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Wilton Fair Fund Awards $1,000,000 to Developing Riders

David O’Connor and Wilton Fair on the cover of USCTA News. Photo used with permission from USEA.

There is no time like the present to be a Developing Rider in the U.S, as the USEA, USEF and a number of devoted individuals are going above and beyond to support the future of the sport.

The USEA Foundation announced today the formation of the Wilton Fair Fund which provides $1,000,000 to support riders 29 and under who have not yet ridden for a senior team. Donated by David and Cheryl Lenaburg, the fund will allow up to $100,000 in educational grants to be given annually.

“This is an exciting time for the USEA Foundation,” said Kevin Baumgardner, the USEA Foundation Chairman. “Our mission has expanded significantly over the past several years, and we are now administering grant programs that make a difference in all areas of our sport. The Wilton Fair Fund is another big step forward for us. We cannot thank the Lenaburgs enough for their vision and generosity. We look forward to working with them for years to come.”

Wilton Fair was a 17.3-hand Irish wonder and is one of the USEA’s top 100 historical horses. The horse had already won the 1987 Burghley CCI4* with Sir Mark Todd when Mr. Lenaburg purchased “Wilbur” for David O’Connor to ride. Together they completed multiple CCI4* events around the world, won Rolex Kentucky in 1990 and represented the U.S. at the inaugural FEI World Championships in Stockholm the same year. They also won the 1993 Fair Hill CCI3* in some of the worst weather conditions that event has ever seen. Click here to read more about their incredible career together including the story behind the term ‘Wilbur Weather.’

“We believe that the developing side of the program is really important,” David O’Connor said. “You get caught because the senior riders can’t be riders forever, and then suddenly you’re in a hole. We’ve seen that happen. That’s the exciting part about the programs we’re coming up with. They’re really going to help with the ability for the U.S. to play for a long time.”

The first of the Wilton Fair grants will be awarded for the 2018 season. Click here for more information and a list of the types of educational opportunities that the funds may be used for.

[USEA Foundation Announces $1,000,000 Wilton Fair Fund]

Hello, My Name Is Inigo Montoya

“The Princess Bride” is a cult classic film adapted from William Goldman’s novel of the same name. If you grew up in the 90s, you saw the movie too many times to count and likely memorized a string of quotable lines from its endearing characters: the brave romantic hero Westley, beautiful Princess Buttercup, the friendly giant Fezzik and his partner in crime, the indefatigable Inigo Montoya, brilliantly portrayed by actor Mandy Patinkin.

So when a horse named Inigo Montoya left the start box at The Fork Horse Trials last week, myself and several others couldn’t help but throw out a few heartfelt phrases from the movie. I got such a kick out of it, I figured we just had to catch up with this horse and rider pair to learn more about their partnership and how the name came about.

Ava Cox and Inigo Montoya. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Inigo Montoya is a 7-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned and ridden by 17-year-old Ava Cox of Seattle, Wa. Ava met “Amigo” last year when she had gone to California in search of her next horse. “I was looking for a young one to bring up. We had talked about getting a horse that was already doing a one-star and had been there, done that. But I had just sold a packer I purchased when I was younger and I wanted to get something young without a lot of miles,” Ava said.

“We didn’t even know about Amigo. We went to dinner with a friend and she mentioned a horse that might be for sale. It was a last minute look and almost didn’t happen.”

It was a perfect match right from the start. “When I rode him it just felt right. We meshed really well,” Ava said. “He got me and I got him. Our of probably ten horses we tried, he was the one. He’s so sweet and has the best personality. I think we just got along really well right from the get go.”

They ran Novice at The Event at Rebecca Farm last summer and then competed at Training for the rest of the year. Ava traveled East with her trainer Jordan Linstedt, who is prepping for Rolex Kentucky, and has enjoyed competing and taking lessons in a new area of the eventing nation. At The Fork, they took the opportunity to run the new Modified level instead of skipping ahead to Preliminary.

Ava Cox and Inigo Montoya. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

“I have kind of become a little bit of a backed off rider and always looking for another stride. Because he’s young I feel like I need to get him to the fence on a perfect stride so I’m a little more controlling,” she said. “The biggest thing is me trusting him to go to the fences, and doing the Modified at Tryon was the first time I was able to do that. Even though the fences were bigger, he was a different horse and paying attention to where he was putting his feet.

“Modified was by far the best decision I could have made because it showed me what I need to be ready for for Preliminary. It was a really good balance between technicality and fence height. I’m really happy with how it turned out and I hope there will be modified levels on the West Coast in the future.”

Ava said she doesn’t want to jeopardize Amigo’s confidence by moving up too soon, so she will continue running Training and Modified where possible with the hope of moving up later this year. “I’d love to go to NAJYRC but I’m not going to change my training with him to meet a goal like that. If he’s ready he’ll move up, but if not there’s no harm. I’m not in a rush.”

As for Amigo’s clever competition name, Ava credits her dad for coming up with it. “He loves that movie,” she laughed. “I didn’t want to name him after a movie but it stuck. I had told my dad he could have first choice on a name and he was so happy when I told him I’d name him (Inigo Montoya).”

Inigo Montoya the character is brave and fiercely loyal to his friends and family. Ava said the name suits her horse perfectly. “He’s such a brave, confident horse. On course he always takes care of me and back at the barn he just wants to hang out with me and cuddle.”

We wish Ava and Amigo the best of luck, and if you see them at a competition be sure to say, “Hello!”

Monday News and Notes from Fleeceworks

2017 FENCE Intercollegiate Team Challenge. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld. 2017 FENCE Intercollegiate Team Challenge. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Four years ago I went to FENCE Horse Trials on the NC/SC border to take pictures and interview a group of ambitious college students determined to develop collegiate eventing. In the time since then, the concept has taken off, thanks in large part to the dedication and hard work of the students themselves.

A USEA Intercollegiate Committee was formed and a membership level created specifically for college students. This year there are 24 colleges and universities in the U.S. that are registered as USEA Affiliate Organizations and many more unaffiliated schools with eventing clubs and teams. We’re also gearing up for the second annual USEA Intercollegiate Championship at Virginia Horse Trials in May. There were a total of ten schools that competed in the inaugural year and the organizers are expecting a huge boost in participation for 2017.

This weekend, it felt a bit like things came full circle to be back at FENCE and see a brand new group of students competing in the Intercollegiate Team Challenge. Congratulations to the University of Kentucky White team for the win! Click here to learn more about Intercollegiate Eventing and to find a team challenge near you!

U.S. Weekend Action

Fair Hill CIC & H.T. [Website] [Results]

Ocala CCI & H.T. [Website] [Results]

Twin Rivers CCI, CIC & H.T. [Website] [Results]

FENCE H.T. [Website] [Results]

Monday News and Notes:

So many amazing activities are happening at Rolex Kentucky, besides the competition itself, you’ve almost need to bring a day book or schedule notifications on your phone to get to all the things that interest you. There are always a plethora of educational and entertaining course walks to attend and the schedules are starting to roll out. SmartPak has announced that they will have Boyd Martin and Ryan Wood lead the way at their 13th annual Rolex Course Walk on either Thursday, April 27 or Friday, April 28. Click here to sign up and be sure to visit the SmartPak booth: the first 500 people to stop by will get a free gift! [SmartPak Rolex Kentucky Course Walk]

We love to cheer for the rookies here at EN, and we especially enjoy getting to know the Rolex Rookies. USE profiled four Rolex Kentucky first-timers for 2017, all of whom are USEF Eventing Emerging Athlete Program Participants: Caroline Martin, Madeline Backus, Jenny Caras and Savannah “Woodge” Fulton. [Meet Four First-Timers]

After the two-day FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne (SUI), the the Bureau met at FEI Headquarters for their spring meeting. Key decisions and updates can be viewed at this link. For eventing specifically, the Bureau discussed a new star rating that would make it easier to introduce the sport to developing countries and the possibility of combining the FEI Nations Cup™ and FEI World Cup™ Eventing. [Spring FEI Bureau Meeting]

Monday Video: EN’s own Kate Samuels and Nyls Du Terroir showing us how it’s done on the Advanced course at Fair Hill this weekend. Zoom!

Fair Hill International Raises Prize Money to $50,000

Phillip Dutton and I'm Sew Ready. Photo by Jenni Autry. Phillip Dutton and I'm Sew Ready. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Fair Hill International announced yesterday that it is tripling the prize money for the 2017 Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event October 12-15, 2017, raising the purse to $50,000.

“Fair Hill International is truly in a Renaissance phase right now,” said Fair Hill Executive Director Carla Geiersbach. “While we are best known for our nearly 30-year tradition of competition excellence, we also understand that the sport of eventing is evolving and we must evolve with it.  We realize we must cast a wider net and welcome new spectators and sponsors into the sport.

“Fair Hill has always been about the heart and soul of eventing.  This new level of prize money will hopefully allow riders to focus on their training and know their hard work will be rewarded.”

Fair Hill International is a destination event for CCI2* and CCI3* competitors each fall. It serves as the USEF National Two-Star and Three-Star Championship as well as the USEA Young Event Horse 4 and 5-Year-Old Championship. It has been a staple U.S. equestrian competition venue for decades and in 2017 celebrates its 29th year of hosting equestrian events.

