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The SmartPak Equine/USEA Training Three-Day Event at the Inavale Horse Trials drew 15 riders from near and far to experience the thrill of the ‘chase. Tristen Hooks, DVM and her own Holsteiner/Dutch Warmblood, Learning To Fly, led the event from wire to wire to take home the blue ribbon and a trailer full of prizes. This was the third Training Three-Day event that Tristen and Fly have competed in, and they have been working slowly up to the win. In 2009, the pair placed third at the T3D at Galway Downs, and they returned the following year to Galway and finished second. This year Tristen decided to make the 15 hour journey to Oregon, and earned the win.
Tristen, who is an equine vet in San Luis Obispo, first evented in Germany where she spent most of her childhood. Upon returning to the U.S. Tristen did not have the chance to event until after graduating from Veterinary School in 1997. About five years ago, a classmate found Learning To Fly “Fly” and offered Tristen the ride on him. Fly was barely green-broke, but turned out to be the perfect match for Tristen.
“I absolutely love the Training Three-Days,” said Tristen. For someone who works full time at a demanding job this is the perfect goal for me. Inavale was an absolutely breathtaking venue. Everyone was so helpful especially with the studs as I had never used them before since they aren’t needed in California. I also loved walking the cross-country course with the designer, Tremaine Cooper, and getting to practice steeplechase with John Strausburger. My favorite part was definitely endurance day but especially Phase D. It is the best cross-country round you will ever have after having just completed A, B, and C as your warm-up. Fly came out of the box feeling like King Kong, and I thought I was absolutely flying especially in the woods when the trees were just screaming past, however, we did still end up with some time penalties.”
After her amazing experience on Endurance Day, Tristen kept the momentum going to jump a clear show jumping round over what she described as a “spectacularly decorated course.” After some celebratory Champagne, Tristen was awarded a SmartPak Wellfleet Leather Halter and Engraved Leadshank, a Five Star Tack Bridle, a pair of FITS Breeches, and was entered in a drawing to win a year’s supply of SmartPaks or a Stackhouse Saddle.
Tristen is planning on making the 24 hour drive to the Event at Rebecca Farm next month to try and defend her title at the Training Three-Day there. “I really appreciate that people are hanging on the Classic format,” said Tristen. “I don’t have Rolex aspirations, so I just love having the T3Ds as a goal.”
Fellow Californian, Sierra Mathias riding her own Thoroughbred mare, Regal Exit finished the weekend in second after adding only a few time penalties to their 36.8 dressage score. Anna Medina and Mary Spangler’s Morgan gelding, Nanook rounded out the top three competitors of the weekend.
Full Results can be found here.
The SmartPak Equine/USEA Classic Series is made possible through the support of its many sponsors: Title Sponsor: SmartPak Equine; Presenting Sponsor: Stackhouse Saddles; Silver Level Sponsor: Fleeceworks; Legacy Sponsor: Five Star Tack Elite Sponsors: FITS and Nunn Finer.