Eveready and Barbara Crabo seemed the picture of perfection at the Copper Meadows Horse Trials in Ramona, Calif., June 8-10. In his first advanced event, the young gelding galloped and jumped like a seasoned pro and held the lead from the first phase.
“I’d have to say that dressage is still his weakest phase,” Crabo admitted. “He still has a bit of trouble with his flying changes, but we’ve been working on building his strength and collection.”
Eveready earned a respectable dressage score of 35.8, impressive for an 8-year-old. “His flying changes weren’t perfect, but he was really obedient and tried hard,” Crabo explained. “I figure when he’s 10 or 11 he’ll be really exceptional.”
Once the warmblood-Thoroughbred cross hit the galloping lanes, he was ready to turn on the afterburners after the second fence. “The second fence was a big advanced table, and I could kind of feel him go ‘whoa! That was big.’ But he was really good and really loves to jump. He paid attention the whole time,” Crabo said.
He galloped through the rest of the course without so much as a glance at the other questions. Though they didn’t make the optimum time, 10.4 faults wouldn’t drop them from the lead. “We really just wanted to go clean,” Crabo said.
Second-placed Andrea Baxter and Estrella added 13.2 time faults while fourth-placed Hawley Bennett and SplendoroftheSun pulled 19.2 extra points across the finish. The only pair to fly fast enough was Simply Larry and Hannah Cohen, who finished in third.
“It’s really hard to make the time there. It’s a course that’s full of turns on a smaller piece of property so there’s not as much room to really gallop,” Crabo explained.
When Eveready took to the show jumping, “he just jumped the heck out of the course! He didn’t touch a thing,” she said.
As Crabo pinned the blue ribbon to Eveready’s bridle, she couldn’t help but take pride in the rapid progress her homebred has made since she started him at novice in 2004. They had stood atop the class in that very ring just two months before after winning the open intermediate division in April.
“The longer we work together the more rideable he gets,” Crabo said. “He is really cocky, but I think that’s actually helping him. He thinks he’s Superman and just lets me come along for the ride. His nickname at the barn is Punk.”
His ego can get slightly brash on course, but he’s exhibiting the advanced-level boldness and cleverness for which Crabo bred him. “And there is just absolute trust between us. He would do anything for me, and I would do anything for him,” she said. “He and I have a very close bond, and I consider him my best friend.”
Eveready is by Irco Mena and out of Crabo’s now 20-year-old ex-advanced level Thor-oughbred mare, Batteries Not Included. “But with her it was really the blind leading the blind since she was my first real upper-level event horse,” Crabo admitted.
She originally adopted Batteries Not Included from the vet hospital at the University of California at Davis after she was abandoned there. She still lives with Crabo in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Though Eveready’s dam’s career involved a good amount of uncertainty, Crabo said she’s looking toward the top of the game with Eveready. “He’s shown a lot of talent since he was a really young horse,
and he’s living up to all of my expectations,” Crabo said.
She plans to run the Rebecca Farm CIC*** (Mont.) this summer and hopes to trek east to the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.) in the fall.
Joshua A. Walker