This weekend, July 10-13, marks the first summer event of the 2008 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series at the Maui Jim Horse Trials at the scenic Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois. So far this year, the Gold Cup Series has had five successful events under its belt, with eight more prestigious venues still slated to host events throughout the summer and fall.
Modeled somewhat after NASCAR, the Gold Cup Series consists of two sections (an Advanced and an Intermediate) and horse and rider combinations from all over the country compete at select events (in designated “Gold Cup” divisions) to try and cumulate points on the leaderboard. To learn more about the points system, visit the Gold Cup Points page. Not only do competitors in the series earn points for their efforts, but top finishers at each of the Gold Cup events take home cash and great prizes as well!
Last year, it was a tight race to the finish with Becky Holder and Courageous Comet clinching the Advanced division and Will Coleman and K. du Manoir topping the Intermediate leaderboard, both taking home a big check, slew of prizes, and trophy at the USEA Annual Meeting in December.
Who Are The Leaders This Year?
After five events so far this year, Clark Montgomery of The Plains, Virginia and Up Spirit are hanging onto the lead position in the Advanced section with 425 points. They’ve had a fantastic season so far, having won the first of the season’s Gold Cup events at the Red Hills Horse Trials in March and then placed second at The Fork a month later. Montgomery and the nine-year-old British Thoroughbred gelding owned by his rider, and Holly and William Becker, are on the USEF Olympic Short List and have been training in England for the past few months.
Jennie Brannigan, a talented 21-year-old originally from San Diego, California, has partnered with her seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Cooper and taken the eventing world by storm. Brannigan has been living on the East Coast and training with Canadian Olympic team member Mike Winter in Georgia, but recently headed back out to California to prepare for the North American Young Rider/Junior Championships in August. Brannigan and Cooper have won five out of their six events this year, and placed second at one. They racked up Gold Cup points in the East Coast events at The Fork and Red Hills, and even won a West Coast event, the Woodside Horse Trials in May! So far they have 405 points to their name – well ahead of second place holders Alexandra Knowles and Last Call who have 170.
To see the complete Gold Cup leaderboards, visit the Gold Cup page.
Who’s Competing This Weekend?
This weekend at Maui Jim, twenty-five horses will be competing in the CIC2* (the “Intermediate” division of the Gold Cup) and nine horses will be in the CIC3* (the “Advanced” division). Several of the upper-level riders that you usually see competing at this prestigious event, unfortunately, won’t be attending, as they’ll be preparing for the Olympic Games. However, that doesn’t mean that it won’t be a wonderful event, with seven divisions from CIC3* to Training level, there’s plenty of spectating to be had!
Though last year’s CIC3* winner Becky Holder won’t be present to defend her title (she’s preparing for a possible spot on the Olympic team!), there are plenty of talented horses and riders who will be competing instead such as Allison Springer with her two horses Arthur and Destination Known, Sara Dierks and Somerset II, Kristen Bond and Three Wishes II, Kelly Sult and Hollywood, and many more!
In the CIC2* last year’s winner Cassidy Lundmark and her Quarter Horse gelding What’s Shakin’ will be back again to try and recapture the trophy. Also competing in this “Intermediate” Gold Cup division are Leslie Law and Fleeceworks Mystere du Val, Jennifer Libby and Golden Malt, Kerri Short and Fantasia, and many more talented riders.
Winners of the divisions receive a trailer-load of prizes including: a box of Adequan, $500 in cash, Mountain Horse SCS3 boots, two tubes of UlcerGard, two pairs of Nunn Finer American Style boots, a three-month supply of Wellpride, two bags of Nutrena feed, Back on Track pillow wraps and polo wraps. Second place finishers win Nunn Finer brushing boots and a Back on Track saddle pad, and third place also takes home Nunn Finer brushing boots and a Back on Track pillow wraps. Not to be left empty-handed, fourth place finishers get a Back on Track saddle pad for their efforts. The only difference in prizes is that the Intermediate division receives a Mountain Horse Cirrus jacket instead of Mountain Horse boots.
The Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series is made possible through the support of its many sponsors: Title: Adequan; Legacy: Nunn Finer, Nutrena, and World Equestrian Brands; Contributing: Cover-All, UlcerGard, and Wellpride; and Patron: Back on Track, Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency, Mountain Horse, and Succeed.
Maui Jim Festivities
Maui Jim Horse Trials has become a “destination event” for some of the top riders in the country. Situated at the spectator-friendly Lamplight Equestrian Center, which hosts not only three-day events but dressage and hunter/jumper shows as well throughout the year, competitors at this event are treated to hundreds of stalls of permanent stabling, tons of wash racks, easy access to riding rings, and many more useful amenities. Spectators have front seats to the competition, and can relax in the shade under the flora-lined pergolas on the sides of the rings, and can be up close to the action on cross-country day as well, which takes place across the street at the DuPage County Forest Preserve’s Pratt Wayne Equestrian Area.
Olympian gold medalist Leslie Law will be holding course walks for competitors – be sure not to miss this exciting opportunity! And of course, it wouldn’t be Maui Jim Horse Trials without a little fun, so if you’re competing this weekend, head to the Saturday night reception co-sponsored by Arenus Performance and Lamplight Equestrian Center for an entertaining evening.
This year’s horse trials will benefit the Illinois-Wisconsin Search and Rescue Dogs, Inc. and the programs participating in the Illinois Special Olympics Equestrian Competition.
For more information on the Maui Jim Horse Trials, visit their webpage or check out their contact page.
Planning to compete in one of the Gold Cup events this year? Freedom Health, LLC (makers of SUCCEED® ), and the USEA have announced a new incentive program for competitors in the Adequan® USEA Gold Cup Series events who use SUCCEED® Digestive Conditioning Program® to foster optimum digestive health in their horses. The SUCCEED® Challenge Series, a specially created competition, will be run in conjunction with all 2008 Gold Cup Series events and will award more than $5,000 in cash and prizes at the 2008 USEA Annual Convention, December 11-14 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Check out the SUCCEED® Challenge (PDF) page to find out more about this great incentive, and be sure to read the complete rules and guidelines (PDF) to see if you qualify.