Dressage starts today at Saumur, France for the CCI***. The first horse is set to start at 2:20pm local time, which is 8:20am ET. Marilyn Little and RF Smoke on the Water begin the weekend for the US at 9:58am ET, followed by Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot at 10:28am ET.
Will Faudree with Andromaque and Buck Davidson with The Apprentice compete tomorrow at 10:45am (4:45am ET) and 2pm (8am ET) respectively.
— USEF (@USEquestrian) May 22, 2013
The Apprentice (Buck Davidson), Harbour Pilot (Hannah Sue Burnett), Andromaque (Will Faudree), and RF Smoke on the Water (Marilyn Little) have made it through the first horse inspection.
Saumur CCI*** and Pau CCI**** this fall are target events for many nations this year, the US included, as the world looks forward to the 2014 WEG in Normandy, France. Both Saumur and Pau are designed by Pierre Michelet, who is set to create the course next year for the World Championships. His courses are known to be technical and challenging, and this weekend could be a good preview for what we could see next year.
Approximate Timetable (subject to change)
Saumur, France is 6 hours ahead of Eastern time zone
WEDNESDAY, 2013 MAY 22th
9.00 am - 10.00 pm
|Briefing of competitors|
|Inspection of the Cross Country courses|
From 2.00 pm (8am ET)
|1st horses inspection|
From 5.30 pm
THURSDAY, 2013 MAY 23rd
9.00 am - 5.00 pm (1am - 11am ET)
FRIDAY, 2013 MAY 24th
9.00 am - 5.00 pm (1am - 11am ET)
SATURDAY, 2013 MAY 25th
10.00 am - 6.00pm (4am - 1pm ET)
|Cross Country tests (CIC** then CCI***)|
SUNDAY, 2013 MAY 26th
9.00 am (3am ET)
|2nd horses inspection|
|Jumping Tests CIC**|
|Prize Giving Ceremony CIC**|
3.45 pm (9:45am ET)
|Jumping Tests CCI***|
|Prize Giving Ceremony CCI***|
While we take a brief break from three-day events here in the US, we have a great team of riders representing us over in France at the Saumur CCI***. Hannah Sue Burnett was kind enough to send us a postcard from Saumur, as horses and riders get settled for the coming weekend. Many thanks to Hannah for writing, and thank you for reading. Go Team USA!
Bonjour Eventing Nation!!
All the horses and riders are finally here in Saumur, France! Will Faudree, Dr Johns and I arrived on Sunday and met up with all of the grooms and Joanie Morris at the most beautiful layover farm. The nicest man and his 20 donkeys hosted our horses in Fluerry fromSaturday-Monday morning. Sunday night a baby donkey was born while we were there doing lates! It was incredible. All the horses were very settled in...except my William! He let us know that he prefers to be stabled separately from donkeys.
Everyone shipped to Saumur Monday morning and had a hack around the venue that afternoon. It is absolutely beautiful here and everyone is friendly and helpful. There are a couple of castles in town and a very scenic river right next to our hotel.
The "Will and Hannah take on France" trip started Monday morning when we drove to Saumur without any adult supervision. After stopping for gas and snacks on the way I was so proud and told Will that we tricked the cashier and she totally couldn't tell we were American because we were so smooth and said bonjour and merci. Then he pointed out that I was wearing my jacket with American flags all over it!!!
We've now been joined by the rest of our team despite a lost bag and cancelled flight. Marilyn, David, Buck, Caroline Martin and Karen all arrived in the last day. The horses are working in well and everyone is getting along great. We can't wait until all of the owners and family get here in the next couple of days.
We have the jog tomorrow afternoon and then find out what days we do dressage.
A huge thanks to the owners, grooms, family/friends and sponsors who make this happen for us and to Joanie Morris who had the difficult job of dealing with the riders and details (aka herding cats!)
Thanks for everyone at home for your support and texts/emails/calls!!
Until next time I'll be practicing my French!
So often you so see people at events, you say hello, chat briefly, make a mental note to try and catch up properly later, and then never bump into them again; so it's been with Erin Pullen and I for the last two years! I knew there was a special story to her and her horse Big that I'd been wanting to talk to her about, and I'm extremely grateful to her for finally biting the bullet for me and writing it on my behalf and sharing it with us, especially right after an exhausting and emotional weekend at CHC International! Congratulations and Thank you to Erin, her whole team and all her connections! Go Big, Go Burns and Go Eventing!
