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Successful Four-Star Comeback for Schmolze and Cavaldi
Lexington, KY, USA
Kristin Schmolze and Cavaldi
Two years after Kristin Schmolze underwent surgery for a broken collarbone and her horse Cavaldi was laid up for six months with a fractured coffin bone, horse and rider returned to the highest level of three-day eventing competition. Schmolze, 27, of Califon, New Jersey and her 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Cavaldi successfully completed the 2010 Rolex Kentucky three-day event to finish in 20th place out of 53 starters on a score of 75.2.

"It was a huge weekend for me!" said Schmolze. "I know the dressage was not ideal, but both jumping phases were the best to date. Joey has never been so rideable and the compliments I have gotten are just so rewarding!"

The Rolex Kentucky three-day event is the only four-star level eventing competition in North America. Eventing involves three phases: dressage, which shows how trainable the horse is; cross-country, which tests stamina, speed and bravery; and show jumping, which tests athleticism, accuracy and control.

Cavaldi galloped clear around the challenging cross-country course designed by Michael Etherington-Smith, adding only 5.2 time faults to his dressage score. "It's the fastest I have ever been able to run him cross-country; he is so strong that it is always hard to make the time," said Schmolze. "He cruised around on practically a loose rein and I never really had to pull to get him back, he was just right there with me the entire time! We had fantastic communication."

On Sunday Cavaldi jumped around in the time and had one rail down in the show jumping. "It was the same for show jumping as for cross-country - even though we had an unlucky rail at fence two, he was picture perfect everywhere and just had that one slight rub on the back rail. That was in a hackamore - again, he has never been so rideable!"

After three tough days of demanding competition, Cavaldi recovered in top form. Schmolze said enthusiastically, "He looks great after all is said and done. I was told that he was one of the best looking horses after cross-country at Sunday's jog. He was not only sound, but loose and supple, not stiff or sore looking at all. He trotted back to the barn after cross-country not very tired either!"

Their injuries in their past, Schmolze is once again excited about her future with Cavaldi. She has been training with eleven-time USEA Rider of the Year and Olympic Gold Medalist Phillip Dutton and is working hard to achieve her goal of representing the United States in international competition.

"It was a huge turning point in my riding this weekend," she said. "I felt so confident jumping around Rolex. There is something to be said for such a good relationship with your horse, and also for having such a great trainer that instills such confidence in you and your riding as well.  It finally came together this weekend in some big ways for Joey and me."

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