Riders excel at equestrian triathlon

October 9, 2011

By Christina Lords

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Newcastle resident Alexandra Ahearn, 15 (left), won second place in the Jr. Novice B class on her German sport horse Mai Baum, also known as Lexus, at an equestrian triathlon at Rebecca Farms in Kalispell, Mont. Contributed

A season for riders from the Napoleon Limited Equestrian Center can begin as early as January and last well into October or November, depending on how many events they attend each year.

But every season each rider knows that come July, their focus will be on doing well at one major competition — The Event at Rebecca Farms in Kalispell, Mont.

Among Olympian and world-class riders and thousands of spectators who attended the event, three local riders excelled at this year’s competition held July 21-24.

Emily Pestl-Dimmitt, 17, of Renton, won first place in the Jr. Training B class riding Airlington, a Bavarian warmblood.

Alexandra Ahearn, 15, of Newcastle, won second place in the Jr. Novice B class on her German sport horse, Mai Baum, also known as Lexus.

Mackenna Shea, 18, of Tacoma, took fourth place in the Advanced Class riding Landioso, also a Bavarian warmblood, competing against world and Olympian champions such as Karen O’Connor and Phillip Dutton.

Michele Pestl has trained riders, including Pestl-Dimmitt, Ahearn and Shea, from beginning novice to advanced levels at the Napoleon Limited Equestrian Center located in the Renton Highlands since 1996.

“We do well because Michele has a good understanding of our skills,” Shea said. “We never have to move up a level too soon or anything like that. We go to (Rebecca Farms) to do a good job and to do the best that we can.”

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the event at Rebecca Farms — an extension of an event that used to be held at Herron Park in Montana.

This year’s event was particularly important to riders from Napoleon because it honored Rebecca Broussard, the woman who owned the 640-acre farm and made the event what it is today, Pestl said.

Broussard died in December after battling cancer.

“The Broussard family has always been so involved, so present at this event,” Pestl said. “This has always been such an important part of my life.”

The Rebecca Farms event is one of 12 three-star competitions in the U.S. and a selection trial for athletes aiming for the London Olympics in 2012.

With more than 500 registered competitors, it is the largest equestrian triathlon, which includes dressage, cross country and show jumping, in the United States.

More than 20,000 spectators attended the event in 2010.

Learn more about Napoleon’s facility, services and students’ other recent events at www.napoleonltd.net.

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