Big and I have been together since he was in his latter part of his two year career as a race horse. I was training at the time and noticed him. He had won a few stakes races but as of late he was running nowhere on the bottom. I bought him on the condition I had to take 5 other horses off the guy's hands as well. Ugh, I just wanted him! No matter - I sorted them all out, found them suitable homes and went to work on Big. He was a rack of bones when I got him, but his eye is what caught me. His right eye, the kind that has the white ring round it!!! Fell in love in an instant. I got him back going strong and won four more races with him. The last race he won, he suffered a hairline fracture of his pelvis while breaking form the gates. He still won the race. I took him home with me that night. My dog George and I stayed in the stall with him for two weeks. He and George were instant buddies from then on. A few weeks after that I got kicked in the face which almost killed me. Needless to say I quit the racetrack. Big and I recovered together.
I called my mom that December and told her I was coming up to Masterson with Big and George. Mom got there and watched as the three of us had a blast in the field, Big going over the little hunter fences with George either at his heels or on top of the jump barking at him!! It was a day I'll never forget. I'd already known, but now I really knew, this is the horse you get once in a lifetime.
I owe all of my basics to Susan Posner, without her I would be lost. I'd take him for lessons with her when I could, but mostly he and I did this on our own. We've come up from BN to now Intermediate. We ran our first OI at Chatt Hills in 2010. We were last throughout, but I didn't care, we did it. In a world of no, we said yes. After a few setbacks, Big and I have come back to Chatt Hills this weekend and have rocked it ending up 7th in the OI.
This was bittersweet to me, in 2010, I had George with me, I lost him last year to cancer. It was the worst time in my life, I even pushed Big away. I was afraid to hurt like that again. I realized what I'd done and got it back together. The best part is I now have Burns, he's my 14 week old nephew of George. It was a great tribute this weekend.
The event was amazing as always. Everything about it is so welcoming and inviting. When I walked the course on Thursday, I thought back to my first time doing the OI in 2010. I came back from that first walk a little green around the gills. Not this time: I knew I did it last time and this time it looked even better!!! I loved the questions the course asked of you. Really good galloping fences to a very technical skinny to skinny to a very narrow corner!!!!! C'mon, that's a challenge!!!! The whole course was like that!!! Really fun, kept you on your toes!!!! I noticed running the IP's earlier in the year, Big was quite bored on the cross country. This time he had his ears pricked as if to say, 'yes! I'm up to that challenge!' He's not a very experienced horse as of yet, every question you could feel him thinking and understanding. I was so impressed with the weekend!!!! Not to mention a fabulous show jump round. Big is always a bit over eager in SJ, today, he was calm and weighed the situations carefully. Fantastic weekend!!!! Chatt Hills has outdone itself again!!
(Not only is this a wonderful helmet-cam, it also gives you a great perspective of Hugh Lochore's CHC Int'l OI and CIC** xc course. If anyone has a CIC*** or CIC* xc they'd like to submit, we'd love to see it! Thanks!)
Sorry, this horse and new puppy are so special to me!!!!
Many, many thanks to Erin for writing and we look forward to following their progress up the levels. Go Eventing!
Lauren Lambert, a native Kentuckian, raised funds to spend some time in Ocala this winter to train with David O'Connor as part of the U25 programme and was thrilled that the results showed in her dressage score - a hugely improved 28.4 for third place after that phase. Unfortunately an error at the angled houses close to home left them with 20 penalties on Saturday night, but Lauren told me she was generally very pleased with him cross-country, that he'd jumped all the new questions brilliantly and been very bold and keen, perhaps just a touch too much, and she needs to now re-think her bitting again as the pelham wasn't quite enough and that may have been her downfall at the end of the course as she couldn't organise him in time once he'd got rolling on a bit! A lovely stamp of a horse, he is an OTTB who was bought out of the yearling sales and raced by Ann Banks before being claimed. Ann then saw him some time later in a claiming race not looking quite as good and claimed him back, and Sally Abell now owns him for Lauren to compete. Lauren also owns another of Ann's ex-racehorses herself, the stunning grey Opera Ghost who raced a couple of times in partnership with Ann and Maggie Moss (who also used to own another stunning grey OTTB eventer - Titanium) before Lauren bought him at the end of his three year old year. Finally, Ann's newest OTTB turned eventer, a homebred called Rockin' Rod who raced on the flat, and even won a steeplechase before being sent to Lauren to try his hand at eventing, turned "professional" this weekend, finishing 6th in the Open Beginner Novice division at his very first recognised event at CHC Int'l - Congratulations to you all!
