Only two combinations scored under 40.0 today in the Millstreet International Horse Trials CCI3*, and one of those was our very own Sara Kozumplik Murphy and the Rubens d’Ysieux Syndicate’s Rubens d’Ysieux. Sara and the 12-year-old Selle Français are in it to win it, throwing down a 39.9 in the CCI3*–their best score at the level–to put them in second place by a fraction of a penalty.
“The unicorn gave 150% today just like he always does. My secret goal was to score in the 30s and we just made it!” Sara said. “The cool thing is that I actually blew the first extended canter by going for it too much… we almost galloped out of the arena! Other than that, I felt it was our best test to date and every day I feel our partnership gets stronger. Millstreet will by no means be a dressage show, but I am delighted to start the competition on such a good note.”
Also representing the USA in the CCI3* is Jennie Brannigan and Stella Artois, a 2008 Holsteiner/Thoroughbred mare owned by Jennie and Elsbeth Battel’s. They also earned their best three-star dressage score of 47.1 to sit in fifth place. Jennie said, “I was happy with her test. She gets better every time out. It’s her first year at this level and I think with some luck she will keep improving!”
Taking a narrow lead in the division and also earning a personal best with a 39.3 was Kevin McNab, of Australia, and the 12-year-old Australian Warmblood Casperelli. Kevin has produced Casperelli, owned by Kevin and Sarnia Murgian and Mark Sartori, from a 4-year-old and is preparing to take “Casper” to his first CCI4* this year.
Looking to the CIC3*, Kim Severson and Cross Syndicate’s Cooley Cross Border moved up five places to third after a double clear show jumping round. Rails were flying and there were an abundance of time penalties across the board, but Kim said of the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse, “Cross was great and really took care of me. It was not my best riding.”
Hannah Sue Burnett and Jacqueline Mars’ Harbour Pilot remain in the top ten after a clear show jumping round with two time penalties, which Hannah Sue said were the result of the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding jumping so big over an oxer she couldn’t make the inside turn to save time.
“William jumped really well. He hasn’t been out since Luhmühlen and show jumping is our most difficult phase,” Hannah Sue said. “It was so nice to have him come straight out and jump such a good round.”
Hannah Sue and Ms. Mars’ RF Demeter nicked a rail when they got a little too close to an oxer, but otherwise the 15-year-old Oldenburg mare “was jumping her socks off.” They move forward to cross country in 12th place on 47.8.
Canadian rider Kathryn Coleman and Let It Bee, her own 16-year-old Westphalian gelding, jumped a clear round that was rewarded with a leap up the leaderboard from 13th to sixth.
In the CIC2*, Hannah Sue and Cooley Dream, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned by Cooley Dream LLC, show jumped clear to move into fourth place on 42.7. Hannah Sue said the gorgeous young horse truly turns heads in warm-up and it’s especially nice that Richard Sheane of Cooley Sport Horses is at the event and can watch his prodigies competing.
“Cooley Dream was fantastic today. He’s such a good show jumper anyway and is so fun. He had a little quiet season early on but he’s feeling great and ramping back up. He feels like a million bucks,” Hannah Sue said.
Our British-based American Katherine Coleman and her own 8-year-old German gelding Monte Classico were another to jump clear in the CIC2* and they currently sit in seventh place with a 45.8. In the CIC3*, Katherine and Back to Business took a tumble in the show jumping and were eliminated but Katherine has assured us they are both okay.
The consensus of the riders is that Mike Etherington-Smith’s course tomorrow looks big and tough but fair. Hannah Sue said the going will be excellent. “I’ve never seen ground so good. This will be William’s first run after Luhmühlen… but I won’t go really slow. I’ll let him have a good round and blow off some steam. He might be keen but when you have good ground like this you have to take advantage of it!”
It is thrilling for all of us to witness the North American girl power at Millstreet and we look forward to following their progress throughout the weekend. Sara summed it up well: “I am more grateful than I can possibly say for the support all of us here have received from back home and for the wonderful team atmosphere there is here in Ireland. I am so proud to be a part of such a group of impressive riders and horsemen and we will all give it everything we have tomorrow. Go USA!”
Check out the CCI3* course below and visit Cross Country App for views of other levels. There is no live stream of cross country but there will be a live radio stream at this link. Check out full results from Millstreet here and watch @eventingnation.com for Twitter updates.