Sports -- August 30, 2007

Published on Thu, Aug 30, 2007
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by Jack Kintner

Third annual Kay Lowery memorial trial a success

Bellingham’s Shea Carpenter took top honors in last weekend’s Kay Lowery Memorial Horse Trial, thundering around the cross-country course after a morning of dressage and stadium jumping on her big (16.3 hands) half thoroughbred, half Percheron dappled grey gelding named Dan.

Carpenter’s horse was one of the three biggest animals in the competition, high enough to give most riders a nosebleed and wide enough for a junior high sock hop. He went through his paces in the stadium jump and cross-country competitions with all the aplomb of Shaun Alexander carving up an enemy backfield, winning both events in the top division with the poise and balance of a champion athlete out for a little romp, cruising through the final cross-country course with the quiet grace of a low-flying blimp.

Dan and Carpenter finished second in their division in the day’s first event, dressage, although they came close to finishing on their dressage score (a benchmark for event competition, meaning that following your dressage event you didn’t collect any more penalties in stadium jump and cross country). The two were only .75 points off, with decisive wins in the second and third events of the day.

The equine equivalent of mental telepathy, dressage emphasizes controlling the horse with imperceptible signals and commands a mother-in-law would envy, moving through a kaleidoscopic routine in which the horse is constantly changing directions, leads, gates and speed, doing everything except parallel park. It’s a little like watching card tricks, where you know something is going on but you can’t quite see it happen. When done well it’s unbelievable.

Annie Budiselich, ofWinthrop, won the top division’s dressage event on her impressive chestnut thoroughbred gelding she calls Harry with an admirable 37.5, and despite a 12-second penalty in stadium jumping and collecting both time and jump penalties in cross-country, the combination took second overall on the day.

Katie Lantz of Edmonds took third on Nellie, a bay Dutch Warm Blood/Quarter Horse mare that was hands down the best looking horse in Birch Bay that day, and she had plenty of competition.

“Our goal at this particular horse trial is to introduce our sport to new riders and new spectators, and for everyone to have an enjoyable and safe experience,” said Robbie Harris, organizer of the show. It was sponsored by the Whatcom County Dressage and Eventing Association as is named for the woman who originally donated the former Arabian Horse Farm to the Whatcom County Parks system.

The event was held in part to raise money to continue to develop Sunset Farm Equestrian Center, Harris said.

The once somewhat-unruly place looked transformed by the hard work of a lot of helping hands and easily accommodated the 40-plus competitors from as far away as Gig Harbor and Winthrop.

Other top finishers in order, listed by their divisions, included Brooke Cooper, Siena Massey and Johnnie Duquay in junior novice, Rebecca Hall, Alex Clayton and Janet Kurz in senior beginner novice, Kasey Moore, Holly Christenson and Alicia Mahowald in junior beginner novice, Helen Falls, Heather Greer and Chrissy Shuh in senior hopeful, Marlee Hager, Samantha Koens and Abby Cybula in junior hopeful, Robin Meyers, Windy McNabb and Blaine’s Deb Highley in senior grasshopper and Samantha Koens, Hannah Stapp and Owen Shuh in junior grasshopper.

In dressage, scores in the 30s are good, in the 20s are really good.
The best dressage scores at this event were posted by Robin Meyers of Bow (25.5) on her little chestnut Halfinger named Indy, and Helen Falls of Gig Harbor (28.9) on a chestnut Quarter Horse whose name suggests it was once owned by the Simpsons: “I Don’t Feel Tardy.”