“We are very excited to be able to offer prize money at a level that is on par with the excellent competition that happens every year here in October,” said Co-President Trish Gilbert.

For more information about FHI, including ticketing, sponsorship and tailgate inquiries, visit www.fairhillinternational.com

Need another reason to get pumped about this year’s FHI? Check out this adrenaline inducing promo video!

[Fair Hill International Triples Prize Money]

Rolex Ready: Liz Halliday-Sharp and Jessica Phoenix Win Advanced at The Fork

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Going into today’s cross country phase at The Fork Horse Trials at Tryon International Equestrian Center, Liz Halliday-Sharp said the main goal was to have a clear round with Deborah Halliday’s Fernhill By Night, who is bound for Rolex later this month.

“It’s no secret that Blackie can be a little tricky cross country,” she said of the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse after yesterday’s show jumping. “I’m just hoping to give him a really good confident positive round rather than go out thinking I have to win.”

Yet win they did. Leading from start to finish, Liz and Blackie produced three foot-perfect phases to win the Advanced A division. Scoring a 25.9 to take the early lead after dressage, they held their position with a double clear show jumping round. Today they were confident and smooth all the way around the Captain Mark Phillips and Tremaine Cooper designed cross country course, coming in with no jumping penalties and 8.4 time to finish on 34.3.

Will Coleman and Obos O’Reilly. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

“He was amazing today. He felt as good as I could have wanted him to. I think because the course had so many big tables and all the undulation I just tried to think ahead to Rolex and let him gallop on, not get in his way too much and work on the flow,” Liz said. “I felt like I went quick enough without going mad but I wanted to be under ten time faults so that he did get a good gallop and he felt very fit and confident and happy in himself. That’s what we were here to do.”

Over the next weeks they’ll continue to focus on fitness and practicing technical questions before heading to Kentucky. “We’ll keep focusing on the galloping because that’s important for him. We have a great cross country course in Florida with lots of tiny skinnies. I’ll build a few combinations there in view of what I think might be there. He’ll get a really good school before we ship out and we’ll really just keep focusing on the fitness and keeping him happy and keeping his mojo in check.”

Rachel McDonough and Irish Rhythm. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The Four Star Eventing Group’s Obos O’Reilly is continuing on his comeback tour with a second place finish in Advanced A. The 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse competed just once last year but came back on the scene in the Carolina International CIC2* last month where he and Will Coleman finished in eighth place.

At The Fork, Will and “Oboe” scored 30.8 in dressage and added a rail in stadium to sit in fifth place before cross country. With the fastest time in the division, they added 2.4 time penalties and moved up to finish in second place. Will has entered Oboe at Rolex along with his stablemate Tight Lines, who finished fourth in Advanced B.

Jessica Phoenix and Bentley’s Best. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Canadian rider Jessica Phoenix had a big week with four horses entered across the two Advanced divisions. She was the first out on course this morning with A Little Romance, but was unfortunately unseated at fence 15. Horse and rider were okay and Jessica returned to pilot first Pavarotti and then Bentley’s Best around the Advanced course clear. She opted to withdraw Bogue Sound.

Don Good’s 15-year-old Westphalian Pavarotti was in a good position after the first two phases sitting in second place on 29.2. Adding 15.2 time penalties they finished in third place in the Advanced A division.

A highlight for Jessica will have been Bentley’s Best’s win in the Advanced B division. The 10-year-old Trakehner gelding–also owned by Don Good–scored a 34.6 in dressage, added a single show jumping time penalty and then powered around the cross country course with 8.8 seconds to add to secure the win on a final score of 44.4.

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

“Bentley’s Best had one of his best weekends ever!” Jessica said. “I was so proud of everything he did. In all three phases he felt really confident and really playful in his jump. He felt like it was getting pretty easy for him at this level which is really exciting. From the start flags to the finish (everything rode well). It’s not often you can say that but it was just a blast.

“This has got to be one of the toughest sports in the world and to have all three phases come together on the same weekend is pretty remarkable.”

Coming in second in Advanced B was Boyd Martin and 10-year-old Tsetserleg. The two parted ways at Red Hills CIC3* in March but they looked in sync this week. A 34.7 put them fourth after dressage. Two rails and a time penalty in show jumping dropped them down one place, but Boyd and Christine Turner’s Trakehner went clear on cross country with just 7.2 time penalties for a final score of 47.3 and a move up the leaderboard.

Jordan Linstedt and Revitavet Capato. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Coming all the way from Washington State to make their third bid at Rolex, Jordan Linstedt and her and Barbara Linstedt’s 14-year-old Hannoverian Revitavet Capato will head to Kentucky riding a third place finish at The Fork. They were leading the way after dressage on 31.5 but dropped down to third with two rails and three time penalties in show jumping. They rocked around the course today with no jumping penalties and 7.2 time for a finishing score of 49.7.

There were no double clear rounds in either of the Advanced divisions. However, the course rode as well as the three-star with only one rider picking up 20 penalties besides Jessica’s unscheduled dismount.

“They did a great job with the ground on the cross country (at Tryon) especially with the Advanced,” Liz said. “I think most of us ran for that reason and felt pretty confident about it. That’s why I came here. Mission accomplished.”

The Fork Links: Website, Schedule, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Instagram

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous Clinch Wire-to-Wire Win at The Fork CIC3*

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld. Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous led The Fork CIC3* at Tryon International Equestrian Center from start to finish, adding six cross country time penalties to their dressage score to win on a 47.7 and take home a good piece of the $20,000 prize money. Marilyn said she was pleased with how “Kitty” responded to the questions on the course designed by Capt. Mark Phillips and Tremaine Cooper, and the round gave her a good feeling for the rest of the season.

“She’s 12 years old and she’s only a few years into this sport. Today she gave me the feeling of an old horse out there. She felt very confirmed, very confident at the fences,” Marilyn said of the Oldenburg mare owned by Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Phoebe and Michael Manders.

Marilyn said yesterday that this event will dictate how the remainder of the season goes, and with this performance she feels confident the mare is ready for the next level. “I let her go around minute four and she just started flying. I think that spoke well to her fitness for the first run and think Luhmühlen is definitely on the table. She strikes me as a horse that’s really ready for the four-star. I couldn’t have asked for a better feeling from her at the jumps today. This was a great kick off to a good season.”

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Doug Payne and Vandiver were one of only three pairs to complete the course without jumping or time penalties and the only pair to finish on their dressage score, 50.8. Doug and the 13-year-old Trakehner gelding partnered in the summer of 2015, but this is only their second clear round without time penalties at the level.

“I’m just trying to be smoother and more efficient with lines taken and with the ride in general,” he said. “I’m very lucky to have such a talented horse because he’s got an exceptional gallop and honestly just cruised around.”

Doug will be taking “Quinn,” owned by Doug, Jessica Payne and his breeder Debi Crowley, to Rolex Kentucky for the second time later this month. The pair finished 22nd at the event last year.

“It’s my first time going back with the same horse and having a second shot at it. I’m far more familiar with him and so I have a little bit better level of confidence. That’s not to say there isn’t a whole lot that still could be improved but I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait actually.”

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Kim Severson and the Cross Syndicate’s Cooley Cross Border were second heading into cross country but added eight time penalties for a third place finish on 51.7.

“Cross was fantastic. I think a lot of people that know us know our situation has not been always smooth sailing,” Kim said of the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse. “He got better and better this weekend. I made a large mistake into the water and he didn’t give up. He fought for it the rest of the way around the course, and he was really good in situations where he might not have been in the past.”

After winning the Advanced division at Carolina International last month, Kim said she would see how Cross ran around The Fork before making a decision about competing at Rolex.

“I’m going to see how he comes out of it. He went good today and I know I said if he went well here that was going to be the plan. I guess I just have to solidify that in my head a little bit.”

Caroline Martin and Spring Easy. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Caroline Martin jumped clear on all three of her rides in the division: Spring Easy, Danger Mouse and The Apprentice. She was fastest with The Apprentice, with whom she earned her first CIC3* win at Carolina. Today Caroline and her mom Sherrie’s 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse added only 1.6 time penalties to move up from equal ninth to finish fourth on 55.3.

Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Rubens D’Ysieux jumped clear with 5.2 time penalties to finish fifth on 55.8. Sara plans to take the a 12-year-old Selle Français owned by the Rubens D’Ysieux Syndicate to Jersey Fresh in May, followed by Bromont.

Phillip Dutton claimed the next two positions with Fernhill Fugitive and Fernhill Revelation. Showing his mastery of timing, the two Irish Sport Horse geldings finished within one second of the same time on cross country. Fernhill Fugitive, owned by Tom Tierney and Annie Jones, added only 4.8 time penalties to his initial dressage score to finish sixth on 56.3. The Revelation Group’s Fernhill Revelation added 4.4 time penalties to finish seventh on 56.7. John and Kristine Norton’s I’m Sew Ready came in at ninth with 7.6 time penalties to add.

