Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border led the Advanced division from start to finish at Carolina International, jumping a clear show jumping round this morning to seal the deal on the win on a final score of 28.3.
“Cross,” a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Cross Syndicate, added just 1.2 cross country time penalties to his dressage score, and Kim said he was “unreal” around Ian Stark’s track yesterday.
“He just couldn’t have been better,” Kim said. “I could have been a little bit better here and there, but he was 100 percent.”
While Cross is entered for his four-star debut at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Kim has also applied for a USEF High Performance Grant to compete at the Equi-Trek Bramham Horse Trials in England, and she’s still not sure which option she will choose.
“He came out yesterday and for the first time I actually thought that Rolex could be an option. He’s entered but my first option is to go to Bramham because I think he needs to go to another three-star. If he were to jump around The Fork or Fair Hill the way he did yesterday I could see him going to Rolex.”
As for why she is leaning a bit more toward Bramham, Kim said she would like more time to confirm his flying changes and also pointed to wanting more time to develop his base of fitness.
“I think he needs the fitness of another three-star, although yesterday he was fast and easy,” Kim said. “That was a very different horse than the one I’ve had yet. I was really happy with that.”
Aside from Carolina, Cross has only had one other run this season at the Wellington Eventing Showcase, and Kim said that the competition was “amazingly good for him.” She also competed him in a combined test earlier this month at the Carolina Horse Park.
“He’s been a little nervous about being in the ring, but I think he’s had a big learning curve recently,” Kim said. “I was lucky enough two weeks ago to do the combined test on him to get him in the ring twice, which was really helpful.”
Looking back to their test on Friday afternoon, they left some points on the table when Cross cantered out of the halt and missed on a flying change, but Kim said she was pleased that he stayed more relaxed in the ring.
Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF jumped clear in show jumping with one time penalty to finish in second place on on 34.5. They delivered the fastest cross country trip yesterday, coming home just one second over the optimum time.
With a solid Rolex prep run behind them, Matt and “Flaxen,” an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Blossom Creek Foundation, will now go straight on to Rolex for the second four-star appearance of their career.
Lauren Kieffer and Veronica, a 15-year-old Dutch mare owned by Team Rebecca, had one rail down and also added two time penalties to finish in third place on a final score of 46.8.
Lauren also finished a second horse in the top five in Landmark’s Monte Carlo, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Jacqueline Mars, with one rail and one time penalty to finish fourth on 49.2. Both horses are heading to England for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
Woods Baughman and Montesquieu, a 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by James Woods and Kim Baughman, moved up from 23rd after dressage to finish in fifth place on a final score of 50.6 thanks to a clear show jumping round and adding just 5.2 cross country time penalties yesterday.
Only five pairs jumped clear rounds inside the time over Marc Donovan’s show jumping course. In addition to our winners Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border and fifth-placed Woods Baughman and Montesquieu, the following combinations also added no penalties in the final phase: Waylon Roberts and Kelecyn Cognac (6th, 50.6), Lillian Heard and Share Option (8th, 53.5), and Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy (9th, 55.4).
Click here to catch up on all of EN’s coverage from Carolina International. Go Eventing.