A combination headed for the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event later this month completed their preparation with a win in the CIC*** at Galway Downs.
Barb Crabo and her own Eveready proved they are ready for a trip back to the Blue Grass State after making easy work of Ian Stark’s Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3*. Third after the dressage, and clear in the show jumping, albeit with three time penalties, Crabo’s 17-year-old Swedish Warmblood easily jumped around the cross-country course to end on their final weekend score of a 57. “We had an absolute blast, and Eveready was really, really fun to ride out there,” said Crabo. “He was super rideable, adjustable, and just so much fun. With him, I don’t get nervous for cross-country, I just head out there to play.” Crabo plans to take Eveready to Rolex Kentucky next month, and this was her final preparation run.
Mackenna Shea and her own Landioso led after the dressage and show jumping phases, despite dropping three rails. They jumped around the course confident and clear, picking up just 4.4 time penalties. Unfortunately, those few time penalties knocked the pair down to second place after Barb Crabo and her own Eveready stole the lead by jumping around Stark’s course faster with only 1.2 time penalties.
Andrea Baxter and her own Thoroughbred mare Indy 500 were the only pair to jump around Stark’s CIC3* course without time penalties, landing the pair a third place finish. “I was ecstatic about my round today, and she was amazing,” Baxter exclaimed. “I’ve been working out corner obstacle issues with Indy 500 all winter and I think I’ve finally got it all under control now, so I’m extremely excited – she essentially dragged me down to the corner. I didn’t care about time at all, but I went out so determined to jump the corner that I was in beast mode to get it done. I didn’t wear a watch but ironically I came in right on time.”
New mother Frankie Thieriot Stutes and the Chatwin Group’s Chatwin added nothing to their dressage score after coming just on the optimum time to win the CIC2* division on a score of 40.0, 13.6 points ahead of second place Tamra Smith and Peggy and Chuck Moore’s Lagos Star. Stutes said she thought Stark’s course was, “a great galloping course, with several good questions,” and that her partner, “answered every question asked of him and that it was so much fun to ride.” Frankie also thanked her cousin Elizabeth Thieriot and The Chatwin Group saying, “I feel incredibly lucky to get to ride this horse.”
Another new mother Jennifer Wooten-Macouzet led the CIC1* division from start to finish after taking some time off from international competition to have her son last year. Riding Ballingowan Ginger owned by Jordyn Horwitz and previously campaigned by Puerto Rican Team Rider Lauren Billys, Jennifer finished on a score of 43.9. “It was great to be back out there again with a mare that is so much fun to ride,” said Wooten-Macouzet. “I think we both appreciate one another’s experience and it has been very fun getting to ride such a talented mare.”
Ian Stark designed a challenging yet confidence boosting cross-country course for the horses and riders, and there were many thoughtful combinations and friendly lines, but the pairs had to be accurate and ride forward through Stark’s course.
“I’m very happy with the way the CIC courses rode,” said Stark. “I was pleasantly surprised because the courses caused very little trouble. I felt that this was a reasonably tough three-star track so I was surprised but impressed with riders. The riders were in great form and horses looked amazing so I am absolutely delighted.” He also noted that “for some of the horses heading to Rolex, this will be their final preparation run. For those horses, I wanted this course to be big and attacking, but not overly technical. The lines were quite friendly but they still had to be accurate and go quite forward. I think it went well, and hopefully the horses move on from here with a lot of confidence.”