Selena O’Hanlon and John and Judy Rumble’s Foxwood High were eighth after yesterday’s show jumping and held that position with 4.8 penalties to add on cross country. Sharon White and Cooley On Show rounded out the top 10, adding 10 time penalties for a final score of 61.8.

Chelsea Kolman and Dauntless Courage. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

For days we’ve danced on pins and needles to watch the first horses on the cross country course that will in a little more than one year’s time host the sport’s best at the World Equestrian Games. The TIEC team has big plans for the continued development of the White Oak grounds, but the course today was beautifully presented and rode well.

“I think the course was excellent. I loved the undulating terrain. It’s something you don’t get a whole lot of,” Kim said. “The course was very forward-riding and had very few problems. It was hard enough but the horses really seemed to understand the questions.”

There were zero jumping penalties in the CIC3* and as announcer Brian O’Connor said, it’s always a good day when the safety team doesn’t move. Besides Doug Payne and Vandiver, the other two double clear rounds came from Lizzy Jahnke and Princeton and Chelsea Kolman and Dauntless Courage.

We’ll be bringing you much more coverage from The Fork in the coming days, but we have to thank Mark Bellissimo and his team at TIEC, the course designers, and officials for an incredible week.

“Thank you so much to Mark and to the team and to Tryon,” Marilyn said, “and to Jim and Bernadette Cogdell for starting this event so long ago that has so much tradition and has been brought here to such an incredible venue that is special today but even more special knowing where it’s going for the future. It was a real opportunity and pleasure for all of us galloping around there on the future WEG course and knowing that we’re putting the first footprints on what will one day be very hallowed ground.”

The Fork Links: Website, Final Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Instagram

Sunday Video: The Fork CIC2* Water Complex

Thanks to the video production wizards at RNS Video Media, we can watch the CIC2* competitors riding through the water complex just yesterday at The Fork Horse Trials, presented by Lucky Clays Farm, at Tryon International Equestrian Center.

The CIC2* course caused its fair share of problems, with just about half of the starters finishing without penalties. Kylie Lyman and Lup the Loop were the ultimate winners, adding only a bit of time to their otherwise super round to finish on top with a 58.7.

Thanks to RNS for their video work! Check out their website, YouTube and Facebook for more great videos and to purchase footage of your ride.

The Fork Links: Website, Schedule, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Instagram

Who Jumped It Best? The Fork CIC* Edition

It’s time to play Who Jumped It Best?! In this edition we feature a selection of horses and riders competing in the CIC* at The Fork Horse Trials, presented by Lucky Clays Farm, at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, NC.

The one-star ran cross country as the last phase of competition yesterday. The emerging winner was Valerie Vizcarrando and Favian (read more about their win here) by a mere 0.1 penalty point. Sixteen out of 23 pairs jumped clear on the course co-designed Captain Mark Phillips and Tremaine Cooper. Seven of those pairs had no time penalties.

Now let’s play! Decide which horse and rider you think present the best overall picture over this table near the end of the course and then vote in the poll below.

The Fork Links: Website, Schedule, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Instagram

Ashton Brooke Benefiel and Treliver Drambuie. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

McKenzie Dey and Regiment. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Sophia Middlebrook and South Park. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Erika Nesler and No Doubt DSF. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Alice Roosevelt and Fernhill Zoro. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Greta Schwickert and Matchless. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Rachel Wilks and Great Expectations. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Must Read Quotes from The Fork Press Conferences

It was an extremely busy day today with both cross country and show jumping photos running for multiple levels at The Fork Horse Trials, presented by Lucky Clays Farm, at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, NC. The Advanced and CIC3* divisions kicked off the morning with show jumping and will conclude tomorrow at the White Oak cross country course.

The CIC2* and CIC* division winners were decided on cross country today with a significant shakeup in the leaderboards. We had multiple press conferences today to accommodate the schedule and riders with multiple horses. Thanks to the competitors for their flexibility and to the press officer Carly Weilminster for her help. Here are must read quotes from our winners and leaders of the day.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous jumped a gorgeous double clear round to hold their lead in the CIC3* after show jumping. Marilyn and the 12-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky and Phoebe and Michael Manders will leave the start box tomorrow with a score of 41.7 and a couple of points to spare over second place Kim Severson and the Cross Syndicate’s Cooley Cross Border.

“We’ve been working a lot on the show jumping over the winter. Obviously she knows she’s at an event here and she could have still been a bit up but she came in very relaxed and relaxed in the warm-up area as well as the ring so I couldn’t have really asked any more of her,” Marilyn said. “To me show jumping at an event, I feel so much more pressure and I walk the courses an extra 15 minutes. When I’m show jumping here I’m jumping 15 rounds a day and it’s all part of a larger program. Here walking into that ring on her, that’s all the pressure of a grand prix because this is her grand prix and we’ve worked so hard to prepare for this moment.”

Marilyn told us that she will take it easy at the start of the cross country since it is the mare’s first full event of the year. “It looks very hard to make the time on I think because the fly fences are well presented and there are great shots at them. However there is so much terrain on the approach, a lot of up and down, not big pulls, but the tee boxes that are there are in the middle of the galloping lanes so that will really slow them down and it can take their toll in terms of their size of stride and their confidence coming towards the end of the course … I’ll just try to take care of her out there and have a nice confident round because this is the event that will really determine where our season goes after this.”

Sara Murphy and Rubens D’Ysieux. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Sara Kozumplik Murphy partnered with Rubens D’Ysieux, a 12-year-old Selle Français owned by the Rubens D’Ysieux Syndicate, last September and they “got on like a house on fire” but after rider fall on the cross country at the Ocala Jockey Club CIC3* in November, Sara decided to take a step back and re-evaluated their partnership development. A clear round and second place finish at the CIC2* in Red Hills was a confidence booster for them both and moved back up to the CIC3* level this week.

Sara felt her dressage test on Thursday, which scored a 50.6, wasn’t as polished as she would have liked, but today Rubens jumped double clear and moved up from fifth to third place. “He’s a magical horse,” Sara said. “Mikki (Kuchta) did a super job training him in all three phases. She brought him along slowly so he’s very confident and obviously he’s a wickedly talented jumper.

“I got too greedy last year. We got on like a house on fire and he was so easy that I just got a little bit feeling confident that whatever we did was going to be fine. At the Jockey Club he was beautiful until I made a mistake and I think if we had been two or three months longer together we’d have been on the same page in how we were reading it … it was complete rider error. From that I reminded myself I need to go and be smart and back him down and do a lot more cross country training than I ever really do because I don’t know the horse that well.”

Sara said that if tomorrow goes well on cross country she will probably back down to the two-star again for Jersey Fresh and then back to three-star for Bromont. She said she’s trying to be more cognizant of their training and partnership and balance the ‘testing’ levels with easier outings.

“I think Mark is a very good course designer and he likes to have lots of accuracy things that you have to ride forward and be accurate to and he has quite a lot of that out there. He’s made it friendly but I also think it will ride a lot harder than it walks,” Sara said. “I’ll have a lot more information about my horse after doing it. You can never go out and say you’re going to be careful around a track like, you’ve got to go out and ride. But for me and I’m sure a lot of riders, it’s a brand new track and for me a horse I haven’t had that long. I am going to go as fast as I think is appropriate to be jumping the fences we’re jumping, but I’m also going to take an extra pull here and there because I want to make sure I ride better than I did at Jockey Club.”

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

‘It’s all about Rolex now’

The two Advanced divisions are filled with horses aiming for Rolex later this month. There were fewer clear rounds than in the three-star and the time had been tight for both levels. Liz Halliday-Sharp took the early lead in the Advanced A division with Rolex-bound Fernhill By Night, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned by Deborah Halliday, and jumped double clear today to hold their position on 25.9.

“He tried really hard. He wasn’t quiet awake in the warm-up and needed a little bit of a gee up out there but he tried really hard in the ring. He’s a great jumper and as long as I don’t make any mistakes he’s pretty cool. He’s definitely a bit of a sensitive flower so you have to look after him a little bit. I would be someone who is prone to time faults with him because I usually look after him a little too much. I was really pleased with him today because I thought the time was tight enough and he kept rolling.”

As for tomorrow’s cross country test, Liz said the primary goal is a clear round. “It’s no secret that Blackie can be a little tricky cross country,” she said. “I actually think he’s in the best place he’s ever been despite what the record might show he’s actually going the best he’s probably ever gone on the cross country … I’m just hoping to give him a really good confident positive round rather than go out thinking I have to win. It’s all about Rolex now.”

Jessica Phoenix and Bentley’s Best. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Jessica Phoenix rode four horses in the two Advanced divisions, selecting which division to enter each horse based on which dressage test would benefit them the most. She jumped clear today on Bentley’s Best, Pavarotti and A Little Romance, all three of whom are entered at Rolex. Bentley’s Best, a 10-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Don Good, added one time fault to his round but still moved up from third to take the lead in Advanced B on 35.6.

“He’s such a cool horse to ride and he really feels like he’s getting playful at this level,” Jessica said. “I’m really thankful that I entered this event. Just getting them in this atmosphere and this venue, having to walkthrough to that big ring is really great for the horses and being able to do dressage and show jumping in this venue is a really good setup for Rolex.

