Southern Pines XC Recap

SoPo Live Scores, Poplar Live Scores

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(1) Phillip has the strongest arsenal of horses at this stage in the season that I have ever seen from a US rider.  Woodburn looked calm and very confident.  Phillip took his time with the Chip and lost the lead, but they obviously have bigger goals in mind.  Heck, Kheops du Quesnay even looked pretty calm.  Phillip also rode Jan’s horses, making it 5 advanced rides on the day.  We get used to watching Phillip ride a ton of advanced horses at every competition, but that shouldn’t make us forget how incredibly challenging it is both physically and mentally.
(2) It was an easy day for the advanced divisions, relatively speaking, with 35/47 starters having clear rides.
(3) Interestingly enough (considering #2) it was a tough day for the A and B listers.  Mandiba, Neville, Waterfront, and Coal Creek all had at least a stop, whereas only Woodburn, Arthur, and Leyland got around clear (that’s 4/7 having problems for all the folk’s keeping score at home).  
(4) Boyd and Neville had a very uncharacteristic stop late on the course.  By very uncharacteristic, I mean that it was Neville’s second or third stop ever, and because of that, I don’t think it raises significant concerns.  It just puts a little extra pressure on the next two or three XC rides for the pair.
(5) Rebecca Howard is out and about this weekend coaching, which is great to see.  This is a tribute to modern medical science, and Rebecca’s determination/toughness/insanity: she walked around holding one of her arms up with the other.
(6) Riders who had noticeably excellent rides from what I could see included Kim and Tipperary, Lillian Heard on Share Option, and Holly Hudspeth and Last Monarch.  
(7) I’ll single out Will Faudree and Pawlow for having an extremely good XC ride today.  After watching them have a stop at Pine Top, I had my questions, but after a great dressage ride yesterday and today’s round, Pawlow looks every bit like a team contending horse here at Southern Pines.  
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(8) Fence 11, a skinny to a corner combination caused by far the most issues for the advanced riders.  Karen and Mandiba collected 20 penalties there.  Like Neville, as long as its a one time thing, nothing to worry about.  Another rider with whom I spoke had a stop there, and said the striding didn’t ride as it walked.  I’m not sure if that’s the indian or the arrow, but I do know that that expression has nothing to do with this paragraph.
(9) Stephen Bradley and Amy Tryon’s Coal Creek (see yesterday for an explanation) had a tough fall jumping up a bank out of the water.  Stephen jumped and Coal Creek didn’t, instead chesting the bank, but both seemed fine.  Throughout the day a lot of horses seemed sticky jumping up the bank and over the log a bounce later.
(10) The crowd turnout was decent for the advanced, with many of the 250 spectators around the main water.
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Democracy: “The worst form of government except for all the others.”
(11) As a tale of two rides, Stephen had a fantastic go with Leyland.  Stephen gave Leyland a very confident trip, and was one of just a couple of riders to pat their horse galloping away from the water jump.  I know there is a debate on whether a rider should pat their horse or just focus ahead.  As long as it’s a confidence building round/training ride (anything up to 3*), I think the pat makes sense if the horse was good.  But, at the big events with everything on the line and your country’s flag on your helmet, I feel that the landing after the water is a time to gallop on with a look at your watch.  Today though, there should have been a lot more patting.
(12) Statistically speaking, the Tremaine Cooper courses all rode pretty straightforward, with over 70% clean rides in all divisions.  Go eventing.
The COTH recap has some interesting quotes.,

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