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For the price... Roebke's Run CIC* / CCI** horse trials
were a great bargain for contestants

The organizers of the June 5-7, 2015 Roebke's Run Horse Trials took a huge step forward in once again putting on a great show that saw about 155 participants from throughout the U.S. and some abroad taking part on a well-groomed dynamic course.

Contestants participated in the three-day event in Hector, MN for a meager CIC/CCI $310 entry fee that for many this year introduced them to one of the premier courses in the United States. Here's what some of them had to say:

Ronald Zabala-Goetschel

Pan American Games Qualifier jumps

Ronald Zabala-Goetschel and Master Boy

The most experienced rider at Roebke's Run this year was Ronald Zabala-Goetschel of Ecuador, South America. Zabala-Goetschel's list of accomplishments can fill a page, but most notable was his participation in the 2012 London Olympics. He arrived here with a goal to qualify for Ecuador's Pan American Games team, which he easily did. Zabala-Goetschel brought three horses with him, Wise Espartaco, an Argentinian Thoroughbred Cross; Mr. Wiseguy, a Belgium Warm Blood and his Irish Sport horse, Master Boy. He drove 26 hours cross-country from West Grove, PN to get here.

Reflecting on his Olympics, he said; "My Olympic moment was arriving at the stadium, where everyone is the same, no nation is better than the other one. It was the best moment of my life." His next stop will be
to compete in the Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada.

Zabala-Goetschel was impressed with Roebke's Run course. He said he enjoys all venues and said the course layout designed by Capt. Mark Phillips is a very technical course.

His weekend ended on a sad note as Wise Espartaco, "Manny," collapsed and died after he jumped clear on the Saturday cross-country run. The 12-year-old gelding was a consistent competitor at the Preliminary and One-Star level and stepped up to the Intermediate this year.

A necropsy will be conducted by the University of Minnesota to determine cause of death and Manny's cremated remains will be sent to his farm in Pennsylvania where he will be buried.

horse and rider clear jump

Nick Staples and Bound by Blood

Nick Staples

One of the younger riders to compete at the CCI* level was Nick Staples, 15, from Wichita, KS on his 13-year-old Percheron Cross "Bound by Blood." His primary reason for competing at Roebke's Run was to make a clear round on the cross-country leg in order to qualify for Young Riders.

"The cross county course here is gallopy and has some tough lines with difficult questions, I love it and I'm hoping for a double clear run in stadium jumping. My horse is a careful but big jumper, he's fast, strong and mean," said Staples.

Staples, now in his fifth year of competition, was accompanied to Roebke's Run by his father, John, a 1988 Olympian alternate who is also his full-time coach. His goals for the future are to reach the Four* level in five years, ride at Rolex and coach.

Jacob Fletcher

At age 21, Jacob Fletcher of Arkansas is already a very seasoned rider who takes his sport seriously and has competed throughout Europe. He brought three horses to the competition at Roebke's Run; Atlantic Domino, Fly Away Ferro and Van Gough.

number one leader and his horse

Jacob Fletcher and Fly Away Ferro

Fletcher competed in the CCI** division on Fly Away Ferro an eight-year-old who was doing Training level just a year ago and came home with a blue ribbon to top all other competitors in his class. After the first day of dressage competition two of his horses were number one on the leader board.

Fletcher spent 10 months this past year riding and training in England under the tutorship of Kevin McNab. He's been competing at the FEI levels since 2009.

"Competition there (England) is quite different, there's no stabling and all three events are held in one day. You need a real good thoroughbred horse with good stamina," said Fletcher. "I came here this year because it was a good time on the calendar, the climate is fantastic and Roebke's Run has pretty much the best footing in the country. The footing here is very much like Europe.

"The Capt. Mark Phillips course is very comparable to Red Hills. The cross-country course is twisty through the woods and walked easier than it rode. It's tough enough. The Schweiss family here at Roebke's Run have been unbelievably accommodating."

Fletcher made a wise decision to remain at Schweiss Stables for the upcoming July Roebke's Run Horse Trials that will be a precursor to him competing at Rebecca Farms Horse Trials.

Two Star qualifier and her horse

Elizabeth Crowder and Red Poll

Elizabeth Crowder

Elizabeth Crowder, 23, hails from Oklahoma. Between event competitions she is starting her last year in pharmacy school in Arkansas.

Crowder was using Roebke's Run as a qualifier for Two Star on her eight-year-old chestnut thoroughbred, Red Poll. She began the weekend with a top start in Dressage. Red Poll was a retired racetrack horse she has been training for the past three years. She has two other one year-old horses.

"The dressage course here is very good. I thought the cross-country one-star course starts very open and was beautiful with one of the better looking water jumps around. I wanted to come here ever since I heard about it a few years ago, it's a lovely venue. I'll be leaving my horse here until the next competition in July," said Crowder.



First place CCI* division

Mary Peabody Camp and Rivertown Lad

Mary Peabody Camp

Camp is an 18-year-old rider that came up to Minnesota from Crestwood, KY with her horse Rivertown Lad. She's been competing since she was 10 years old in various venues including Mounted Games. She met her goal to qualify for Young Riders and took home a first place in the CCI* division.

"Winning first place was icing on the cake. My coach is very talented in dressage. I think the course here is beautiful and kept up extremely well. We've been talking about how we were impressed the entire weekend and have made friends with Elizabeth Crowder and Jacob Fletcher, who helped me out a lot. Coming from One Star and winning should help my chances of being selected to the Young Riders team," said Camp.



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