Baughman Takes Advanced Dressage Lead at Millbrook Horse Trials


28 July, 2023 — Millbrook, NY – The Millbrook Horse Trials, held July 27-30 in Dutchess County, NY wrapped up the first two days of competition today, with the upper levels taking to the dressage phase at Riga Meadow at Coole Park Farm, and the lower levels heading out on the cross country course across the road.

In the advanced division, Woods Baughman and C’est La Vie 135, a 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I—Anette, Aarking xx) took the lead on a sore of 25.7. With a heat advisory in the Millbrook area today, Baughman said that the big, black gelding was feeling the effects of the weather and was less energetic than usual. “He’s a really fun horse; at home he’s normally pretty terrible to ride but he really knows his job. I usually work on suppleness and keeping him feeling good in his body. At shows he’s like a different horse and all I really have to do is guide him.” Baughman has been working with German dressage coach Bettina Hoy on improving his performance in the first phase.

For tomorrow’s cross country, hot temperatures would be to Baughman’s advantage, as “Contendro”, as he calls C’est La Vie at home, tends to be strong and hard to handle in the cross country phase. But the forecast appears cooler tomorrow, so time will tell if the weather helps or hinders their performance.

“He’s a bit of a beast,” said Baughman. “We’ve tried everything. I’ve been working with Will Faudree on adjustability and he’s helped me with cross country technique, managing rather than trying to control the horse, trying to regulate him and take advantage of his unreal athleticism.”

They’ll be heading to the American Eventing Championships in Kentucky next, and will plan their fall season depending on their performance there and at the Plantation Field horse trials in September. Baughman is also competing Kamara in the Open Intermediate A and is currently tied for 7th place (32.3).

Baughman’s coach, Will Faudree, holds second and third places in the advanced division riding Pfun, a 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Tadmus x Celerina/Cento) owned by Jennifer Mosing (27.3) and Mama’s Magic Way, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Mighty Magic x Straightaway/Star Regent xx)(28.6). Young Rider Cassie Sanger, 18 is in 4th place riding Fernhill Zoro, (Verdi x Oronia 2/Voltaire)(29.8).

Faudree has competed Pfun internationally and said that since the gelding is 16 years old he plans to back him down from the five-star level. He said that the lesser demands on the horse’s fitness have resulted in him being more supple in the dressage. Of Mama’s Magic Way, he said, “He’s one the nicest horses I’ve ridden – he’s amazing – but he’s tough. We’ve been working really hard with Bettina Hoy; he’s done four five-stars now and he’s mentally strong enough that he’s handling the pressure at home to really train him. I was conservative on him today but he went in the ring and really stayed with me, I was thrilled.”

In the Open Intermediate A division local rider Ariel Grald, who represented the USA at last year’s World Championships at Pratoni, Italy took the early lead riding Forrest Gump 124 (30.). In Open Intermediate B Caroline Pamukcu (nee Martin), who just returned to the US after representing the US on the Nations Cup team is Strzegom, Poland, took the lead riding HSH Connor (27.3).

Beginner Novice through Training level did the cross country phase of the event today and Preliminary through Advanced will go cross country tomorrow.

Photo by Amber Heintzberger, 2023. Caption: Woods Baughman on C’est La Vie

About Millbrook Horse Trials
A popular social and sporting event, Millbrook Horse Trials is characterized by beautiful, natural cross country courses over spectacular countryside. If features world-class competition, top-notch social events, as well as entertainment for the whole family. The Millbrook area has a strong equestrian tradition, and the horse trials enjoys strong support from the local community. Food trucks and vendors are on-site, with a trade fair all week and the popular “Millbrook Market” set up under one large tent over the weekend. There is a petting zoo for children and an arts and crafts tent. Tailgating is available during cross country.

Sponsors include Yellowframe Farm, Goldman Sachs Gives, Danbury Porsche and Audi, Taylor Harris Insurance, HW Guernsey at Compass, Bank of Millbrook, Purina, Triple Crown, Millbrook Equine Veterinary Services and Millerton Agway as well as numerous families, farms and individual patrons. Social events for patrons include a Saturday morning brunch at the Yellowframe Farm Waterview tent, overlooking the water complex during upper level cross country, and a Sunday luncheon in private ringside tents overlooking the show jumping arena.

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