Monday, May. 27, 2024

Fisher Triples With Twin Rivers Scores

Robyn Fisher finished her weekend at Twin Rivers Horse Trials, March 4-6 in Paso Robles, Calif., with three victories--one at advanced, one at preliminary and one at novice.

For her advanced partner, Le Samurai, the blue ribbon followed a long absence from competition. The Holsteiner/Thoroughbred-cross hadn't competed at advanced since finishing 10th at last May's Saumur CCI*** (France). Although the pair qualified to compete at the 2004 FEI World Cup Final (France), Le Samurai was misdiagnosed with two front suspensory injuries last summer.
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Robyn Fisher finished her weekend at Twin Rivers Horse Trials, March 4-6 in Paso Robles, Calif., with three victories–one at advanced, one at preliminary and one at novice.

For her advanced partner, Le Samurai, the blue ribbon followed a long absence from competition. The Holsteiner/Thoroughbred-cross hadn’t competed at advanced since finishing 10th at last May’s Saumur CCI*** (France). Although the pair qualified to compete at the 2004 FEI World Cup Final (France), Le Samurai was misdiagnosed with two front suspensory injuries last summer.

“We ultrasounded him to make sure he was ready to go back to work [after his rest following Saumur], and the vet said he injured both front suspensories equally. So we gave him more time off. But when we had another vet look at the scans a few months later, he said there had been zero damage to either leg; the first vet was seeing shadows on the machine,” said Fisher. “Those were expensive shadows.”

So a well-rested Le Samurai, 10, grabbed the lead in dressage (27.9) at Twin Rivers. “He’s a very flashy mover and steady. And [judge] Jack Le Goff liked him,” she said simply.

When Fisher set out on cross-country, she realized her watch was broken, so she had to ride the course by feel.

“It was the first time I’d ridden this course, and it had been a long time since I’d ridden at speed, so we ran intermediate speed,” she said, although she posted the second-fastest time (6:22). Only Leigh Mesher was faster, finishing in 6:04 on the veteran My Beau.

Fisher appreciated the advanced course Derek di Grazia created for the 500-acre ranch in central California. “I really liked the water–there was a trakehner, then a rollback to jump into the water, then a jump out and back in again, so you had to be on your toes,” she said.

None of the advanced competitors mastered the show jumping course. Fisher and Stephanie Cooper, who finished fourth, each kept the rails up but incurred time faults, and no one jumped clear.

“It was huge! It’s been so long since I’ve gone advanced. I walked into the ring and was like, ‘Oh, my god!’ It rode very forward, so as long as you were forward, you were OK,” Fisher said.

Fisher planned to compete Le Samurai at the North Georgia CIC*** and then the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** in April. While she spends five weeks on the East Coast, coach Yves Sauvignon will compete her preliminary winner, Lady Calido.

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Wendy Webster, who bred Le Samurai (Sabotage–Heilali) and sold him to Fisher six years ago, also sold her Lady Calido. The German-bred Holsteiner, imported in 2000, served as one of Webster’s broodmares until Fisher bought her.

“I had seen her a couple of years ago and fell in love with her,” said Fisher. “At the time, I didn’t have the money to buy her, but I told Wendy to call me after she had her foal to see if things had changed. I was able to get her last year, and I’m really glad I did.”

The mare won the dressage (34.5) and finished on that score, as did her novice winner, Kypris. It was the first event for the Arabian-Andalusian, owned by Toni Wright.

A Keeper

When Gina Miles traveled to Europe to train for the FEI World Cup Final in 2003, she brought back a special souvenir–Philippa, a Holsteiner/Russian Thoroughbred-cross she found in Germany.

“I originally picked her out for an amateur client because she has a lovely mind,” said Miles, 31, of Creston, Calif. “But she wasn’t far enough along in her flatwork [for the client].”

So Thom Schulz and Laura Coats, owners of her World Cup bronze medalist McKinlaigh, agreed to buy the mare, who is by Leandro, by Landgraf.

At Twin Rivers, her second intermediate event, Philippa placed third (29.0) in the dressage, then took the lead with one of the fastest cross-country rounds. “Her flatwork is coming together. She was physically immature for a long time,” said Miles. “She’s 7 this year, and she’s just getting a topline.”

When competing at preliminary last year, Miles wasn’t sure the mare would be quick enough to go on. So she really worked on sprints before the Galway Downs CCI* (Calif.) last November, where she finished seventh. “She had no problem with the steeplechase or cross-country time [at Galway Downs],” said Miles. “She’s developing a really good gallop.”

Miles thought Twin River’s cross-country was a good early-season course. “It wasn’t so incredibly technical, but there were early combinations to wake the horses up,” she said.

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The show jumping course didn’t concern Miles, since she’s been competing in the level 5 and 6 jumpers at the HITS Desert Circuit at Indio (Calif.) over the winter.

Philippa will compete at the Jersey Fresh CCI** (N.J.), but Miles isn’t sure which three-day she will aim for with McKinlaigh, her 2002 World Championship partner. “I’ll look for a short format event and gear up for next year [for the 2006 World Championships],” she said. “We’re also doing as many dressage shows as we can.”

On A Streak

Shannon Lilley and High Mountain Road, winners of the Galway Downs CCI* last fall, continued their winning streak at Twin Rivers, in intermediate, division 2.

Lilley credits the good fortune to her trainer, Dana Lynd-Pugh, who’s worked with her for 17 years and who sold her the 10-year-old Thoroughbred last fall.

“When she decided to sell him, I jumped at the chance,” said Lilley, 25, of Gilroy, Calif.

After placing second in dressage, Lilley moved into the lead with one of the fastest cross-country times.

“We went very slow the weekend before at Ram Tap [Calif.],” she said. “I asked my trainer in the warm-up if I should go for the time, and she said not to worry about it too much. But there’s so much galloping room at Twin Rivers. I just let him pick his own pace, and he eats up the ground so well.”

In show jumping, Lilley knocked down the first fence but still held her lead.

“He’s so bold on cross-country that sometimes he’s not as careful in show jumping,” she said. “It was a small vertical, and if he’s not impressed, sometimes he doesn’t put in the biggest effort.”

Lilley plans to compete in the Colorado Horse Park CCI** in May and then move up to advanced. “This horse could jump anything,” she said. “He could go as far as he wants to.”

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