Thursday, Jul. 25, 2024

Bachman’s New Routine Results In Win At Rebecca Farm

Kristin Bachman decided to try a new morning routine with her horse Gryffindor at the Event at Rebecca Farm, July 23-25, Kalispell, Mont., and she will likely use it again since the pair galloped off with a win in the CIC*** World Cup qualifier.

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Kristin Bachman decided to try a new morning routine with her horse Gryffindor at the Event at Rebecca Farm, July 23-25, Kalispell, Mont., and she will likely use it again since the pair galloped off with a win in the CIC*** World Cup qualifier.

A slow, relaxed dressage warm-up helped Gryffindor, a 10-year-old, Washington-bred Thoroughbred (Country Light–Lani Molly), adjust to the impressive dressage arena at Rebecca Farm. “You trot in there and it is really electric,” said Bachman of Auburn, Wash., who won the dressage (47.6). “He just stayed so rideable, so I could go in and ride the whole test and kind of go for it a little bit. He was just right on with everything he had to do.”

Similarly, on the morning of cross-country, Bachman took “Gryffin” out for a morning hack to settle his nerves. “It just took a little bit of the edge off,” she said. The gelding she has had for five years then made the most of the inviting, but technical course.

“My goal had really been to just let him gallop,” she added. “He was just spot on to everything. I couldn’t have asked him to be any better.”

The flawless ride to the fences, with just 4.4 time penalties, was a breakthrough for Bachman, who has been working toward cross-country rideability, and it kept them in the lead. At first, the game ex-racehorse did not take well to half halts during the course, prompting Bachman to sacrifice many time faults in the past in favor of installing a braking system.

“He gets the game a little bit more [now],” she said.

Following Through

Bachman hung on to the lead through show jumping, dropping two poles on her way to edging out second-placed Gina Miles and McKinlaigh, who competed last year at the inaugural World Cup Final, earning the individual bronze medal. Three rails kept them in second at Rebecca Farm, where no one show jumped clean over Sally Ike’s course.

Bachman was pleased with Gryffin’s effort over the larger than usual World Cup course–70 percent of the fences must be set at the maximum height of 4’1″ at the qualifiers.  “It is what I have been working toward for a long time,” said Bachman of her victory.

The win gives Bachman 100 points toward qualifying for the FEI Eventing World Cup Final, held in October in Pau, France. The World Cup is a three-star level competition for individual riders, and five U.S. riders will be eligible to compete.

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The Rebecca Farm win, combined with a 13th-place finish in March at the Galway Downs World Cup qualifier (Calif.), leaves Bachman with 109 points and an eighth-placed ranking in the World Cup standings. Of the U.S. riders, she is ranked second, with only Darren Chiacchia (123 points) ahead of her. Other qualified U.S. riders include Robyn Fisher (100 points), Bonnie Mosser (100 points) and Gina Miles (90 points).

While she has not decided whether she will make the trip to France, Bachman certainly isn’t ruling it out. “I would like to keep my options open,” she said.

She hopes that the World Cup series will help riders just breaking on to the advanced scene gain valuable miles abroad that they otherwise would not be exposed to until they were in a championship team situation. “It’s a good way for people to start getting international experience,” she said.

Bachman also believes that elements of the CIC-W***, such as the more challenging show jumping track, help to prepare riders moving up through the ranks to challenge FEI-level events.

“It’s a way to start seeing what that might look like,” she said.

Bachman may soon see for herself what it looks like since she is planning to compete at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** next April. Gryffin is the first horse Bachman, 32, has had at the advanced level. As full-time rider for Washington state trainer Melissa Beardsley, she has brought Gryffin through the levels herself, with Beardsley’s guidance.

“She’s helped me from day one with this horse,” said Bachman, who also receives dressage help from Janet Brown.

Bachman credits Gryffin’s level, consistent personality and athletic ability with allowing him to challenge advanced courses. “He’s such a workman,” she said. “He goes to work every time you sit on him.”

Without the financial backing to go shopping for advanced horses, Bachman has learned to make one up. “I don’t have a lot of money,” she said. “I like to bring them up and know where all the buttons are.”

Taming Dressage Demons

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Like Bachman, advanced winner Sara Mittleider, Kuna, Idaho, brought her horse El Primero up through the levels herself. The pair also had a breakthrough performance at Rebecca Farm–in the dressage ring.

“My dressage is finally coming along. He used to think jumping was the only thing good to do,” said Mittleider of “Tony”, a 9-year-old, Idaho-bred Thoroughbred.

Mittleider, who receives dressage help from Kathy McClatchy, dominated the dressage, with the top score of 39.17. She then added just 10 time penalties on-cross country and eight faults in show jumping to hang on for the win.

“The stadium was very difficult,” she said. “It asked some good questions.”

One of those questions was a closely related triple bar to vertical line that stung Mittleider twice.

“I didn’t quite have enough to get over the triple bar, so he had that down. And then we were running to our next jump, so we had the next jump down,” she said.

Mittleider has worked with Tony (Classic Alure–Dr. Dan Eyes) since he was a 3-year-old, but the going was not always easy.
“He was pretty sure he knew everything and I didn’t. He would take over going to the jumps, and it was pretty interesting,” she recalled.

To smooth out the rough edges, Mittleider relies on the help of her father Gary, who doubles as her trainer. When not in the saddle, Mittleider also works an emergency medical technician.  This is the first year at advanced for both Mittleider, 18, and Tony. “We are both newbies,” she said with a laugh.

Next, she plans to contest advanced at Jackson Hole (Wyo.) and then will head East this fall to the American Eventing Championships (N.C.), followed by the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.).  If all goes well, a four-star could be in the near future. “If we can get qualified I would like to do Rolex next year,” she said.

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