Rebecca Farm Sunday Horse Inspection: All NAJYRC/CIC3* Pass, Two Spun in CCI3*

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Tamie Smith and Fleeceworks Royal, leaders of the CIC3*. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Another stunning day has dawned here at Rebecca Farm, where final horse inspections for the FEI divisions have just wrapped up.

All NAJYRC horses cleared the final horse inspection and CH-J CC1* show jumping is underway. Best of luck to all!

All horses passed the CIC3*, including our overnight leaders Tamie Smith and Fleeceworks Royal.

Madeline Backus and P.S. Ariana are 5th in the CIC3*. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Jenn McFall and High Times are 4th in the CIC3*. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The CCI3* division, led by Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy, was less lucky, as Holly Jacks Smither/More Inspiration (4th) and Kirsten Buffamoyer/Jim (6th) were held and sadly did not pass upon re-presentation. Emilee Libby withdrew Nonsensical last night. Of note Tamie Smith’s CCI2* ride, Sunsprite Syrius, who was leading the division, was also spun.

Andrea Baxter and Indy 500 are 5th in the CCI3*. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Aren’t the mountains in these photos so pretty that they look kind of fake, like the backdrop of a movie set or something?

Show Jumping Schedule (in MT)

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  • Judy McSwain

Halt Cancer at X Challenge Cross Country: Yellow Cards for All

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Still in the hunt after dressage: Bobby Stevenson of the ground jury, Rebecca Farm’s Sarah Broussard, course builder Bert Wood and USEA CEO Rob Burk. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The Halt Cancer at X Challenge continued Saturday evening at Rebecca Farm with the most incoherent demonstration of cross country riding that American eventing has witnessed in recent history, or at least since last year’s Challenge. The format was gambler’s choice, and in a new format twist that had spectators ducking for cover, this year all five riders went cross country simultaneously.

There were some overnight shake-ups from dressage — Gretchen Butts and Carol Kozlowskiwere out, replaced by USEF Chief Compliance Officer Matt “Tiny Dancer” Fine in a borrowed pink tutu and stuffed bra. He wasn’t happy about the latter: “I don’t need to stuff my bra,” he says. “I’m beautiful just the way I am.”

The catch ride was a bold move for Matt, a former Young Rider who has only ridden twice in the past six years, once in bike shorts and once to impress a girl. We were all impressed, or something, when he trotted his horse off the one-star bank.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Stand by your man, ladies. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Bobby “Superman” Stevenson, who represented Canada in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, took flight at the water complex.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Here’s the full sequence — notice how he’s laughing even before he hits the ground.

And then there was “Fatman in Pink” Rob Burk, who in his pre-USEA past life was a graduate H/A Pony Clubber and Young Rider who coached the Otterbein University Equestrian Team and the U.S. Naval Academy Equestrian Team.

The Dark Knight rises, er, drops. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

We were all concerned when he galloped out of sight on course only to reemerge some time later half covered in mud. Which was baffling, since Montana is in a drought and there is no apparent mud on the cross country course anywhere.

Breeches: Before. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Breeches: After. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Rob was limping a bit when we spotted him at the competitor’s party. Feel better soon, buddy!

To be fair, Sarah “Wonderwoman” Broussard and Bert “Thor” Wood looked quite competent out there. Sarah’s only dangerous riding violation came when she nearly mowed down some small children on the Western Town mound, and our only complaint about Bert was that he he left his hammer back at the barn.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The action continues with today’s Halt Cancer at X Challenge show jumping finale at 1:30 MT. There’s plenty more going on this weekend to benefit Halt Cancer at X, and we’ll keep you posted on that! Be sure to stop by Fleeceworks in the trade fair, where their great Ride for a Cause incentive is donating 10% of sales to Halt Cancer at X.

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  • Judy McSwain

Rebecca Farm Finale: Erin Sylvester Wins CCI3*, Tamie Smith Takes CIC3*, Derek di Grazia Bests 2*

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Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy.

Yesterday’s three-star cross country leaders held fast to their thrones in today’s show jumping competition. Congrats to Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy, winners of the Adequan USEA CIC3* Gold Cup, and to Tamie Smith and Fleeceworks Royal, winners of the CCI3*! And a job well-done to Derek di Grazia and Ringwood Justice, winners of the CCI2*.


Erin Sylvester’s trip to Montana proved worthwhile today in spades. She returns home to Cochrane, Penn., with Paddy’s first FEI win in tow and an enthusiastic appreciation for the Event at Rebecca Farm. Frank Macentee’s 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding pinged around today’s show jumping course. Designed by Chris Barnard, it was plenty testing from start to finish, including a rollback right out of the gate.

Of the four CCI3* competitors left standing, three had clear rounds inside the time; only one, second-placed Heather Morris with Charlie Tango, had a rail.

“It means a lot,” Erin says of her experience at Rebecca. “This West Coast community is a really neat community. Everyone is so supportive of one another. Everyone has your back and they want to be there for you.”

To East Coast riders who entertain the idea of coming to Rebecca but are put off my distance and expense, she says, “They have to come. It’s attainable to make the trip. You can apply for a travel grant (as Erin did, the receipt of which sealed the deal of her own journey). The effort that they put in to go above and beyond for riders, spectators and owners is really special. Everything event has its ‘thing’ they drive home, and Rebecca tries to nail it all home and make it an amazing experience.

Heather Morris and Charlie Tango, 2nd place. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Andrea Baxter and Indy 500, 3rd place. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Bunnie Sexton and Rise Against, 4th place. Photo by Leslie Wylie.


Tamie Smith led the Adequan USEA CIC3* Gold Cup from start to finish with Fleeceworks Royal, an 8-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Judy McSwain. The win is a special one for both rider and owner, as Tamie has been developing Rory carefully since the horse was just a 4-year-old.

Fleeceworks Royale and entourage. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

“She jumped out of her skin,” Tamie says. “She can get a little too bold … she started out the course fantastic and was rideable, then she peeked at the liverpool so I had to tap her with my whip and then I regretted that the rest of the course!  She was jumping so well — her hind end was just ridiculous.”

Tamie hesitates to commit to any fall plans with the horse, but says she is toying with the idea of doing the CCI2* at Fair Hill or Galway. “She’s way ahead of the curve for her age but she’s still young,” Tamie says.

Tamie Smith and Fleeceworks Royale. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Like Erin and so many competitors we’ve spoken with this weekend, she applauds Rebecca Farm for the effort they’ve put into creating a destination event. For example, she says that earlier in the week when she walked cross country the footing was on the firm side, as Montana is experiencing a drought.

“I knew that they would do anything and everything they could do to make it better, and when I went out of the box on Saturday it was like some angel came out here and watered all night,” she says. “I don’t think a lot of people realize just how important footing is to us … and I just can’t thank them enough for the effort they put in. My hat goes off to everybody who made that possible.”


In addition to winning the CIC3*, Tamie placed 2nd in the CCI2* with Glock Pullman behind Derek di Grazia and Ringwood Justice. Tamie was leading heading in but pulled a rail, boosting Derek into the top spot. Everyone was thrilled to see the esteemed course designer capture a big win, Tamie included.

“He deserves it,” Tamie says. “If I was going to not win I’m thrilled for him because that horse is super and Derek’s round was picture perfect.”

“I’m having fun,” Derek says of his week. “I love to still be out competing and I love the horses.”

Derek’s wife Bea also contested the CCI2*, placing 9th with Ringwood Isabelle. He says that they aren’t competitive with one another, but rather just enjoy participating in the sport together. “We work together every day and that’s how it is,” he says. “We support each other and it’s been that way for a long time.”

And one more big congrats to dole out to Rebecca Braitling and Santana II, winners of the CCI1*!

CCI3* Final Results

CIC3* Final Top 5


CCI2* Final Top 5

CCI1* Final Top 5

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  • Arthur Bobinski

Sylvester Leads CCI3*, Smith Tops CIC3* on Rebecca Cross Country

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Here’s a roundup of the three-star cross country action at beautiful Rebecca Farm today!


Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy, a 10-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding owned by Frank McEntee, booked it into the CCI3* lead. The pair was in second after dressage but wedged into the top spot when overnight leader Heather Morris and Charlie Tango picked up 15.2 time on course, which slipped them to third. Emilee Libby and Nonsensical, meanwhile, turned in the second fastest round of the division to move into second.

To recall, Erin and Paddy the Caddy were EN’s pick to win the CCI3* in our “By the Numbers” preview. They have an excellent jumping record, jumping clear rounds each of the three times they ran cross country prior to show jumping and leaving all the rails up in 10 of 12 rounds at this level. With less than a rail in hand, they’ll be looking to continue that streak tomorrow!

This is Erin’s maiden voyage to Rebecca Farm and she is, not surprisingly, happy that she made the trip. “Rebecca is even better than everyone describes it,” she says. “It was a great day for Paddy. He took off with me out of the box and was so keen for everything. I was really proud of him.” “

The pair is rerouting from their original plan of contesting Bromont; Paddy missed a month of work due to a stone bruise and Erin thought his fitness might not be up for the long, testing CCI track. Logistically and financially, the idea of traveling to Rebecca was daunting at first, but the receipt of a USEA Foundation Rebecca Farm travel grant, awarded to 16 riders to offset the cost of making the journey to compete in the three-star divisions, made it feasible.

Without a million horses to compete and students to coach — like she did last weekend at Loch Moy — Erin says Rebecca Farm has almost felt like a holiday. Asked how she’s been filling the time with only one horse to compete, she says she’s been taking a lot of naps!

In both the CCI3* and CIC3* divisions time played a big factor — Holly Jacks Smither and More Inspiration were the only CCI3* pair inside the time. Bunnie Sexton and Rise Against picked up 20 at the final water, an ABCD combination featuring a gator-topped rail in, a keyhole on an island, a log and a water drop. Alyssa Phillips and Bliss III retired after two stops on the far periphery at 14AB, a corner combination, followed by another at the 16ABC Normandy bank.


