and do a little steeplechase and get a little fitter, it’s a great way to get him ready to go up through the levels. I think it is great, especially with the introduction now of the novice three day, riders are getting a chance to learn about their horses on a different level”
Tied for second on a 31 are Lorilee Hanson with Aliado and Pam Fisher aboard Rigby.
In division B of the SmartPak Equine USEA Training Three-Day, 14-year-old Kelsey Holmes rode her own 10-year-old Trakhener gelding, Tenorio, to an impressive score of 27.1. Erin Kellerhouse riding Laurel Ritter and Mary Jo Bennett’s Raffaella also scored a sub-30 mark with a 28.9 that earned her second position. Kiera Carter and Corinthoz lie in third on a 32.1.
For the first year ever, Rebecca Farm is offering a Novice Three-Day section. The two divisions are both being led on scores of 28 which were earned by Peggy Moore with O'Reilly Factor and Natalie Lewis with Trix.
While the FEI, Advanced, Intermediate, and classic format divisions were taking their turn in the dressage rings, the Novice, Training, and Preliminary horse trials divisions were the first to tackle the cross-country courses. All of the scores can be viewed here: http://eventingscores.com/eventsr/rebecca/ht0712/
The Training Amateur and Junior riders were judged on cross-country by USEA President, Brian Sabo, for the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award. Winners of the award will be announced at tomorrow night’s competitor party.