Tamie Smith & Maui Baum Lead AEC Advanced Dressage + Thursday Leader Quotes

Training through Advanced divisions were our trailblazers today here at the 2018 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena, with 10 championship divisions taking their turns in the rectangle. It’s a lot to take in, but with the help of our hardworking friends at USEA and the Colorado Horse Park here’s a rather massive roundup of the day’s action!


Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

All eyes were on the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Advanced Final, the last division of the day to start, and we were all cheering for the very last pair up the centerline: Tamie Smith and the striking black Mai Baum.

We haven’t seen much of Alexandra and Ellen Ahearn and Eric Markell’s 12-year-old German Sport Horse gelding (Loredano x Ramira) since his memorable Fair Hill International CCI3* win in 2015, with a run of injury and bad luck to blame. After recovering from a mild strain sustained at Fair Hill, his return to competition was further delayed when he contracted an infection in his gut and then, on his way home from an event, fell and injured a leg, which necessitated more time off.

Now officially back in action, he entered the AEC with just three outings under his belt since Fair Hill: two in 2017 and one Intermediate this summer at Twin Rivers. Not much rust there to scrape off so far as we can tell! After putting on quite a show in the warm-up (“Just lemme at it already, mum!”) Mai Baum channeled his energy into an expressive, buyant test. Their score of 26.4 gives them the early Advanced lead — Tamie brings us up to speed on their comeback.

On bringing Mai Baum back: “Dr. Rantanen and Dr. Martinelli at California Equine Orthopedics have this high-powered laser, there are only a handful in the world, and we decided that since he was going to have time off that we would do the laser on the leg he strained at Fair Hill, and that gave us even more time. We’ve been bringing him back slowly. He had that time off, so it’s taken quite a while to get him fit and strong, but he feels fit and strong now.”

On today’s exuberant dressage: “He was completely wild today. (‘Well, he likes to run and jump!’ chimes in Eric Markell.) He smiles when he runs cross country. I wasn’t sure what he was going to do in the ring and he was strong, not listening to my half-halts and flinging his legs. I think he was very happy to be on a stage like that. I picked up the canter and went around the ring and I couldn’t help but smile. He’s so special and he’s such a showman, it’s really fun.”

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

On that saucy lead change: “It’s hilarious when he’s naughty because it’s not often that he’s naughty. In my test I was doing my half-pass and then I went to go forward to do my change and he leapt in the air, kicked my right foot, and then bolted. And right after that came my stretchy circle so I didn’t even start it until it was too late. It was fun, but he was wild.” Markell adds, “When I was leaving I heard one man say to another, ‘That horse comes in the ring and takes it over with his personality.’”

On the cross country course: “They’ve done a tremendous job on the footing. They’ve been working all night and my hat goes off to the officials who have been very diligent about getting a plan. I just got done from walking the course and they’ve aerated it and gone over it again and now they’re watering it and it feels great. The track is very good. It’s not overly technical, but technical enough, and it’s big. I think Tremaine Cooper did a super job. The design and the fences are beautiful.”

On her strategy for tomorrow: “Phillip [Dutton] told me once that the challenge when you go out of the start box is to look slow but be fast. That’s my plan, just be efficient in the lines and be smooth and feel what the ground feels like and if it feels good then kick on and if it doesn’t just stay steady.”

Jordan Linstedt and Revitavet Capato, Barbara and Gary Linstedt’s 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Contendro x Annabelle), sit in 2nd on a score of 27.5.

Jordan Linstedt and Revitavet Capato. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Tamie is also 3rd place with Fleeceworks Royal, Judith McSwain’s 9-year-old Holsteiner mare (Riverman x Marisol), on a score of 30.8.

Tamie Smith and Fleeceworks Royal. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

 Top 5 after dressage:


Heather Morris and Charlie Tango. Photo by Leslie Wylie.Californians have a stronghold on the top of the Intermediate dressage scoreboard. We catch up with the dressage leader.

Leader: Heather Morris and The Team Express Group LLC’s Charlie Tango, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Shannondale Sarco St. Ghyvan x Our Queen Bee), on a score of 25.8.

On Charlie Tango’s career: “I actually imported ‘Chuck’ from Ireland when he was four so I’ve really had him since the beginning. He’s done some Advanced, we did drop him back down for AEC and for the remaining shows this year he’ll just do the CCI 2* level, then we’ll move him back up next year.”

On goals for the future: “He’s a pretty reliable horse. He’s quite good in the ring, quite accurate. I think I would like for it to be more expressive, so that’s what we’ll work toward in the shows this fall and focusing on just making it a little more rideable.”

On being in Colorado: “Being from the West Coast now, having the AEC here makes everything so much easier. I’m happy that this was out here because I love coming here. It’s great!”

On their heels: Erin Kellerhouse and her own Woodford Reserve, a 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Tinarana’s Inspector x Laharns Laughton), sit 2nd on a 28.0. Bella Mowbray and Ruth Bley’s En Vogue, a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare (Earl x Laurena), round out the top three on a 30.5.