Another Louisville native, Laura Hampton, was taking her horse, Tirbracken around only his second intermediate this weekend and while we may have all been impressed by how well he handled the track, how bold he was, look at his lovely form, above, etc etc and we were, Laura might have had some misgivings about his quick thinking and keen eye when he locked on to the post and rail fencing out of the arena after jumping the corner combination huge, and calmly popped over it, completely missing the flower boxes that were supposed to be the exit! Not one to be too flustered, Laura spends her winters whipping in for the Long Run Hounds, she turned back, found a gap, duly jumped the flower box and continued to jump a beautiful clear round although she was given 20 penalties for the mishap.
Jessica Shull and L.E. Font, 19th in the CIC** - I think the arena combination rode best at this level for some reason - it seemed to cause most trouble in the prelim/one star, and then again a bit of trouble in the three star but I probably watched twenty pairs jump it in the middle of the day on all sorts of strides and it was quite forgiving.
Caroline Martin commits to a long one on all three jumps and rides positively to make it happen with Petite Flower in the CIC**
Julie Norman and Consensus, 2nd, over the first element of the arena combination.
Clayton Fredericks and PigrelaDes Cabanes,a much improved 2nd place here in the CIC** after an unhappy trip with owner/rider Hayley Parker (RF) in the CIC*** at Jersey Fresh last weekend
I'm glad to hear via facebook that Ashley Giles' Stellarluna is none the worse for wear after a fall at the ditch and brush later on course after skipping through the arena as if if it were a gymnastics combination. It was also a relief much later in the day on the CIC*** course to see Bill Hoos and Carmac walk away from a crashing fall at the vicarage ditch, demolishing the jump so much that the jump crew eventually abandoned trying to rebuild it and directed competitors to take the alternative. Unfortunately for Ellie MacPhail and RF Eloquence, who'd been held for quite some time while all this went on, they fell on re-starting and it will be hard to know if this was as a direct consequence or not.
However, not to take away from all those who had great rides and should be proud of their horses this weekend. Julie Norman, above, 2nd in the CIC** on Consensus.
The prize-giving took place just outside the main arena by the bandstand, and like Red Hills, the trade stands and the country fair atmosphere (kids zone, beer tent etc) already make CHC International feel like a big-time European event. It's been a subject of many discussions that the US riders need to be exposed to bigger competitions, and the more we have people like Hugh (Lochore), Carl (Bouckaert) and Michael (Pollard) with vision, and means to make it happen it can only be good for the US programme. The jumping under the lights was a brave move but hopefully in a few years' time will be ordinary at events all over the country, more normal for the horses and a big draw for crowds of all sorts. The cross-country was definitely demanding - but fair, and shouldn't it be? The mounds at the beginning of the course caused some trouble, the arena fences as discussed earlier, and the water seemed to ride very well on the whole - Lizzie Snow's Coal Creek took a massive bound out, leaping at the bank from possibly a whole two strides away, and very nearly made it, just pecking on landing and unseating Lizzie, and Veronica made the same mistake but in a slightly less dramatic fashion and got away with it of course, going on to jump clear with Lauren Kieffer and win the CIC***. Some of the big galloping fences were exactly that - big and galloping (isn't that what we say we want?), and we obviously need to practice jumping them again because they caused a couple of falls as well as a few lucky escapes.
Deborah Iezzi and Maxfli, 5th - near the end of the Intermediate course. Go Kentucky!
I talked to Hugh, and I talked to quite a lot of the riders, and I walked around a lot, and thought a lot. I'm reluctant to write too much as I wasn't riding and haven't competed in years, but I saw some fantastic riding and some great horses, some silly mistakes, and some combinations, mostly at the one star level who looked out of their depth. I'm proud of Hugh and the CHC Int'l Team for not compromising - from the show-jumping under the lights, the main arena and the extra loop through it, the vendors, the promotion, and yes the xc courses, I'm glad they decided to make this a first class event across the board and stick to their guns. I do remember driving home from events back in the day kicking myself for those stupid rider errors, those 'if only ' moments, endless, countless variations on a theme! I remember rarer wonderful drives home when everything had gone right, even more so if it was an especially tough track, or a marquee event, and probably most valuable of all I remember the longest drives home when it had all gone wrong, when I wondered if I should give up, when I felt I'd let everyone down, most especially my horse and had to try and figure out how to get better and learn and take something good away from it. I don't really remember the drives from those mid-week, middle of the road, bread-and-butter events even though they were just as important in my horses' education and my livelihood at the time but that isn't what CHC Int'l is going to be. Congratulations once again to all those who competed, completed or took part in some way in the creation and organisation of CHC Int'l and thank you for a wonderful weekend. Go Chatt Hills and Go Eventing!
