Allison Springer and Lord Willing were the last to enter the dressage ring for the CCI2* at the Pedigree Bromont CCI Three-Day Event in Quebec, Canada and their relaxed, accurate test earned them a 37.8 to take the lead.
“Liam was super. Whenever he’s relaxed and happy he’s really good. I was proud of him,” Allison said. “He was accurate,rideable, forward and loose.”
At 9 years old, the Holsteiner gelding owned by the Lord Willing Syndicate is still green at the level but he’s coming into his own with Allison’s guidance.
“With that horse it’s all about partnership and relaxation,” she said. “When I first got him I was the only one that could hack him out because he was nervous and naughty out in the fields and now any of my girls can canter and trot and trail ride him… The more he understands the more he relaxes.”
Waylon Roberts and Michelle and John Koppin’s 10-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding Lancaster were the penultimate pair in the ring and they briefly held the lead on a 41.1. They will head into Saturday’s cross country in second place.
“I was really pleased with the horse. He felt great this morning when I did a little school,” Waylon said. “I was worried a little bit about reacting to the atmosphere because that ring can always bubble a couple up but he was super settled. I’m excited for the rest of the week.”
Lancaster attempted his first Advanced and Fair Hill this spring and all was going well until he stepped on a clip near the end of the cross country course and Waylon pulled him him.
“A horse’s first Advanced you just want to get him around and check that box, but we pretty much did the whole thing so I’m looking forward to getting this event under our belt. I’d like to think this will be the two-star he needs to move on,” Waylon said.
Bobby Meyerhoff and Diane Kearney’s 9-year-old Oldenburg Rascal Rap were leading the CCI2* for much of the day on 43.9, but settled in third after the last two rides took over the top of a competitive leaderboard. Hillary Irwin and her 8-year-old Thoroughbred Kilbeggan sit in fourth place with 45.2 while Boyd Martin and his homebred Ray Price, a 9-year-old Thoroughbred cross owned by the Ray Price Syndicate, round out the top five with 46.5.
While Allison and Liam were the only pair to break into the 30s, the top 14 scored a 51.0 or better and both Allison and Waylon agreed this wouldn’t be a dressage show.
The cross country course, designed by Derek di Grazia and built by Jay Hambly and Dylan Barry, is beautifully presented but riders are reporting that it’s tough enough at all levels.
“There’s a lot to do out there,” Allison said. “It might rain a little tomorrow but I think the footing should be good. I trust Derek a ton as a course designer. There are a couple places where I’ve walked distances and thought, ‘I wonder what that’s going to be like,’ but I always trust him in the end.”
In particular, a one-stride combination of angled verticals at 19AB has riders spending a few minutes longer pondering their plan of attack.
“Liam is a horse who has been a little herd bound in the past, so I’m going have to keep him focused and cruise past the vet box, set him up and hope he’s still looking straight ahead. The placement of where that combination is right after the vet box makes it more challenging.”
The CCI* division has 40 starters and after a full day of dressage, it was Kelli Temple and Kara Angulo’s 7-year-old Holsteiner mare Metallica that took a firm hold of the lead with a 31.5. Their excellent score places them a full ten points ahead of the rest of the pack, a good start for the lovely gray mare’s first FEI appearance.
Rachel Wilks and her 8-year-old Great Expectations are the closest next competitors, sitting in second with a 41.3. Hot on their heels with 41.4 is Holly Payne Caravella and the CharmKing LLC’s 6-year-old Holsteiner gelding CharmKing. Kendal Lehari and Dunhallow Cool Ceilidh are fourth on 44.0. Valerie Vizcarrando and Favian round out the top five on 44.3.
Last year was my first visit to Bromont and despite freezing temperatures and wet weather, I loved it and immediately expressed my interest in returning to cover it this year. It’s an event journalists, riders, and owners alike truly look forward to and it’s plain to see why: the courses are above par, the staff is friendly, the hospitality is top notch, and you can’t beat the mountain views in this quaint ski town.
“It’s my favorite event,” Allison said. “People really enjoy this track. It feels like you’re at a European event.
“My dog likes being here too,” she added. “He’s enjoying the Pedigree sponsor big time–he keeps stealing all the big DentaFlex bones (that came in the welcome bags) in the barn.”
The CCI2* and CIC* competitors will a day off to relax and enjoy the show before cross country on Saturday. The CIC2* and CCI3* will do their dressage tomorrow so stay tuned for much more from Bromont.