Experience Pays Off at Copper Meadows Horse Trials


Riders Check the Time for Awards

Riders at the Copper Meadows Horse Trials and inaugural CIC event (June 6-8) had an extra incentive to check their watches on the cross country course: the possibility of taking home a LEGIS Optimum Time Award. Doing just that in the Beginner Novice Senior Rider division was Sarah Beal (Andrea Baxter, trainer) aboard General Gonzo (Connie Baxter, owner). They earned second place overall in their division, finishing on their dressage score, plus they won the blue ribbon for LEGIS Optimum Time by coming in just two seconds under the optimum time of 4:43.

“I think the optimum time award is fantastic. It helps lower level riders to be safe. It also helps to teach riders to ride at pace,” Sarah stated. “As I was walking my course, I used my GPS to find the minute markers. I planned to be slightly ahead of my first two minutes, then just cruise on home. That strategy got Gonzo and I two seconds away from optimum time.”

Copper Meadows was the first event Sarah and the 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding have competed in together. “Cross country at Copper Meadows is always a blast! Their courses are challenging, which I love. Gonzo was strong and ate it up. My favorite part of my cross country ride was the near the end. There is a log to a down bank to another jump, and Gonzo jumped these the best.”

Finishing second for LEGIS Optimum Time in the Training Senior Rider division was Gabriella Thompson (Erin Kellerhouse, trainer), riding her horse Oh Gianni. “I think this award encourages riders to really shoot for optimum time, which teaches us how to manage our speed on course,” Gabby commented. “My cross country ride was amazing. I really liked the hard questions that forced both my horse and me to think. My strategy for time was to really just let Oh Gianni go on an open gallop—we had a lot of places to make up for time—and then come back for each jump. The course rode really great; pretty much every jump we just took out of stride which helped our momentum and helped us come in close to our optimum time.”

Winning the LEGIS Optimum Time award and the overall first place award for the Training Junior Rider division with a score of 35.4 was Sonia Herron (Bea and Derek di Grazia, trainers) and her Brigantine.  “I think it’s nice to have an award like this, because even if you’re not doing well in the event overall there is still a chance to win something,” Sonia explained.


Sonia and the eight-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding had a good cross country round. “He was a little spooky in the beginning, but after we jumped the first three jumps he was excellent. I think my favorite part of the course was the coffin because it rode so well.”


Like Gabriella, Sonia started riding when she was four, and she is following in the footsteps of her eventing mother. She recently turned 16 and is a sophomore in high school. “Whenever I want to get close to the optimum time, I try to get my minute markers exactly on point, but ten seconds before they let me out of the box my watch didn't turn on. There wasn't much I could do so I just paced myself out on the course without a watch.” She accomplished her goal quite well, coming in four seconds under the optimum of 5:27.

Kaitlin Vosseller (Gina Miles/Terri Rocovich, trainers) received the red ribbon overall and for LEGIS Optimum Time in the Novice Junior Rider division aboard the 17-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Just Jealous (Michele Scott, owner). “I think the award really rewards safe cross country riding and is a test to see how well you know your pacing. It also gives you an opportunity to see how fit you and your horse are for the level,” Kaitlin explained. “Our cross country ride was one of our best yet. It was a big improvement from our last couple events. Just Jealous kind of likes to take over and go his own pace, so I have a tendency to get stiff in my body and hold too much in my reins. This time I felt really comfortable to let him go a bit and take back when I felt I needed to. We both had a lot of fun. As for the Optimum Time Award, I really enjoyed having another award to work towards and I felt very honored to receive it. My strategy was to pay close attention to each minute marker and if I was behind at my markers then speed up and vice versa.”

Other winners included Zoe Zeller and her Toby, who were first for LEGIS Optimum Time and third overall in the Novice Junior Rider division, and Frederic Bouland and Chiron (Jennifer Miller, owner), came in exactly on the optimum time of 5:27 in Open Training.

Look for more of the LEGIS Optimum Time Awards at upcoming events, Shepherd Ranch (June 20-22 and Aug 22-24), Coconino Horse Trials (July 12-13 and 17-19), and Copper Meadows (Sep 5-7). To learn more about LEGISequine or obtain a quote for coverage of your horse, business, or event, visit on the web or call 866-780-3713.



Zoe Zeller and Toby win the LEGIS Optimum Time Award for Novice Junior Rider
Captured Moment Photography



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