Pop Goes the Star: Snow and Longtime Partner Dominate at Plantation Field
Though she’s only 18, Southern Pines event rider Lizzie Snow is already having what could be regarded as a career year.
In July, Snow and her veteran mount Pop Star were bronze medalists at the North American Young Riders Championship in Lexington, Ky. Earlier this month, the 2010 O’Neal School graduate won the open training division at the Five Points Horse Trials with her young thoroughbred, Franklin Square, besting a field that included several professionals and a former Olympic rider.
Last weekend, Snow and Pop Star scored a landmark win, capturing the CIC* * at the Plantation Field International Horse Trials in Unionville, Pa. Pop earned additional props from the thoroughbred rescue group CANTER as the highest placed ex-racehorse in the division.
It was the first outing at the two-star level for both Snow and Pop, a 13-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by the stakes-winning sprinter Pembroke.
Allie Conrad, the executive director of CANTER (Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses), was delighted to present Snow and Pop with a monogrammed cooler celebrating their triumph. The winner of the three-star division, Cambalda, is also an ex-racehorse, and was similarly feted by CANTER.
“I’m thrilled to see the caliber of horses, and the sheer number of off-the-track thoroughbreds in the upper levels of eventing,” said Conrad, who moved to Raeford last year. “And it’s even more fun to have such a lovely one (Pop) win a CANTER award.”
Pop’s Plantation victory reverberated some 3,000 miles away at a small winery in Newberg, Ore.
Racing in Northern California as “Corgi,” Pop was winless in four starts for his owner, Dr. Chrys E. Chrys. Chrys decided to cut his losses with Corgi, and gave him to his daughter, Cassandra Teegarden, a dressage rider based in Newberg. Teegarden renamed the gelding Star Shoes, and competed him up to 3rd level.
“We had done some amazing work on the flat, but it was getting hard to compete him at the level I wanted to be,” said Teegarden, whose then 3-year-old daughter, Natalie, had nicknamed the gelding “Popcorn.”
Enter Diane Snow — Lizzie’s mother — who was looking for a young event prospect. “At the time I was just looking for a good home for him,” said Teegarden, who owns and operates a winery, Natalie’s Estate, with her husband, Boyd. “I just had a good feeling about them (the Snows). I never expected to see him doing what he’s doing.”
A knee injury forced Diane to relinquish the newly christened “Pop Star” to Lizzie, then 13. The Snows’ primary residence is in Portland, but Lizzie and Pop moved to Southern Pines three years ago to train with Olympic eventer John Williams. Williams even allowed Snow to ride his well-traveled advanced horse, Sloopy, in her first intermediate competition at last year’s Five Points (they won).
Snow and Pop rarely finish out of the ribbons; their three preliminary level wins last year earned Snow the United States Eventing Association’s Junior Preliminary Rider of the Year award.
“I follow them closely, and when I see how well they’re doing I always think it’s good karma, because I let him go for a drop in the bucket,” said Teegarden, who credits her dressage trainer, Janice Dill, with giving Pop a solid foundation. “He has great breeding for sprinting, but in the end he was able to cross over into a discipline that isn’t about speed. It’s about heart.”
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