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June 6, 2014


Danielle Madsen and Heavy Duty get the job done in Open Beginner Novice
Blue Moon Studios

Another Event Offers LEGIS Optimum Time Award

Competitors at the Coconino Horse Trials had something new to set their sights on this time around at the May 24-25 event: the LEGIS Optimum Time Award, created by LEGISequine to help promote safety in the sport and give riders a fun thing to work toward: an award for having a clean ride and coming the closest to optimum time in their category. Mary Bianca (Frederic Bouland, trainer) and her horse Finnegan had a fantastic weekend in the Novice Rider division, finishing first for Optimum Time, coming in six seconds under the OT of 5:40, and second in the division on their dressage score of 31.0.

“I didn’t know Coconino offered it, so it was a nice surprise to win it!” Mary noted. “I think this type of award inspires competitors to be more aware of their speed and the planning it takes to achieve the optimum time. Riders at the higher levels are experienced at wheeling the course and calculating their minute markers. But this award encourages lower level riders and less experienced competitors to learn how to pace their cross country ride. It’s a good reward for a successful plan.”

Mary and her eight-year-old Thoroughbred gelding certainly had a successful plan. “I was really pleased with the cross country phase. My horse and I have done this course before, but with the rolling terrain through heavily wooded forest, you have to know where you can open up the gallop and where you have to be conservative,” she explained. “I walked the course and calculated my minute markers, but I realized that we were a little behind after my watch beeped at minute four early. Once we cleared the water, there is a long uphill to the last three fences on the course, so I let my horse really open up as we galloped up the hill. That was a lot of fun to feel his power as he pushed up the hill. I learned the hard way to give myself 15 seconds margin to work with, because earlier this year at Copper Meadows we dropped from second place to fifth thanks to two seconds of time penalties on cross country. That was a real shame and I won’t do that again.”

Mary manages software support teams for a large financial firm. Her home base is Phoenix, Arizona. “Between the summer heat in Phoenix and my work travel schedule, I find the best time to ride is really early in the morning before it gets hot and before my workday gets underway. Work-life balance is hard; it feels like I’m always on the run. But I get to do what I love (ride Finnegan) and that makes it worth it.”

Danielle Madsen (Tavia Wolcott, trainer) had a good weekend aboard her five-year-old Heavy Duty. They finished third for Optimum Time and third overall in the Open Beginner Novice division. “I have won the award before,” she recalled. “I think awards like this are good because it helps show how fit your horse is and how schooled you are at keeping a steady pace going cross country. My ride was okay, being that my horse is so green. I knew the spots where I could make up time and that allowed me to take my time over the jumps.”

In Beginner Novice Rider, it was ten-year-old Jordan Crabo (Barbara Crabo, trainer) and her pony Chocolate who topped the LEGIS Optimum Time Award standings after coming in just one second under the optimum of 5:34. “I think this is a good award that encourages people to come close to optimum,” Jordan stated. “I had an amazing ride.”

As for her 23-year-old POA mare Chocolate, Jordan added, “She is super good if you ride her hard enough. Just make sure you go fast enough and don’t let her run around jumps and you’ll be fine!” Jordan, a fifth grader at Desert Willow Elementary, rides about four days a week when she’s in school, plus she ice skates five days a week.

Coming in second place for the award and third overall in the Open Novice division was Christine Murphy on her Irish Sport Horse, Paddy O’Shea. “I had heard of the award before but I wasn\\\'t aware that it was being offered at this event. I was excited when I found out that I\\\'d won it. Since it was a surprise, it was like icing on the cake for a good show,” Christine noted. “Awards like this are great because you don\\\'t have to be sitting at the top of the leaderboard to win them. Anyone can win one, and that\\\'s important to recognize because there are a lot of awesome horses out there that may never win a show but do a fantastic job running cross country and bringing their riders home safely. It\\\'s also good for riders, particularly amateurs, to start thinking strategically instead of just hoping for a clean round.”

Paddy O’Shea is a five-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding. “He is huge, already 17.2, and has a personality to match. He isn\\\'t happy unless he\\\'s throwing tack trucks around or getting into mischief somehow. Sprinkler heads at home? Gone. Barn lights? Ripped out and dropped in a water bucket across the stall. However, he\\\'s great about settling in to work and has tons of talent. We did the five-year-old Young Event Horse at Galway Downs a couple of weeks ago and got our qualifier for the YEH championships, and our novice round qualified us for the American Eventing Championships. He\\\'s already a bit bored with novice, so we\\\'re going to take a stab at training level this summer. With his height, he actually might have to start jumping things instead of just cantering over them.”

Christine was very pleased with their performance over the weekend. “Although Coconino is my home course, this was the first time I\\\'d run the novice track since they completely reworked it a few years back. I was a little nervous about a couple questions and my horse did look a little sideways at one of them, a railway trestle, but I was thrilled with how quickly he responded to me. Time can be difficult to make at Coconino since there\\\'s a lot of twisty paths and trees, so I made sure I knew my minute markers and let him open up a bit when we could.”

Christine wears a lot of hats in addition to being an eventer. She is a stay-at-home mom with her two kids, ages eight and ten, and she has a few other responsibilities as well. “My husband would probably say I can\\\'t say no to anything. I\\\'m homeroom mom at school for both of my kids, plus I\\\'m the Cub Scout Den Leader for my son. I\\\'m also the new USEA Area X Chair, so I\\\'m still learning about that job. I try to get cardio and weights in when I can, which is especially important riding the horse I have. I keep my horses at home, so I\\\'m also the groom and stable girl. My mom sometimes wonders how I do it all and what I tell her is, if it\\\'s something you really want you make it work.”

Look for more of the LEGIS Optimum Time Awards at upcoming events: Copper Meadows (June 6-8/September 5-7), Shepherd Ranch (June 20-22/August 22-24), and Coconino Horse Trials (July 12-13/July 17-19).

To learn more about LEGIS or obtain a quote for coverage of your horse, business, or event, visit on the web or call 866-780-3713.



Jordan Cabo and Chocolate finish just one second under the optimum time
Blue Moon Studios

The LEGIS Optimum Time Award is icing on the cake for Christine Murphy and Paddy O\'Shea
Blue Moon Studios
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