Now all that’s left to do for Eveready is to wrap him in “lots of bubble wrap!” Barb Crabo joked after they won the CIC*** Adequan USEA Gold Cup at Galway Downs.
Crabo and Eveready are scheduled to give it a go at their third try at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** in a month’s time, and the CIC at Galway Downs was their final prep run.
Overnight leaders Mackenna Shea and her own Landioso jumped around the cross-country course confident and clear, picking up just 4.4 time penalties. Unfortunately, those few time penalties knocked the pair down to second place after Crabo and her own Eveready stole the lead by jumping around Stark’s course faster with only 1.2 time penalties.
Crabo’s 17-year-old Swedish Warmblood easily jumped around the cross-country course to end on their final weekend score of a 57. “We had an absolute blast, and [Eveready] was really, really fun to ride out there,” said Crabo with a smile. “He was super rideable, adjustable, and just so much fun. With him, I don’t get nervous for cross-country, I just head out there to play.”
This event was the third leg of the 2016 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series, of which the finale is the championship at this year’s Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships in Tryon, N.C.
Ian Stark designed a challenging yet confidence boosting cross-country course for the horses and riders, many of which are using this event a preparation for Rolex Kentucky next month. There were many thoughtful combinations and friendly lines, but the pairs had to be accurate and ride forward through Stark’s course.
“I’m very happy with the way the CIC courses rode today,” said Stark. “I was pleasantly surprised because the courses caused very little trouble. I felt that this was a reasonably tough three-star track so I was surprised but impressed with riders. The riders were in great form and horses looked amazing so I am absolutely delighted.”
Andrea Baxter and her own Thoroughbred mare Indy 500 were the only pair to jump around Stark’s CIC*** course without time penalties, landing the pair a third place finish. “I was ecstatic about my round today, and she was amazing,” Baxter exclaimed about her mare. “I’ve been working out corner obstacle issues with [Indy 500] all winter and I think I’ve finally got it all under control now, so I’m extremely excited—she essentially dragged me down to the corner today,” Baxter said with a smile. “I didn’t care about time at all, but I went out so determined to jump the corner that I was in beast mode to get it done. I didn’t wear a watch but ironically I came in right on time.” Baxter and Indy 500 plan to head to Jersey Fresh as their next step, and plan to aim for Rolex Kentucky in 2017.
Course designer Ian Stark noted that, “for some of the horses heading to Rolex, this will be their final preparation run. For those horses, I wanted this course to be big and attacking, but not overly technical. The lines were quite friendly but they still had to be accurate and go quite forward. I think it went well, and hopefully the horses move on from here with a lot of confidence.”