Top 5 after dressage:

Preliminary Amateur

Cara Lavigna and Carrick Diamond Duke Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Leader: Cara Lavigna and her own Carrick Diamond Duke, an 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Carrick Diamond Lad x Uskerty Barnaby), on a score of 31.1.

On her history with Carrick Diamond Duke: “I’ve had ‘Duke’ for three years. I got him as a five-year-old. He’s always been a fancy mover. He jumps really big and tries really hard. As he’s become older and more mature, watching his progression has been really fun and creating a bond has been cool. He really enjoys his cross country. We are currently learning how to put the pieces together because now that things are getting harder. We are developing our partnership. When he goes into the ring for show jumping and dressage, he knows his job, he perks up, he really likes to show off and that’s fun for both of us.”

On coming to Colorado: “Having the AEC here in Colorado is lovely,” she commented. “To only have to take one week off from work (she’s a school teacher), as opposed to more, that was nice. I’ve never been to the AEC, I’ve never been to a show in Colorado, so I was excited that it was so much closer!”

On their heels: Lauren Hoover and Atlanta, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vancouver x Philadelphia GHR), are 2nd on a 31.8. Ruth Bley and Rodrigue Du Granit, a 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Robin II Z x Delight Gree), are 3rd on a 31.9.

Top 5 after dressage:

Preliminary Horse

Jordan Linstedt and Staccato. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Leader: Jordan Linstedt and Staccato, Janine Jaro’s 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Stakkato x Certosa), on a score of 27.6.

On their test: “I didn’t feel like today was our very best but I was really happy with him. I was excited to see the leaderboard stay consistent throughout the morning. I was first in the ring, and I’m never normally in that position. You never know how the judging is going to be, and how that’ll carry on.”

On Staccato’s development: “He’s really been quite strong in all three phases recently,” Linstedt noted.”When I first got him, he was a challenging young horse, a bit of a late developer. He has really blossomed this past year so he’s been really fun to work with and produce. He’s stunning on the flat, very elegant, and puts in a good test.”

On their heels: Tamara Smith and Judith McSwain’s Fleeceworks Ghost, a 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Dhannondale Sarco x Riverlon Mist), sit 2nd on 29.0 penalties. In 3rd is Jennifer Wooten-Macouzet with R. Lawrence Sawyer’s BSP Tuxedo, a 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Apokalipsis x Stutbuch 1), on a score of 29.1.

Top 5 after dressage:

Preliminary Rider

Mike Huber and Calliope. Photo by USEA.

Leader: Mike Huber and Calliope, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare (Consul x Clintina) owned by Ann Adams, on a score of 25.7.

On his connection with the horse: “The horse is one that I ride for a client of mine,” stated Huber, “Ann Adams normally rides the horse and I don’t ride her that frequently. Ann is getting ready to move up to Preliminary and she’s been riding Calliope in Training level, so I’ve taken her out a few times at this level this year and obviously qualified for the AEC; so we are competing here this weekend.”

On the benefits of having the AEC in the Midwest: “It’s always hard to find an AEC location that is good for everyone and you’re not going to, because it’s such a big event and we live in a big country. We’re kind of lucky. We’re from Texas so we are right in the middle, so it’s usually pretty doable! I think it’s great to have it out here, so the people who may not be able to go all the way to the East Coast finally get a chance to participate.”

On their heels: Whitney Tucker Billeter and her own Karvaleo, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Kanna x Finod Cavalier), sit 2nd on a 29.1. Travis Atkinson and his own Don Darco, a 9-year-old Zweibrucker gelding (Damarco x Gong Lee), is in 3rd on a score of 31.1.

Top 4 after dressage:

Jr./Y.R. Preliminary

Charlotte Babbitt and 2 A.M. Photo by USEA.

Leader: Charlotte Babbitt and her own 2 A.M., a 6-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Sheraton x Regina K), on a score of 23.3.

On their test: “He was very good today. He put in a very nice test. We’ve been working really hard recently. He’s had a bit of a rough go since [Rebecca Farm], so we’ve only had a couple of flat schools, but he’s trained and he really just wants to go in the arena and try really hard. That’s what he did. He knows his job and he went in and did his job. I’m super happy with him.”

On their year-and-a-half old partnership:“It was interesting, when I got him he wasn’t really my ride but he’s young so it was a very good experience for me, developing him into the horse I wanted him to be. It’s pretty cool now — he’s my exact ride. I love him to death and I couldn’t imagine having any other horse. It’s been a struggle, but with the help of my trainers Andrea [Pfeiffer] and Amber [Levine] I’ve been able to work with him. He’s pretty easy to work with. He’s a super nice horse and he just wants to learn and do well so it’s been really fun developing a partnership.”

On their plan for the rest of the season: “The plan right now is to do the CIC 1* at Woodside and the CCI 1* at Galway,” she said. “That’s our plan and we’ll take it day by day until then and see how it goes.”

On NAYC 2019: “We’ll see. I’ll definitely put my name in and we’ll see how his season starts next year and see how it goes.”

On their heels: Nicole Hatley and Flagmount’s Rebel, a nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse/Thoroughbred gelding (Flagmount’s Freedom x Devious Princess) owned by Clarissa Bliss, are in second place on a 27.8. Kaitlin Vosseller and her own Clear Approval, a 12-year-old Warmblood gelding out of All Best Wishes is third with a score of 29.2.

