Kalispell, MO – After a rollercoaster day of extreme highs and lows, the 10th anniversary of the Event at Rebecca Farm in beautiful Kalispell, Montana wrapped up today with a nail-biting climax in the CIC3*, part of the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series.
Though Allison Springer and her longtime partner Arthur had a ten-point lead heading into today’s show jumping, victory wasn’t yet in their grasp, and because the Irish gelding is notoriously spooky, Springer knew she had her work cut out for her. A life-size horse statue in the middle of the ring would prove to be their nemesis, and Arthur took a serious dislike to the sculpture, though Springer fought to keep his mind on the task ahead. As the rails clattered down, the pair dropped further and further down in the standings — a heartbreaking end to such a promising weekend. Seven rails and a time fault left them with a disappointing 11th place finish.
Even though some horses were a bit on edge because of the course decorations and ringside crowds, many riders had fantastic trips over Richard Jeffery’s challenging course, and when the dust settled at the end of the day, it was long-time Rebecca Farm supporter Hawley Bennett-Awad and Linda Paine’s Gin N’ Juice who led the victory gallop. After picking up just a single rail in the triple combination, ‘Ginny’ reveled in the electric energy from the crowds and jumped her heart out, much to Bennett-Awad’s delight.
“It was awesome,” said Bennett-Awad. “She actually wanted to get a little excited as she passed that horse statue in the ring, but she kept her cool and I was really proud of her.”
Bennett-Awad’s long-time coach and friend Buck Davidson finished as runner-up for the second straight year, this time with Carl and Cassandra Segal’s Ballynoecastle RM. The pair actually knocked the same rail as Bennett-Awad in the triple, but was still able to move up one spot from yesterday.
“It’s awesome that Hawley won; she’s worked so hard and does a great job with that horse,” he said.
“But I think one thing we all want to say is how bad we feel for Allison,” he added. “None of us want to move up because of what happened. She’s worked so hard to make that horse and he just panicked about that statue in the middle of the ring and there was nothing she could do.”
One of Bennett-Awad’s best friends Alexandra Slusher rounded out the top three with a brilliant double-clear round aboard Christie Campbell’s Mecklenburg mare Last Call.
“These two found that horse for me four years ago when I first came to Hawley,” Slusher said pointing to Bennett and Davidson. “I hadn’t done anything before that, nor had I met Buck before. Everything fell into place and I’ve been very close with them ever since. So, a huge thank you to both [of them].”
Though Bennett-Awad admitted she’s been thinking about the year-end purse for the $20,000 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series, her and Ginny’s main goal is the Burghley CCI4* this fall.
Jolie Wentworth had a lovely double-clear ride with Tracy Bowman’s GoodKnight, moving up five spots into fourth, and also earning an award for the best show jumping round. Sara Kozumplik and Jessica Phoenix both moved up with their respective horses Manolo Blahnik and Exponential after faultless rounds.
In addition to winning a sizeable chunk of the $40,000 purse for the CIC3* and other wonderful prizes provided by Rebecca Farm, Bennett-Awad and ‘Ginny’ also picked up a slew of prizes for their victory in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series. They received a Gold Cup trophy, $500 in prize money, 7-dose box of Adequan, a three-month supply of SUCCEED, and a pair of Nunn Finer American Style open front boots. Second placed Davidson and ‘Reggie’ received a 7-dose box of Adequan and a pair of Nunn Finer American Style open front boots for the Gold Cup Series.
Even though most horses recovered quite well after their trips around Mark Phillips’ course yesterday, a few did not finish their weekend. Sharon White, who made the trip out with Adrienne Classen’s Rafferty’s Rules, withdrew before show jumping after ‘Reggie’ had a sore heel. She’s planning to give him some time to recover, and then will be back on track for preparing for the Burghley CCI4* this fall. Jordan Linstedt also withdrew her horse Tullibards Hawkwind before this morning’s final horse inspection.
Many of the horses in the SmartPak/USEA Training Three-Day division weren’t thrilled with the infamous horse statue as well. As overnight leaders Therese Russell trotted into the arena with her gelding Dante, the chestnut took an immediate disdain to the sculpture. A single rail in the last line cost Russell the victory, opening the door for second placed Kathy Cain and her off-the-track Thoroughbred Sidecar to sweep in for the win after their double-clear round.
“I got in there and I just wanted to focus. He’s never been in an arena that big with that many people,” Cain said. “So we just went forward and took one jump at a time, and luckily they all stayed up!
“Yesterday was great too, this is the first time he’s ever done a training three-day,” she went on. “But we went out and had the best cross-country ever.”
For her victory in the Training Three-Day, part of the SmartPak/USEA Classic Series, Cain and Sidecar took home a SmartPak Wellfleet halter and engraved leather leadshank, a Five Star Tack Bridle, a pair of FITS Breeches, and she was entered in a drawing to win a year’s supply of SmartPaks or a Stackhouse Saddle.
In the Advanced, a double-clear round from Phillip Dutton and Ben, owned by Team Rebecca LLC, boosted them to the top of the leaderboard. Overnight leaders Pam Fisher and Simply Priceless dropped to second after picking up a rail, as did Kristi Walker and Myelusivedream. Mackenna Shea and Landioso had a superb double-clear trip, keeping them in fourth; Karen O’Connor and Veronica also posted a lovely double-clear round as well.
Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti used their one-rail advantage in the CCI2*, and led their division from start to finish, tacking on just four points to their dressage score of 49.6. Ronald Zabala-Goetschel and Wise Equestrian Mr. Wiseguy moved into second with a double-clear trip, while Shannon Lilley and Ballingowen Pizazz moved up four spots to third, even with a rail. Kristin Schmolze, who travelled from New Jersey, had a foot-perfect ride on Ballylaffin Bracken — one of only two faultless rounds in the class.
After an exasperating technical elimination during yesterday’s CIC3* round with Mar De Amor for missing a cross-country fence, Tamra Smith had a redeeming day to capture the CCI1* win with Judith McSwain’s Fleeceworks Fernhill. Smith and Fern put the pressure on overnight leaders Jolie Wentworth and Bally Quinn with a double-clear round, and when a single rail fell, victory was theirs.
James Atkinson and Gustav led the CIC2* all weekend, as did CIC1* victors Karen Laidley and Snow Globe Effect.
For more information on the Event at Rebecca Farm, check out their website at http://www.rebeccafarm.org/.
For more news and a video wrap-up, visit http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2011TheEventatRebeccaFarm/Default.aspx.
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