“The course looks amazing. I think they’ve done an incredible job. I think having as much rain as we did has really been helpful for the footing… it’s an interesting course with the roping and terrain. It feels like a major games and to be galloping a golf course is unusual for us. The terrain and technical questions out there are going to be a good test and prep for Rolex.”

Kylie Lyman and Lup the Loop. Photo by Samantha Clark.

Kylie Lyman and Lup the Loop. Photo by Samantha Clark.

Kylie Lyman Wins the CIC2* with Loop the Lup

Kylie Lyman and Joan Nichols’ 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse Lup the Loop had a ‘blip’ at Carolina International when Kylie’s stirrup broke when they were competing in the CIC3*, so she opted to take a step back for a confidence booster here at The Fork. “It definitely served that purpose,” she said.

Kylie and “Loopy” scored a 49.1 in dressage to start off in 8th place in the CIC2*. A double-clear show jumping round yesterday moved them up to sixth and a clear round with 9.6 time on today’s cross country gave them the win.

“Today was definitely not a breather for either one of us. There was a lot to do out there. Even though it was a two-star I thought it rode quite difficult. I think he came away from it having learned something. We both had to work for it. He learned something which doesn’t always happen when you take a step back sometimes,” Kylie said. “In my style of cross country riding it was probably not the most natural. I like to just kick on and go a little bit and the terrain made that more difficult, so I think it was a great experience for the two of us to have to be patient and work with the terrain a bit more. Things definitely came up quickly and he was adjustable and rideable which is something we’ve worked on.

“I’m taking a different approach for Loopy this spring. We had a really good go at Bromont last year so I think my plan now is just to take a little breather and not do a spring CCI with him and just work backwards to Fair Hill. He’s done a lot last season and this spring so I think he’s earned a little quiet time and we’ll just do our homework and figure out what the summer looks like.”

Overnight leader Allison Springer and Lord Willing had a fall on cross country when the horse slipped on the turn after the drop bank. This resulted in a mandatory retirement but they are both thankfully okay.

Valerie Vizcarrando and Favian. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Valerie Vizcarrando and Favian Earn Their First FEI Win

Valerie Vizcarrando and her 9-year-old Oldenburg Favian just completed their sixth one-star competition and earned a well-deserved win in The Fork CIC*. They scored a 41.9 for second after dressage and remained in the same position despite a rail down in show jumping. They produced one of only a few double clear cross country rounds in the division to secure at least second, but overnight leader Rachel Wilks and Great Expectations crossed the finish two seconds over time, giving Valerie and Favian the win by a mere 0.1 penalty point.

“He’s a relatively new horse for me and he’s really cool. It took me a bit to get him figured out but he’s starting to feel like he’s mine,” Valerie said. “He handled the atmosphere great, he was really happy to scorch around the cross country today … He’s not an inherently confident horse but he wants to do the right thing.”

Valerie and “Faves” were coming off a third place finish in the Carolina International CIC* two weeks ago. “I love that track, I love the place, I know it really well. This was not quite that same thing … He made me confident because he wasn’t waffling at all. He has these big ears and they were pricked straight forward out of the box and that was a good feeling.

“I was joking channeling my Jimmy Wofford lessons, plan for the plan to change. He was galloping great in the first field but didn’t know where he was supposed to go. I was as ready for that as you can be. You have to trust you have some training, guts and skills to call on.”

Valerie feels Favian still needs to be stronger before moving up to Intermediate. She plans to aim for Bromont for a good education over Derek di Grazia’s course and hopefully move up later in the summer.

The CIC3* and Advanced cross country gets underway at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow. There is no live streaming but we will be tweeting and bringing you as much up to the second information as possible. Click here to catch up on all of EN’s Coverage of The Fork so far and check out Instagram to see extra photos and find out what Chinch has been getting into. Thanks for reading! Go Eventing.

The Fork Links: Website, Schedule, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Instagram

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous Show Jump Clear to Hold the Lead in The Fork CIC3*

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld. Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The day has dawned sunny and gorgeous at The Fork Horse Trials, presented by Lucky Clays Farm, at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, NC. The Advanced and CIC3* competitors did their dressage on Thursday and returned to the George Morris Arena this morning for show jumping.

Sixty-three percent of the CIC3* field jumped double clear over Chris Barnard’s course and another two were clear with time penalties. However, out of a total of 19 Advanced horses and riders only four jumped double-clear with another three going clear with time.

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous, owned by Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky and Phoebe and Michael Manders, jumped a clear round to hold onto their lead in the CIC3*. They will head into tomorrow’s cross country on a 41.7. Marilyn was thrilled with “Kitty” having worked hard all winter on her show jumping, but being that this is the 12-year-old Oldenburg’s first full run of the year, Marilyn said she will take time early on course to assess the mare’s fitness and feeling before kicking on.

Kim Severson and the Cross Syndicate’s Cooley Cross Border also remain on their dressage score of 43.7 following a beautiful fault-free round, the fifth career double clear at the CIC3* level for the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse. The top two riders will have some breathing room over the rest of the field on cross country, but the scores become tightly packed from here on, with less than 10 points separating third through fifteenth place.

Sara Murphy and Rubens D’Ysieux. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Sara Kozumplik Murphy was absolutely delighted with Rubens D’Ysieux, a 12-year-old Selle Français owned by the Rubens D’Ysieux Syndicate, who show jumped double clear to move up from fifth to third. They head to cross country on a 50.6.

Doug Payne and Vandiver, owned by Doug and his wife Jessica along with the 13-year-old Trakehner’s breeder Debi Crowley, also moved up two places to fourth place with a double clear round and two-phase score of 51.5. We owe a congratulations to Doug for winning last night’s $5,000 Welcome Stakes at the Tryon Spring III Horse Show after he’d spent a full day eventing!

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Coming in fifth after show jumping is Phillip Dutton and Thomas Tierney and Ann Jones’s 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse Fernhill Fugitive, moving up from seventh with no penalties to add to their dressage score of 51.5. Phillip had the last fence down with the Revelation Group’s Fernhill Revelation, dropping them from third to seventh place. Phillip and Kristine and John Norton’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood I’m Sew Ready remain tied with Carolina Martin and Sherrie Martin’s The Apprentice, with both pairs moving up to ninth on 53.7. The Mr Medicott Syndicate’s 18-year-old Irish Sport Horse Mr Medicott looked happy to back in the show ring, posting a fault-free round and moving up to 11th on 54.7.

Sharon White’s 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse Cooley On Show showed off his incredible jumping style, producing a double clear round and moving into sixth place on 51.8. Selena O’Hanlon and John and Judy Rumble’s 14-year-old Canadian Sport Horse Foxwood High had an unfortunate rail down at a vertical, sending them from fourth to eighth place on 53.6.

Sharon White and Cooley On Show. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Shoutout to Caroline Martin who went double clear on all three of her CIC3* rides. The Apprentice gave the fences a ton of room and Caroline rode him well. Danger Mouse, owned by Caroline and her mom Sherrie, jumped out of his skin to move up to 11th place and Spring Easy, also owned by his rider and Sherrie, hopefully gave Caroline a good with his double clear as they look ahead to Rolex later this month.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deborah Halliday’s Fernhill By Night remain on their dressage score 25.9 to hold their lead in the Advanced A division after show jumping. They are followed by Jessica Phoenix and Don Good’s Pavarotti in second on 29.2. Allison Springer and Arthur added a single time penalty but moved up one placing to third on 30.8.

Caroline Martin and Danger Mouse. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

In the Advanced B division, Jessica moved into the lead with Bentley’s Best, also owned by Don Good, posting a clear round with one time penalty for a two-phase score of 35.6. Emily Beshear and Deep Purple Eventing’s Silver Night Lady had two fences down but remain in second on 40.8. Two rails and three time penalties dropped dressage leaders Jordan Linstedt and Revitavet Capato, owned by Jordan and Barbara Linstedt, down to third place.

Check back later for quotes from the leaders in both the CIC3* and Advanced divisions and much more from The Fork. Go Eventing.

The Fork Links: Website, Schedule, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Instagram

Sport Horse Nation Spotlight: A Saddle For Your Unicorn

In the market for a new four-legged partner? You may find your unicorn on our sister site, Sport Horse Nation. To help with the search, we’re going to feature a selection of current listings here on EN each week. We include the ad copy provided; click the links for videos, pricing and contact information.

So maybe you found your perfect unicorn and he or she needs a new saddle. We have quite a few nice saddles listed for sale regularly on SHN. Here are four that have been posted in the last week.

Prestige Eventer. Photo courtesy of Kim Connelly via Sport Horse Nation.

PRESTIGE EVENTER JUMP SADDLE

Awesome black Prestige Jump Saddle size 18/34 made in Nov. 2014 it has wool panels, calfskin seat and knee rolls and printed leather. It has movable knee and thigh rolls plus an extra pair so you can customize your fit (which is an awesome feature) it has extra D rings for trail rides or fox hunts. This beautiful saddle is in like new condition!!! The billets reflect this. It’s like buying a new saddle without the wait or the price! This saddle comes with its saddle cover. Located in Chicago, Illinois.

