11 Must-Read Quotes From Cross Country Day at Red Hills

Between every division running cross country at Red Hills International Horse Trials and the star-studded CIC3* division holding both show jumping and cross country, it’s an understatement to say it’s been a very busy day here in Tallahassee. We heard a smorgasbord of fantastic quotes in today’s press conferences, and we’re listing our favorites in this roundup. Enjoy!

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Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Phillip Dutton on CIC3* winner Fernhill Fugitive: “He’s not brilliant in any phase but he’s good in all phases, and that’s what you have to be to be an event horse.” (After clinching the three-star win today, “Jack” will likely forego his next Rolex prep run at Carolina International and aim for The Fork instead.)

Phillip Dutton on being one of the only riders in past years to ever make the optimum time in the CIC3*: “I slowed up a bit today.” (He has previously made the optimum time on The Foreman and Nova Top and came home 2 seconds over the optimum time today.)

On why Phillip Dutton likes the CIC format of show jumping before cross country: “I like them to be able to go into the show jumping feeling fresh and being able to improve them rather than riding them when they’re tired and sore.” (When asked how “Jack” felt in this morning’s show jumping, Phillip noted that “he never tries to chuck me out of the saddle.”)

If it takes a village, then Team Catalina has a pretty good one! #RHHT2016

A photo posted by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

Jennie Brannigan on having Catalina excel so early in her three-star career: “I knew there was a point at which she would be competitive amongst this quality and caliber of horses, but I didn’t necessarily think that was going to be this weekend We’re green at 13! I’m just over the moon — elated.” (This is technically the 13-year-old mare’s third Advanced horse trials; she has competed at Plantation Field, Fair Hill and now Red Hills.)

Jennie Brannigan on aiming Catalina at her first CCI4* next month: “I know I’ve thrown her in the deep end, but she has pretty much stepped up to the plate. I would never do anything that I felt wasn’t right for my horse.” (Fun fact: Catalina is also an American-bred horse. Click here to read more about her.) 

Hannah Sue Burnett on riding green horses across country: “A lot of thought goes into how they’re going to react and how your instinct has to take over constantly. They’re green and then by the end of the course maybe they’re not, and then they’re eating up the distances. It’s fun but it is hard work.” (In contrast, her experienced partner Harbour Pilot was on auto pilot today in the CIC3*, jumping clear to finish third despite pulling both front shoes on course.)


@freddoclayton and @carolinegmartin are topping the CIC2* leaderboard at Red Hills #rhht


A photo posted by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on

Clayton Fredericks on keeping his edge as a coach and competitor: “I think it’s important even from the coaching perspective to stay current and realize actually how much pressure is on the riders when they go out cross country. You always walk the courses a little bit when you’re not riding, but there’s a lot to focus on. When you’re riding you really have to listen to your horse so much and let it all happen.” (Clayton is currently sitting in first and third with FE Bowman and FE Money Made, respectively.)

Caroline Martin on how she knows Effervescent is ready to move up to Advanced: “This is his second year at the Intermediate level so he’s pretty seasoned now at the two-star level, and I’m looking to move him up hopefully at The Fork, so I was hoping to make the time easily.” (They were one of three pairs to make the time and are currently sitting in second in the CIC2*.)

Hannah Sue Burnett and Mary Ann Ghadban's Alonzo III. Photo by Rare Air Eventing Photography.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Mary Ann Ghadban’s Alonzo III. Photo by Rare Air Eventing Photography.

Hannah Sue Burnett on CIC* leader Alonzo III: “To ride he’s a little firecracker. He really understands the phases. For cross country he’s all excited and really wound up and wants to be out there, but for dressage he’s really quite easy to ride.” (Hannah won the CIC* at Red Hills last year with Jitter Bug and is aiming for a repeat victory this year.)

Lauren Kieffer on her longtime partner Veronica leading the Advanced: “She was kind of mad that everyone went (cross country) before her in the barn! I try not to get too comfortable with her. We just kind of cruised around and let her go at her own pace, and it turned out well.” (Red Hills is Veronica’s first Advanced level competition since Blenheim last year.)

Ryan Wood on Woodstock Bennett sitting in third in Advanced: “It was a weekend of redemption after we fell at Pine Top last week. We cross country schooled a couple times, and he was great, so I was happy to get him home clear. … Mike (Etherington-Smith) is a master, and the horses are going to come out confident and ready for the next one.” (Ryan and “Bennett” fell at the massive hammock combination at Pine Top, which is now famous for more reasons than one.)