EN’s Year in Review: Top Five Pairs in Show Jumping for 2017

This series highlights the top five horses and riders in each phase at the Advanced, three-star and four-star levels from 2017. While we often recognize greatness over all three phases in our sport, EN believes we should also recognize strength in each phase. This series aims to give that recognition, highlighting horses and riders who have had particularly strong years in one phase.

We’ve already looked at top cross country horses and dressage powerhouses among the American and U.S.-based horses. Today we pay tribute to the top five show jumping horses of 2017.

To be considered for EN’s Top Five, we first began with horses with at least three show jumping rounds at this level who had no more than one rail the entire year. We then ranked the horses according to the number of rounds that were jumped clear, with the horses who jumped the most clear rounds ranking higher.

Then the level of competition was considered, and the horses tied for number of runs were ranked according to the level of their CCI (or if no CCI was completed). Finally, if a tie still existed, we turned to time penalties, using that as the final tie breaker.

Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

FIFTH PLACE: Paddy the Caddy

Number of Rails in 2017: 1

Time Penalty Average: 0

Number of Clear Rounds: 5 of 6 (2 Clear CCI3* Rounds)

In his second year at the level, Paddy the Caddy cemented his ability in the show jumping phase under Erin Sylvester, clocking in clear rounds at five of their six shows, two of which were CCI3*. With clear rounds in 12 of their 14 career stadium rounds at this level, these two are worth keeping an eye on.

This pair started the year quietly with clear rounds in the Advanced divisions at Pine Top and Carolina International. Coming home, Paddy the Caddy then knocked off a clear round in their first CIC3* of the year at Fair Hill. The Advanced at the Horse Park of New Jersey saw Erin and Paddy the Caddy have their only rail of the year before they moved on to a clear round in Paddy the Caddy’s first career CCI3* at Rebecca Farms, giving them the win. A clear round at Fair Hill CCI3* helped them clinch a top five position, one of only two pairs to finish on their dressage score.

Lauren Kieffer and D.A. Duras. Photo by Shelby Allen.

FOURTH PLACE: D.A. Duras

Number of Rails in 2017: 1

Time Penalty Average: 0.14

Number of Clear Rounds: 6 of 7 (No CCI)

D.A. Duras is another sophomore at the level who really stepped up his game this year. With Lauren Kieffer in the irons, this young horse came close to a foot-perfect year, with only a single rail.

These two started the year in the states with clear rounds inside the time in the CIC3* divisions at both Red Hills and Carolina. A single time penalty at Chattahoochee Hills in the Advanced would be their only time penalty of the year before Lauren based herself in England for the remainder of the year.

Across the pond, D.A. Duras clocked off a clear stadium round in the Advanced at Little Downham before incurring his only rail of the year at the CIC3* at Barbury Castle. He and Lauren rallied for the final two rounds of the year at this level, jumping clear at both the Hartpury CIC3* and Blenheim CIC3* (8/9 year old).

Phillip Dutton and Z. Photo by Jenni Autry.

THIRD PLACE: Z

Number of Rails in 2017: 1

Time Penalty Average: 0.14

Number of Clear Rounds: 6 of 7 (1 Clear CCI3* Rounds)

Yet another sophomore horse on this list, Z has started a pattern of needing one show to warmup before hitting home runs the rest of the year. Both in 2016 and 2017, Z had one rail at his first A/3* of the year before jumping clean for the remainder of his shows.

Z and Phillip Dutton started by incurring one rail at Carolina CIC3*. They’d clock in clear rounds at Fair Hill and Jersey Fresh in the CIC3* divisions before hopping the pond to incur the only time penalty of Z’s career thus far at the Tattersalls CCI3*.

Back for the fall, Z had clear rounds at both Millbrook Advanced and Plantation Field CIC3*, then had a short break while Phillip recovered from a fall. Back in time for the Ocala Jockey Club, a clear round in the stadium helped Z climb the ranks to finish as Phillip’s top placed horse of the CIC3*.

Kurt Martin and Delux Z. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

SECOND PLACE: DeLux Z

Number of Rails in 2017: 0

Time Penalty Average: 0.71

Number of Clear Rounds: 7 of 7 (1 Clear CCI3*, 1 Clear CCI4*)

DeLux Z co-owns the longest clear stadium streak in North American eventing, with eleven straight clear rounds dating back to his first CCI4* in 2016. Since that date he has jumped clear at every Advanced, 3*, and 4* he has competed at, including two rounds at Kentucky, one at Fair Hill CCI3*, and another at Blenheim CCI3*.

Beginning the year with clear rounds at the Pine Top Advanced and Carolina CIC3*, Kurt Martin and DeLux Z then had a clear round with four time penalties at the Advanced at Chattahoochee Hills. They were then one of only four clear rounds inside the time at Kentucky CCI4*.

Coming out strong for the fall, this pair had clean rounds again at Millbrook Advanced and Plantation Field CIC3*, then incurred one time penalty but no rails at the Fair Hill CCI3*.

Mara DePuy and Congo Brazzaville C. Photo by Jenni Autry.

FIRST PLACE: Congo Brazzaville C

Number of Rails in 2017: 0

Time Penalty Average: 1.22

Number of Clear Rounds: 9 of 9 (1 Clear CCI3* Round)

The only freshman horse on the list, Congo Brazzaville C has stepped up to the Advanced level with a bang in 2017 under Mara DePuy. Going a perfect 9 for 9 in stadium rounds is no joke, and despite a few time penalties, this horse has established himself as the king of this phase for 2017.

These two started off the year with a clear round inside the time at the Pine Top Advanced before knocking off the same in the Carolina, Fair Hill, and Jersey Fresh CIC3* divisions. Congo Brazzaville C incurred his first stadium penalties with 6 time at Great Meadow CICO3* when Mara briefly took a detour after a particularly big effort, but the two followed it up with clear rounds inside the time at both Millbrook Advanced and Plantation Field CIC3*.

Next up they finished the year with a clear round and four time at Morven Advanced followed by a clear round with one time penalty at Congo Brazzaville C’s first CCI3* at Fair Hill.

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