The final SmartPak Equine USEA Training Three-Day Event of the summer ran in South Woodstock, Vermont, on August 27-30, at the Green Mountain Horse Association facility. The event offered three divisions of the T3D to 35 entries including a junior division. At the end of the wet weekend, Brad Turley won division A aboard Ratzi, Eliza Farren pulled off the lowest score of all the sections aboard Bantry Bays Dublin in division B, and Stephanie Castonguay won the junior division aboard Tyne Be Merry.
For Turley, of Madison, Connecticut, the GMHA T3D marked his first long-format experience. Aboard his 17-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Ratzi, the pair earned a 32.9 in their dressage test, added only 2.8 time faults on cross-country, and jumped a double-clear show jumping round to finish atop the division on a score of 35.7.
“It is not as hard as I thought,” Turley admitted. “In fact, the overall test seemed to be better for us as a horse and rider combination. It let him get into his groove without getting worked up in a warm up ring with a dozen other horses running in circles and it gave me more time to get together with him before cross-country.”
Turley and Ratzi, a horse previously ridden by Advanced rider Will Coleman, have competed together for the past few years and ascended the levels collecting numerous blue ribbons along the way. But for Turley, the T3D experience was truly unique to any other horse trials.
“Training to prep for it has opened up new avenues for us to enjoy each other,” he said. “Like most amateur adult riders, I spend most of my time in a ring practicing my flatwork or show jumping. The T3D forced me to go beyond the arena and do things with my horse that I should have been doing all along.”
Likewise, Farren, who finished on her dressage score of 26.6 aboard her 6-year-old Connemara/Thoroughbred gelding Bantry Bays Dublin, found that the long-format experience transformed her horse.
“I arrived Thursday with my ‘baby’ 6-year-old and left Sunday with a grown up horse. So, I would have to say our experience was awesome!” said the 26-year-old from Hudson, Massachusetts.
“The three-day is different from a horse trials in that there are more facets,” she went on. “You have the jog where you show off your horse, and the four phases on endurance day. You have to really know your horse and how to pace and condition them properly. I recommend this so highly and I hope that people get out there and support it. It was a valuable experience and now my horse feels ready for Prelim.”
Sarah Morton of Aiken, South Carolina, also finished on a 26.6 aboard Dianne Lemmon’s 16-year-old Quarter Horse/Trakehner gelding, Maximence. Her official rank was second place since Farren’s cross-country time was closer to the optimum time.
In the junior division, Castonguay of Quebec, Canada, finished atop the class on a score of 37.6 after collecting 1.2 time faults on cross-country and 4 faults in show jumping. See full results here.
Five T3D Events remain this year throughout the country with one each weekend in October and one in November. The SmartPak Equine USEA Training Level Three-day Series is made possible through the support of its many sponsors: Title Sponsor: SmartPak Equine; Presenting Sponsor: Stackhouse Saddles; Product Sponsor: ProChaps and Elite Sponsors: FITS, Nunn Finer. Visit the USEA’s T3D webpage for full calendar and more information.