Event Director Hugh Lochore - at home we call those rosettes "Special!"
By adding just cross country time penalties to their dressage score Lauren Kieffer and Veronica moved up from fourth place to first during the course of the CIC*** at the inaugural CHC International, taking home the blue ribbon and a wheelbarrow full of other awards, including the Big Green Egg, the Adequan vouchers (this was of course a stop on the USEA Gold Cup Adequan PRO Rider Tour) and valuable points on the PRO leaderboard. Although it was Lauren's intention to run her around gently, Veronica was full of run and definitely seemed to have her own ideas about that; her one sticky moment on the cross country came when Veronica made a bid to leave out a stride jumping up the bank out of the water, "I definitely saw another one coming up that bank", agreed Lauren, "but this mare is so competitive. She took a bit of a long one but she fought for it to get to that skinny, she's just a genius like that, she's amazing, she's very competitive in her own mind. She was wonderful the whole way round - I went out to have a very steady clear, I certainly didn't intend to be fast but she just gets into such a nice rhythm and she's just such a quick little horse anyway, plus she's so balanced that I don't have to do a ton of work in front of the gallop fences so she just kind of cruised along. She's little so she stayed a bit above the muddy ground which helped her. I think a lot of people probably went slowly because of the ground but I'm tickled to death to have won. The ground was a bit heavy in the galloping lanes, certainly not mud or anything like that, but you could feel that it was a bit heavier from all the rain and the other horses galloping on it, and the footing in front of the fences was beautiful. I thought the course was fantastic, there were certainly plenty of questions, it was lovely and big and galloping which is Hugh (Lochore's) type of course, and he really has done an amazing job turning this facility into this type of course, I think adding the loop through the arena changed the whole flow and made a huge difference and it worked really well. It had the technical questions where you needed them but at the same time I think it gave horses a really good, confident feeling to finish on." Lauren admitted to being nervous about jumping under the lights on Friday night, although she also said she thought the atmosphere might play to her advantage, "She really did, she came in and jumped amazingly so I was ecstatic with her. I think if they keep doing it here it will be something people probably prepare for more." Lauren mentioned the Twilight Jumpers in Middleburg which she hasn't done, but thinks Karen (O'Connor) may have taken Veronica to, as well as the PRO Derbycross that Karen rode her in which was under lights in Wellington, "Karen did all the work on the mare and now I just get to hop on and have fun" she said modestly, forgetting to mention that she started her in the very beginning, "I adore her, we get on really well, she's always been my favourite of Karen's." Veronica will spend the night Saturday at Chatt Hills so she can have a "big fat nap" before shipping home Sunday, then have a "super easy week", and as long as she's sound and happy she'll head up to Bromont next. In Lauren's personal life she had to compete against her facebook US U25 'husband' Jacob Fletcher this weekend, and I asked how their relationship was going, "I got here, said hello and asked him to help me unload trunks, and then I didn't see much of him for the rest of the weekend!"
Ellen Doughty and Sir Oberon moved up from ninth place after the dressage all the way to 2nd place in the final standings by adding just one time penalty in the stadium on Friday night, and cross country time. A Holsteiner/TB cross, Ellen has had Sir Oberon since he was a five year old and too much horse to do pure dressage, "The owner thought he was too highly strung to do dressage so I bought him and we went up the levels together; we did a year at training, then I think we did four prelims before we moved up to Intermediate, that was 2010. He had a slight strain in a suspensory at one of the two stars in 2010 so I gave him a year and a half off to make sure he was fully healed. We came back last Fall and did a couple of Intermediates and this Spring we did our first Advanced at Texas Rose, so this was both of our's first three star, and second Advanced. He's wonderful!" Ellen takes clinics, and trains every now and then with Mary Darcy; she walked the course at Chatt Hills with Mike Huber and although she acknowledged that some of the combinations were tough here, she maintains that Texas Rose was a stronger course all the way round. Sir Oberon's strengths across country lie in his adjustability and rideability, Ellen explained, "He's so fast to his fences, I just have to sit up and he does his thing." The plan is to go to Rebecca Farm for the three star next in July, then Ellen's home state Michigan for Richland in the Fall, and hopefully the AECs and Fairhill, "That's the plan, and I'm going to see how he goes at all the three stars and if Rolex comes up next year...I don't think he's the kind of horse that needs to spend a lot of time staying at the levels, I think he could possibly do Rolex next year so that's the ultimate plan but we'll see, we'll see where it takes us!"
