Heather Morris and Charlie Tango Jump to Stable View Oktoberfest Advanced Lead

Heather Morris and Charlie Tango. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

It was a beautiful, breezy day in Aiken, SC at the Stable View Advanced Oktoberfest Horse Trials. Competitors from Advanced to Beginner Novice tackled Richard Jeffery’s show jumping course which had a strong impact on scores. In the Advanced division, just 34% were clear and inside the time, while 38% were fault-free in the Intermediate.

Heather Morris and Team Express Group’s 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse Charlie Tango jumped clear and inside the time to take the lead in the Advanced division, moving up from second after dressage with a 25.4. “His dressage was pretty good. He had some moments, some wobbles, but he got a 10 on his rein back,” Heather said.

This is Charlie’s second year at the Advanced level and he has consistently produced first and second place finishes at both national and international competitions. He is nearly always fault-free in show jumping and is a cross country machine.

“He’s coming up but he’s quite young still. He’s barn sour which on this course will be tricky because we’re stabled in the main barn and fence six goes right next to his stall. I’m hoping he’s growing up but I have to keep that in the back of my head,” Heather said.

Heather and Charlie are getting ready for the CCI3* at Fair Hill International and will look to have a solid run on Captain Mark Phillips’ cross country course tomorrow.

“Tamie and I have been practicing some cross country questions and I’m hoping he’s ready and will go out with his game face on and prove he’s grown up and is ready for this. I’m going to give it a crack but if someone goes faster and beats me, so be it.”

“The course is good. There are five jumps in first minute so it’s quite derby-like at the beginning but then opens up and flows quite well. The time will be hard to make so you’re going to see some people run for time but a lot will go out and use it as a good prep for Fair Hill.”

Clayton Fredericks and FE Ophelia. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Clayton Fredericks (AUS) and Diana Crawford and Hugh Wrigley’s FE Ophelia are second after the first two phases. A fault-free round moved them up from fourth on a 26.3.

Clayton got the ride on the 10-year-old Zweibrucker mare last year and have earned several top two-star placings. They moved up to the three-star level at Great Meadow and most recently finished 15th at the Plantation Field CIC3*. They are entered in the CCI3* at Fair Hill.

Boyd Martin was the overnight leader with the Shamwari Syndicate’s 15-year-old Hanoverian Shamwari 4, but a rail and one time penalty dropped them down to fourth place. Yet Boyd still has four horses in the top eighth in the Advanced division.

Boyd’s Rio Olympic Games mount Blackfoot Mystery, a 13-year-old Thoroughbred owned by the Blackfoot Mystery Syndicate, moved up to third after a double-clear round to sit on 28.5. Lucy Boynton Lie’s 14-year-old Thoroughbred Crackerjack and Christine Turner’s 10-year-old Trakehner Tsetserleg were also clear and fast, moving into seventh and eighth place respectively.

Tamie Smith has two horses in the top nine. Kevin Baumgardner’s 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood Wembley had one rail to drop to fifth on 30.0, and Judith McSwain’s 8-year-old Holsteiner mare Fleeceworks Royal added four penalties for ninth place on 31.9.

Katie Ruppel and her 13-year-old Thoroughbred Houdini went double clear to move up one place to sixth on 30.2. Joe Meyer and Clip Clop, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned by Joe and Theresa and Madison Foote, were also clear and fast to tie Courtney Cooper and her homebred Irish Sport Horse/NZ Thoroughbred cross Who’s A Star for tenth on 34.6.

Boyd Martin and Blackfoot Mystery. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

We have a number of combinations making their Advanced level debut here at Stable View. Kerry Torrey and her 11-year-old Hanoverian Zumba are off to a good start at this level with a dressage score of 37.5 and a double-clear show jumping round. They are currently in 14th place in the division.

Kelley Beaver and her 17-year-old Thoroughbred Sempre Fino had a single rail in their first Advanced. Shanon Baker and her 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse Ballingowan Zeal jumped a lovely clear with five time penalties.

Canadian Young Rider Shelby Brost is no stranger to Advanced but is competing for the first time at the level with Crimson, a 14-year-old Thoroughbred mare who carried Shelby to two medals at NAJYRC: bronze in the 2015 one-star and gold in the 2016 two-star.

Shelby is saving her Crimson’s legs for the Ocala Jockey Club International in November so will they will not run cross country tomorrow. However, they were one of the few to jump clear and fast today in show jumping and are placed 15th on 37.9.

Shelby Brost and Crimson. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Looking to the 40-horse Intermediate division, Caroline Martin leads the way with her own 8-year-old Zangersheide Cristano Z. They move on to cross country still on their dressage score of 23.5.

In second is Boyd Martin and the Long Island T Syndicate’s 11-year-old Oldenburg/Thoroughbred Long Island T with a 23.8. Boyd is also fourth with Christine Turner’s 10-year-old Canadian Warmblood mare Kyra and tied for fifth with On Cue, an 11-year-old Anglo mare also owned by Christine. Third place is held by Leslie Law and his and Carmen Anderson’s 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse Call the Law on a 24.4.

Scores are close at the top and time penalties will undoubtedly be a factor on cross country tomorrow. The footing is fabulous and the course is very spectator friendly. We’re looking forward to a great day tomorrow.

Barry and Cyndy Olliff brought the first Advanced Horse Trials to Aiken two years ago and developed a premier fall event with an enticing atmosphere. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by the bustling trade fair which features tack shops and artists of all kinds. There are food trucks galore and the craft beer is flowing.

If you can’t make it in person, mark your calendar for next year. Meanwhile, tune in to watch cross country on the EQTV live stream starting at 10:20 a.m. Sunday. EN’s own Jenni Autry is commentating and she’s lining up special guests as we speak! If you missed today’s show jumping, the replay is already available!

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