Monday, May. 27, 2024

Normandy Soldier Marches To Colorado Horse Park CCI** Win

Elsie Patterson comes away with the blue and earns her qualification for the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships.

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Elsie Patterson comes away with the blue and earns her qualification for the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships.

Elsie Patterson was on a mission to redeem herself in the CCI** at the Colorado Horse Park after a disappointing Twin Rivers CCI** (Calif.) finish in April. She more than made up for the earlier mistakes by taking home blue aboard Normandy Soldier.

She joined a fleet of young riders who made their way across the West from California to Colorado to test their skills at the Colorado Horse Park Three-Day and Horse Trials in Parker, Colo., May 28-31. Three of them took the top places in the two-star.

Patterson, 20, methodically moved up the standings with her 7-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Slewrescent—Amawfe).

Heather Morris led the 11-horse field after dressage (50.7) with Slate River, a horse she recently acquired from John Staples. Patterson and “Vinny” sat in a comfortable fifth place with a respectable score of 59.0.

“Although dressage is our weakest phase, I was really happy with our test,” said Patterson, who lives in Woodland Hills, Calif., and is an English major at California State University-Northridge. She currently trains with Jennifer Johnson in Malibu, Calif.

Patterson bought Vinny as a 4-year-old when he was just four months off the track. He had started the retraining process, but his ground manners were terrible, so he went on the market immediately.

The pair moved up from novice to the two-star level in just three years. Patterson finished cross-country with no jump penalties and a few seconds to spare, which boosted her into second place. Morris retired Slate River on course.

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Less than 2 points separated Patterson from the leaders after cross-country, fellow Californian Scott Kuhlman and Gallipoli II. Third-placed Suzy Hettich, who trailered to Colorado with Patterson, took a rail on Given Half A Chance and afforded Patterson a small buffer.

Patterson and Vinny’s lovely double-clear show jumping round put the pressure on Kuhlman. An uncharacteristic refusal for the leaders at the third jump made Patterson the winner.

“[Gallopoli II] usually has a tendency to take a rail,” said Patterson. “So we were all surprised when he had a stop and then went clear the rest of the way.”

Using the win as a qualifying score for North American Junior and Young Rider Championships, Patterson plans to make the trip to the Kentucky Horse Park along with other top finishers Kuhlman and Hettich.

“Vinny is a really good event horse, and I would love to see him do advanced, but he is young and I think we’ll stay at intermediate and get some more experience,” said Patterson.

A Nerve-Wracking Finish

No stranger to victory at the Colorado Horse Park, Lynne Partridge, Bartonville, Texas, took top honors in the CCI* aboard El Cid, the winner of the 2008 Young Event Horse 5-year-old division at the same venue. The now 6-year-old by Contucci out of a Thoroughbred-Trakehner mare has come a long way in just one year to prove himself worthy of the prediction.

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“He has been to quite a few competitions since last year,” said Partridge, who trains with Mike Huber. The pair led the division from the beginning with a score of 46.3 in dressage. “He is a lovely mover and has a lot of presence in the dressage.”

A clean and fast trip around the cross-country course allowed them to keep their lead.

“The course was wonderful, very fair and open, galloping, but long!” said Partridge. “I was concerned about fitness since we do not have many hills in Texas, and Cid was tired in the end but everything rode well.”

Partridge admitted she didn’t realize how tired he was the next day, but she found out during her show jumping round. She had three rails in-hand over Kaitlyn Chambers and Enchanted, but Partridge and Cid had a stop at the third fence.

“He felt a little sluggish after the Swedish [fence 2], and I should have got him going more. I saw the long but held for the short, and we missed. He did the right thing. It was my mistake, rider error,” said Partridge.

The pair took another rail and created some suspense as everyone waited to find out how many time penalties they’d incur. They crossed the finish line and the announcement came saying 8 jump and 1 time penalty for the round. Partridge and Cid were the official winners with their final score of 55.3.

Future plans for the young horse include a solid season at preliminary and a trip to the American Eventing Champion-ships. “Because he is a warmblood, he will need more time to mature and develop. We have plenty of time. However [Cid] is already almost 18 hands, so I hope he doesn’t grow anymore!” said Partridge.


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