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Jenny Caras and Trendy Fernhill Tip the Scales in TerraNova CCI4*-L

Jenny Caras and Trendy Fernhill. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Eventing is a sport where winners are often decided by the smallest of margins, and that rang especially true this weekend at The Event at TerraNova where the Galati Yacht Sales CCI4*-L, presented by Insurance Office of America, was decided by one second of time in the final phase.

Dressage winner Lucienne Bellissimo had maintained her leading position after Saturday’s endurance test by just two-tenths of a point, but when she completed a clear show jumping round in 74 seconds, second-placed Jenny Caras, who navigated Marc Donovan’s course in 73 seconds, stepped to the top of the podium — claiming her second career CCI4*-L victory with Trendy Fernhill.

Jenny has been partnered with Trendy Fernhill (Ars Vivendi — Cruseings Girl, by Cruising) or “Joey” since he was four, but he’s come a long way from the wild-eyed Irish gelding she met off the plane. “When I got him as a four year old I think I re-broke him like five times,” she recalled, and although he’s still known to dump Jenny during a hack from time to time, Joey found his sea legs under her care and they settled into a comfortable rhythm together climbing the levels thanks to the support of his owner Elyse Eisenberg, who is based in Maryland.

Jenny moved him up to the Advanced level in 2020 where he won his debut CCI4*-S competition at Tryon, and most recently they were awarded a Karen E. Stives Endowment Fund Grant which allowed them to participate in their first-ever Nations Cup at Stzregom where they finished 11th individually. Their summer and a few runs at the intermediate level into the fall, gave the pair an enormous amount of confidence heading into this fall three-day.

Jenny Caras and Trendy Fernhill claim the top spoils. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

A score of 34.9 tied the pair for third on the flat despite a less than ideal entrance. “I came down the centerline and I think did like one of the best halt salutes that I’ve ever had on on him and then I just turned the corner and he actually broke into the canner. So that was hard way to actually start the test, but I just, you know, had to put that behind us and keep going,” Jenny said.

She admitted that cross country may be a challenge as this year she’s set a goal for herself to be more competitive against the clock — a big ask for the strong, big-strided gelding.

“I’ve struggled with him a bit in the past with time penalties. Just because he’s quite a strong horse and he’s has a huge stride to being able to not spend forever in front of the jumps setting up for the combinations. So I just recently changed his bit and his bridle, and I think he really likes it because it helps us be much more efficient, and I wasn’t having to work so hard to set him up,” Jenny said.

She trialed the new set up — a rubber gag with a loosely fitted figure eight — for the first time at Chattahoochee Hills last month. “That was the first time that I had tried it, and that’s actually the first time that I had ever made the time at an Intermediate or Advanced level competition on him, so I knew I was kind of on the right track. Then I was just hopeful that it would be the right thing at this level as well,” she said, and it turned out to be a Cinderella fit: she and Joey were the only pair out of 23 starters to finish Captain Mark Phillips’ track double clear.

Lucienne Bellissimo and Tremanton. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

“I knew I wanted to go out there and try and make the time while having all good jumps, and he’s just such an honest horse,” she said. “I’ve had him since he was four, and so we’ve done everything together and we know each other really well. So I know when I tell him ‘We’re a little bit off this corner but you’re going,’ that he knows his job. If you get him anywhere near the jump he wants to jump in for you, so I was lucky that way.”

Marc Donovan’s show jumping test on the final day proved influential toward both rails and time with only two pairs — Sara Kozumplik with Rock Phantom and Mary Bess Davis with Imperio Magic — jumping double clear. The course relied heavily on related distances, leaving little opportunity to make up time and therefore rewarding those who kept pace.

Second overnight, Jenny and Joey were the penultimate pair in Magnolia Ring and they demonstrated a stylish clear round only one second over the optimum time of 72 seconds for a final result of 35.3.

“He’s a careful horse but he’s a big, big, slow stepping guy so you kind of have to help him off the front rail. But that being said, I don’t know that there is a horse who tries harder. He goes out there and he knows that he’s not supposed to hit the jumps, and he just digs deep and tries hard. And I mean, he was just incredible. I don’t know that he touched a single jump,” Jenny said.

That one pesky second dropped Great Britain’s Lucienne Bellisimo and Horse Scout Eventing LLC’s Tremanton, an 11-year-old British Sport Horse (Birkhof’s Grafenstolz — Trevia, by Hand In Glove), to rest in the reserve position on 35.5 after a stylish show jumping effort that left all the rails in their cups.

