The PRO 4-Bar Challenge has become a highlight of show jumping day at Millbrook Horse Trials, and this year proved to be no different. Jennie Brannigan and C.J. Towers Inc.’s Cunotaire V ultimately cleared 1.46 meters to secure the $1,500 prize sponsored by Triple Crown Nutrition.
But first they had to best three other very talented riders in Will Coleman, who represented the pro eventers along with Jennie, and Booli Selmayr and Richard Daley, who represented the Millbrook Hunt. A large number of hunt members packed the patron’s tent to cheer on their riders, and Boyd Martin once again provided color commentary (and made up the rules as he went along).
Richard Daley, first whipper-in of the Millbrook Hunt, was the first to go out of the competition after pulling a rail with the jumps set at 1.26 meters. Boyd pointed out that his mount, Clermont, an 8-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Tatra Farm, was likely a bit tired considering he had also competed in the Open Novice A division with Patricia Garthwaite Towle.
Then the rails went up to 1.36 meters, and Will, Booli and Jennie all cleared the fences. So up the poles went once more to 1.46 meters. Will Coleman was the next to be eliminated on David Hopper’s Storm Warning, last year’s winning horse with Ryan Wood, after the 8-year-old Selle Francais gelding pulled a rail at the second fence. Will did have the distraction of Boyd declaring him the prettiest guy in U.S. eventing while he was jumping, so a break in concentration here is understandable.
Then when Booli’s horse Amber Sky, a 9-year-old Holsteiner-cross mare owned by Tatra Farm, slammed on the brakes at the third fence and dumped her on the ground, Boyd called for someone to give her a leg up so she could go through again for a second try. The members of the Millbrook Hunt all thought this was a fantastic idea and cheered loudly as Booli attempted 1.36 meters once more.
Booli and Amber Sky, the same horse she rode in last year’s PRO 4-Bar, cleared all the fences on their second try to huge applause from the crowd. Then Jennie and Cunotaire V, a striking 8-year-old Dutch gelding, also cleared 1.36 meters. So the poles went up one final time to the tops of the standards, measuring 1.46 meters.
Though Booli’s horse tried valiantly, she pulled a rail at the final fence. With the chance to clinch the win, Jennie circled the arena as the spectators sat on the edge of their seats. Clear at the first, clear at the second, clear at the third and CLEAR over the fourth! Jennie gave the horse big pats and was all smiles as she later accepted her prize from Michelle Mulcahy of Triple Crown Nutrition.
The $1,500 prize was split three ways, with $500 going to Jennie; $500 going to the horse’s owner, C.J. Towers Inc.; and $500 going to the Dutchess Land Conservancy, which seeks to preserve the rural character, resources and open lands of beautiful Dutchess County in New York.
Many thanks to Samantha Lendl and the Professional Riders Organization for organizing and to show jumping course designer Marc Donovan for being so gracious in accommodating the 4-Bar in the day’s festivities. Advanced show jumping took place immediately after. If you missed EN’s coverage of the exciting Millbrook finale — in which Buck Davidson’s and Ballynoe Castle RM clinched their fourth win at this event — click here.
All four of the horses used in the 4-Bar are for sale (Cunotaire V is super nice and will almost certainly be snatched up quickly!). You can take a look at them in the video below courtesy of PRO, and scroll down for contact information if you’re interested in learning more about any of these horses. Go PRO. Go Millbrook. Go Eventing.
Interested in any of these horses?
Amber Sky: 9-year-old Holsteiner-cross mare sired by Magnum. Owned by Tatra Farm. Contact [email protected] for more information.
Clermont: 8-year-old Thoroughbred gelding by Matt G out of Brilliant Success. Currently competing at Novice level. Owned by Tatra Farm. Contact for more information [email protected].
Cunotaire V: 8-year-old Dutch gelding by Numero Uno out of Lottaire. Owned by C.J. Towers Inc. Contact Judy Torres at [email protected] for more information.
Storm Warning: 8-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Coconut Grove out of a Jus de Pomme mare. Owned by David Hopper. Contact [email protected] for more information.