The addition of the CCI3* at Rebecca Farm two years ago created a whole new dynamic in the North American calendar. By adding a fifth CCI3* in North America, Rebecca suddenly opened up an option for horses or riders who may have not been ready to contest one in the spring.
With a stunningly picturesque landscape and an all-star management team, this year’s competition has attracted talent from literally all over the country to the remote reaches of Kalispell, Montana.
- The CCI3* is running for the third time this year, having run for the first time in 2015. Both previous winners, DeLux Z and Copper Beach, were in third place after dressage. Coincidentally, 43.7 was the lowest dressage score for both years.
- Only one pair has ever finished on their dressage score in the CCI3* division, despite one-third of competitors making the time on cross country. That pair, Kurt Martin and DeLux Z, went on to win the inaugural running in 2015.
- Charlie Tango and Heather Morris are the clear favorites to hold the lead after the first phase. Their average three-star score sits at a 46.2 and has varied less than two points in either direction for the horse’s entire three-star career.
- Although Paddy the Caddy averages a 51.2 for the level, he and Erin Sylvester have the capability of challenging for the lead. Although they haven’t yet broken into the 40s at the three-star level, their personal best scores have come at Advanced horse trials, where they’ve dipped into the equivalent of sub-45 scores on two occasions.
- FE Ophelia just stepped up to three-star level at Great Meadow, laying down a 51.2 in her first start. However, she and Clayton Fredericks have ranged from scoring solidly in the 30s to just cracking 50 at the two-star level, so a big test is a possibility. [UPDATE: Clayton did not present FE Ophelia at the first horse inspection.]
Cross Country Machines
- After a three-year hiatus from the level, favorites Emilee Libby and Nonsensical are back in action and have already been rocking and rolling. They have two CCI3* runs from 2014 that were both clean and inside the time on cross country day. Despite averaging 5.6 time penalties in their three runs this spring, they are one of the best bests to add nothing to their score in the second phase.
- Paddy the Caddy and Erin Sylvester didn’t have the smoothest introduction to the Advanced level but have sorted it out over the past year, clocking in six consecutive clear runs while averaging 9.2 time penalties over the past two years. They are hot off a finish only one second over the optimum time as they head into the horse’s first CCI3*.
Show Jumping Powerhouses
- Charlie Tango and Heather Morris have an almost perfect show jumping record at the Advanced/three-star levels. They have never had a rail in seven rounds and only once have they acquired time penalties.
- Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy have shown they have serious jumping chops, jumping clear rounds each of the three times they ran cross country prior to show jumping and leaving all the rails up in 10 of 12 rounds at this level.
- Alyssa Phillips and Bliss III had a single rail in their very first Advanced back in the winter of 2015 and haven’t looked back since. Although they have had a couple time penalties on occasion, they have had no rails in the eight rounds since their first start.
PREDICTED WINNER: Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy
Keep Your Eye On:
- Clayton Fredericks and FE Ophelia [Update: Withdrawn]
- Alyssa Phillips and Bliss III
- Holly Jacks-Smither and More Inspiration