Prestige Appaloosa. Photo courtesy of Emma Weir via Sport Horse Nation.

Prestige Appaloosa Twin flap jump saddle

Prestige Appaloosa Twin flap jump saddle: 17″ seat with a Medium tree, wool flocked. Dark brown leather with some fading on the seat but not noticeable when ridden in. Forward flap ideal for cross country. In good used condition, completely structurally sound. Located in Lee, New Hampshire.

CWD. Photo courtesy of A. Humes via Sport Horse Nation.

17.5″ CWD SE02 with 3C flaps

2011 SE02 which is the medium deep seat. Buffalo flaps with calf seat and knee rolls. 17.5″ with 3C flap, 4.5″ from dot to dot. Leather is grippy and soft. Foam panels are soft and form to your horse’s back for each ride. Knee and thigh blocks keep your leg secure while allowing freedom of mobility. Well balanced saddle puts you in a fantastic position. Can include calf, nylon lined CWD stirrup leathers but they are shorter length (I’m 5’4″). Pictures taken immediately after using Lederbalsam, the leather is actually is a buttery matte. Located in Asheville, NC.

Voltaire Lexington. Photo via Sport Horse Nation.

Voltaire lexington XC

Voltaire Lexington Jumping Saddle: 18″ seat, 3A flaps (long and forward), All buffalo leather -Saddle comes with original cover, remaining leather balsam and glycerine. Saddle was made in December 2014 and ridden in for 14 months. (This seller also has a dressage saddle for sale!) Both saddles have been stored in a climate controlled tack room. Only for sale as current horse prefers the jumpers. Located in Aiken, SC.

There is also a saddle fitter/rep in Ocala, FL that has a room full of saddles in a variety of brands, all for sale! Click here for more info:

Amerigo, Devoucoux, Voltaire Used Saddles for Sale

Listings included in this article are randomly selected and confirmed to be current and active before inclusion. Sport Horse Nation features user-generated content and therefore cannot verify or make any warranty as to the validity or reliability of information.

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.

The Fork Links: Website, Schedule, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Instagram

Take A Virtual Walk Around the New CIC3*/Advanced Cross Country at The Fork

Comparing what the Advanced/CIC3* cross country course at The Fork Horse Trials, presented by Lucky Clays Farm, looked like two weeks ago to now, it’s clear the team at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, NC has accomplished a lot in that short amount of time. They were just setting the fences when EN got a sneak peek at the new track built on the former White Oak golf course, and looking at it now somehow satisfies the dreams of any eventer that has ever longed to gallop headlong down the middle of a perfectly groomed, emerald green fairway.

The excitement surrounding this new track is of course the fact that we’re getting a first glimpse of what will be the course for the 2018 World Equestrian Games. In order to reconstruct the golf course into a world class cross country track, the team was forced to move some earth, design horse-friendly bridges across the creek and cover irrigation drains and sprinklers, among other things. But the wide galloping lanes and natural terrain make for an impressive track and we can’t wait to see what will come over the next year.

The Advanced/CIC3* cross country was co-designed by Captain Mark Phillips and Tremaine Cooper, built by Eric Bull and beautifully decorated by Megan Murfey. The CIC3* competitors, followed by the Advanced divisions, will run on the new course in reverse order of go starting at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Thanks to Samantha Clark for trekking around the course yesterday to bring us this virtual course walk. Note that the Advanced numbers have white borders and the CIC3* numbers are plain blue. The course is 3658 meters long with an optimum time of 6 minutes 25 seconds. If you’d like to see the course with minute markers and distances included, click here to “walk” the course via Cross Country App.

The Fork Links: Website, Schedule, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Instagram

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous Dance to the CIC3* Lead at The Fork

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld. Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

We’re excited to be here at the Tryon International Equestrian Center for the first running of The Fork Horse Trials, presented by Lucky Clays Farm, at its new location in Mill Spring, NC. Much will be revealed this week as we will see some of the country’s top horses here for their final prep run before Rolex Kentucky, and we will of course watch the first horses gallop over what will be the site of the 2018 World Equestrian Games cross country track.

Twenty CIC3* pairs competed in front of judges Christian Landolt (SUI) and Gretchen Butts (USA) this morning. A cold front blew in with yesterday’s thunderstorms and a strong, cold wind combined with flapping flags and big atmosphere in the George Morris Arena had some of the horses feeling a bit tense, resulting in some higher than usual scores than we typically see from some of these combinations. Overall, the scores were 2.21 points higher than expected.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous, however, turned in a lovely, fluid test to score a 41.7 and take the lead in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup qualifier. This is the third time in four three-star appearances that this pair have scored under 42.0, but still Marilyn felt she was riding somewhat conservatively.

“I was really pleased with her and I thought she did a good job,” Marilyn said. “I’m coming from very warm weather and it’s quite chilly and windy. I wouldn’t have blamed her if she had been a little fresh, but she was very focused and she did a nice test. I could have ridden her probably up a little more. I was maybe a little conservative thinking there could be some effects (from the cold).”

Over the winter in Wellington, Fla. Marilyn has been working with Kitty on bringing her frame up more consistently as well as getting her more on the aids for flying changes so she doesn’t anticipate that movement. In today’s test Marilyn was especially pleased with their second flying change and felt it was what they had been working towards.

Marilyn is looking to complete their first full run of the year with “Kitty,” a 12-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Phoebe and Michael Manders. In Florida, she’s had to get creative with the mare’s conditioning schedule and will take time to assess her fitness on cross country Sunday.

“Some of the horses that you’re going to see have been going since January and February. She’s been in Wellington the whole time, so the gallops and the fitness have been a little bit creative. She’s been galloping out in the everglades on the dykes and very much on the flat,” Marilyn said.

“We’ll see what her fitness is here, but regardless it’s her first run of the year so we’re looking for a good start to her season and to get a nice tour and see what’s out there so we all have an idea of what’s coming, what the plans are and where the course is for the moment.”

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Kim Severson and the Cross Syndicate’s Cooley Cross Border are second after dressage with a 43.7. The 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse is entered in his first four-star at Rolex, but Kim had been leaning towards another three-star to confirm his changes and develop his base of fitness. Packy McGaughan has been helping Kim with her flatwork recently, and she said she was pleased with Cross today, particularly in his lateral work. She’s also been working to get him more expressive and powerful in the ring and said the atmosphere at TIEC probably helped.

“He’s almost dare I say a little bit better in something like because he’s a pretty quiet horse. I think he gets a little introverted so he was actually really good and good on the aids,” she said. “This show is going to dictate if we think we’re going to go to Kentucky or not. He was great at Carolina International so I’m going to see how he is. Hopefully he’s going to be good and come out better for it.”

Phillip Dutton was competing at Burghley last year during the USEA American Eventing Championship so this is his first visit to Tryon. “It’s great to be here and it was worth the trip here to have the horses in this main arena,” he said. “It’s great preparation for bigger events to come.”

Phillip is riding four horses in the CIC3*, three of which that are entered at Rolex. Phillip said he was pleased with all of his horses, particularly since the rain yesterday wasn’t an ideal preparation for them at a new venue.

Fernhill Revelation, aka “Warren”, is a relatively new ride for Phillip, and the Revelation Group’s 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse turned in the best score of Phillip’s four rides. A 48.3 is a 3.2 point improvement over their test at Red Hills and put them in third place. “Like Marilyn I was riding a little conservative to try and make it a mistake free test,” said Phillip, who is aiming “Warren” at the Tattersalls CCI3* in June. “I’m excited about (Warren) and the future. I think he’s going to be pretty smart on the flat.”

Phillip and Fernhill Fugitive, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned by Thomas Tierney and Ann Jones, scored a 51.5 for seventh place. Phillip is once again campaigning Kristine and John Norton’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood I’m Sew Ready. His regular rider Kristin Bond has recently given birth to her second child and will take the ride back after Rolex. Phillip and I’m Sew Ready scored 53.7 to tie for tenth. We also welcomed back The Mr. Medicott Syndicate’s Mr. Medicott for his first FEI appearance since early 2015. A 54.7 for Phillip and the 18-year-old Irish Sport Horse puts this pair in 12th after the first phase.

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Revelation. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Sitting fourth after dressage is Selena O’Hanlon and John and Judy Rumble’s 14-year-old Canadian Sport Horse Foxwood High on a score of 49.6. Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Rubens D’Ysieux, a 12-year-old Selle Français owned by the Rubens D’Ysieux Syndicate, scored 50.6 for fifth place. Doug Payne and his and Jessica Payne and Debi Crowley’s 13-year-old Trakehner Vandiver are not far off in sixth with a 50.9.

Sharon White and her 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse Cooley On Show scored a 51.8 for eighth place. Kylie Lyman and Joan Nichols’ 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse Da Vinci Code are ninth on 51.8, and Caroline Martin and Sherrie Martin’s 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse The Apprentice are tied with Phillip and I’m Sew Ready on 53.7.

