With the 2008 competition season coming to a close, the Adequan/USEA Gold Cup Series is pleased to announce the winners of this exciting series. It was a tight race throughout the year, but in the end it was a pair of young friends who claimed the titles.
There are two leaderboards in the Gold Cup series – Intermediate and Advanced. Gold Cup points are given to horse and rider combinations that place well (in the top ten or less, depending on the number of starters) at designated Gold Cup events across the country throughout the year, with the opportunity to earn bonus points as well. Currently, there are six events on the East Coast, three in the Midwest, and four on the West Coast. Gold Cup divisions are the highest divisions offered at an event. For instance, if a single event offers CIC3* and Advanced divisions, the Gold Cup division will be the CIC3*.
Smith Beats The Odds
Tory Smith of Camarillo, California partnered with her Irish Sport Horse gelding Bantry Bay V to beat out some of the country’s top horses and riders and earn the most points in the prestigious Adequan/USEA Gold Cup Series to finish at the top of the Advanced leaderboard with a whopping 630 points to their name.
Smith, who will turn 22 in December, accrued Gold Cup points for her back-to-back wins this year – the first being the Rebecca Farm CIC3*W in July and the other was her win in the Twin Rivers Advanced horse trials in September. She also kicked off her season with a fourth place finish at the Galway Downs CIC3* back in March.
Though she has limited upper-level experience, is a full-time student at UCLA, and has fewer events to gain Gold Cup points on the West Coast, Smith beat the odds and was able to accumulate enough points to win the overall Series.
It’s no small task to transport a horse across the country to compete at top three-star events on the East Coast, and can be incredibly expensive as well as taxing on the horse.
“I would really like to extend my thanks to all of the West Coast organizers, especially Robert Kellerhouse, for providing the upper level riders with courses that prepare us for the three-stars at Jersey and Fair Hill. I realize that it is extremely difficult to hold Advanced divisions when the numbers aren't as large as they would hope, so I thank those who support the West Coast riders who travel across the country,” said Smith.
Smith imported the bay Irish Sport Horse gelding, fondly known as “Corky,” from England about five years ago with previous trainer Natalie Rooney. She then competed at the North American Junior and Young Riders’ Championships with him in '04.
"Last year I was Intermediate Young Rider of the Year and I really couldn't have hoped for anything better. Things have really fallen into place."
Smith is a senior at UCLA, where she studies psychology. "I'd like to maybe be a vet and work with high performance horses," suggested Smith.
Juggling school and high-level eventing has been no easy task. "It's been really tough commuting an hour and a half out to the barn. I'm taking the fall quarter off this year, so it'll be so nice to be able to ride my horse and concentrate and not have to worry about other priorities, like whether or not I have a test or paper coming up!"
The icing on the cake for Smith is that one of her good friends, Jennie Brannigan, won the Intermediate Gold Cup series. “She was my first "upper level riding buddy" and is one of my best friends. We faced challenges and shared success at the same time and were there for each other when we both hit the bottom. When we met, we were both trying to succeed and make a name for ourselves, so sharing this accomplishment with her just makes me smile inside. I have seen everything she has gone through to get where she is now and she deserves all of it and more,” said Smith.