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Kristi Nunnink and R-Star Win the CIC3* at Rebecca Farm

RELEASE: July 28, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: United States Eventing Association (www.useventing.com)

Kristi Nunnink & R-Star after winning the Event at Rebecca Farm CIC3* (USEA)
Kristi Nunnink & R-Star after winning the Event at Rebecca Farm CIC3* (USEA)
Kalispel, MT
- R-Star has done it again. For the second consecutive year, this grey Holsteiner mare by Riverman, has won the CIC3* at The Event at Rebecca Farm rising from fifth after cross-country to first with an accurately ridden round over the Marc Donovan designed show jumping course. Katie Ruppel and Houdini took down just one rail to move up to second ahead of Katie Groesbeck and Oz The Tin Man who moved down to third with one rail and some time penalties.

“R-Star’s forte is her jumping so I feel very confident and relaxed in the ring, and if anything she is jumping better than ever,” said Kristi. “We have been making some slight adjustments to the way I ride her and I think we are on the right track with the changes in dressage, but I rode her cross-country in a different bit and that was not a good change. She can get very strong and I had some control issues which caused time penalties.”

Second placed Katie Ruppel and Houdini made their long trip from Florida worthwhile finishing on a final score of 60.4. “Houdini is a thoroughbred and should have made the time, but I hit my stop watch at fence 4 and stopped it and I was off the pace on the cross-country after that,” she said. Katie added 7.2 time penalties yesterday, but it is unlikely that will ever happen again.

“If my stopwatch had stopped I would have had 50 time penalties,” quipped Kristi Nunnink. “So good for you!”

When asked why the rail on the first fence came down so much throughout the afternoon, Katie Ruppel replied “It was a difficult approach, whether you came from the left or the right you did not have much time to let the horses look at it and there is so much else to look at they just didn’t focus.”

Overnight leaders Katie Groesbeck and Oz Poof of Purchase had the same problem and rolled the top rail, as many had done before him. He tried his heart out for Katie but another three rails fell dropping him down to a final eighth place finish and it was Oz The Tin Man with one rail down and an additional four time penalties that kept her in in the top three. “Oz The Tin Man is a little machine and put in a stellar performance yesterday and today,” said Katie. “I could not be more proud of either of them.

Speaking of her ride on Oz Poof of Purchase Katie smiled ruefully. “I had firstfenceitis, Poof had his heart and mind in the right place but I was nervous and mentally riding ahead of myself,” she said. Katie has known Poof his (and almost her) entire life and was on hand to watch his entry into the world eighteen years ago. “This is his first year at advanced and his first CIC3* so I am thrilled with him. He and Oz The Tin Man are the closest thing to siblings I have.”

In fact, all three riders have one thing in common, a long relationship and a very strong bond with their horses. Katie Ruppel bought Houdini off the track as a three-year-old. He was a gift for her then boyfriend who started him and took him to his first Beginner Novice event. Houdini played up, misbehaved and was truly obnoxious so the boyfriend handed him back to Katie and told her he was hers. “Then he (the boyfriend) dumped me,” said Katie laughing. “So it was up to me to do something with the horse and here we are.” Her plans for Houdini’s fall campaign include Fair Hill CCI3* in October. “It is the logical next step for him. He had a good round at Jersey Fresh and he is not quite ready to go to Europe, so I think Fair Hill will be the perfect place,” she said. “It is a lovely course and will definitely give him a good education.”

Each of the riders had nothing but praise for Rebecca Farm and the fact that they were benefiting from the Rebecca Broussard International Travel Grants.

“This event just gets better and better,” said Kristi Nunnink. “The grass has grown in this year and it felt like riding on a golf course. The footing in the arenas is second to none. We are so lucky to have organizers like the Broussards who put so much into providing us with a wonderful event for our horses.”

Katie Ruppel agreed. “I could not have got here without the grant, it is so much appreciated. This is my second trip to Montana and I love it. No effort is spared and no detail is missed.”

“I am also on a Rebecca Broussard Grant,” said Katie Groesbeck. “I couldn’t have done this without it. The grant is making a huge difference in the development of horses and riders. Both step up to the plate because of this support and things start to happen that we never believed could happen.

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