Cold Weather Doubleheader
The Carolina Horse Park and the Pinehurst Harness Track shared the local horse show spotlight Jan. 19-20, drawing a total of 150 entries to the two venues for two winter competition offerings.
Several combinations took advantage of the double-header and competed at both the Horse Park’s Pipe Opener and Pinehurst’s Dressage Schooling Show, including O’Neal eighth-grader Campbell Jourdian and Artemis.
Jourdian, who only graduated from 14.2-hand pony Misty to the 16.3-hand Artemis a few weeks ago, found multiple successes over the weekend, winning the beginner novice combined test on Saturday and finishing first and second at novice level at Pinehurst a day later.
Jourdian leases 11-year-old Canadian Thoroughbred Artemis, or “George,” from Christina Curiale, who works for local eventing professional Will Faudree.
Jourdian said he was most proud of their dressage performances both days.
“(Artemis) is very well- schooled on the flat, and I’m a lot better than I was (last season),” he said. “We get along really well.”
A 31.0 dressage score and no jumping penalties left them in first at the horse park, edging Carolynne Barrs and This Little Light (32.4).
Prior to the Pinehurst show, Jourdian had never ridden a novice test on George — but the pair had no trouble rising to the challenge, scoring close to 70 percent in both classes.
Although he’s only 13, Jourdian is an experienced rider and didn’t find showing twice in one weekend to be too daunting.
“I thought about it like it was just a two-day eventing show, and that helped me focus,” he said.
Others who doubled up on shows last weekend were Colette Leber and Indian Summer Kaylee, winners of the beginner novice test B class at Pinehurst; Elle Dembosky and This Bid’s For You, who won Pinehurst’s USDF Training Junior test of choice division; and Grace Alderson and What About Me, who earned ribbons in the Maiden combined test and both of Pinehurst’s novice classes.
The high score of the day at Pinehurst went to Andrew McConnon and his Fernhill Tic Toc, who posted an impressive 78.6 percent performing preliminary eventing test A. The pair also competed at the Pipe Opener, finishing fifth in the preliminary combined test.
Another notable Pinehurst performance came from Dawn Weniger, of Apex, and her 14-year-old daughter Anna, who choreographed and rode a musical pas de deux (two horses together). The test, set to lively rock and jazz music, scored a remarkable 86.5 percent from judge Vicki Kelley.
The next Pipe Opener event is scheduled for Feb. 16 — again preceding a Pinehurst Dressage Schooling Show, which is set for the day after.
Horse park executive director Nick Ellis and Pinehurst show secretary Sue Smithson both said they’ve been pleased with their respective shows so far this year.
Smithson said the 2013 Pinehurst competitions have been blessed weather-wise, avoiding a cancellation for the first time since the winter shows began.
Trucks with license plates from Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont could be spotted in the Pinehurst parking lot. Riders traveled some distance to enjoy the excellent all-weather footing in the Harness Track’s show rings.
“(We’ve) gotten off to a great start,” Smithson said.
The Pipe Openers are the first two events on a chalk-full 2013 Horse Park calendar, featuring opportunities for hunter-jumpers, drivers, dressage riders and eventers alike.
Local eventers looking for a little lively competition will be itching to try their hands and hooves at the horse park’s new venture, set to start this year — a starter trials championship series.
From May through November, there will be five Cabin Branch-sponsored starter horse trials. Horses and riders will accumulate points at each of the first four shows, and the top 10 or 15 riders in each division will be invited to take part in a championship, probably the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Esteemed FEI course designer Marc Donovan, who lays the stadium jumping tracks at the horse park and at major shows across the country, will be managing the new series.
“Everyone is really excited about it,” Ellis said. “We’re especially pleased to have Marc involved.”
Ellis, who assumed the top job at the horse park last year, said he was surprised that the idea of a championship series hadn’t already been explored.
“I guess it was about looking at the place with a fresh set of eyes,” he said. “The (horse park) management might tell me, ‘This is the way we’ve always done it,’ and I’ll respond, ‘Let’s do it differently.’”
Complete results for the Pipe Opener can be found at carolinahorsepark.com and for the dressage show at sportingservices.net.
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