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Tara Gallagher Couch and Apple

Lina Rojas-Restrepo and Ramdam Dudry

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Tara Gallagher Couch and Apple Share First Jumper Ring Win at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show

Written by: Elaine Wessel
Client: Kentucky Horse Shows LLC
Release Date: 2015-08-15

Lexington, KY – August 15, 2015 – The tides finally turned for Tara Gallagher Couch and her mount Apple Saturday morning in the High Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumper class at the 1.40m height, as the pair, who have unluckily fallen just a tad short of the win in previous classes, rode to the only clean round of the day to clinch the champion title at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.

“This is my first win with her, which is super exciting! We have been working towards it, and I have been in this four-fault place. We will have great rounds, but then I will just tick a rail. We have been waiting for a win and it finally happened today,” Gallagher Couch said with a smile.

Saving the best for last, the pair were the final entry to take a shot at designer Allen Rheinheimer’s track, which had consistently tripped up the previous competitors. A lofty red-and-white striped oxer placed midway through the course was troublesome for a number of the riders, as well as the triple combination, the second-to-last obstacle of the course. For Gallagher Couch and Apple, their plan proved to be the only successful one of the morning, and they admitted to using their competitor’s shortcomings as help with their strategy.

“There were a lot of options. You had to go in there open to changing based on what happened. We just had a plan, and talked about how to adjust. Everything worked out with the plan we had, and it rode like we anticipated,” Gallagher Couch commented. “I watched a few rides before me and I could see that everyone was trying to go fast and it was costing them rails. My goal was to go smooth and clean, which I thought would put me in the top three. It is really great that I ended up winning it.”

Apple, owned by Eden Valley Stables of Saratoga, California, is no stranger to the winner’s circle in Lexington, as she is “sort of a famous horse here,” according to the winning rider. Last year with Sarah Bagworth aboard, the mare took numerous grand prix wins at the Kentucky Horse Park, as well as the win in this same class a year ago with Bagworth. Gallagher Couch picked up the ride in February of this year at the Winter Equestrian Festival, and while she said it took a few months to acclimate to each other, the two seem to have finally hit their stride.

“She is really game, really hot. When she is relaxed, like she was today, she grows this big stride and is really focused on where she is going. She can land and turn really quickly. She is deceivingly fast because she looks smooth but she is covering the ground,” Gallagher Couch said. “I am all about mares. I have all mares. I like them hot, and a little complicated in their mind.”

The winning duo will return to the Rolex Stadium Sunday for the SJHOF Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumper Classic, hoping to add another accolade to their accomplishments to top off the week, after which they will trek north to the grass fields of the Hampton Classic in Long Island, New York. The prestigious American Gold Cup at Old Salem Farm in upstate New York will follow, then a series of shows out west.

The fastest four-faulter of the class, Lina Rojas-Restrepo aboard Ramdam Dudry, owned by Mauricio Restrepo, claimed the second place prize with a time of 65.942 seconds. Brett Burlington and Bluf, owned by Sweet Oak Farm out of Wellington, Florida, also had a singular rail down as the only other four-fault ride. Their time of 69.120 seconds placed them into the third position.

Show jumping competition continues this week at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show, culminating in Sunday afternoon’s $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington.

For more information on the Kentucky Summer Series please go to


Pl  Number  Horse        Rider                       Faults   Time   Total         Time
1   1745APPLE           TARA GALLAGHER COUCH   0       0         0        65.542
2   1045RAMDAM DUDRY   LINA ROJAS-RESTREPO  4     0         4        65.942
3   1694BLUF            BRETT BURLINGTON         4         0         4        69.120
4   1310HUCKLEBERRY     RACHEL REID            8         0         8        60.430
5   191 FUKAYNA         MARIA BRUGAL              8         0         8        68.106
6   1431UGAF            EMMA WUJEK                  8         1         9        71.969
7   464 SKRIBBELINO     TERI KESSLER            12        0        12        60.202
8   374 ARTANI 2        KELLY ARANI                12        0        12        67.462
9   1074DOMINO VAN DE HEBETHANY BOLEN     16        0        16        67.784
10  87  BALIZO Z        ANNA BETH ATHEY         20        0        20        60.730
11  165 MARIA Z         ISABEL SANCHEZ          20        0        20        68.881
12  1688 ALL STAR DE L'AU  LACEY GILBERTSON 24      0       24        65.875


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