Allison Springer, Rachel Wilks Take Command of The Fork CIC2*/CIC*

Allison Springer and Lord Willing. Photo by Samantha Clark.

The Advanced and CIC3* divisions had today off from competition, but the remaining FEI divisions show jumped today over in the George Morris Arena at The Fork Horse Trials, presented by Lucky Clays Farm, at the Tryon International Equestrian Center.

Allison Springer and Lord Willing were second in the CIC2* after dressage on 42.3, producing a lovely test save a bobble in the walk when the heavy wind slammed a door nearby and spooked, “but then he just went back to walking and was just perfect.”

Today Allison and the 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding, owned by the Lord Willing Syndicate, jumped double clear over Chris Barnard’s show jumping course, moving up one placing to take the lead. She was also clear on Fernhill Casano and was quick to credit her horses for taking care of when she wasn’t feeling 100%.

“I got head butted by a horse first thing this morning so I am really lame and really painful,” Allison said. “I could tell in warm-up I wasn’t making them be straight or anything and then they both jumped fantastically well. I was pleased with that because I was not up to par today. They made up for it. That’s what good horses do.”

Allison and “Liam” partnered in 2015 and picked up multiple wins at the Training and Preliminary level over the next year. Liam placed third in the Preliminary Horse division at the 2016 American Eventing Championship before winning the CIC* at his FEI debut at Plantation Field later the same month. He began his 2017 season with a third place Preliminary finish and a 10th at Intermediate, then he and Allison finished 12th in a large, competitive CIC2* at Carolina International last month.

“He’s still pretty green at the level. Last year we were just getting going but I’m really excited about him. He’s a neat horse,” Allison said. “He’s a very good dressage horse and He’s a really good show jumper. I jump him down in Wellington and I get a lot of people sniffing around about him. He’s really catty and adjustable and wants to be careful. He’s definitely a horse you don’t mind sitting on on Sunday after cross country.”

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z. Photo by Samantha Clark.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z show jumped clear to sit second after the first two phases on 42.5, but Liz later withdrew the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood, now owned by Rob and Chris Desino of Ocala Horse Properties, to preserve him for his first CCI2* next week at Ocala International.

“No point running him (cross country) the week before, but doing the dressage test and the show jumping was good for him in this atmosphere,” Liz said. “Niro will be very disappointed though as he is desperate to run!”

Cornelia Dorr and her 12-year-old Rheinlander Louis M took the initial lead in the division with a 38.9 in dressage, which is nearly a six-point improvement over their test at Carolina International two weeks ago. One rail today dropped them to third place but they will of course move up to second now with Liz’s withdrawal.

Kim Severson had withdrawn Ringfort Fighting Chance, fourth after dressage, before show jumping. Boyd Martin and Kyra, a 10-year-old Canadian Warmblood owned by Christine Turner, moved up from equal fifth to third place after a fault-free show jumping round. Nobie Cannon and her Thoroughbred gelding Bust A Groove also moved up from seventh to fourth thanks to a double-clear round.

Out of 20 horses to show jump in the CIC2*, nine went double clear. The division will finish up tomorrow when they take to the cross country course around lunchtime. Check out this photo gallery of some of the other CIC2* competitors by the one and only Samantha Clark:

Rachel Wilks and Great Expectations Hold Narrow Lead in the CIC*

Rachel Wilks has owned her 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse Great Expectations for a little over a year. They’ve been working on building a partnership and she says it’s started to come together over the last few months. They currently lead The Fork CIC* with a two-phase score of 45.2.

“He’s been fabulous and he’s fantastic on the flat. Riding him is really enjoyable and he’s a super jumper,” Rachel said.

Their dressage score was good for fourth place, but they moved up as one of ten double clear show jumping rounds in a division of 24 starters. “He did get the advantage of coming here for the AEC and jumping in the ring, so he was really good about the atmosphere.”

Rachel, 23, leads a busy life, balancing her college classes with working for her trainer Sharon White and making time to ride. She is set to graduate from Shenandoah University in December with a degree in business, but she hasn’t set aside her riding goals in the meantime.

“We’ll see how he goes around and hopefully he’ll move up to Intermediate and do an Intermediate or two before Bromont. He’ll do Bromont and then the fall is a long way away!”

Valerie Vizcarrondo and her 9-year-old Oldenburg Favian pulled a rail in show jumping, but that didn’t alter their second place standing after dressage. They will head to cross country on 45.9, just a hair behind Rachel and Great Expectations.

Boyd Martin and Christine Turner’s 11-year-old mare On Cue jumped clear to slide into third place on 47.2. Emily Mainolfi and Tacaro, a 16-year-old Thoroughbred owned by Emily and Anne Brnger, made a huge move from tenth after dressage to fourth after their double clear round with a two-phase score of 50.8. Will Faudree and Michel 233, a 7-year-old Hannoverian owned by Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables, round out the top five having made an equally impressive move up from 12th.

Show jumping continues tomorrow for the Advanced, CIC3* and Modified through Beginner Novice horse trials. The Intermediate, two-star, one-star and Preliminary will tackle cross country.

I found myself quite literally leaning into the wind at one point today. The blustery conditions kicked over cross country decorations, flipped numbers around and knocked planks out of the middle of show jumps, but the TIEC crew did a great job keeping the competition going. I think we’re all thankful that the sun was out and we weren’t getting rained on.

We’ll be back with much more from The Fork. Thanks for reading. Go Eventing.

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