The extra time Gina Miles has spent in the dressage ring with McKinlaigh is really starting to pay off and it showed today, March 30, at Galway Downs CIC***-W in Temecula, Calif. They took a comfortable lead after a smooth performance that earned a 70.83, 68.42 and 65.33 from the three judges.
For McKinlaigh, it’s all in the canter. Standing at nearly 17.3 hands, the 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding works a little harder than some of his smaller opponents to keep collected through the canter and flying changes—a movement through which many three-star horses hiccupped today.
Miles sought the expertise of German Olymipic rider Hubertus Schmidt for some tips to tone McKinlaigh’s muscle and canter quality. So far, Schmidt’s skilled touch is really working, said Miles. She also took advantage of a training session with Captain Mark Phillips earlier this week to spruce up for this event and tie up as many loose ends as possible before embarking on her ultimate goal for the spring, her first trip to Badminton (England).
With McKinlaigh’s dressage on the up and up and a fresh advanced win from Ram Tap (Calif.) last month, Miles is looking forward to another stellar run on tomorrow’s cross-country—where the intrepid McKinlaigh normally excels.
Grant Hemingway and his own Nieco sat second after dressage. They were also one of the standout pairs in the 16-entry three-star class to pull off clean lead changes, impressive trot work and overall supple movement.
In the CIC** division, ERISA Edward Jordan excelled in his third intermediate-level competition with David Adamo riding.
Adamo’s been bringing Robert Weem’s 10-year-old warmblood up the ranks for five year and though “it has been tough, it’s been a good progression,” Adamo said. Edward Jordan’s first intermediate trip was at Ram Tap in February.
Even with a few options built into Mike Molloy’s cross-country course at Galway, Adamo feels quite confident that Edward Jordan is bold enough and more than ready to burn straight through the more technical questions to save some time.
He’ll just have to keep a close eye on Hawley Bennett and SplendoroftheSun who are nipping at their heals in second place. “The only thing I have to look out for is that her horse is a fast thoroughbred and mine’s a warmblood,” Adamo said.