Parker, Colo.—Sept. 2
Tamra Smith and Mai Baum dominated the Adequan Gold Cup Advanced Final from the start at the American Eventing Championships, presented by Nutrena.
Smith, 44, of Murrieta, California, and Mai Baum led after dressage with a score of 26.4 and added only 1.6 time penalties in cross-country. They carried a narrow lead over second-place finisher Jordan Linstedt and put in a faultless show jumping round to take the win.
“He’s been wild all week; he hasn’t been in an atmosphere like this in three years and he nearly bucked me off in the warm-up before our test,” Smith said of the 12-year-old German Sport Horse gelding. “But he’s such a workman and a showman. He knows he’s beautiful and knows he’s wonderful but he’s not cocky at all, he’s like Taylor Swift, the perfect human. It’s just been wonderful to be back with him.”
Smith and Mai Baum (Loredano—Ramira, Rike) are best known from their exceptional season in 2015. They were nearly unstoppable at the three-star level, despite only being a partnership since February, and capped off their year by winning the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International CCI*** (Maryland). Afterward, Smith realized Mai Baum had strained a tendon that required time off and some rehabilitation, but nothing out of the ordinary. Injuries plagued Mai Baum for the next three years.
“It’s emotional because it’s been such a long road,” Smith said. “He strained a tendon after Fair Hill, we rehabbed him from that like normal, then he fell in the trailer, then he got a guttural pouch infection and it was just one thing after another. We just took our time; he’s worth it so we were patient and it feels like just yesterday even though it was three years ago. He’s back, he’s strong, he’s 100 percent and feels great.”
Mai Baum will head to the East Coast next, but specific plans won’t be made without first consulting his owners, Alexandra and Ellen Ahearn and Eric Markel, as well as U.S. Performance Director for Eventing Erik Duvander.
“We’re trying to keep him preserved, but he feels so good. I was expecting him to be a lot greener on cross-country because he hasn’t seen a max table like that in three years. He was very impressed at the beginning but he clicked in after the corner; I think he jumped five feet over the top of fence 4.”
Linstedt finished in second place aboard Revitavet Capato on a score of 39.5. Smith also took third in the class with Fleeceworks Royal, scoring 45.4.
Heather Morris and Charlie Tango stayed strong through the intermediate show jumping to finish on their dressage score of 25.8 and take home the win. Morris and the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Shannondale Sarco St Ghyvan—Our Queen Bee, Ricardo Z) are repeat champions at the AEC. They won at the preliminary level in 2014 and the intermediate level in 2015 before the championship moved out of Morris’ easy traveling range.
“He was great. I was a little rusty actually, I hadn’t ridden in three weeks because I threw my back out, but it all worked out in there,” Morris said. “He rode at Rebecca Farm, we gave him a week, and we’ve been doing hill work at the farm with him. I did feel it a little bit out there, I think the altitude did affect both of us. He was weird at the liverpool at Rebecca Farm, so I was a little worried about that, but he jumped great.”
Bella Mowbray and En Vogue sat second overnight and added only 1 time penalty to their score in show jumping to finish on 31.5.
“It’s a long way home, about 24 hours, but thankfully we had a great weekend. I struggled a little bit more than my horse with the altitude,” said Mowbray, Castro Valley, California. “She was rolling really well yesterday. My highlight was definitely cross-country. It was a real championship course. It was pretty imposing. It looked pretty technical and big and it rode really beautifully. I was just really proud of my horse. She ate it up.”
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