Selena O’ Hanlon and Foxwood High are proving once again that they will be an exciting pair to watch this year — no surprises there! Woody, a 14-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding owned by John and Judy Rumble, delivered a beautiful performance in dressage at Red Hills International Horse Trials yesterday to lead the Advanced division, and then stayed in first today with a clear cross country round and 2.0 time penalties for 32.2.
“I thought he was super obedient in his test, and he stayed really relaxed over his top line, which made the flow of the test really go well. We’ve had a chance to work with Christilot Boylen, who gave me some tips on how to use the ring a little bit which added to the flow of the test,” Selena said.
“He’s not the flashiest mover … but he is super obedient, and I’m trying to be really accurate. I think the flow of the test is what got us the score that we needed. I think there was very little you could take away from the test. I was really pleased because we’ve been working hard.”
Selena said Woody was also spot on for cross country today: “I was able to ride him really fast because he was looking at his job and he was very very quick. I had a foot-perfect ride. He was much easier to bring back, and I had a great time.”
Instead of going on to Carolina International like some pairs aiming for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Selena said she and Woody will “stay home and keep working on the show jumping and the dressage, which has been paying off.” They will then go on to The Fork at Tryon and ultimately Kentucky.
Looking to the rest of the Advanced leaderboard, Whitney Mahloch and her own Military Mind stormed around with the fastest round in the division, picking up just 1.6 time penalties to move to second on 34.5. Jennie Brannigan and Tim and Nina Gardner’s I Bella jumped clear with 14.0 time penalties to move to third on 51.4.
Click here to view full scores from today’s Advanced cross country.
Clayton Fredericks & Houdini Lead CIC2*
Clayton Fredericks is continuing to solidify a strong partnership with Houdini, a 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Katie Ruppel. While we typically see the horse compete with Katie, she has passed the ride to Clayton to give him a crack at representing Australia for the 2018 World Equestrian Games.
A clear round with 6.8 time penalties around the CIC2* cross country today saw Clayton and Houdini move up to take the lead on 44.5. “He’s a little bit nervous at times, and he’s certainly taken a little while to get to know me,” he said. “I’m not in a hurry but I think with him — his experience and my experience — if we plan out a nice preparation I think we can do it.
Clayton and Houdini will next aim for Bromont or Rebecca Farm to get their qualifier for WEG, and then will “fight it out with the other Australians to make the team.”
With the WEG being held at Tryon in North Carolina, it’s possible there may be an advantage for Australian riders already based in the U.S. when it comes to selection. “I think we all stick together really well,” Clayton said. “I’m happy being based in the U.S., and I think having the WEG in Tryon gives me a little help to get there.”
As for his thoughts on the course, Clayton said the track is very different for the riders who are based in Ocala for the winter. “A lot of us have been jumping around the same tracks over and over. It’s very open and very wide here … There’s trees, there’s tight lanes, you’re dodging in and out, the fences come up really quick on you. This is the first time of the year that the horses see crowds, and there were good crowds around the courses today. It’s good to be able to do that.”
Clayton also jumped clear with 13.2 time penalties on Kingfisher Park’s FE Ophelia, a 10-year-old Zweibrucker mare, to sit third in the CIC2* on 50.4. This is another horse Clayton has in mind as a potential WEG prospect, and he also extended his thanks to Dana Cooke for giving him the opportunity to ride the mare.
Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Rubens D’Ysieux are sandwiched in between on the leaderboard, jumping clear with 6.0 time penalties to sit in second place on 44.8. These two are coming off a big win in the $15,000 Eventing Prix Invitational earlier in the week, and the horse jumped just as beautifully today.
We are relieved to report that Allie Knowles is resting comfortably at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare following a rotational fall with FE Crosby at fence 15 on the CIC2* cross country course. Allie confirmed to EN that she has a fractured collarbone and pelvis and will undergo surgery tomorrow. “My horse is healthy and sound, which I’m thankful for,” she said. We wish her all the best for a speedy recovery.
Click here to view full scores from today’s CIC2* cross country.
Megan Lynn and The Natural E Hold CIC* Lead
This weekend has been a long time coming for Megan Lynn and the Elevate Event Team. They imported The Natural E from Denmark in 2015 with the hopes that he would one day become a top event horse, and after carefully producing him through the levels, that day has come.
“Leo,” a 9-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, delivered a personal best dressage score of 38.0 yesterday to lead the nearly 50-strong CIC* division, and he stormed around clear and inside the time with Megan today to remain in first place.
Megan and Leo have been training hard on the flat with Missy Ransehousen, and looking back to yesterday’s dressage, she said, “I felt like he really stepped up on me. He’s a little bit of an ADD horse, so I was a little worried about that, but he was right under me and he put in a really nice test.”
As for today’s cross country, Megan said she felt like Leo is maturing into himself. “We haven’t even been together for two years yet, but he’s really coming into his own. I’ve never really had to go for time, and I’ve never felt this pressure before, but I feel like he was having as much fun as I was.”
Looking to the rest of the CIC* leaderboard, Leslie Law and Up to You de Lorage, a 9-year-old Selle Francais gelding owned by Beatrice Rey-Herme, jumped clear and inside the time to move up to second place on 42.6. Boyd Martin and On Cue, an 11-year-old Anglo-European mare owned by Christine Turner, also made the optimum time to move up to third place on 46.0.
If you missed our reports on the CIC3* finale, click here to read all about what went down and here to read comments from the top three — Hannah Sue Burnett, Jennie Brannigan and Jessica Phoenix. Click here to catch up on all of EN’s Red Hills coverage so far, and don’t forget to check our Instagram for bonus photos. Go Eventing.