Smith and Mai Baum Are Stars of Galway Downs International Horse Trials CCI4*-S

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum maintain the lead in all three phases of the Galway Downs International Horse Trials CCI4*-S.
Galway Downs CCI4*-S
Tamie Smith and Mai Baum win the 2024 Galway Downs International Horse Trials CCI4*-S. ©Sherry Stewart

March 29, 2024—Mai Baum is 18. He’s hot. And he knows it. 

The German Sport Horse and his 2023 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5* champion partner, Tamie Smith, established their lead in dressage at the 2024 Galway Downs International Horse Trials CCI4*-S Thursday in Temecula, California. They maintained that lead later in the day by easily clearing the jumps within the time allowed in show jumping. 

The pair then jumped clear and careful on cross-country on Friday with only a few time faults to win the Galway Downs International Horse Trials CCI4*-S division.

“He was happy to be out of the start box and pretty wild out there,” Smith said of her longtime star owned by Alexandra Ahearn. The finish was perfect prep for the next phase in their hopeful 2024 Paris Olympic journey—the Cosequin Lexington CCI4*-S at the Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event, April 25-28, 2024.

With a rainy Saturday forecast, Galway Downs organizers decided to condense the schedule,  running both CCI4*-S dressage and show jumping on Thursday and cross-country on Friday. The other divisions were condensed as well.

Smith and Mai Baum: Dressage

Mai Baum and Smith started the competition Thursday dominating with a top score of 23 in the dressage phase. “I think that was his best dressage ever,” Tamie said of Mai Baum’s effort. 

Ground Jury president and judge Sandy Phillips concurred. “It was wonderful to see,” she said of their test. “That is the picture we are looking for, with uphill self-carriage and in balance. When I talk about balance at the four-star level, we want to see engagement of the hindquarters, so the horse can lift the front end.”  

Mai Baum’s performance reflected both a continuation of Smith’s program—in which she works with several dressage luminaries—and an extra dose of forward emphasis, courtesy of British eventing legend Ian Stark. “I know not everybody would think of Ian for the flatwork, but he really helped with the forward for all my horses.” 

“I have a dressage background and I think we can tend to ride almost with a little bit of a backward feeling,” Smith continued. “Today Lexus was really forward and in front of my leg.” In short, “We’re just right with each other.”

Smith and Mai Baum: Show Jumping

Galway Downs International Horse Trials CCI4*-S
Tamie Smith and Mai Baum’s double-clean show-jumping round helped them secure the Galway Downs International Horse Trials CCI4*-S win. ©Sherry Stewart

That was true for show jumping, too, over Marc Donovan’s stout track. This was Mai Baum’s first eventing competition after earning individual third and team silver at CHIO Aachen in Germany last July.  He prepped at show-jumping and dressage competitions this year, and “was happy to be out here and running around” back in the eventing realm. 

Mai Baum goes next to the Defender Kentucky Three Day Event in April to run the Cosequin Lexington CCI4*-S as a prep to peaking, hopefully, this summer in Paris for the Olympics. “It’s about doing whatever is best for each horse,” Tamie explained. “Paris is going to be a very big test. I think some horses need to run a long format before and some don’t. I think it’s best for Lexus not to.”

A rising star in Smith’s string, Kynan, finished fifth in the Galway Downs International Horse Trials CCI4*-S and felt “incredible, strong and so rideable,” she said. Smith and Kynan are entered in the Cosequin Lexington CCI4*-S at the Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event.

Another of Tamie’s mounts, Elliot V, had a tougher weekend—falling from fourth after show jumping, to elimination with three cross-country refusals. At the end of the day, Smith said the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood is probably telling her that three-star is his happy place.

Second: Molly Duda and Disco Traveler

Young rider Molly Duda and Disco Traveler continued an impressive ascent in the sport, finishing second in their four-star debut at the Galway Downs International Horse Trials CCI4*-S. They were third after dressage, dropped a rail in show jumping, then roared across cross-country as the only pair to make the time over Clayton Fredericks’ track.

A freshman at UCLA, Duda left the start gate on cross-country determined to make the time. “He’s the best cross-country horse I’ve ever ridden, and I know I can open him up out there and have him come back to me. We’re both very competitive and we had a blast out there.”

Doing the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s U21 and U25 training camps over the winter built on the super successes this pair had last year. Duda also credited show jumping work with Tamie Smith and dressage coaching from Robyn Fisher as key to their continued rise.

Duda was also fourth in the Galwayd Downs International Horse Trials CCI3*-S with a newer horse, Carlingfords Hes A Clover, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse. “Tommy” lives in the Bay Area with Mickayla Howard, who brought Duda up to the three-star level. Juggling a pre-med academic track, Duda is a time-management master. “I compete and go to college full time. Both are really important to me. It’s a lot, but I love it!” 

The Event at Rebecca Farm CCI4*-L in July is the next big goal for Duda and Disco Traveler, a 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood.

Third: Bec Braitling and Caravaggio II

Bec Braitling was thrilled to finish third in the Galway Downs International Horse Trials CCI4*-S with Arnell Sporthorse’s Caravaggio II, a 13-year-old British Sport Horse. They are prepping for the Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5* after gathering useful experience campaigning in Europe last summer. Their finish adds to their reserve champion result in the CCI4*-L at Galway Downs last fall. 

Pace was Braitling’s priority on cross-country. Incurring only 1.6 time penalties allowed them to move up from sixth after dressage to third. And that was even with a new noseband that gave the California-based Australian “more whoa than I wanted.” 

Braitling loved the the cross-country track built by fellow Aussie, Clayton Fredericks. “I thought it would ride more twisty. But it was smooth and really fun to ride.”  

She liked the re-shuffled schedule, too, with Galway Downs International Horse Trials CCI4*-S dressage and show jumping on Thursday. “It makes it busy, but I loved being able to work on the fitness aspect of it for him.” 

For final results, click here.

Thanks to Mane ‘n Tail Equine for our coverage of the 2024 Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event, including lead-up events, rider interviews, competition reports, horse spotlights, photos, videos and more.

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