The leaderboard shifted considerably after cross country on the CIC2* today. The course rode with more issues than the CIC3* course did, and while I was unable to catch the majority of the rides, I caught a few towards the end of the day, which seemed to be going smoothly when I saw them. The path the CIC2* horses had to take through the Stonehenge complex as well as Zoe’s Bank seemed to catch the most riders out, and the Cloud Eleven Tidal Pool saw a few mishaps as well. Only three riders came home inside the time: winners Ariel Grald and LBF O’Leagh’s Image, Becky Holder and Frodo of the Shire, and Elinor MacPhail and RF Eloquence.
While I did not catch most of the 2* rides through Stonehenge today, I did hear over the loudspeaker that it was causing its fair share of problems. The second element was set at quite an odd angle, and had many other distractions close around it, so it caught many pairs out. Ariel and LBF O’Leagh’s Image looked positively fierce coming through Stonehenge, neither of them so much as batting an eye on one of the more challenging questions on course. Ariel was one of three double clear rides in the 2* today, and I imagine she is absolutely thrilled, as she picks up her first CIC2* win on her home turf at Carolina Horse Park.
Overnight leaders Leslie Law and Fernhill Whatever were unfortunately eliminated at the Cloud Eleven Tidal Pool when Leslie took a bit of a dip into the water. Both horse and rider were on their feet immediately and appeared to be no worse for the wear.
Michael Pollard and Halimey were in second going into cross country, and I caught a bit of their run before I had to head back for Charlotte to catch a flight. Halimey looked curious about many of the elements on course, but also showed complete faith in Michael and answered every question he was presented with. It really looks like this partnership is really going well, and Halimey is an exciting horse to keep an eye on. Halimey hung onto the second place finish, accumulating only 4.8 time penalties.
Emily Beshear and Shame On the Moon looked lovely coming through the Stonehenge complex, and they came home with 18 time penalties to drop them down into ninth place for the weekend. Emily has commented that she is really still getting to know this stunning mare, so I would imagine that the run today helped solidify this relationship, and I expect Emily is pleased with the effort Delta put in.
Many thanks to The Horse Pesterer for this footage of Ariel and Leah: