You don't have to be anthropomorphic to believe that Winsome Adante recognizes when he's at an important competition. He's excelled in every three-day he's contested--in fact, he's been first or second at every one--except for the 2002 World Equestrian Games, where he finished sixth but still contributed to the team gold medal.
When Wendy Bebie earned the Paddington Award for the top-placed amateur at the Radnor Hunt CCI** (Pa.) in October, she accomplished a goal she'd had for years. But now, at age 50, she has a taste for even more with her partner, Phoenix.
"I hardly believe I'm saying this, but I want to try advanced horse trials next year," she said after finishing 14th on her dressage score at Radnor. "He's definitely ready to go, and I'm getting older faster than he is!"
Jolie Sexson had only ridden Perryfield's Casper for four months before claiming the blue ribbon in the intermediate division over 30 riders at Twin Rivers Horse Trials, Oct. 1-3, in Paso Robles, Calif.
As they're still getting to know each other, Sexson hadn't pushed to make the cross-country time at her first few events with the 10-year-old, Irish Thoroughbred. "Our training just all clicked together this time," Sexson said.
Under the changing autumn leaves of Fair Hill, Md., the Fair Hill CCI***, Oct. 13-17, represented a little of the old and a little of the new in the ever-adjusting sport of eventing.
While the event ran as a CCI without steeplechase for the first time in its 15-year history, its winner came from the old school of the sport--an off-the-track Thoroughbred who rose to the top with a fast cross-country round and perfect show jumping.
Phillip Dutton's flawless show jumping round earned him his third Fair Hill International CCI*** win, this time on Annie Jones' The Foreman. Dutton and the 8-year-old U.S. Thoroughbred, who came off the track five years ago, didn't come close to touching a fence over Sally Ike's course. Dutton also jumped clear on August Vettorino's Amazing Odyssey, to finish fifth.
In 2003, Drew Callahan finished second in the U.S. Equestrian Federation National Combined Driving Singles Championship, and this year he and his 11-year-old, Morgan gelding, Export, returned to take the top title.
"Last year, I felt like there were some things we could have done better," said Callahan, of Palmer, Texas. "I gave him time off, and then there were some things I wanted to change about how he performed, with the goal of going back to win this year, and it worked out."
When Jenga injured himself for the second time in a year, in he spring of 2003, owner-rider Bonnie Mosser made a promise to herself. "I gave him an entire year off," she said. "I tossed him in a field and promised I wouldn't get back on too soon."
That patience paid off at the Over The Walls CIC*** World Cup qualifier, July 30-Aug. 1, as the pair won their first advanced start in more than a year. Their win, in Hardwick, Mass., puts them on the brink of qualifying for the FEI Eventing World Cup Final in France, in October.
Willy Arts of DG Bar Ranch drove Jasper/Stephanie Hamar and Melvina/Caitlin Masiel to Wadsworth Ill., where they joined Dani Judy/Antaeus and Christina Beal/Ray Ace for California's Region 7 team.
Members of the California Dressage Society called in to the young riders all weekend to check on their progress and report their results at the CDS Junior Championships, which were taking place the same weekend. "They're going to announce that we got the gold medal [at the CDS Championships]," said Hamar. "We've gotten a lot of support from back home."
The Area VI team of Athena Arnot-Copenhaver/Double-O-Seven, Cayla Kitayama/Docksider, Adrienne Hillas/Turbonium and Loreen Kay/Russian overcome a summer full of disappointment to win the CCI**-Y team competition.