Parker, Colo.— Aug. 31
Linda Quist’s mare, Belle Gambe, felt right at home on the rolling hills of the Colorado Horse Park. Quist is from Colorado, so Belle Gambe didn’t have to worry about acclimation to the weather or the altitude, but the grey Iberian Warmblood also is also unique due to her lineage. Belle Gambe’s dam, Mojave, is a Mustang. Quist bred Mojave to the Andalusian stallion Temerario VII with the goal of “creating a cross that was matching the breed.”
“I had ridden Mustangs my entire life, so I’m very comfortable with who they are,” Quist said. “I like how sound and brave they are. I didn’t want to take a Mustang and breed it to a warmblood, because we were going to get a big clunky horse. So, the Andalusian and the Mustang fit together naturally. I figured that if it turned out that she didn’t like to jump that was OK, she would probably make a really cute dressage pony for somebody.”
Belle Gambe seems to like jumping just fine. She and Quist were first in the training amateur division after dressage on Thursday and were faultless on cross-country to preserve their score of 27.3.
“I thought it was a very fun course, and my horse was a rockstar,” Quist said. “It just flowed really nicely. The big jumps were big, but nothing too hard to handle! Going into tomorrow, I’m just going to try really hard to leave all of the rails up. She likes show jumping, but she wants to jump stadium like it’s cross-country, so it’s our tough spot.”
Lizzy Jahnke jumped from fourth place to first in the training horse division after a double-clear cross-country round aboard Patrickswell Royal, a 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Royal Storm—Rahard Sally). The pair will try to maintain that lead through tomorrow’s show jumping.
“Our dressage test yesterday was lovely. She’s a young, so it’s taken a little bit to come along in the dressage but she’s doing great. [This was] definitely the biggest course she’s ever jumped. It was a challenge, but fair. They made really good use of the terrain.”
Jahnke said that her goal for today was simply to go clear and give her young horse a good experience. Patrickswell Royal is for sale, but Jahnke has been working with her for a year and a half.
“I click well with her. She’s lovely, she’s super sweet. She’s a really nice horse,” Jahnke said.
Eva Jacroux, 18, maintained her lead after dressage in the junior training division, turning in a clear cross-country round on Rubel, her own Zweibrucker gelding (Radikal—When Worlds Unite).
“Rue was really good today. We were a little sticky in warm-up, but as soon as we got out there it was fun!” Jacroux said of the 12-year-old gelding. “Today I really went out there with the goal to not pick up any time faults, so I worked on going a little more forward than I normally do.”
Jacroux started working with Rue two years ago, but the pair got off to a rocky start because Rue was initially too strong for Jacroux, who said she came from a “push-button ride.” They focused on basic ground work until they figured each other out and have finished in the top 10 in every competition this year.
This year is bittersweet for Tracy Alves and Romulus, who currently lead the training rider division. This is the first year the two have contested the American Eventing Championships, but it’s also the last time Romulus will run cross-country competitively.
“I’ve had [Romulus] for four years, but we have only had one solid year of showing because we had two years of quarter cracks and other things that we were dealing with,” Alves said. “This is our first year back, but it’s also his retirement year.”
Romulus is a 20-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Contango—Divottii) who began his eventing career in 2010 with James Alliston and his experience made him the perfect match for Alves, who only started eventing in 2015.
“I did the hunters and jumpers for a while, I was always the grunt in the background,” Alves said. “People tend to think that [Romulus’] strongest phase is dressage because he has a good education, but his favorite phase is cross-country. He turns into quite a showman.”
Romulus won’t bow out of the show ring entirely; Alves plans to “dabble in some dressage moving forward” for as long as Romulus feels well.
See all of The Chronicle’s AEC coverage here.
Click here to view Ride Times and Live Results.
Click here to watch Live Streaming of the 2018 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds.
The Chronicle will be on site bringing you all the gorgeous photos, great interviews and behind-the-scenes stories. Make sure to follow along at www.coth.com, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @Chronofhorse.
We’ll have full analysis of the competition in the Sept. 24 print edition of The Chronicle of The Horse. Subscribe today.