Phillip Dutton and Team Rebecca's Ben also only added time penalties cross country to their two day score to finish third. Phillip said that after a year off due to injury, and then being short a run after missing Fairhill due to wet weather he was thrilled with both Ben and his second ride, Tim and Nina Gardner's William Penn who ended up in 10th place after a stop at the above corner. Both Ben and William Penn came here this weekend with only one Intermediate Horse Trial this year under their belts so understandably Phillip was very pleased with their performances (1st and 2nd in the dressage, one rail between them show-jumping, blames himself for being rusty cross country on William Penn) - Look out for them to be firing on all cylinders in Canada at Bromont!
I lost count of how many horses Caroline Martin rode this weekend, but I do know I didn't see her give one a bad ride. Quantum Solace moved up to 4th place in the CIC*** with a consistent performance over all three phases.
Jacob Fletcher and The Prof, fifth, looked very smooth through the arena, and then I asked a reliable source who told me he also looked very good through the water; equally impressive is his attitude throughout the weekend - relaxed and friendly but also professional, and right after his ride he came down to the water to watch and then check up on his Area IX teammate Lizzie Snow who had gone just after him and had a fall; luckily she was absolutely fine.
How wonderful to see all of Kyle and Jen Carter's work and emotional investment pay off in the manifestation of Madison Park galloping around the CIC*** for fun - that's why we do it! Congratulations, and sixth place as a bonus!
Jon Holling, 7th, said he needed a good round here to go to Bromont, not technically as far as qualifications are concerned, but as far as his peace of mind was concerned. DHI Zatopek must want to travel north because he duly obliged with a lovely, polite clear round - I can't stress enought what a huge corner this is in the arena that he is making look like absolutely nothing!
Becky Roper and Jireh moved up into 8th by virtue of having the fastest clear cross country round of the division.
Allison Springer looked to be giving Copycat Chloe a perfect ride everywhere I saw her, spot on, deadly accurate and absolutely no excuse to deviate from the plan. Hopefully they will build up a wonderful partnership together, I do remember being told when I was young that it takes 18 months to develop a proper relationship with your horse, and at the time I was horrified, but then a year later, and then again 6 months after that I realised how true those words were.
Hopefully I'll get around to writing up the CIC** on Sunday, but until then a quick congratulations to the winner, Buck Davidson on No More Rocks; Buck flies out to France Sunday night to join Team mates Hannah Sue Burnett (Harbour Pilot), Will Faudree (Andromaque) and Marilyn Little (Smoke on the Water). This time next week they'll be representing the USA in Saumur - Good Luck! I couldn't finish without thanking our incredibly gracious and generous host, Carl Bouckaert - Chattahoochee Hills is a unique venue, a jewel in US eventing's crown and with Hugh's vision it could turn into something incredibly special on the calendar every year that Carl is amazing to let us enjoy. Anyone who might be worried that eventing is being turned into a glorified combined training test could do worse than spend a weekend at the stunning Chatthahoochee Hills venue next May - Hugh Lochore's cross country certainly exerted an influence on the scoreboard, and despite this being the first year, and despite rather inclement weather the atmosphere on the Friday night for the jumping under the lights was exactly what the sport needs; I spoke to quite a few riders over the weekend and they are all supportive of it. With time and tweaking it will only get better and better, but it needs our support. I also caught up with show-jumping course designer Marc Donovan to ask him if he has to approach things differently when he's thinking about courses at night, "Well, we did consider it but as it turned out I think the light was pretty sufficient; horses really see remarkably well in that type of dim lighting. We started off the first class (the CIC*) a little bit soft, just with the spreads, so no one would get in trouble, and then we went full speed ahead after that, we were pretty much up to the standard." Marc also repeated that this had been something of a trial and error mission, and that perhaps next time they would get another bank of lights to illuminate the corners more, as they had been the darkest areas of the rings, but each time he said, they'll probably learn something new, "I think it was a brilliant idea, it's so modern, and I think it brings the riders together because it's something new and they're all in the same boat, and all at the same time." The massive main arena comes with it's own problems at Chatt Hills, it's very size can sometimes pose a problem, "it can get away from you if you're not careful" warns Marc, but in this instance with the VIP Tent and roping on one side, and the cross country jumps in the middle it wasn't a problem. The obstacles gave Marc a starting point from which to design his courses around, "I try to not jump towards them, or to include them in the line in any way. I use them as islands and I loved having them in the ring." Marc insists that he doesn't adjust his courses according to format and that he likes technical courses, "I try to stick to the heights and spreads that are in the standard", but admits that he thinks that probably horses show- jump better before going cross country even though he personally prefers the stadium to be on the last day.
