Monday, May. 27, 2024

Norman Travels To The Win At Colorado CCI

She uses a one-star win to prepare Sauvignon for the North American Young Riders Championships.

The price of fuel didn’t stop competitors from Canada to Texas from making the pilgrimage to Parker, Colo., to compete at the Colorado Horse Park Three-Day Event and Horse Trials on May 29-June 1.

As Julia Norman quietly waited for the top five in the CCI* to show jump, she didn’t dare dream that she could move up from sixth to first with her clean show jumping round. But that’s just what happened.
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She uses a one-star win to prepare Sauvignon for the North American Young Riders Championships.

The price of fuel didn’t stop competitors from Canada to Texas from making the pilgrimage to Parker, Colo., to compete at the Colorado Horse Park Three-Day Event and Horse Trials on May 29-June 1.

As Julia Norman quietly waited for the top five in the CCI* to show jump, she didn’t dare dream that she could move up from sixth to first with her clean show jumping round. But that’s just what happened.

“I saw that everyone kept dropping rails,” said Norman. “I thought maybe I would move up to third or fourth, but I was totally surprised when they said I won!”

Traveling to Colorado from Colowna, British Columbia, Norman and best friend Marissa Wolfe both made the trip to compete in the CCI* before heading to Virginia to ride with Rebecca Howard in preparation for North American Junior And Young Riders Championships, to be held July 29-Aug. 3 at the Colorado Horse Park.

This was Norman’s third outing in one-star competition aboard her 17-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Sauvignon, who she purchased from her trainer, Shannon Thomson, two years ago.

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“My trainer had him in the barn, and I really didn’t notice him until I sat on him one day and fell in love with him,” said Norman. “Joe” came from a show jumping background and had done one CCI* before Norman purchased him.

Dressage has been their most challenging phase, and Norman was pleased with their test, which earned the pair a 56.8. “I thought they were a little tough on us score-wise, but I thought it was a really good test for us,” said Norman. The score placed them in a tie for ninth after dressage in the field of 20 starters.
Of the 16 riders who completed the cross-country course, nine went clean and fast, and only two incurred jump penalties. Norman and Joe’s clean and fast finish moved them up in the placings to sixth.

“It was a treat to come to such a nice place that is so totally different from what we are used to seeing. Everything rode really well. The challenges were good questions but not really crazy either, and the bounce was really fun,” said Norman.

Considering Joe’s background in show jumping, the 16.2-hand chestnut gelding made the last phase look easy, including a beautiful ride through the triple combination. The fifth, fourth and third-placed competitors each pulled rails, and the second-place, pair parted ways. The horse left the arena, resulting in an unfortunate elimination.

When the leader, Norman’s friend and traveling companion, Wolfe, had two rails down, spectators and officials scrambled to do the math and eventually announced Norman the winner. The pair had finished on their dressage score of 56.8, only .5 points over Wolfe and her mount The Maestro, who finished with a 57.3.

While Norman jumped her way to the top of the one-star, Heather Morris led the CCI** from start to finish. Morris, 28, of Lewisville, Texas, and the Kamballa Land LLC’s 11-year-old Trakehner gelding Genial topped the field of five starters.

The pair led after dressage with their score of 44.1. “He has naturally good movement and is very balanced,” said Morris, who manages Mike Huber’s Blue Chip Stables in Bartonville, Texas.

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Though originally from California, Morris would stop in Texas to train with Huber on her way to compete on the East Coast. In 2002, she was on one of these trips and Huber asked her to stay and manage his facility. She has been there ever since.

All four competitors in the CCI** jumped clean on cross-country.  Morris had concerns about how Genial would handle the terrain in Colorado, especially the first big push up the long hill combined with the overall time on course of more than 9 minutes.

“We don’t have many hills in Texas, and he just doesn’t have the stamina,” said Morris. “He did get a little tired the last couple of minutes but came in and recovered very quickly.” They picked up 3.6 time penalties but held onto their lead. Christian Eagles on The Gingerbread Man was the only rider to make the time.

All four horses passed the final inspection and headed to the derby arena for show jumping. Morris and Genial put in a foot-perfect double-clear round, making the course look like a cakewalk and securing the victory over Karen Shull and Just My Style and Eagles and both her two-star mounts, Reddie Noble and The Gingerbread Man.

“He is a really good two-star horse,” said Morris, who is not sure about the future for Genial but remarked how great their partnership has developed over the last year. “He knows what I am going to do, and I know what he is going to do. He was really amazing this weekend.”

Heather Messner

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