Friday, May. 24, 2024

Nordin Navigates To The Top At The Southern Pines CDE

The Swedish driver beats some big names.

Anna Nordin earned her first U.S. Equestrian Federation selection trial win by beating veteran drivers Bill Long and Gary Stover at the Southern Pines CDE on April 10-12 in Raeford, N.C.

Nordin’s team of Dutch Warmbloods and one Holsteiner is owned by Patsy and Seth Wooten of Wilson, N.C., but the young Nordin, a native of Sweden, is hoping to drive them under the Swedish flag at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

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The Swedish driver beats some big names.

Anna Nordin earned her first U.S. Equestrian Federation selection trial win by beating veteran drivers Bill Long and Gary Stover at the Southern Pines CDE on April 10-12 in Raeford, N.C.

Nordin’s team of Dutch Warmbloods and one Holsteiner is owned by Patsy and Seth Wooten of Wilson, N.C., but the young Nordin, a native of Sweden, is hoping to drive them under the Swedish flag at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Nordin established her lead in the advanced horse four-in-hand early, beating Stover in dressage by just a few points. “It’s quite exciting,” said Nordin. “It didn’t really sink in at first. Gary has a really nice team, and they are going well for him.”

“I can’t brag enough about the horses,” said Nordin. The 16.2-hand bays know to just stop when they get in trouble. “When you can trust your horses, then driving is much easier and fun. It makes you calmer as a driver.”

Nordin said the last hazard, the Wood Lot, was one that worried her because it was so tight. “When I saw it was tight for the ponies, I said ‘Good night! How am I going to do this?’ ”

Nordin had practiced at home with a different horse in the lead and decided to use him in that position on the marathon, and it proved to be a good decision. “He took charge. He was always in my hand,” she said.

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Nordin, 27, started her driving career by accident—literally. Following a bad fall riding jumpers, her doctor said she couldn’t ride any more. She was depressed and really didn’t have any interest in driving, but “I was saved by Frederik Persson,” she said.

Persson, a top driver in Sweden who taught and trained, said “Cheer up!” and asked Nordin to meet him for lunch. Instead of a sandwich, he met her with a four-in-hand, gave her the reins and said, “Let’s go!”

“I think the shock of it got me hooked,” said Nordin.

In 2001, she graduated from school and went to work for Persson. In 2003, she traveled to the United States to work for Tucker Johnson, which is where she met and eventually married her husband Jeremy Smith.

The largest class of the advanced division was the single pony class, in which Sara Schmitt, driving Julia Greifeld’s 11-year-old Welsh-Morgan cross Batman, came out on top.

The 14.1-hand pony “is not really that fun to drive,” admitted Schmitt. “He is definitely a competition horse. He likes to run.”

While it sometimes feels like she’s being run away with, Batman isn’t a real runaway—he just likes to go fast. “He knows the timing of the hazards and gets stronger and stronger,” said Schmitt, who won six of the seven hazards.

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Batman is also very forward when it comes to cones. They didn’t knock any down, but Schmitt incurred time penalties by slowing him down to keep control. The sandy soil was well churned up by the time Schmitt, last of the 63 entries to drive, made her salute to the jury. She was concerned that the ruts might grip the carriage wheels on the tighter turns. A tip-over at a previous competition might have also influenced her caution.

Lisa Singer earned the honor of the best dressage score of the entire competition: 40.75 in the advanced pair horse division. Singer, driving Mimi Thorington’s Count On Me and LR Ami Bengali, was pleased with her test. Singer put her third horse Tilba with LR Ami Bengali in the marathon and won three of the seven hazards.

Tilba is still learning the ropes, and was a little tired at the end, but Singer believes their marathon improves with each competition.


Southern Pines Tidbits

•    Miranda Cadwell drove her sister Keady’s pair to second in the advanced pair horse division and didn’t seem to have any difficulty adjusting from ponies to horses, winning four hazards. Keady drove a less experienced pair of horses at the preliminary level, and, unfortunately, came to grief in the water hazard when they went over an element instead of around it and took over the five-minute time limit to untangle themselves.

•    Kate Shields is one of the most consistent drivers in the sport driving Welsh Cobs that she breeds at her Hastening Farm in Middleburg, Va. Hastening Winslow, a younger brother of Hastening Pilgrim whom Shields drove successfully for many years, has won every competition Shields has entered him in with the exception of The Laurels (Pa.) last fall. Shields and Hastening Winslow topped the Southern Pines advanced single horse division.
         
“I’ve been taking my time,” said Shields. “He’s definitely a bulldozer. He was appal-ling the first few days—he doesn’t like horses coming toward him or behind him.”
         
Shields took a strong lead with a dressage score of 40.96, the second-best dressage score of the day. Kim Stover, with her Connemara-Thoroughbred Laughlin, drove a strong marathon, but it wasn’t enough to catch Shields going into cones. Shields had one ball and a few time penalties to add yet another blue ribbon to her growing collection.

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