Caroline Martin was stopped early in her test with Pebbly Maximus after it was noticed that he had pink saliva in his mouth. They were ultimately eliminated and The Fork released the following statement from the ground jury:

“Although there was no rough riding nor any major wound upon vet inspection the amount of blood was unacceptable. Regrettably we had to apply the FEI blood rule. Therefore, we did not allow her to continue.”

Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The CIC3* horses will have a day to relax before show jumping on Friday. Cross country will be the final phase on Sunday, and we’re all looking forward to seeing the course designed by Captain Mark Phillips and Tremaine Cooper.

“It’s very impressive and obviously they’ve got a long range plan and we’re in the early part of it,” Phillip said. “We’ll just be trying to give the horses a good positive run without going too fast.”

The Advanced A division, made up completely of Rolex-bound combinations, competed this morning as well. Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night lead on 25.9. Jordan Linstedt and Revitavet Capato are leading the Advanced B division on 31.5.

Cornelia Dorr and Louis M are the leaders of the CIC2* with a 38.9. Allison Springer and Lord Willing scored a 42.3 for second place and Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z are close behind on 42.5.

Boyd Martin and Long Island T are the leaders of the CIC* division on a 36.1 as the only combination to score better than 40. Valerie Vizcarrando and Favian are second after dressage on 41.9, and Boyd rounds out the top three on 44.0 with The Fonz Himself.

The Fork Links: Website, Schedule, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Instagram

Taking Tryon By Storm: Behind the Scenes at The Fork

While horses and riders traveled to and settled in at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in preparation for The Fork Horse Trials this weekend, the skies opened up and western North Carolina experienced an all-day torrential downpour yesterday.

We’re looking at a windy day today but thankfully the forecast predicts a perfect weekend. I’ll be your boots on the ground for Eventing Nation along with Samantha Clark. The competition begins today with the CIC3* dressage starting this morning. Go Eventing.

The Fork Links: Website, Schedule, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Instagram

All settled in at the incredible Tryon International Equestrian Center for The Fork! This place is amazing and we are…

Posted by Liz Halliday on Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Here at The Fork! The Adv and 3* competitors had a mandatory road trip and nature walk together to see where the start,…

Posted by Allison Springer on Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Lots of excited snorting from the unicorn as he gets his first tour of Tryon International Equestrian Center

Posted by Sara Kozumplik Murphy on Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Rainy day at the Fork, but what a beautiful venue @tryonresort #eventing #cic3star

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Little cross country, little fog, lots of rain ☔️☔️☔️☔️ #thefork

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#funwithferns #theforkhorsetrials #theforkcic #tryoninternationalequestriancenter

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Monday News and Notes from Fleeceworks

James Pray Baker Jr. and Wings. James Pray Baker Jr. and Wings.

The eventing community mourns the loss of James Pray Baker, Jr., who passed away unexpectedly on March 23. Jim was an active volunteer, strong supporter of Area II Adult Riders and a board member at the Carolina Horse Park. In addition to eventing his Thoroughbred “Wings”, he enjoyed foxhunting with the Moore County Hounds and also played polo. Jim was a shining light whose good humor and zest for life will be greatly missed. [In Memoriam]

U.S. Weekend Action:

Morven Park H.T. [Website] [Results]

Rocking Horse Spring H.T. [Website] [Results]

Full Gallop Farm H.T. [Website] [Results]

Texas Rose Horse Park H.T. [Website] [Results]

Galway Downs CIC & H.T. [Website] [Results] [Live Stream]

Monday News and Notes:

With five perfect rounds, McLain Ward and HH Azur won the FEI World Cup™ Jumping finals in Omaha. After their final round yesterday McLain said, “I’ve always wanted to win an individual championship,” McLain said to FEI TV after his win. “I thought I was running out of gas, but the mare is amazing and dug deep, and I think the last round was the best of the week.” [McLain and Annie Flawless in Omaha]

Mind your melon. How’s that for a New Year’s Resolution? U.S. Dressage star Steffen Peters is a traditionalist at heart who continued to wear top hat and tails in FEI competitions despite the rising popularity (and good sense) of wearing a helmet. Steffen said he hung onto his top hat largely due to superstition but made the switch to wearing a helmet with encouragement from his teammates and as an opportunity to be a positive role model for the next generation of dressage riders. [Steffen Peters Retires Top Hat]

“When she’s got her game face on, you ain’t messin’ with this lady.” Riding her team gold and individual silver medal Olympic partner Weihegold, world #1 dressage rider Isabell Werth won her third FEI World Cup™ Dressage title in Omaha this weekend. She was last in the ring for the freestyle following Laura Graves and Verdades 85.307% performance, and threw down an incredible 90.704% for the win. [Wonderful Werth and Weihegold Take World Cup]

Boyd Martin will speak on behalf of ex-racehorses at the first International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses conference in Washington, DC on May 17-18. Among the goals of the conference is to promote the versatility and adaptability of Thoroughbreds and raise awareness for their suitability in other equestrian disciplines after their racing days are over.

[New Jobs for Racehorses]

Monday Video: Friend of EN Margaret McKelvy and her OTTB Runs On Stilts (2015 Maryland’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred).

Sport Horse Nation Spotlight: Three Dutch Lovelies

In the market for a new four-legged partner? You may find your unicorn on our sister site, Sport Horse Nation. To help with the search, we’re going to feature a selection of current listings here on EN each week. We include the ad copy provided; click the links for videos, pricing and contact information.

I took a Dutch language class in college. My mom was furious and thought my language credit would be much better spent in Spanish or Latin. She’s probably right, but that little bit of knowledge hasn’t been completely useless considering Dutch Warmbloods are a popular breed in English equestrian sports.

The Royal Warmblood Studbook (KWPN) is one of the largest registries in the world and was established back when the breed was valued for its pulling power rather than jumping power. Click here to learn more about the KWPN North American registry and then check out these three lovely Dutch Warmbloods for sale on Sport Horse Nation.

Priceless. Photo courtesy of Sharon White via Sport Horse Nation.

Winning Training Level Horse With Spectacular Movement!

Priceless “Miles” is a 2008 bay imported Dutch Warmblood Gelding. He has an eye catching presence and floats across the ground. His uphill balance makes him a serious dressage prospect, he has competed in the 1.10 jumpers with a young rider and is winning at training level eventing. He has all the makes to go into any ring and win! Located in Ocala, FL.

Hudson. Photo courtesy of Sara Welgoss via Sport Horse Nation.

Talented Dutch Warmblood gelding

Hudson is a 17.0hh, 2007, Dutch Warmblood, gelding. Hudson has shown up to 3′ 3″ at jumper shows, with ease and scope, and up to novice level eventing with room to go higher. He is a lovely mover who consistently scores in the low 30’s to mid to upper 20’s. He is a talented jumper who could make a great show jumper as well as an eventer. He could also be well suited for a dressage rider. Best suited for an experienced rider and with the right rider he will move up through the levels nicely. No leases or trials. Located in Adamstown, MD.

Festive Rose. Photo courtesy of Jennie Brannigan via Sport Horse Nation.

Festive Rose- 2010 15.3 KWPN Mare

Festive Rose aka Rosie is a 2010 15.3 chestnut KWPN (National Anthem X Wasabi Rosa, by Farrington) mare. Rosie is a beautiful mare with three fancy gaits and a scopey jump with a good bascule. Rosie has shown in dressage through training level and is correctly schooling first level at home. In October of 2016, Rosie won the Open Beginner Novice division at The Virginia CCI/CIC and Horse Trials! Rosie moved up to novice recently and finished on her dressage score of 29, and has never been out of the top three. Rosie is related to many good event horses including TwilightsLastGleam who completed two CCI1* as a six year old. Very sweet and personable! Located in Ocala, FL.

Listings included in this article are randomly selected and confirmed to be current and active before inclusion. Sport Horse Nation features user-generated content and therefore cannot verify or make any warranty as to the validity or reliability of information.

Who Jumped It Best? Carolina International CIC3*

“You’re going to sit back and ride this confidently, or you’re going to cry for your mommy.” That was course designer Ian Stark’s advice for negotiating the huge log drop at the Ship’s Quarters water complex at Carolina International.

And the riders did sit back and ride, but whether your horse dropped in quietly or launched up and out, the key was to quickly organize for the B element, a big brush corner at the top of a mound. It was a test of bravery, communication and good footwork, and it was an awesome complex to sit and watch.

Check out these seven CIC3* competitors and decide which horse and rider pair present the best overall picture. Then vote in the poll below for who you think jumped it best.

Carolina Links: Website, Final Results, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Instagram

Will Faudree and Hans Dampf. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Lauren Kieffer and D.A. Duras. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Caroline Martin and Danger Mouse. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Daniela Moguel and Cecelia. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Allie Sacksen and Sparrow’s Nio. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Erin Sylvester and Mettraise. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Monday News and Notes from Fleeceworks

Maya Simmons (stirrup-less!) and Archie Rocks. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld. Maya Simmons (stirrup-less!) and Archie Rocks. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Maya Simmons and her 9-year-old Thoroughbred Archie Rocks were having a good round on their first Advanced cross country course at Carolina International, but after they dropped into the first water complex, something unusual happened. Look closely and you’ll see in the above photo that Maya has lost both of her stirrups, which will in a few strides fall completely away from her saddle and land with a thud in the galloping lane.

