Kerry Tracey and Chasing The Music Finish in Perfect Tune at Rocking Horse
RELEASE: November 19, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By the United States Eventing Association
During the weekend of November 5-8, 25-year-old Kerry Tracey of Watkinsville, GA, led the victory gallop at the final SmartPak Equine/United States Eventing Association (USEA) Training Three-Day Event aboard her homebred Thoroughbred/Appaloosa gelding Chasing The Music. Although the entries were low for this long-format division, which was held in conjunction with the Rocking Horse Fall Horse Trials (Altoona, FL), the competition was fierce, and Tracey moved up from fourth after dressage to gallop into second after the endurance day. A tidy show-jumping round left them with a finish on their dressage score and a trailerful of prizes and ribbons.
"I had never done a Training three-day before," explained Tracey. "I thought it was great! It was so much fun to be able to go and spend a weekend at a horse trial with an educational feel as well as a team feel to it. It reminded me of when I used to do pony club rallies."
Unfortunately, Tracey missed several of the clinics by top riders since she couldn't get off work early enough to participate. "However, Alice [Andrews], the organizer, very kindly took me around roads and tracks so I would not be completely lost, and I got to participate in wheeling the steeplechase with Ruthie [Harbison] and a steeplechase school with Buck [Davidson]."
Chase, a 15-hand Thoroughbred/Appaloosa cross gelding, enjoyed the endurance day. "I bred him out of my Pony Club mare, so I have had him since he was born. He is a bold, naughty thing, very clever and always trying to figure out how he can be in charge. I have done the vast majority of the work on him myself. Chase thought the steeplechase was great fun. He gallops a bit like a wind-up toy so it was slightly scary going at what feels like mach 10 to the steeplechase fences on his short legs, but when he settled into a rhythm it all got much smoother!"
Tracey and Chase recently made a successful move up to Preliminary back in September but were thrilled at the opportunity to compete in a long-format Training Three-Day. "I have wanted to do the Training Three-Day since 2007. However, since I don’t have my own horse trailer I can only get to events that friends are going to and it just never worked out. Chase was ready to move up in September so he moved up but when [my friend] Kim [Keeton] was going to Rocking Horse I jumped at the chance to get the Training Three-Day done. I figured that it could only help his confidence and education and that is a good thing! I would love to do a long format one-star down the road."
Tracey was disappointed after the dressage, when a 38.4 left them in fourth. "When you breed and raise your own, everything is so personal. Chase was super fresh and bucked in his canters...I was like “How could you do that to me? I held your head when you were born—play nice!” I am not always sure that he feels the same depth in our relationship that I do," Tracey added with a laugh.
"I never expected to be able to move up to the lead," she continued. "I knew he would be keen and brave cross-country because that is how he is. The show jumping is always a question for me mentally. Chase wants to be a very clean jumper but I hate show jumping and often make silly mistakes that cause him to have rails. I was definitely slightly green going into show jumping. I love this little horse, and I really wanted it to go well for him. He managed to jump around really well despite my nerves!"
Though there's something to be said for leading the victory gallop in one's first three-day finish, Tracey also enjoyed a few other aspects of the weekend just as much. "I loved dressing up for the jogs! I was also very happy to get through the finish flags in stadium with all the rails in the cups!"
Tracey plans to work this winter on improving the dressage and her riding in the show jumping and then try to get in some more Prelims in the spring. "I work full time as a social worker, wait tables Friday and Saturday nights for horse money, and ride six days a week...It will be nice to have some time just to school and work on things."
Tracey also rents the apartment at Coyote Creek, and helps take care of the horses. Coyote Creek is owned by Kim Keeton and Hope Thomas, who bred and trained the talented 2009 Spalding Labs/USEA Young Event Horse champion Accolade. "I ride with Julie Richards who has been super helping to improve Chase’s ability to power over a fence. However, Kim and I are good friends and she nobly played 10-minute box crew (all by herself), groom, and show jumping warmer upper (i.e. “try not to throw up--it won’t look good on video!”). It was very helpful to have someone there who had done long formats before. However, all the organizers and officials are so helpful. Roger Haller was great—that anyone with the right preparation can muddle through it with style!"
The SmartPak Equine USEA Training Level Three-day Series is made possible through the support of its many sponsors: Title Sponsor: SmartPak Equine; Presenting Sponsor: Stackhouse Saddles; Product Sponsor: ProChaps and Elite Sponsors: FITS, Nunn Finer. Visit the USEA’s T3D webpage for full calendar and more information at www.useventing.com