In nearly 70 career USEA and FEI competitions, Jenny Caras’s 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse Fernhill Fortitude (Courage II X Misty Matilda, by Clover) has never won an event. They made their first win count today with a hard-fought CCI3* victory in the MARS Incorporated Bromont CCI Three-Day Event.
“Forty” has not consistently show jumped clear but today left all the rails up to put the pressure on overnight leader Lynn Symansky. Jenny has been incredibly focused on her show jumping, working with both Richard Picken and Phillip Dutton. She said today’s success has been a combination of hard work and “a really genuine horse.”
“It wasn’t the prettiest round I’ve ever jumped on him but he was trying really hard, and I think he knew that he wasn’t supposed to have one down today,” Jenny said. “I found myself in a similar position at Jersey (Fresh) a few weeks ago and it didn’t go my way there. You do it long enough and some days you win and some days you don’t. I couldn’t be happier with how he jumped today.”
Jenny and Forty opted not to make a second appearance at the Kentucky Three-Day Event this year. “The plan was to come and try to win Bromont. I didn’t actually think that would happen but it feels great.” Of her longtime partner, with whom she achieved her first CCI3* win today, Jenny said, “He’s like putting on an old shoe. He’s my best buddy.”
As the winner of the CCI3* division, Jenny received $3,300, a cooler from Sandridge Saddlery and the Todd Sandler Perpetual Trophy, given in honor of Todd Sandler, an aspiring young Quebec event rider who tragically passed away in a car accident.
Jenny would like to thank her owners, coaches Phillip Dutton and Richard Picken, and boyfriend Waylon Roberts — “he’s actually a really good groom.” She’d also like to thank her parents, Paula and David, as well as grooms Bronwyn Watts and Emma Ford for all their help and support.
Lynn Symansky and Under Suspection (Contender X Naomagic I, by Exorbitant xx) entered the ring without a rail in hand and unfortunately added 4 penalties to their score to finish second.
“She won the warm-up. She was jumping out of her skin,” Lynn said of Mary Ann Ghadban’s 14-year-old Holsteiner mare. “Honestly I really can’t be too upset. I don’t know her very well. It was a last-minute decision to come here and she hasn’t run since Tryon (in April).”
In only their third appearance as a pair at the three-star level, Lynn and “Pippy” are now qualified as a combination for the 2018 World Equestrian Games. The mare has previously competed to the CCI3* level with Sharon White and the CCI4* level with Hannah Sue Burnett. In Germany, she also competed at the CCI2* level with Dirk Schrade and CCI* level with Philipp Kolossa.
“She’s a pretty amazing horse to have gone from rider to rider, and she puts in 100 percent,” Lynn said. “I cannot take all the credit for her success this weekend, and she’s made it pretty easy to form a relationship with her in a pretty short amount of time.”
Felix Vogg and Colero (Captain Fire X Bonia, by Bormio xx), a 10-year-old Westphalian owned by Jürgen Vogg, added 1 time penalty to an otherwise faultless round to finish third on 40.4. Colero typically jumps better indoors than out, Felix said, but he was pleased with his performance today. They are now qualified for WEG as a pair, and Felix feels confident they will be selected for the Swiss team.
“It was really a good event because he learned a lot and made a huge step up. He’s not that experienced so for me it was a perfect event,” Felix said. Of his thoughts on Bromont, he said, “I like Bromont a lot because of the cross country, as well the ring here. It’s good for the horses. They learn something.”
Boyd Martin and Contessa Win CCI2*
It was down to the wire in the CCI2* as the last four to jump — all mares — show jumped fault-free. Leading after cross country and with no room to spare a mistake in the final phase, Boyd Martin and Club Contessa’s Contessa (Contender X Veritas, by Esteban) produced a beautiful clear under pressure to win in the mare’s CCI2* debut.
“Today confirmed my belief that this is a real future star in my string,” Boyd said of the 9-year-old Holsteiner mare. “She still needs to spend some time at this level but she just has that ‘wow’ factor.”
He’s confident Contessa has what it takes to go eventing at the highest level: “Gallop, jump, presence, attitude, soundness. She’s one of those horses I look forward to sitting on every day.”
Clark Montgomery and Caribbean Soul finished second on 32.4. Dana Cooke was thrilled with FE Mississippi’s gorgeous clear for third on 33.6. They placed third and also received the Best Presented Horse Award for the division, sponsored by Akka Legacy. Shelby Brost and Crimson moved up from 10th after dressage to finish fourth on their dressage score of 33.7.
Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Mystery were double clear in the final phase, moving up from sixth place to fifth. They switched places with Anna Loschiavo and Spartacus Q, who dropped a single rail.
Daniel Clasing and MW Gangster’s Game added four penalties to finish seventh on 39.3. Charlotte Collier and Clifford M vaulted up the leaderboard with two fault-free jumping phases to move from 29th after dressage to eventual eighth. Likewise, Will Coleman and Don Dante went from equal 24th to ninth with one rail down in show jumping.
Jessica Phoenix and Bentley’s Best Take Hometown CIC2* Win
Will Coleman and Off the Record could afford a few time penalties but not a rail today. Unfortunately they had one down, which meant Jessica Phoenix and the Bentley’s Best Group’s 11-year-old Trakehner Bentley’s Best (Hirtentanz 2 X Hauptstutbuch Baronesse XIII, by Eichendorff) took the CIC2* win by 0.1 penalty points, finishing on their dressage score of 30.0.
“To have our family here and win in front of the hometown crowd and hear our anthem on Canadian soil is pretty awesome,” Jessica said.
“I was really proud of him all weekend. He was a little bit unsettled in dressage but his movement I thought was the best he’s ever had. Cross country he just ate it up. Show jumping is always so fun on him. He’s such an athletic horse and really loves doing that job.”
Although Bentley’s Best has competed at the three-star level, Jessica said he is her top horse for the Pan American Games next year, so she wants to get him really solid at the two-star level. She has her eyes on the Fair Hill International CCI2* in October but will return to Bromont to run the CIC2* on August 17-19, which is a new FEI date for this venue.
“I wish we had a Bromont every month,” Jessica said. “It’s so awesome to be able to compete FEI in your own country, and it’s really important to develop our horses — being able to drive a short time and have this level and caliber of competition is what we need more in this country.”
Anna Loschiavo and Prince Renan, fresh off a CIC2* win at Jersey Fresh, put in three good phases, finishing on their dressage score of 30.8 for third place. Lauren Kieffer and Paramount Importance added just 0.8 time penalties on cross country and finished fourth on 32.5. Allie Knowles and Sound Prospect round out the top five on their dressage score of 33.5.
Greta Schwickert and Matchless moved up from 18th after dressage to finish sixth. Will Coleman and Soupçon du Brunet unfortunately picked up 11 penalties on cross country for activating a frangible pin, but they were otherwise foot perfect to finish seventh.
Allie Knowles and Business Class had two down today, finishing eighth. Ariel Grald and Monbeg Nola show jumped clear, finishing ninth. Boyd Martin and Contestor had three down, dropping out of the top five to place 10th.
Annie Goodwin and Fedarman B Jump Under Pressure to Win CCI*
Only one rail separated the top eight after cross country and with rails flying, the pressure was on the top placed riders. Annie Goodwin said yesterday that her 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood Fedarman B (Eurocommerce Washington X Paulien B, by Fedor) is a “phenomenal jumper” but she wasn’t sure how tired he would be after cross country. As it turned out, she had no reason to worry. “Bruno” jumped a super clear to win the Bromont CCI* and the Law Family Perpetual Trophy.
“We pulled him out of the stall this morning and he was very happy to be moving and grooving,” Annie said. “It’s an honor to be here. It’s always been a dream and especially to walk home with the win, I can’t ask for anything more.”
The pair have experience at Intermediate but backed down a level to reboot their confidence. “I think we did that today. He’ll have a good break and then come back out for Intermediate and hopefully back up to Bromont for the (August) CIC2*.”
Holly Jacks-Smither and Candy King were tied for second heading into the final phase and jumped clear to finish on their dressage score of 27.2. Will Faudree and the lovely FRH Ramona likewise finished without additional penalties, moving up one place each phase to end up third on 29.4.
Colleen Loach had a banner week with all four of her CCI* horses finishing in the top 10. Three of them finished on their dressage score. Foreign Quality finished fourth on 30.0. Vermont added one rail to finish sixth on 31.2. FE Golden Eye was seventh on 32.3, and Rune Stone was eighth.
Katlyn Hewson-Slezak and Fernhill Choco Royale added one rail today to finish ninth on 35.5. Jimmie Schramm and CCI* first-timer Eclaire round out the top 10 with just one rail to add today for a final score of 36.0.
The Ledger Family Award is given to the top placed amateur rider in the CCI* division who has a full-time job outside of the equestrian world. The winner this year, receiving a trophy, commemorative cooler and a check for $1,000, was Abby Maude, an interior designer in New York by day and devoted eventer by night. She and Stonehaven Dream finished 11th in the CCI*.
The Best Groom Award was also given in the CCI* and awarded to Jeannie Lussier, the groom for Colleen Loach. The ground jury noted that all four of horses ridden by Colleen were impeccably prepared for presentation. Jeanie received a $200 gift certificate from Laura’s Tack Room.
It’s been another incredible week in Bromont, Quebec. This is hands down one of my absolute favorite competitions and I look forward to it every year, as do the riders.
“We don’t have a lot of venues like this,” Lynn said. “It’s a proper test on fantastic footing at a great venue.”
Thank you to the sponsors, especially title sponsor MARS Incorporated, for their support and to the generous contributions from the Government of Canada, Government of Quebec and City of Bromont. Thanks also to the organizing committee and their staff for their generosity, hospitality and the incredibly hard work they put in to making this event great. Au revoir!