Many thanks again to everyone involved in making the inaugural CHC International such a resounding success - I'm only sorry I missed the party on Saturday night as I hear via various twitter reports that it's a banging time - EN John, you will pay for this! Thank you to all the grooms, the volunteers, the supporters, families, judges, organisers, riders...of course the horses, the doggies etc etc. You know who you are, we know who you are and we thank you, thank you tonight, and thank you every day. Looking forward to growing the CHC International, but a busy year in between. Thanks for reading EN, and thanks for Going Eventing!
Andrew Palmer and Tatendrang added just the four penalties from a rail in the show-jumping to his winning dressage score to win the inaugural CHC International CIC*. After quite a lot of rain overnight which continued during the morning there were a couple of scratches from this division before the cross country, and some questionable riding, and tired horses but also some sensible riding, some lovely horses and a few really great rounds.
Clayton Fredericks finishes on his dressage score on Catchascatchcan and moves up to second place, and yes, his was one of the great rounds!
Jessica Shull and Calysta MWF in sixth place. The problems seem to be spread around the course although perhaps the first part of the double in the arena claimed more than it's fair share of victims; not quite a corner but a narrow edge of a brush fence it tempted some riders to come too quickly and too sharply off the turn, or conversely others to come with too little pace. To me the course looked fair; maybe the conditions made it slightly more testing today but I've definitely seen far, far worse.
Abby Hamblin and Silver Flash demonstrate how the first part of the double in the arena should be jumped
Bonner Carpenter on another nice young horse, this time Picture This, 9th
Alison Hardaway and Clifton Peekachu, 11th
Kathleen Herbig and Mayhem made up for a forgettable show-jumping round by flying round the cross country easily
Wheee! It was wonderful to see Andrea back out on Mystic My even though it looked as though she was pulling her arms out and she did have a run out or a stop right near the end of the course; the water here was quite near the end and Mystic My looked as if she was on a mission, I doubt these fences were backing her off much! The preliminary divisions are continuing as I write this with a lovely view of the arena fences and the rolling Georgia hills (and looming grey clouds!) in the background. Beautiful rides by Anna Kjellestrom, Sarah Dunkerton and Ellie Macphail on a simply gorgeous grey horse Rendezvous with Charlie, but still lots more problems for others too. The CIC** begins just before 1pm, followed almost immediately by the CIC*** at 2:30pm so it's going to be a long and busy day here at Eventing Nation. Thanks for sticking with us, Go CHC International and Go Eventing!
In the interest of being able to give his Canadian students the very best advice of course, Clayton had entered Catchascatchcan in the CIC* and jumped a beautiful clear round in the show-jumping to lie in 5th place overnight, before changing back into civilian clothes and resuming coaching duties! Dressage leaders Andrew Palmer and Tatendrang go into the cross country in the lead despite having a rail, and Andrew also lies in 6th place on Inamorato. You can find all the live scores here.
Andrew Palmer and Inamorato, 6th
It was great to see Andrea Leatherman back out on Mystic My, she jumped clear and they go out on cross country in fourth position while the Bruce Davidson bred Chesterlands Image had one rail down and starts the final phase in 17th place.
Canadian Grayson Wall and Stryker jumped clear to start cross country in 7th place
Anna Sheets and Weatherly jumped clear to start cross country in 8th place
Nick Cwick and Rivertown Lad
Caroline Martin, first to go, and such an impressive rider, this time on Roller Skate
Hilary Irwin and Bit of Irish
Elena Ceballos and Cooley Nothing Better jumped a lovely clear, and Elena then went on to jump another nice clear in the CIC** on her more experienced horse Nounours Du Moulin.
