WEST GROVE, Pa.--Olivia Dutton, 18 of West Grove, rode Mr. Mendicott to a 34 in dressage and a double clear in show jumping, but had a stop cross country on the Area II team's way to winning the CICOY2* 0n July 19-22 at Rebecca Farms in Kalispell, Mont.
"It was really fun and a great learning experience," said Dutton. "I've been riding Mr. Mendicott for about a year, but he was retired after the Young Riders."
Mr. Mendicott, who competed in two Olympics, was on the gold medal winning German team in Hong Kong in 2008 and in the top 10 with Karen O'Connor in London in 2012.
Ridden by Olivia's Father Phillip, Mr. Mendicott, known by his barn name Cave, was the USEF National Champion at the Rolex Kentucky CCI4* in 2017 at age 18.
He was retired at Rebecca Farms, where Sarah Broussard, Rebecca Farms' event organizer and one of Mr. Mendicott's owners, placed a garland of flowers around his neck and Phillip Dutton said it had been an honor to have been a part of his career.
PHILLIP ALSO thanked Cave for giving Olivia the thrill of riding around some of the biggest courses for her so far and for looking after her.
Olivia rode Cave to eighth at the Carolina International, was third in a CIC1* at Fair Hill and competed in her first 2* event on him at Jersey Fresh this spring, where she jumped a fault-free cross country and had no show jumping faults..
"He's a funny horse," said Olivia. "He's strong cross country. In dressage, he's quite lazy at home, but he perks up at a show. He's a great jumper. I love riding him in show jumping."
Mr. Mendicott wasn't the only Olympic veteran on the Area II team that sported a star-studded field of horses that have gone on in their older careers to teach young riders the ropes.
The winning Area II team included Alexa Lapp. 19 of Gap. Pa., on Cambalda, the 2017 USEA Horse of the Year with Jennie Brannigan, Ryan Keefe, 18 of Sandy Spring, Md., on Flintstar, a member of the 2012 London Olympics bronze medal team for New Zealand, and Taylor Stewart, 18 of Damascus, Md., on Ideal Contini, who competed through the 3* level with Sally Cousins.
"It was a very long trip to Montana for the horses, about 48 hours by van," said Olivia, who flew out to the event.
"I got to meet a lot of young riders, which was great, as most of the riders at the farm are professionals," said Olivia.
"I had a 34 in dressage, which was sixth individually, and the team was in gold medal position," said Olivia. "The cross country was going really well. Cave was quite strong. Then going into the water, he left a leg and I had to circle, so I got 20 penalties. Then in show jumping I was double clear."
Olivia already has a replacement for the retired Mr. Mendicott.
"I just got a new horse from Ireland, Fernhill Finders Keepers," said Olivia. "He's 8, and he's at the farm now. I really like him. We've had him for a couple of weeks.""Dad's going to ride him at a Fair Hill training level event soon, and then I'll start riding him."
Olivia attends Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Va., where she rides the jumpers that the school has, plays varsity lacrosse and was recently elected co-head of Foxcroft's athletic association.
Keefe graduated from Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, Md., and is enrolled in the University of Kentucky.
She trains with Rumsey Keefe and Sharon White, and she has finished in the top four at each of the 1* and 2* events in which she has competed on Flintstar.
Lapp graduated from Pequea Valley High School in Kinzers, Pa., and she trains with Brannigan Eventing in Coatesville, Pa.
She rode on the Area II Young Riders Championship 1* team in 2016 on Paprika.
Stewart graduated from Damascus High School in Damascus, Md., and she trains with Packy McGaughan and Marilyn Little.
Stewart rode Ideal Contini to sixth at The Fork CIC2* and completed the Jersey Fresh 3* this year and was named as an Emerging Athlete on this year's USEF E25 list.
THE AREA II 1* team won the bronze medal.
That team consisted of Macy Beach, 17 of Millsboro, Del., on Chasing Moonlight, Haley Carspecken, 18 of Purcellville, Va., on Center Stage, Katherine Christopher, 18 of Bahama, N.C., on Frodo of the Shire, Maia Kantorowski, 17 of Pinehurst, N.C., on Kiltubrid Rebel, and Olivia Wall, 18 of Apex, N.C., on Mandolin R.,