November 2016 - Area VI Eventing Championships
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 01 November 2016 05:06
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Good turn-out, good times & high quality performances at Twin Rivers Ranch.

This year’s Area VI Eventing Championships helped contribute to a terrific turn-out for the Fall Horse Trials at Twin Rivers, which ran concurrently Sept. 23-25 with the Championships and the US Eventing Association’s Future Event Horse Championships. All were staged by the Baxter family at their Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles. Exhibitors heaped praise on the organizers for another well-done event.

Tracy Alves & Duke HW - Open Beginner Novice Champion. Photo: Captured Moment Photography

Andrea Baxter reports a total of 450-plus entries for the weekend, up from a more typical 300 for their fall competition. “I’d say the extra classes (Area VI Champs & FEH) probably had something to do with the success!,” she says. “I think it helped that the Area Championships were held at a non-FEI show this year. In years past, people have had to choose between the Area Champs and an FEI event.” Thirteen entries in the Intermediate division speaks to the level of quality performances this year, she adds.

Taya Perry & Idol Hour - Beginner Novice Rider Champion. Photo: Nicole Fava

Pleasant Central Coast weather and glitch-free staging contributed to everybody’s enjoyment. As always, volunteers were critical. “Thanks to everyone for stepping in to volunteer and help make the show run so well!”
Judging from the following comments by Area VI champions, a very good time was had by all and many remarked on the overall quality of the performances over the weekend.

Tracy Alves & Duke HW - Open Beginner Novice Champion

“I have to admit it was the hardest event I ever completed. I managed to pass three kidney stones through the weekend and fight a kidney infection. The cross-country course rode fantastic. Duke HW was very positive and thoroughly enjoyed himself. He was extra careful through stadium and very consistent for his dressage.

“I am very thankful to Heather Marchman for the opportunity to ride such an amazing athlete. I am especially thankful to Connie Arthur, who is giving me the education to help this young horse develop in a positive and steady environment.”

Cindy Rameriz-Smith & Carina HGF - Senior Novice Rider Champion. Photo: Carol Mingst

Emilee Libby & Sunsprite Sir Frederico - Open Novice Champion

Taya Perry & Idol Hour - Beginner Novice Rider Champion

“My horse is owned by Kendra Mitchell and I’m trained by Summer Hensley. I am so grateful to them for letting me have this opportunity.” Taya hopes to qualify for the Novice Championships next year.

Cindy Rameriz-Smith & Carina HGF - Senior Novice Rider Champion

“Winning this division was the culmination of a lot of hard work I and Carina HGF, my husband’s Pura Raza Española mare, have put in the last few years. It was especially gratifying to win regionals at Twin Rivers, the venue closest to our home. We look forward to competing at Training Level next year.”

Julia Melmon & Simply SM - Training Rider Champion

“I had so much fun riding in the Area VI Training Championships! Going into show jumping on Sunday sitting in fourth, I didn’t expect to move up much because it was such a competitive division. I had really great rides all three days, and could not have asked for a better weekend!

“I feel so lucky to have had the chance to ride Simply this year thanks to Gina Miles and my wonderful sponsors, a.k.a. my parents. He is truly a once-in-a-lifetime horse who took up eventing at age 18 as if he has done it his entire life. He’s one of those horses that is just so incredibly fun to ride, and will always put a smile on your face. I’ve learned a lot from him over the past year, and he reminds me every day why I love this sport so much.”

Julia Melmon & Simply SM - Training Rider Champion

Dana Todd & MMS Amadeus - Preliminary Champion

Dana Todd & MMS Amadeus - Preliminary Champion

“I am an adult amateur and have been training with Lauren LoPiccolo of LL Equestrian for the past few years based out of Newcastle, CA. I am a computer engineer by day at Intel, and a horse-crazed kid by afternoons. Bless my husband who puts up with my crazy horse shenanigans!

“I haven’t entered a championship division before, so I was excited to enter the Area VI Preliminary Rider championships at Twin Rivers. I have had a mini-break from competing since April and I have kept myself busy with planning a brand new equestrian center that is going up on 30 acres in Orangevale. Things have been rather hectic to say the least between work, construction and keeping a Preliminary/1* horse fit.

“Jax (MMS Amadeus) felt really good going into the show. Twin is one of my favorite venues, and I love the cross-country course, but I have notoriously not had the best results there. Going in I was excited and was just hoping I could pull all three phases together for once at Twin!

“The show ended up being awesome. I was just so excited to be out showing again, I don’t think I remember much from my dressage test except that he was super obedient. Cross-county was so much fun! The course rode beautifully and I think Jax was happy to be back out running and jumping. Sunday came so quick and before I knew it we were show jumping.

“The whole weekend was fabulous and I especially love my embroidered sheet that says ‘Area VI Preliminary Champions’. How fun!”

Heather Morris & Get Rowdy - Open Preliminary Champions

Heather Morris & Get Rowdy - Open Preliminary Champions

Tamie Smith & Fleeceworks Royal - Open Intermediate Champions

Jolie Wentworth & Coolattin - Open Training Champions

“The Prelim Championships were great fun at Twin Rivers this year. Although a small class, it was very competitive with very good horses in it. We were very close together after dressage so we all knew the time on the cross-country was going to be crucial. It’s a hard course to make time. Rowdy was super consistent all weekend. Owned by The Team Express Group LLC, he is just 6 but made the course seem easy. He then show jumped foot perfect the next day to take the win. The organizers, the Baxters, do a great job along with the rest of the staff. It’s a fun show to attend.”

Tamie Smith & Fleeceworks Royal - Open Intermediate Champions   

“It was a great track and well presented. Twin Rivers always does a good job with providing an excellent venue to compete at and the Championships were no exception. Great prizes and well-presented courses with good judging makes for a very fun event.”

(Tamie and Fleeceworks Royal went on to compete in France for the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships.)

Report produced in collaboration with US Eventing Association Area VI, and can also be found on the association’s website:, along with news of upcoming events.