Saturday, May. 25, 2024

Fisher Inherits CIC***-W Title At Event At Rebecca Farm

Jessica Heidemann seemed to have The Event At Rebecca Farm CIC*** World Cup qualifier wrapped up as, the final rider of the division, she landed clear off her last show jumping fence, July 24-27 in Kalispell, Mont. She'd posted the division's only clear cross-country round, as well as the only clear show jumping round, to stand nearly 15 points ahead of her nearest competitor.

But when Heidemann turned the wrong way and exited the arena, missing the finish flags and eliminating herself from the competition, Robyn Fisher took over the title.
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Jessica Heidemann seemed to have The Event At Rebecca Farm CIC*** World Cup qualifier wrapped up as, the final rider of the division, she landed clear off her last show jumping fence, July 24-27 in Kalispell, Mont. She’d posted the division’s only clear cross-country round, as well as the only clear show jumping round, to stand nearly 15 points ahead of her nearest competitor.

But when Heidemann turned the wrong way and exited the arena, missing the finish flags and eliminating herself from the competition, Robyn Fisher took over the title.

In close contention from the beginning, Fisher and Le Samurai put in a lovely dressage test to earn a 54.8 from judges Sally O’Connor and Julie Purgly.

“I did the Robert Dover clinic the week before the event,” said Fisher, 25, of West Hills, Calif. “I was satisfied with our test but thought it could be better.”

The score left her second behind Leigh Mesher and My Beau, on their score of 52.8.

On cross-country day, most of the 14 riders jumped clean, but time was the decisive factor. Fisher and Le Samurai (Sabotage–Heiali xx) ate up the course in fine form, incurring 5.6 penalty points to retain second place. Mesher added 10 points to her score, dropping her to third with a 62.8, and Heidemann and French Twist went double clear, propelling them to the lead with 59.7.

First of the top three to go in show jumping, Mesher and My Beau were eliminated for refusals. Next to go, Fisher had two rails and added 6 time penalties to finish on a score of 74.4.

“The wind started to blow really hard right when I started my round. Trees and fences were falling down all around us as we went around the course. Samurai is such an impeccable show jumper I really think he would have been clean if jumps weren’t falling down around us!” said Fisher.

Fisher and Le Samurai were declared the winners, and Canadian Hawley Bennett and Livingstone claimed second.

Fisher earned the chance to represent the United States in Malm?weden, at the FEI World Cup Final, in August. Heidemann will join her there, as she won the qual-ifier at Galway Downs (Calif.) this spring.

Thompson Tops CIC**

Shannon Thompson and her 9-year-old, Thoroughbred gelding Zingaroo came from behind to win the CIC**. Making it to the end was a feat in itself with only eight riders out of 17 completing the competition.

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In eighth place after dressage, with 65.9, Thompson, 23, of British Columbia, Canada, had her best test ever. “We have little international experience, and dressage is always challenging for us. [Zingaroo] is limited by his movement, but I was really proud of him,” she said.

Only five riders made it around Capt. Mark Phillips’ cross-country course without jump penalties, and Thompson was one of them. The culprit was a combination of skinny hedges that surprised horses after coming through “The Booby Trap” mounds. Few riders in the two-star or the open intermediate division had a smooth ride over the hedges.

“We had a rough go through there,” said Thompson. “We kind of banked the hedge, but that says it all why he is such an amazing horse!”

Adding 2.4 time penalties, Thompson moved up to second place behind Sandra Donnelly, who withdrew first-placed Whiz Kid before show jumping due to a fall on her three-star horse. Now in the lead going into show jumping, Thompson lowered only one rail for the win.

“[Zingaroo] really knows his job,” said Thompson who currently trains with Therese Washtock. “Even if he is having a bad day he will still come out and give 100 percent.”

Winning the one-star with apparent ease, Robert Kellerhouse and his 7-year-old Thoroughbred First Field topped the large field of 30 competitors. The pair maintained their lead after dressage with a landmark score.

“We broke the 70 percent barrier, which is a first for me at a big show,” said Kellerhouse, of Temecula, Calif., who received a 71.43 percent from O’Connor and a 69.52 percent from Purgly, for penalties of 44.3.

Kellerhouse credits Donna Wineburg and Kathleen Raine for helping him with his dressage, but he trains regularly with his wife Erin Kellerhouse out of Swiftridge Farm. Erin also leases a wing out of Kingsway Farm across from Galway Downs, where Kellerhouse organizes events.

“It took us 24 hours, and there were 17 of us from Kingsway in Kalispell,” said Kellerhouse. “Capt. Mark Phillips and Burt Wood did a phenomenal job on the cross-country course. I was more excited than anything to ride out on that well-prepared track. I don’t think there is anything like this event in the world!”

Enjoying cross-country to the fullest and adding only 4 time penalties to his score, Kellerhouse had a rail in hand over Fisher and Lady Calida going into show jumping.

“Richard Jeffrey designed a difficult course and as big as I have ever done with jumps to 3’9″,” said Kellerhouse, who bought First Field (Starfields–Owls Playmate) as a 4-year-old. “You know, it’s a different deal when you are in first place. Robyn didn’t give an inch, and I think her horse cleared every jump by at least eight inches.”

Despite the pressure of being in the lead, Kellerhouse took his rail in hand and maintained his lead to win the largest CIC field on a score of 52.3.

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Perfect Recovery

Victory in the advanced division had special meaning for Frankie Thieriot, 18, of Occidental, Calif., and her 12-year-old, Selle Francais gelding Fric Frac Berence. In 2004, “Fric” underwent surgery for torn tendon fibers requiring six months of rehabilitation with no guarantee he would ever come back to competition.

“He was fit for advanced at the time of the surgery and was like a beast to care for,” said Thieriot, who rides with Yves Sauvignon. “There were so many days I wondered if we would ever make it.”

Also, two years ago Fric lost the sight in one eye. “It took him awhile to get used to that, and all the vets kept telling me I should never jump him again. Everyone discussed it and said since we know each other so well we could try it out, but if he showed any sign of stopping they said I’d have a big decision to make.”

She scored a 41.25 in dressage, placing her third. “Cross-country day, I just had to keep telling myself who I was riding. He is my horse, I know him and I know he can do it. At 6A, I took the bounce because I knew the option would take a lot of time. Then I knew he was right there with me, and it was like this huge weight lifted off my shoulders,” said Thieriot.

She and Fric jumped the remainder of the course clean, adding 16.8 time penalties to move them up to second place.

The pair was right on for show jumping as well with the only double-clear round in the division to take the win with 58.05.

In the open intermediate division, another Californian, Kristin Enedy, 20, of Santa Rosa, and her 12-year-old Thoroughbred Rouge et Noir (Habitony–Golden Floriana) took top honors in the field of 18. Only in partnership for one year, they are still getting to know each other.

On cross-country the difficulties in the two-star at the skinny hedge combination continued for the open division. Enedy and Rouge were one of only four to make it around with no jump penalties, moving up from ninth after dressage to first.

“I took the option at the corner so I knew I was going to be slow,” said Enedy who had the second-fastest time, incurring 8 time penalties. “But I had no idea we moved up to first until someone came into the barn and patted me on the back and said, ‘Good job, you’re in first!’ I was so surprised.”

Enedy, who has been riding with trainer Valerie Bertoli for 11 years, worried about what might happen in show jumping after her coach fell ill and her horse was bucking around the warm-up. “Once we got in the ring though, my horse jumped really well. We had one really ugly fence with a rail, but he really pulled himself together after that and jumped well.”

Enedy and Rouge finished on 55.33 for the win, 12 points ahead of second-placed Marc Grandia and I Spy.

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