Tiana Coudray and Ringwood Magister added a lot of extra miles to their résumé last year, traveling from their home in Ojai, Calif., to New Jersey to Quebec to Maryland and back again, without much to show for it. Qualifying constraints, tiny injuries and terrible weather kept them from ever completing a CCI***, and the long journey out East was disappointing in too many ways to count.
“It seems like we have a lot more letters on our record than we do numbers,” Coudray admitted. She withdrew at the Bromont CCI*** (Que.) and retired on cross-country at the Galway Downs CIC*** (Calif.) and the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). “If things weren’t going right, I pulled him up. I only ran him when he was all there. Hopefully we’re turning a corner.”
Somewhere along the way, her 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding still soaked up some valuable lessons. Coudray’s still cautiously optimistic, but she took this afternoon to finally enjoy her first big win in too long—she and “Finian” clinched a victory in the Galway CIC*** today, March 27, in Temecula, Calif. The pair show jumped double-clear yesterday and added just 3.6 time faults to their dressage score to win on a 42.3.
“I’m just so pleased with him,” Coudray said after cross-country, which ran in reverse order of standings. “Being the last horse out there in the warm-up is tough. [And] there were places where I gave him the opportunity to not be good to me, and he still was. He’s really grown up.”
Tamra Smith moved up to second (49.9) with a double-clear round aboard Bubbles At Bricky—one of only three in the division. Ian Stark’s forward, galloping course rode well for most, but second-placed Kelli Prather and Ballinakill Glory had a surprise run-out at the final element of the SmartPak Normandy Bank, fence 20ABCD. Prather and her mare jumped the first fence, made it up and down the bank and then ran out of gas at the final corner. Their 20 jump penalties pushed them down to 10th overall.
That took some significant pressure off the leader, however.
“I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but I happened to be galloping right past the speaker when I heard that the horse in second had had a refusal, so I thought, ‘OK, I have a bit more wiggle room on the time and can really set him up the way I want him,’ ” Coudray said.
Smith, who ran third-from-last, also admitted she as listening in more than she expected to the rides before her. She hadn’t originally planned to run for time on her 13-year-old English Thoroughbred gelding, as it was his first CIC***, but she changed her mind in the warm-up.
“Jennifer Wooten-DaFoe [on The Good Witch] was the first double-clear and then when [Hawley Bennett-Awad also did it on Gin N’ Juice], I thought, ‘Well, if he feels really good, then I’m going to run for time,’” said Smith, Hemet, Calif.
The pair skipped easily around the course, building up plenty of confidence for their upcoming CCI*** debut at Jersey Fresh (N.J.) in May.
Bennett-Awad moved up to third overall, finishing on her dressage score of 54.6 with Gin N’ Juice. Wooten-DaFoe was close behind on her dressage mark of 55.5 to place fourth.
Only two other horses in the CIC*** had stops. Kristi Nunnink and the ironically named Corner Street ran out at a well-hidden corner set in some trees at the bottom of Galway’s berm, while Debbie Rosen and the Alchemyst incurred a 20 at the SmartPak Normandy Bank. Jolie Wentworth withdrew Killian O’Connor withdrew before cross-country.
McManamy Rises To The Top Of The Two-Star
In the CIC**, Max McManamy, Templeton, Calif., took the top prize with her longtime partner Beacon Hill. They posted one of only two double-clear rounds in their division to finish on a 56.2.
Adrienne Hillis and High Tower also managed a fault-free run, but many two-star riders struggled with the course.
“It was definitely a big course, especially for the first two-star of the year,” said McManamy, 18. “I definitely took my time at the first two complexes.
“I was a little nervous about the angled ditch brushes (fence 6AB), because I’d never done those before,” McManamy continued. “You could bend your line or you could angle it, and knowing my horse’s stride, I had to do the angle. I really went out wide and got the line I wanted to it, and he just powered on through. He was fantastic. I knew he was going to be great throughout the rest of the ride.”
Coudray lost her overnight lead with her new ride, Master Hill. The pair was eliminated for three refusals; they had run-outs at fence 4AB, the Oxer To Skinny, the corner coming out of the CWD Lake Galway complex (fence 9), and the B element of fence 13, the Step To Brush.
“He’s a really bold horse, it’s just steering and skinnies that are training things that we need to work more on,” Coudray said. “I was hoping that maybe we’d rounded that turn, but he’s a really cool horse, so I’m not discouraged at all.”
Mackenna Shea, previously in second with Landioso, had a stop at 6A, the angled brushes, to drop down to last in the remaining field of five horses. Kelly Pugh retired Annie Oakley III after two stops; her horse slid down into the ditch in front of 6B, chesting the brush jump, then slid into the brush keyhole fence at the CWD Saddlery Lake Galway just a two fences later. Manuela Propfe’s Chango Malo stopped out at the second element of fence 4AB, a hanging log to triple brush.
David Acord, Dublin, Calif., jumped up to finish second aboard GoodKnight. The pair cruised easily around, adding just 2.4 time faults to their dressage score to finish on a 66.0.
Billys Bests The CIC* Field
While clear rounds were scarce in the two-star, several CIC* riders managed to conquer their course. Overnight leader Lauren Billys, Visalia, Calif., solidified her victory with a fault-free round aboard Ballingowan Ginger. This was the pair’s third FEI competition together.
“I’m looking forward to moving up later this year, so thought it had a variety of different questions which was great—down and up banks, different water complexes,” said Billys, 21. “I never got bored! It kept you going.”
The top six pairs, including second- and third-placed Matthias Schwarz and Feather and Madison Reeb and Raquel, respectively, also posted double-clears to retain their placings.
Check out the final CIC placings and scores, and stay tuned for the conclusion of the Galway’s horse trial divisions tomorrow, March 28. For more stories about today’s winners and photos from the competition, check out the upcoming April 9 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse.