Allie Blyskal-Sacksen has had a hell of a weekend with Sparrow’s Nio, her 15.3-hand powerhouse Connemara-cross I’ve publicly declared my undying love for throughout the season. She joked in the press conference yesterday that she came to Fair Hill this year in part to prove to Eventing Nation she could do dressage. She certainly drove that point home on Friday, scoring 47.8 to sit in eighth place in a very competitive CCI2* going into the cross country. Allie and Sparrow’s Nio then delivered one of the 10 double-clear trips across the country yesterday, moving them into second place overnight. That’s where the story gets really good, as Allie admitted yesterday that show jumping is not this horse’s strongest phase. But none of that matters right now, as they jumped a fantastic clear round under immense pressure just minutes ago.
I’m not sure any of us expected Sharon White and Under Suspection to pull a rail as the final pair to show jump this morning, but they took a pole in the triple combination, giving Allie and Sparrow’s Nio the win. The photo above of Allie’s reaction to jumping that clear round says it all. And as I’m typing this, Allie also just received the Best Conditioned Horse Award. Enjoy your time in the spotlight, Allie. You earned this! We also saw lovely clear trips from Ryan Wood and Fernhill Classic and Colleen Loach and Freespirit. They both came into the show jumping tied for third place, and Ryan edges Colleen for second because he was two second closer to the optimum time on cross country. Colleen’s mare is a fireball, and she also delivered the fastest show-jumping round of the division today. Sharon White and Under Suspection finished the weekend in fourth place, while Danielle Dichting and The Graduate round out your top five.
We saw 16 double clear show jumping rounds in all in the CCI2*, and it’s always great to see so many horses looking fresh and jumping well after a grueling cross-country day. Rails fell all throughout the course, with the triple claiming multiple pairs, as well as the liverpool about mid-way through the course. I have to give the unofficial Stylish Round of the Day Award to Kurt Martin and Anna Bella, a 7-year-old Hanoverian/Thoroughbred mare I featured earlier this year in EN’s Got Talent; Kurt and Anna Bella finished the weekend in sixth place. This mare is such a super jumper and incredibly careful with her hind end; I wish I’d recorded video of her round to show you. And speaking of video, I’m not having any luck getting show jumping footage to upload, so I’ll be bringing those videos to you just as soon as I can. We have a long break now until the CCI3* show jumping starts at 1:30 p.m.