In an awesome display of determination and athleticism, Maya chose to continue on anyway. To the wild cheers of the onlookers, they made it most of the way around the course until Maya popped out of the tack at the tricky coffin combination, but it gave us all a great thrill and was the ultimate inspiration for strengthening that lower leg by practicing regularly without stirrups.

U.S. Weekend Action:

Carolina International CIC and H.T.: [Website] [Live Stream] [Results] [EN’s Coverage] [EN’s Twitter] [EN’s Instagram]

Poplar Place Farm March H.T.: [Website] [Results]

Monday News and Notes:

To better understand how contact patterns may contribute to the spread of disease, researchers have attached small radio frequency identification tags to horses and their handlers at several equine facilities in Canada. The tags record who comes in contact with who and for how long. The detailed contact pattern data gathered from the study will be useful in many areas of equine research. [Study Tracks Real Time Contact Between Horses and Humans]

The organizers and officials at the Burgham International Horse Trials in the UK made the difficult decision to cancel the weekend’s competition, which included a CIC3* and CIC2*, due to weather conditions that made the footing inadequate. Patricia Clifton, the FEI Technical Delegate, said, ‘…their whole approach has been so wonderfully positive with nothing but the interests of the athletes, horses and owners at heart. How lucky we are to have organising teams like this.” [Burgham International Cancelled]

Thoroughbred racehorse trainer Bob Baffert once believed that if he could make it to Rillito Park on the “on the grits-and-hard-toast circuit,” he’d be set for life. Now 64, he’s a Hall of Fame trainer whose many victories include the World Cup in Dubai and a sweep of the Triple Crown of racing with American Pharoah. He has a new star student in his barn, Arrogate, the heavy favorite for this year’s World Cup. [Hard Work, Failure and Passion: How a Horse Trainer Made It]

Monday Video:

 

It was a great wrap-up to a fabulous 2017 Carolina International, enjoy highlights from the CIC3* cross country!

Posted by EQSportsNet on Saturday, March 25, 2017

Lizzy Jahnke and Princeton Jump to Victory in Poplar Place CIC3*

Lizzy Jahnke and Princeton. Photo by Jenni Autry. Lizzy Jahnke and Princeton. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Poplar Place Farm hosted a Beginner Novice through Advanced horse trials plus CIC*, CIC2* and CIC3* competition this weekend in Hamilton, Ga., and Lizzy Jahnke and Princeton, an 11-year-old Thoroughbred owned by Light Speed Equestrian, were the ultimate winners of the CIC3*, finishing on their dressage score of 57.1. They were second after the first phase, but they delivered a fault-free show jumping round and went clear and fast on cross country, finishing three seconds under optimum time, to secure their first FEI win.

“He is an incredible horse with a captivating personality and the biggest heart,” Lizzie said. “I’ve been working really hard on the dressage and it’s been getting better and better. There’s still lots of places to make improvements but I was really happy with the test overall. The show jumping was fantastic. I had a forward smooth round. He just went in the ring and jumped out of his skin.

“The cross country was great as well. I was a little worried about the first water as we had a bounce of two houses going in and that’s something I hadn’t done before, but everything rode really well. He’s a really fast horse and he’s incredibly rideable, so I knew if I let him go I could be close to the time.”

Princeton, also known as “Kiwi” had been previously campaigned by another Lizzie (Green) of New Zealand. Lizzy Jahnke partnered with the gelding with the help of Joe (also a Kiwi) and Ruthie Meyer. In the last year-and-a-half Lizzy and Princeton have made their way up the levels. In two weeks they will head to The Fork followed by the Jersey Fresh CCI3* in May with the ultimate goal of competing in the USEF CCI3* Championship at Fair Hill International in October.

“Overall it was a great weekend,” Lizzy summarized. “The weather was perfect and we even got a little rain overnight which helped soften up the footing. Poplar Place does a great job having everything organized and it’s a beautiful venue with lots of terrain.”

Joe Meyer and Clip Clop. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Joe Meyer and Clip Clop, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned by Joe and Madison and Theresa Foote, are entered for Rolex Kentucky next month and had a good prep run at Poplar. A 59.3 positioned them in third place after dressage. They show jumped double clear over Jan Brodkin’s course and added 5.2 time penalties on the Tremaine Cooper designed cross country course to finish in second over all.

Joe and Chantil Ruud’s Johnny Royale finished fifth in the 8-year-old New Zealand Thoroughbred’s first CIC3* appearance, adding a rail and 6.8 cross country time penalties to their dressage score of 65.2.

Chelsea Kolman and Dauntless Courage moved up from sixth after dressage, adding no jumping or time penalties to their initial score of 66.8 in their very first CIC3*. EN has followed Chelsea and “Dante’s” special partnership as they progressed up the levels. Click here to read more about Chelsea and her 18-hand Thoroughbred/Percheron cross.

Jennie Jarnstrom and her 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare Penelope were first after dressage, but a rail and some time penalties on cross country dropped them down to a fourth place finish overall. William Hoos and the Harpeth Valley Equestrian Team’s 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Celtic Rhythm finished sixth.

Karl Slezak and Fernhill Wishes. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Karl Slezak picked up two big wins this weekend. He and Katlyn Hewson’s 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse Fernhill Cascum Marco were the only pair in the CIC2* to finish on their dressage score to win on 55.6. Karl also won the Advanced division with a final score of 54.9 riding his own 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse Fernhill Wishes in the gelding’s first Advanced competition.

Ashley Hays and her 9-year-old Holsteiner Call It Courage were sixth after dressage in the CIC2*, scoring 59.8. They moved up to third after show jumping and added 3.6 time penalties on cross country to finish second overall on 67.4 in their very first two-star. Jackie LeMastus and the very experienced Tatton Winter round out the top three, moving up from eighth with a final score of 82.9.

In the CIC*, Autumn Schweiss and her 8-year-old Belgium Warmblood Jive About Wonderland finished on their dressage score to win on 49.9. They were the only pair to show jump double-clear, and a clear and fast round on cross country gave them the win with nearly 10 points to spare.

Denise Goyea and her 9-year-old Oldenburg mare Highlife’s Je T’aime took the early lead on 49.4. While they didn’t add any jumping penalties on show jumping or cross country, time faults in both phases resulted in a second place overall finish in the pair’s first FEI appearance.

Elissa Gibbs and A Proper Gentleman, Kathleen Fitzgerald’s 12-year-old Sport Horse, were ninth after dressage, but a one rail show jump round and double-clear cross country moved them well up the standings to finish in third place.

Congratulations to all the horses and riders at Poplar Place. Click the link below for complete scores. Go Eventing.

Poplar Place Farm March H.T.: [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores]

Liz Halliday-Sharp & Matt Brown Win Carolina International CIC2*/CIC*

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z. Photo by Jenni Autry. Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Liz Halliday-Sharp’s Deniro Z has won his second two-star this spring with a wire-to-wire win in the Matt Faudree & Attwood Equestrian Surfaces CIC2* at Carolina International. The 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood took the lead in a huge division of 62 starters on a dressage score of 41.7. A double clear show jumping round gave them some breathing room for cross country, where they added only 1.6 time penalties today for a final score of 43.3.

Deniro has had an impressive career so far, with numerous national wins and four international wins since 2016. Liz told EN last month that she was hoping to syndicate Deniro and is excited to announce that they do have new owners for him and she he will be staying in her barn.

“He’s just unreal. It’s funny because I think he’s really kind of coming into himself. We weren’t really sure what kind of horse he’d be. He’s always been a sale horse and he’s become this really awesome dude,” Liz said. “I really think he’s a top horse… I think the two of us get on very well, which is important, and it’s nice when you’ve produced them from the beginning to really know the horses.”

Deniro came to Liz in the summer of 2015 from Francis Whittington. He had little experience, but won his first event and showed promise on cross country. He kept winning and kept progressing from there. “Each level you challenged him, he said ‘okay, I can do that.’ He’s very much his own person, but he really likes the party. He gets it and he likes to compete. He nearly always goes in the ring and delivers.”

Niro will head to the Ocala CCI2* next month. Liz’s next goal with him this year is to do the Blenheim Young Horse CIC3* for 8/9 Year Olds. “He nearly could do an Advanced now, it’s just solidifying him at each step of the way.”

Hannah Sue Burnett and RF Demeter. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Jacqueline Mars’ 15-year-old Oldenburg mare RF Demeter redeemed themselves from a fly by at Red Hills two weeks ago with a clear round and two time penalty points to secure a second place finish today on a 47.2.

Hannah Sue said she had walked the course this morning with Karen O’Connor and formulated a plan with the help of Demi’s former rider Marilyn Little. “I stuck to that plan and it worked really well,” Hannah Sue said.

“It’s very different to how I ride my other horses in cross country. They go in the contact in the gallop and she doesn’t like that at all. By fence 5 I figured that out. Then she took a breath and was so much fun. I had a blast. Everything rode great and she felt like my horse… I felt like I could have run around Kentucky.”