Top 5 after dressage:

Training Amateur

Linda Quist and Belle Gambe. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Leader: Linda Quist and Belle Gambe, her own 14-year-old Iberian Warmblood (Temerario VII x Mojave), on a score of 27.3.

On their performance: “With today’s test, I think I rode it well, I think she rode it well. There were a few spots where I kept thinking ‘oh my gosh, we need to do better!’ Apparently, we did good enough though, as we have the leading score for today! I’m definitely excited about that, this has been a dream.”

On their partnership: “My horse is amazing. I’ve had her since she was born, so we have an incredible partnership. She’s my friend, she’s another mare and we connect like a pair of girlfriends. Sometimes we argue, sometimes things go great, sometimes they go not-so-great. She has her opinions, I have mine.”

On their Heels: Nikki Lloyd and Mighty Smart, a nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Mighty Magic x Ravenna) owned by Ruth Bley, are 2nd on a 28.2. Leslie LaBraque and Falkonet, her own 17-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, are 3rd on a 28.4.

Top 5 after dressage:

Training Horse

McKenzie Rollins and Excel Star Lord. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Leader: McKenzie Rollins and Excel Star Lord, her own six-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Non-Stop x Korea B), on a score of 28.5.

On their test: “He was great, but I was very nervous. He does very well in atmosphere and that helps calm me down. It’s surprising, because he just turned six in June, but he has never really given me any trouble. He shines in the dressage ring and he loves to get in there. He was a little bit fresh, so he got a little heavy in some places but he’s just so lovely and it’s really fun to ride him.”

On moving from Massachusetts to Los Angeles a few years ago: “I did a Google search barns outside of Los Angeles and I ended up at Mill Creek where I met Jennifer Johnson and she’s helped me all along since I brought Frankie in.”

On her partnership with “Frankie,” whom she imported from Ireland with the help of Courtney Cooper: “He came in as a four-year-old and we did a number of Novice [level events] and then moved up to Training. I think we’ll be ready to move up to Preliminary after this. I’ve really been wanting to take my time with him and make sure I’m not pushing him or rushing him. He’s so lovely. I didn’t want to put any pressure on him.”

On their heels: Tied for 2nd are Sam Kelly and Robinstown Ballivor, Copeland Farms’ nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Watermill Swatch x Coevers Dock), and Attila Rajnai and her own and Sara Mittleider’s Maximus de la Tombe, a six-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Esperanto van Paemel x Fidji de la Tombe), who both sit on 33.1.

Top 5 after dressage:

Training Rider

Kelsey Horn and Swingtown. Photo by the USEA.

Leader: Kelsey Horn and Swingtown, Swingtown Partners’ 6-year-old Oldenburg mare (Sagnol x Dynamica), on a 24.2.

On coming to Colorado from Oregon: “When we heard that the AEC was going to be in Colorado, we knew we had to aim for that. We wanted to participate, so having it at CHP made a huge impact on our ability to get here.”

On young horses and developing a string: “They’re just so fun to work with. Initially, I had a few clients purchase me a younger horse for Pinnacle Syndicate and then I just kind of collected some others that were younger. As they’ve gotten older I have this great string of horses coming up the line.”

Of her partnership with Swingtown: “I’ve been riding her since I broke her as a 3-year-old. She won the 4-Year-Old West Coast Event Championship in 2016, and then in 2017 she had a year off due to an injury. This season we are back at it and we did a couple of Novice events at the beginning of the season, bumped up to Training, and we will see where the rest of the year takes us!”

On their heels: Tracy Alves and her own Romulus, a 20-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Contango x Divottii), are 2nd on a 26.8. Rebecca Mortensen and Seattle Freckles, her own 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, round out the top three with a 28.8.

Top 5 after dressage:

Jr. Training

Eva Jacroux and Rubel. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Leader: Eva Jacroux and her own Rubel, a 12-year-old Zweibrucker gelding (Radikal x When the Worlds Unite), on a score of 31.4.

On their relationship: “I got ‘Ru’ about two years ago and this is my second season on him. It did start off a bit rocky. He was way too much horse for me and I was a little worried whether or not I’d be able to ride him. I came from a push button ride, but I decided that I was going to try my hardest to make it work. I started doing a lot of ground work. I started going back to the basic and it seems to have really worked because he’s come into his own.”

On their test: “I really didn’t think this test went very well. Ru was a little tense and I was worried about whether or not I was going to be able to handle him, but it ended up being just fine. He was such a good boy, he paid attention to me and listened to what we’ve been working on.”

On cross country: “Dressage is probably his strongest phase, but he does seem to also love cross country. I’ve already walked the course and I think it’s going to be really fun!”

On their heels: Madison Santley and Excellence, her own 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vaillant x Wolinda), sit 2nd with a 31.7. Rosie Smith and her own Seamus, a 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Corrcullen, RID, round out the top three on a 33.8.

Top 5 after dressage:

Phew. Much, much more to come. Go Eventing!

[2018 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena® Feeds Commence at The Colorado Horse Park]

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