Alyssa Phillips Surges Into the Lead After Show Jumping in The Event at TerraNova CCI4*-S

Alyssa Phillips (USA) and Oskar move into first place after stadium jumping in the Galati Yacht Sales CCI4*-S.
Shannon Brinkman Photo

Alyssa Phillips (USA) of Fort Worth, Texas, took the lead after show jumping Friday in the CCI4*-S division in The Event at TerraNova, presented by B&D Builders, featuring the Galati Yacht Sales CCI4*-S at TerraNova Equestrian Center. She deftly piloted Oskar (Coriando x Nicole), a 15-year-old 16.2 hand bay Holsteiner gelding, who stood in second after Thursday’s dressage, across course designer Chris Barnard’s flowing 4*-S course.

Phillips also stands third in The Estates at TerraNova CCI3*-S with Cornelius Bo (Concours Complet x Charlotte), a 10-year-old 16.2 hand bay Hanoverian gelding whose comical personality earned him the barn names “Corny” and “Corn Dog.” Phillips owns both horses.

The three top-ranked competitors in the 4*-S resembled a United Nations delegation, with riders representing the United States (Phillips), Canada (Karl Slezak) and New Zealand (Monica Spencer).

Phillips was thrilled with Oskar’s performance and called preparing him for the CCI4*-S “a work in progress because he is a bit stronger when the show jumping phase comes before cross country. I’ve worked really hard on that this winter.”

Karl Slezak (CAN) and Hot Bobo moved up to second place from fifth after a flawless stadium jumping round
in the Galati Yacht Sales CCI4*-S. Shannon Brinkman Photo

She said the 4*-S course was a difficult show jumping track but found that it rode extremely well. “There were spots when you had to wait a bit, but the time was also tight, so you needed to keep the energy throughout the course. At the same time, you needed to get there perfectly so the horse was able to cover the distances. It was a great track and it was really fun to ride around.”

Most riders found the first part of the course relatively clear sailing, but the lines and combinations in the middle posed serious questions. Several riders overreached by trying to finish within the time allowed of 80 seconds. From start to finish, the pace and striding were exacting. The consensus among riders was that the course was a very fair test and that it readied the horses for the cross-country phase on Saturday.

Monica Spencer (NZL) and Artist moved to third place after stadium jumping
in the Galati Yacht Sales CCI4*-S. Shannon Brinkman Photo

This was the first course Barnard has designed at TerraNova Equestrian Center. “I’m a big believer in the standard – making sure that everything’s up to standard, the height, the width, everything,” he said. “Even though it’s early in the season, it’s still a 4*. So I like to make sure that it’s big enough and wide enough. My philosophy is building courses that flow. I just try to have a course that’s big enough, bold enough, and that encourages forward riding.”

Barnard characterized the time allowed as a tool that a course designer has to make the course a bit more difficult. “If you make them be a little swift, then they can’t take their time and get the perfect distance.They’ve got to bear that in mind,” he said. “So when the time is a little tight, the riders tend to rush a couple of bits and pieces and therefore, might make a little mistake or the horse gets a rail down. If the time allowed is a bit generous, then they can all take their time, and a lot of these riders are good enough to manipulate the whole course to have a clear round.”

Lauren Nicholson (USA) of Ocala, Fla., who holds two top-10 standings in the 3*-S, said she enjoyed the course, noting that officials made a good choice to use the Lakeside arena. “It was a great atmosphere to practice jumping our horses in and prepping for our spring three days,” she said. “The course was prepared immaculately, and I’m looking forward to jumping around the cross-country track.”

Lauren Nicholson (USA) and Larcot Z were clear and took the lead after stadium jumping in The Estates at TerraNova CCI3*-S.Shannon Brinkman Photo

Nicholson leads the 3*-S with Larcot Z (L’arc de Triomphe x Kocote de la Londe), an 11-year-old 16.3 hand bay Zangersheide gelding, and stands in seventh position with Landmark’s Jungle’s Gold (Diarado x Jungle Tale), a 9-year-old 16.3 hand bay Holsteiner/Irish Sport Horse gelding. Both horses are owned by Jacqueline Mars.

The Event at TerraNova, presented by B&D Builders, featuring the Galati Yacht Sales CCI4*-S at TerraNova Equestrian Center, concludes Saturday with the cross-country phase, which for the 4*-S begins at 11:30 a.m. ET. Cross country can be viewed on the Horse & Country live stream here; the day will begin with the Blalock Walters CCI2*-S at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The Event at TerraNova (Myakka City, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

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