Tamie Smith and Fleeceworks Royal. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Dressage leaders Tamie Smith and Fleeceworks Royal, an 8-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Judy McSwain, are still sitting pretty atop the scoreboard after cross country today. We’re thrilled for both Tamie and owner Judy, who is such a staunch supporter of our sport and clearly knew what she was doing when she put “Rory” in Tamie’s hands as a talented 4-year-old to develop!

“Judy is such a huge supporter of me and always has been,” Tamie says. “We’ve brought along a couple horses together and Rory is the first to get to the three-star level. And she is such a huge supporter of eventing — the long format, Young Riders.”

Of today, Tamie says she was thrilled with Rory. She thought the Normandy Bank combination, in particular, was a tough ask but the mare rose to the occasion.

“I hope Rory can jump clear (tomorrow), because Judy deserves it and the mare deserves it,” she says. “And I needed today after the spring.”

Be sure to stop by the Fleeceworks booth in the trade fair to give Judy a high five, give Mini Rory a scratch behind the ears, and do a little shopping, as they’re donating 10% of this week’s sales to Rebecca Farm’s Halt Cancer at X initiative.

Mini Rory, sporting a pink ribbon for the cause, snuggling with some Pads With Purpose. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Tamie and Rory struck out with a eight-point cushion over second placed Emily Pestl-Dimmettand Airlington, and gained a bigger margin when Emily came home with 26 time penalties in hand. Their own 10.4 time penalties were good enough to keep them in first, while Hawley Bennett-Awad and Jollybo move from third to second. Alexis Helffrich and London Town round out the top three, jumping clear with 12 time.

There were a handful of scattered problems on the course. Lauren Billys and Castle Larchfield Purdy ran into a bit of trouble early, collecting 20 at the 7AB barns. Allison Sparks and Mystic Mojo glanced off 12, a hanging brush at the bottom of a hill on the second pass through the first water.

Maya Simmons and Archie Rocks were sadly technically eliminated after misinterpreting the 7AB barns. Ashlyn Tursey fell from RF Kinetic at 16ABC, the Normandy Bank, and Clara Cargileand and White Indian were eliminated when the horse repeatedly refused to jump into the first water.

The FEI leaders are coming in for a press conference later this afternoon, so I’ll update this post with quotes from the leaders in a while — check back! And more a special edition of CIC3* “Who Jumped It Best?” soon.

Rebecca Farm CCI3* cross country results:

Rebecca Farm CIC3* cross country results: 

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  • Judy McSwain

Our Viral Facebook Post on the 10, 15 and 20 Meter Circle...

10, 20 and 30 meter circleLast week, we shared this "Tuesday Tip," an image of how 10, 15 and 20 meter circles are laid out in the ring. We found the image on @walkaboutnation. The original post stated: "With show season getting into full swing, a reminder: geometry and accuracy are so important! Don't lose points because you don't know where a circle should be - or that it should be round!"
This post had more likes, comments and shares than any other post in Fleecework's Facebook history! 

Why? The majority of the comments were riders tagging other rides to share the graphic. Comments ranged from: 

Trisha Schmid who said, "Thank you! Who knew that 9th grade geometry would have a lasting impact in my life!" to

Laure Peters Radloff  who said, "I've learned so much about how to ride a true circle by lunging my horse in my sand/Equiloft footing when it's freshly watered. He scribes a perfect circle and then I ride it later when mounted, it's more outside rein than I thought:)."

I love the dialogue and sharing this post created. Good riding requires the ability to visualize how the horse is moving and what your various body parts are doing--sometimes at a volume that is beyond our momentary ability to visualize! The visuals here really hit home! Let us know how it's impacted your ride and show prep! Visit our Facebook page! 

Great Weekend at Galway Downs

Cross country day at Galway Downs was Next Level (see what I did there?) as the upper levels tackled Ian Stark’s challenge to decide the winners of the FEI divisions. Frankie Thieriot Stutes successfully completed a wire to wire win in the CIC3* aboard Chatwin, securing their first win at the Advanced level.

Looking to the CIC2*, Tamie Smith and Sunsprite Syrius also clinched a wire to wire win on their dressage score of 47.2. Syrius, who is nine this year, is stepping up to the two-star level this weekend, so a win on the first outing is a big check mark for this talented horse owned by Sunsprite Warmbloods.

Tamie also took home the win in the CIC1*, where we’d like to issue a big welcome back to the Ahearn family’s Mai Baum, making his first start since his win at Fair Hill International in 2015. “Lexus” scored a 32.3 in the dressage to take a handy lead and added one rail to his score before going on to an easy breezy double clear cross country round. Look for more on the return of the Black Stallion here on EN to come later!

The Horse Trial divisions will finish competition tomorrow, so there’s still more to come from Galway Downs. I will also be updating this post with current photos. Go eventing!