Hardin Towell needed a class to prepare the Oldenburg mare he owns in partnership with Kelly Maloney for several classes he will be doing this fall, and Sunday morning Towell and Fieona made the most of the opportunity in winning the Equus Events Aiken Fall Festival 1.35 meter $15,000 open jumper classic at Highfields Event Center. Joe Carnicom designed the course that featured 12 obstacles and 15 jumping efforts.
The class had to be rescheduled from Saturday afternoon because of a thunderstorm that had moved through the area. The first round course proved to be technical with only four rider/horse combinations going fault free to qualify for the short course track. Towell and Fieona had the fastest clean round time during the first round stopping the timer at 79.765. Daniel Geitner and Kenwood would also go clear and completed the course in 79.871. The other clear rounds came from Christina Jason and Tamino, the first rider/horse combination to go clear, with a time of 81.350, and the final combination to return for the jump-off were Abby Sjoberg and Something Gained.
“I thought she got the first round nice,” said Towell. “She wasn’t impressed, and was a little dull. I didn’t really have the chance to run her much this summer, jumping the bigger classes.”
The mare by Grand Couer out of the broodmare Hauptstutbuch Festa enjoyed a strong summer in Kentucky.
“Joe (Carnicom) did a nice job,” said Towell. “It was a good class to bring her back. She’s been jumping pretty big in Kentucky, and we’re going back there next week. We’re either going to do there, or go to New Albany (Ohio), where there’s a $100,000 class in two weeks. I needed a little class to train her, and not ask her too hard.”
Towell and Fieona would be the fastest on the short course with all four rider/hrose combinations failing to go clear. The rider/horse combination stopped the timer at 39.344 in the jump-off.
“I asked her to go a little fast in the jump-off, and she made a little mistake in the second to last, and luckily we still hung on and won,” said Towell. “It’s always a treat when you can have a rail down and still win.”
It appeared that Sjoberg and Something Gained might go clear, but an unlucky rail over the last obstacle would find them placing third, with Jason and Tamino finishing second, and Geitner placing fourth with Kenwood and fifth with Johnny Dublin.