Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024

Smith Scores First CCI** Win At Twin Rivers



Tory Smith really needed a new dressage saddle after the tree in hers cracked at an earlier event, so the new Antares custom saddle that she won at Twin Rivers will serve her well. A happy and tearful Smith celebrated her first two-star win at Twin Rivers in Paso Robles, Calif., May 3-6, surrounded by friends and family.

“Now I can stop borrowing saddles from my friends,” she said with a smile.
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Tory Smith really needed a new dressage saddle after the tree in hers cracked at an earlier event, so the new Antares custom saddle that she won at Twin Rivers will serve her well. A happy and tearful Smith celebrated her first two-star win at Twin Rivers in Paso Robles, Calif., May 3-6, surrounded by friends and family.

“Now I can stop borrowing saddles from my friends,” she said with a smile.

The 20-year-old has had a rough couple of years with her 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse, Bantry Bay, but seems to have figured out what makes the big horse tick. She put it all together to win the division on 64.3 penalties, well ahead of her instructor, Debbie Rosen, in second place on The Alchemyst (71.1).

Smith, Los Angeles, Calif., moved up to the intermediate level for the first time in January of 2006. She and Bantry Bay have been learning together, training with Rosen for four years.

Smith described her horse as cocky and difficult. “We had one little explosion in our dressage test, but I just kept going and thinking about how to make it better,” she said. “We’ve come a long way.”

The pair posted a double-clear cross-country round and just one rail down in show jumping, in a division that had lots of rails hit the ground, to keep the lead they established in dressage. “The course was good; it was quick,” she said of Derek di Grazia’s cross-country track. “It was a lot of fun and rode great.”

While she competed once at the North American Young Riders Championships several years ago, Smith said that her focus for now is on school. She is in her second year at UCLA, where she is studying psychology with the goal of working with children someday. Meanwhile, she balances her interests by teaching with the Santa Rosa Valley and Agoura Woodland Hills Pony Clubs.

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“I also like singing and painting, but I don’t find a lot of time for anything outside of school and riding these days,” she said.

Smith stressed that she could not have won the event without the help of friends and family. “People have been braiding and grooming and helping me out all weekend,” she said. “Jennie Brannigan saved our butts, and Fiona Dodson was great. Andrea Pfeiffer and Doug Hannum were a huge part of our success. No matter who you are, you don’t do this by yourself.”

Rosen, who won the Adequan/USEA Gold Cup series at intermediate in 2005, was excited for her student and pleased with her horse.

“He’s awesome,” said Rosen of the 8-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding that was purchased for her by the Shevin family.

Located north of Paso Robles next to the Salinas River, Twin Rivers is owned by Jeff and Connie Baxter and is host to three recognized events each year, including a CCI*** Adequan/USEA Gold Cup event in the fall. The Baxters’ daughter Andrea, 24, competed in the CIC** and finished fourth on Estrella.

Di Grazia said that he changes the course for every competition. “The galloping tracks stay the same, but we have a lot of portable fences and I move them around,” he said. “I never know what I’ll come up with.”

Because the terrain is so flat, di Grazia has constructed mounds and hollows by moving the earth around to make things more interesting.

In the CCI*, Tiana Coudray, Carmel Valley, Calif., had all the confidence in the world despite having taken a fall at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event the previous weekend. At Twin Rivers, she and Ringwood Magister, a 6-year-old, Irish gelding, made things look easy, winning with a score of 49.7, just edging Anna Collier-McGreevy and Uppercrust D (50.7).

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“I trust both of my horses so much that I wasn’t worried here,” said Coudray, who also won the CIC*** at Galway Downs (Calif.) just a month ago with her advanced mount, King Street. She commented on her top horse, “He’s going right back to work after we look him over and make sure he doesn’t have any problems that we are not aware of.”

Ringwood Magister, a striking silvery gray with a white tail, was imported from Ireland as a just-backed 4-year-old. Like King Street, he is by Master Imp.

Coudray said she was more nervous for show jumping on Sunday than for cross-country on Saturday. “He’s so green and can’t figure out where to put his feet on a straight line, let alone a turn!” she said. “I’m very confident in this horse, though. He is green as can be, but he is a good jumper and likes to jump.”

Coudray, 18, works for Derek and Bea di Grazia in Carmel Valley, Calif. “I might be biased, but I loved the cross-country course,” she said. “Show jumping was different—there were some turns that we don’t
usually see, like from the triple to the skinny [a hard right turn], but he was jumping well. It’s between the jumps and getting to them that we need to work on. On cross-country he just goes. For me it was straightforward because he is solid at this level.”

She also said that after her experience in Kentucky, the one-star fences looked smaller.

Collier-McGreevy, Portland, Ore., co-owns Uppercrust D with her uncle, Wim vanDoorn, from the Netherlands and imported the horse with his help. It was the gelding’s first CCI, having moved up to preliminary last fall. “He’s a blast,” she enthused. “He has a super personality and is a real character. He’s very sweet, and even does tricks! He’s a joy to ride too—even on his worst day.”

Collier-McGreevy, who has competed to the four-star level, was recently married and relocated from Washington to Oregon.

Amber Heintzberger

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