Abby Hamblin and Silver Flash
Buck Davidson on Tiger Lion, above. Buck currently leads the CIC** on No More Rocks after a fabulous clear round. As the light dimmed and the shadows began to appear problems began to crop up, and clear rounds became more and more scarce. Buck's big grey horse, Shear Mizou, who is related to Leslie Law's Olympic Shear horses and has advanced experience, jumped all the way round to the last fence which had a big dark shadow in front of it and refused to go any further resulting in a very disappointing elimination. Victoria New's Fleeceworks Mystere Du Val was also very spooky all the way round and no matter how well and strongly Victoria rode, in the end he had a stop in the treble. Poor Christa Gandolfo was eliminated for starting before the bell on Camenicci. Tessa Beckett's Sound Prospect had an uncharacteristic couple of stops early but then scraped by but in good news she told me later that her little dog Dobby has been found!
I spoke to Buck briefly afterwards and he thinks the jumping under the lights is a fantastic idea in theory that perhaps just needs a little tweaking. The temporary lights that are running on generators might be permanent and higher up which would mean they would cast less shadows on the actual jumps, and also as Buck said, most horses in the ring that night had never done that in their life; hopefully with practice would come improvement! Likewise for my photography, I'm afraid I had to give up altogether after Buck's grey horse as I have no idea how to take pictures of jumping horses in the dark but I too, hopefully, will learn!
Bonner Carpenter and Basco never looked like touching a fence and are currently in second place
Julie Richards and San City had two rails down to drop to third place
Jenny Caras and Fernhill Fortitude jump clear and move up into fifth place
Ariel Grald and LBR Oleagh's Image sit in 18th place going into cross country
Alexander O Neal and Corinthian Spirit added one rail down to his dressage score
The rain started falling as the riders were walking the CIC*** course, and at this point, as grateful as we were to Cavalor for the delicious champagne, strawberries and belgian chocolates (I know, it's a hard life!) we were thinking they should have been serving double espressos! Phillip Dutton came in first on his second placed horse Team Rebeca's Ben and had the first fence down and two time penalties. Erin Flynn Tamplin in next had two stops on Threes A Ruckus in the treble and was thus eliminated.
Madison Park jumped well for two down with Kyle Carter but, as with Ben at the first jump, simply seemed to misjudge one fence completely. Christa Gandolfo scratched Governaire, and then Alexandra Green brought Fernhill Cubalawn in and looked to have what seemed like a really nice round but had four rails down - what? Thank goodness for Jon Holling and DHI Zatopek B who were total class and should have been clear, they just breathed on one rail the entire round and it came down, apart from that it was perfection and showed everyone else that it could be done.
Duly noted, Angela Grzywinski came in and jumped a clean, fast round on Novelle, but she was followed by Libby Head who came off Sir Rockstar when he jumped huge over the oxer at Fence 8. Bill Hoos and Carmac posted 8 penalties, and Ellie MacPhail and RF Eloquence had a fast round with just one down. Caroline Martin and Quantum Solace had one of the most stylish rounds of the night along with Jon, just picking up two time faults, while Becky Roper had two fences down on Jireh. Lizzie Snow rode Coal Creek beautifully, she just had the skinny jump down at 6 and also picked up a couple of time penalties. Allison Springer was giving Copycat Chloe a beautiful ride and was clear until the third last when she stopped at the very last minute and Allison did well to stay on - she jumped clear to finish after that but picked up 16 time into the bargain.
Rick Wallace and his faithful campaigner Ultimate Victory had three down, and Erin Flynn Tamplin had trouble again in the treble on her second horse Royal Ruckus, but managed to survive and goes forward to cross country with the 12 jumping faults and six time. Veronica and Lauren Kieffer were a joy to watch, and move up into second place after their flawless clear, putting the pressure on Phillip and William Penn, who delivered, also jumping clear, but adding two time penalties to their dressage score.
Although the CIC*** cross country doesn't start until later this afternoon, most of the grooms weren't finished until some time around midnight, and of course will be up at a normal time this morning, or earlier if they have horses running in other divisions. Massive props to them all, and to all the jump crews, volunteers, organisers, supporters, helpers, family and friends - thank you! We have scattered showers and thunderstorms forecast all day today (I knew my luck wouldn't last!) and cross country starts in just under an hour at 9am. Thanks for visiting EN, Go CHC International and Go Eventing!
Buck Davidson and No More Rocks in the CIC**, courtesy of thehorsepesterer.