Coming third was Kylie Lyman and Joan Nichols’ Cooley Ice, who made a steady march up the leaderboard throughout the weekend. They started in seventh with a 49.2 and finished on that score for third place. Bobby Meyerhoff and his own Fortuna also finished on their dressage score of 53.7, vaulting up the places from 28th after dressage to ultimately claim fourth. Will Coleman and the Conair Syndicate’s Soupcon du Brunet made a similar leap, going from 17th to fifth with only four time penalties to add to their dressage score of 51.6.

Only four two-star competitors rode double-clear on cross country today: Arden Wildasin and Kineo, Tayler Stewart and Ideal Contini, Bobby and Fortuna, and Kylie and Cooley Ice. Bobby and Kylie were the only two riders to finish on their dressage score. Way to go!

Kylie Lyman and Cooley Ice. Photo by Jenni Autry.

After a minor injury in 2015, the Blossom Creek Foundation’s BCF Belicoso has returned to competition in excellent form. Scoring a 37.5 for a tie for third in dressage, Matt Brown piloted “Holden” to two double-clear jumping rounds to win the Landmark’s Young Event Team CIC*.

“After he was an alternate for the Pan American Games, he had a fairly minor tendon injury and we gave him a lot of time,” Matt said. “I think the break and the time rebuilding him was actually really good for him because he feels a lot stronger. He doesn’t have the base of fitness obviously so we need to take our time and build him up, but he’s just a super horse to have in the barn.

“His dressage I think has come along the most because we’ve been doing a lot flat work during the rehab. I was really happy with his dressage test and this event i actually wasn’t freaking out the whole time cross country worrying about him. I let him gallop a bit more. He feels great. I couldn’t be happier for him.”

The plan is to run Holden at another Intermediate or two-star at Fair Hill before targeting a CIC3*. “I’m going to really try to get him as fit as I can. He’s the opposite of Super Socks BCF and needs a lot of fitness, so that will be our primary goal this year: get him really fit and confident and see where we go.”

Matt Brown and BCF Belicoso. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Boyd Martin and Contessa hunted down the top spot throughout the competition, moving from second after dressage to third with 2.4 time and finally settling in for second place after a double clear show jumping round today. Valerie Vizcarrondo and Favian added one rail to their score today to finish on 41.8 in third place.

Jennie Brannigan and FE Lifestyle moved up from 13th after dressage to finish fourth on a 45.8, having added two second of time on cross country and another 2 second today in show jumping. Will Faudree and Michel 233 round out the top five, finishing on their dressage score and moving up from 22nd after dressage.

That wraps up the FEI divisions at Carolina International. The national divisions finish up tomorrow with the Advanced show jumping first thing in the morning. But the EN team isn’t done yet! We’ll be back with more from #CICIC.

Carolina Links: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Stream, Schedule, Orders of Go, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Matt Brown and BCF Belicoso Move Into First After Cross Country in Carolina CIC*

Matt Brown and BCF Belicoso. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld. Matt Brown and BCF Belicoso. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The CIC* competitors were the first to tackle Ian Stark’s cross country course this week at the Cloud 11 ~ Gavilan North Carolina International in Southern Pines, NC and the big, imposing course had its effect on the leaderboard.

Out of 65 horse and rider combinations to leave the start box today, eight went double-clear. One of those was Matt Brown and The Blossom Creek Foundation’s BCF Belicoso, who moved into the lead on their dressage score of 37.5.

Boyd Martin and Long Island T, the leaders after dressage, picked up 8.4 time penalties and dropped to sixth place. Boyd and Contessa, owned by Densey Juvonen, Gloria Callen, Fernanda Kellogg and Kelly Morgan, added 2.4 time penalties to sit third after cross country.

Valerie Vizcarrondo and her own Favian moved into second with a double-clear round and a two-phase score of 37.8. Clayton Fredericks and FE Vindus, owned by Clayton, Eckart Siewert, Amanda Bernhard and Diana J. Crawford, crossed the finish line only one second over optimum time and are fourth with 39.4. Jennie Brannigan and Tim and Nina Gardner’s FE Lifestyle were two seconds over time and move into fifth with 43.8.

Lucia Strini and Plain Dealing Farm’s MTF Cooley Classic added 3.6 time and moved up from 11th to seventh after cross country carrying a score of 45.5. Will Faudree and Michel 233, owned by Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables, posted a double clear round, making a huge move from 22nd after dressage to eighth on 46.0.

Katherine Christopher riding Lisa Borgia’s Frodo of the Shire and Lizzie Snow riding Dan and Diane Snow’s West River were tied for 24th after dressage. Both went double-clear on cross country, crossing the finish in 5:46 seconds. They will head to the final phase tied for tenth place.

Tomorrow will as busy as today, with the CIC2* and CIC3* running cross country and the CIC* finishing up in the show jumping ring. Click here for a full schedule and click here for all of EN’s Coverage of the 2017 #CICIC.

Now here’s a photo gallery of the rest of the CIC* top 10 after cross country. Go Eventing.

Carolina Links: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Stream, Schedule, Orders of Go, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Valerie Vizcarrando and Favian. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Boyd Martin and Contessa. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Clayton Fredericks and FE Vindus. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Jennie Brannigan and FE Lifestyle. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Boyd Martin and Long Island T. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Lucia Strini and MTF Cooley Classic. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Will Faudree and Michel 233. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Elena Hengel and Roll of Thunder. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Katherine Christopher and Frodo of the Shire. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Lizzie Snow and West River. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z Hold Tight to CIC2* Lead at Carolina International

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld. Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and her 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Deniro Z jumped double-clear over Marc Donovan’s show jumping course this morning to retain their lead in the Matt Faudree & Attwood Equestrian Surfaces CIC2* at Carolina International. They will move forward to cross country on a 41.7.

“Dinero was great. He went in and sort of lit up in the ring. I don’t think he breathed on a pole,” Liz said. “He’s quite a forward moving horse so I think the course really suited him. He’s obviously a big jumper and really scopey so you do have to make sure you keep the back end coming. He’s a great horse, he tries really hard.”

Liz and Elarona, a 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, sadly did not repeat their clear round effort from the CIC2* at Pine Top last month, and they dropped outside of the top 20 after dropping three rails in show jumping today. Liz said she still believes she’ll be a big time horse for the future.

“She was just hunting at the front rails a bit. She is very tricky anyway; she’s a very difficult horse to ride. She jumped amazing in warm-up. I thought everything was good to go and then she was quite a different ride in the ring. It would be a lot more atmosphere and everything than she’s ever seen. I’m not worried. She’s a great jumper and there’s a lot more to come from her.”

Hannah Sue Burnett and RF Demeter posted a beautiful double-clear to move into second place on 45.2. Hannah Sue and the 15-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Jacqueline Mars are a new partnership, but you wouldn’t have known it watching their lovely, fluid round today.

“She’s so fantastic in the show jumping. It’s really fun. She was jumping so high in warm-up and then got in the ring and got a bit tense, but she knows her job and reads the rails really well. Marilyn (Little) has obviously done a really good job training her in that phase.”

On cross country tomorrow, Hannah Sue plans to take it easy and continue working on their partnership. “I’m going to start out slow and make sure we have communication. It’s not the goal to win this event. We’ll see how she feels. If we’re gelling really easily right off the bat then we’ll pick up the pace a little bit. It’s all just getting to know each other.”

Hannah Sue Burnett and RF Demeter. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Cornelia Dorr and her 12-year-old Rheinlander gelding Louis M dropped a single rail that moved them down only one placing. They are now tied for third on 48.4 with Phillip Dutton and Corazon, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by David Garrett, who jumped a clear round to move up from sixth.

Kylie Lyman and Joan Nichols’ 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse Cooley Ice had a fault-free trip to move up two places to fifth place. They move forward to the final phase on a 49.2. Close behind on 49.7 is Emily Beshear and the Deep Purple Eventing’s 11-year-old mare Silver Night Lady, who moved up from tenth to sixth with a lovely clear.

Boyd Martin and Tura Lura, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare owned by Gloria Callen and Nancy Hathaway, are seventh on an even 50.0. Allison Springer and Lord Willing, a 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by the Lord Willing Syndicate, moved up from 14th to eighth and move ahead on their dressage score of 50.6.

Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monaco, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned and bred by Jacqueline Mars, are ninth on 51.1.  William Coleman and the Conair Syndicate’s 11-year-old Anglo Arabian gelding Soupcon du Brunet round out the top ten with a clear round for a 51.6, moving up from 17th after dressage.

There were 23 double-clear rounds out of 61 horses that jumped in the CIC2*. Laura VanderVliet’s Magnum’s Martini pulled up halfway around after he partially dislodged a front shoe. Laura’s partner Nilson Moreira da Silva dashed into the ring and had the shoe off in seconds. Morgan McCue unfortunately parted ways with Abecca GS at the second element of the triple combination, but she was up quickly and horse and rider walked out together.

The CIC3* is show jumping right now and the CIC* cross country will get underway at 3:00 p.m. Stay tuned for more from Carolina International!

Carolina Links: Website, Entry Status, Ride Times, Live Stream, Schedule, Orders of Go, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram