When Andrea Baxter won the CCI4*-S at Twin Rivers this past April, she explained that there is no such thing as a “home field advantage.” Andrea’s family owns the competition venue and she bases her training business there. Yet, her long-time mount Indy 500 had no trouble sizing up the Sept 24-26 weekend as “show time” for the win.
Sitting second after a dressage test with which Andrea was very pleased, Indy had one rail and a quarter time fault in show jumping, then “cruised” across Hugh Lochore’s “big” cross-country track with 9.2 time penalties, the fewest in the division. “Indy has one speed,” the rider said. “You kind of put a quarter in the slot and off she goes.”
Having anticipated that others would beat her on time, Andrea opted for an inside track in the five strides between the ditch wall to a corner. “I think the others may have seen me ‘chicken out’ on that with my first horse, (Indy’s son Laguna Seca). Nobody else tried it. When we landed from that, I said, ‘That’s my Burghley horse!’,” referencing her and Indy’s 2019 outing at the notoriously gnarly 5* in England.
Coming back from a bit of foot soreness, Indy had a game attitude throughout all phases that spoke well of the ground crew’s preparation and maintenance. “I was really pleased about that,” Andrea said. “It was like they rolled out the red carpet.”
Andrea and Indy head to The Fair Hill International 5* in Maryland in mid-October.
Fresh from Tokyo Olympics and the CHIO Aachen Nations Cup for Team USA, Tamie Smith finished second with Luisa Southworth’s Elliot-V and third with Judith McSwain’s Fleeceworks Royal. Her globetrotting seemed to underscore her appreciation for this home-turf venue: “They really put on a top-class event,” Tamie told her Instagram followers. “The footing, the presentation and organization were super and we should all be grateful to have a venue that tries to keep improving as our sport grows.”
With more gratitude for those on her Next Level Eventing crew who’ve kept her deep string of horses going, Tamie Smith won this division on the MB Group LLC’s Mai Tanzer in his debut at the level. “So proud of this boy and how smart and athletic he is,” Tamie said. “It’s not easy to just show up and ride, not on me or on my horses. But I’m lucky they trust me and try so hard. Everyone who is keeping them trained for me is doing one hell of a job!”
Also debuting at the level — horse and rider — Audrey Sanborn and OBOS Quality Time finished second. “All the pieces really came together,” said the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student of her partnership with “Diesel.” Some of those “pieces” got refined over the summer working for Andrea Baxter and Rebecca Braitling, both based at Twin Rivers. “It was nice to be at the barn all day, have the opportunity to ride a lot more horses and shadow how they handle their horse’s fitness and training plans. They are the best.”
With the reserve 3* finish, Audrey was the highest finishing contender in the Adequan/USEF Youth Team Challenge Paso Robles. Evolved from the North American Youth Championships, the Challenge was a “super fun added element to have the feeling of being on a team,” Audrey reported. “All of the (five) girls competing kind of knew each other and it was a great chance to build relationships.”
Fellow Youth Team Challenge contender Madison Temkin and MVP MadBum finished third. The young professional was thrilled with her mare’s debut at the level, citing a “lovely” dressage test despite a few pilot errors that affected their score. She’s had the now 8-year-old mare for six years and expressed great pride in her development. Madison’s finish put her 2nd in the Youth Team Challenge, too.
Kaylawna Smith-Cook and her own AEV Above Authority had 2 show jumping penalties and clear cross-country to advance from second after dressage into first place. Youth Team Challenge contender Taylor McFall and Stoneman, owned by Cheron Laboissonniere, were second after one rail in the stadium and double clear on the cross-country course designed by Adri Doyal of Mexico. Twin Rivers-based professional Rebecca Braitling and Arnell Sporthorses’ Right Above It were third.
Young Horse Excitement
Excitement is building toward the increasingly popular USEA Future Event Horse and USEA Dutta Corp Young Event Horse West Coast Championships staged at Twin Rivers Oct. 29-30. The Fall International’s qualifiers identified rising stars: Julie Murray’s Mannoury vd Watermolen won the FEH 4-year-old on a 76.70 with Erin Kellerhouse; and Rylin Clarke’s NSF Cassiopeia scored a 79 to top the FEH 3-year-old standings.
Anita Nardine’s Quinn HSR scored an 81.80 with Kaylawna Smith-Cook to top the YEH 4-year-old ranks; and Julianne Guariglia’s Crafty Don led the 5-year-old YEH division with an 84.90 under Tamie Smith’s hand.
Excellent participation in the debut of this combined championships last year bodes well for even bigger attendance this year. There is a last-chance qualifier for the Championships Thursday, October 28. On Sunday, October 31, Twin Rivers hosts its popular Halloween Schooling Horse Trials
Thank Sponsors & Volunteers
The Fall International was made possible by generous sponsors: Presenting sponsors include Professional’s Choice, manufacturers of sports medicine boots for equine athletes; and Auburn Labs, manufacturers of the adaptogenic APF Formula for horses, people and dogs; Best Western PLUS Black Oak, which offers exclusive discounts for exhibitors; and Get Away RV Rentals, which delivers fully-outfitted RVs to the venue for those who want to stay on site.
Supporting sponsors include Riding Warehouse, the horse gear and apparel supplier; Chubby Cov, makers of beautiful custom stock ties; and RevitaVet, a leader in preventative maintenance and rehabilitative infrared therapy devices.
For sponsorship opportunities, contact Christina Gray of Gray Area Events at Christina@grayareaevents.com.
As always, volunteers were critical to the Fall International’s success and were much appreciate by exhibitors and organizers alike.
USEA Future Event Horse & USEA Dutta Corp. Young Event Horse West Coast Championships (and an FEH qualifier Oct. 28), Oct. 29-30.
Schooling Halloween Horse Trials: Oct. 31