New Changes to Cross-Country Course Prove Exciting for Top Riders

Riders Look to Sunday’s Show Jumping Final Test

KALISPELL, MONT. — After four miles and 33 jumps, Matthew Brown kicked into first place in the elite CIC 3-Star division at Rebecca Farm with a score of 54.5, riding Company Blossom Creek Foundation’s chestnut Irish sport horse Super Socks BCF. Great Britain rider James Alliston landed in second place with his bay Thoroughbred Mojo, with a score of 57.4. Finishing in third place after the cross-country was Hawley Bennett-Awad and her bay Thoroughbred Gin & Juice, co-owned by Linda Paine. Bennett-Awad scored 57.9.

Brown, pleased with his cross-country performance, remarked that, “I couldn’t have been happier with that horse. I felt like it was a tough course. All the way around it was really hard work. I think that Ian put together a good test of the horses, so I was really happy.”

Matthew Brown, riding Company Blossom Creek Foundation’s Super Socks BCF moved into first place in the 3-star division, pictured here on the new hanging log drop. “You don’t come all the way here to hack around,” said Alliston, regarding his jump from 8th to 2nd place. “I knew the course was going to be hard to make the time when I wheeled it. But it’s nice when you are on a horse as fast as Mojo is, an ex-race horse.”

Bennett-Awad, whose next competition will be in Normandy representing Canada in the World Equestrian Games, said, “I knew the course was going to be tight. I knew James would be closest, with that fast horse. And, he’s such a great rider. Time here is always tight, always hard to get. Last year, only three riders made it. That’s where Ian is great in his course design. He puts enough questions out there and gives you a couple of easy fences, but if you’re not on your line there is no way you’re going to make time. But that’s what makes a great competition.”

Course-designer Ian Stark predicted exactly such, as the new layout proved more difficult than in past years. Only 15 of the 21 riders completed the course and 11 jumped clear. Causing most difficulties for riders was the triple-brush to ditch combination at fence 16, where horse and rider must jump a triple brush rail, clear a rectangular ditch, and then immediately leap another brush rail. Three riders were eliminated at this test.

Looking toward the final day of The Event and the colorful show jumping course, Brown said, “I’m trying to take it one day at a time. I’m just excited to be sitting next to these two who have such experience and to feel like my horses are continuing to step up. I’m going to bask in the moment and ride them the best I can tomorrow. To be totally honest, it would take a lot to go wrong tomorrow for me to feel like the weekend wasn’t a super success.”

The final day of The Event at Rebecca Farm begins tomorrow, July 27 when the show jumping competition takes to the arenas from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. CIC 3-star riders will begin competing at 2:15 p.m. in arena 1.

Show jumping is a tense, colorful event that is not over until the last jump has been cleared. The jumping test is run in reverse order of the standings and the main objective is to prove that the horses have retained their suppleness, energy, and obedience.

Tomorrow’s course consists of over a dozen jumps. Four penalties are assessed per dropped rail and riders must complete the course within the time allowed.

Admission for spectators is free and the trade fair is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A $5 parking donation will be collected each day to help support “Halt Cancer at X”-an initiative to raise money for breast cancer research in memory of The Event’s Founder, Rebecca Broussard. For more information, visit, Rebecca Farm.

Top 3-Star Results after Cross-Country:

1) #72 – Matthew Brown – Super Socks BCF – Company Blossom Creek Foundation owner – 54.5.

2) #75 – James Alliston – Mojo – James Alliston owner – 57.4.

3) #83 – Hawley Bennett-Awad – Gin & Juice – Linda Paine and Hawley Bennett owners – 57.9.

4) #81 – Jordan Linstedt – Revitavet Capato – Jordan Linstedt owner – 62.5.

5) #78 – James Alliston – Ben – Helen Bouscaren owner – 63.8.

6) #66 – Barbara Crabo – Eveready – Barbara Crabo owner – 74.4.

7) #71 – Maddy Mazzola – Mojito – Maddy Mazzola owner – 76.9.

8) #77 – John Michael Durr – Esprit De La Danse – Ruth Bley owner – 77.3.

9) #73 – Anna Collier – Gleaming Road – Anna Collier owner – 79.0.

10) #68 – Jil Walton – Dee Dee Chaser – Cindy Marvin – 85.5.