Will Coleman and Diabolo. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Finishing in third was Will Coleman and one of his newest rides, Diabolo, who was produced through the four-star level previously by Gemma Tinney in Australia before making his way stateside in early 2023. The 11-year-old Holsteiner (Diarado — Roulett M, by Aljano 2) had 2.8 time penalties on cross country and 1.2 in show jumping for a final score of 38.

Watch the top three discuss their show jump rounds:

Alyssa Phillips and Cornelius Bo complete the comeback. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.


The Estates at TerraNova CCI3*-L, presented by Laughlin Tanner Group at Premier Sotheby’s International Realty was dominated from start to finish by Alyssa Phillips and her own Cornelius Bo.

Alyssa first met the now-9-year-old Hanoverian (Concours Complet — Charlotte, by Carismo) in German five-star eventer Anna Siemer’s stable four years ago. The pair won their first four International events together in the U.S. at the two-star level. After setting in at the Intermediate level last year, Alyssa had big plans for “Corn” this season, but a “silly mistake” here in the spring left Alyssa with a broken ankle and several weeks out of the saddle.

“I was at the same event and was clocking around the cross country and then just a stupid, silly little mistake. And then there goes my ankle. And then I’m like, well, there goes the rest of my fall plans,” she said.

Two surgeries later, Alyssa decided to aim him for the CCI2*-L at Rebecca Farm in July, which she says was only possible thanks to riding help from Alexa Lapp. Cornelius Bo went on to win that event.

Heading into the fall, Alyssa was once again optimistic about her fall plans, but then got the most fortunate interruption when she was called up as the traveling reserve for the U.S. Team at the Pan American Games with her Advanced horse, Oskar.

“I didn’t think I’d make it [to Rebecca], and then I did. then slowly that the pieces for the fall started to fall into place. And then all of a sudden they called me in, they’re like, ‘Hey, you’re gonna be the traveling reserve for the Pan American Games.’ It throws me for a loop because I wasn’t expecting that by any means, so that changed plans again, but I think everything happens for a reason,” she said.

While she was on the road for most of October, her neighbors and friends Cornelia and Jacob Fletcher stepped in to keep her other horses fit and ready for this weekend’s event. Thanks to their help, Alyssa was able to quickly get back in town and finish this CCI3*-L on her dressage score of 28.

“He felt super, super confident leading into this week, and I think he knew he was he was somewhere big because on dressage day he grew about two inches and fancy pranced around and he was very good boy. He’s becoming such a great cross country horse, too. He’s super super careful in the show jumping and I’ve had to work through some of that and across country, but anytime there’s a problem, it’s normally my fault, so I was just hoping to give him a good go around the cross country as quickly as I could. He answered everything super easily, and was very confident about it all. And then he came out out today and he just, I mean, he just jumped out of his skin,” she said.

“Some people may think this year was crazy,” Alyssa continued. “And it was but I actually really appreciate this year a lot. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown a lot that horses have grown a lot and we ended it on a very, very great note and great experiences involved along the way.”

Michael Nolan finished second with Carrabeg Hulla Balou on a score of 32, and Caroline Pamaucku was third with Redfield Dexter on 32.5 points.

In the CC2*-L Meg Pellegrini claimed the top spot aboard Gorgeous DHI, and Lucienne Bellissimo was the winner of the CCI*-L with Duke’s Jory.

EN’s final report on The Event at TerraNova is brought to you with support from Ocala Horse Properties, your stop for horse property in Ocala and beyond. If you’re thinking of making the move to Florida, for all or part of the year, be sure to check in with Ocala Horse Properties for your farm-finding needs.

The Event at TerraNova: [Website] [Final Scores] [Live Stream Replays] [More Coverage]

Thursday News & Notes

Got enough room in there, buddy? Sammy clearly wasn’t sure if he was going to quite squeeze through the keyhole with Mia Farley at the Maryland Five-Star last month. Click ahead to the next photo to see him come to a quick realization that he did — in fact — have plenty of space. That said, not all keyholes are as open or friendly, and whether or not keyholes are appropriate cross country questions has been debated since what feels like their entire existence. What do you think, EN?

U.S. Weekend Preview

Full Moon Farm’s Fall HT (Finksburg, MD) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Horse Trials at Majestic Oaks (Reddick, FL) [Website] [Entries][Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

River Glen Fall H.T. (New Market, TN) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

News From Around the Globe:

It came down to the wire for the prolific U.S. Show Jumping Team to clinch a team spot at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. They finally sealed the deal at the 2023 Pan American Games — which was the last chance for qualification. Though they were fifth provisionally after the first day of competition, they cemented their team gold spot on the final day and confirmed a spot in Paris. Joining them are the Canadians who qualified dressage, show jumping and eventing teams at the Pan Ams. [Paris 2024 places go to the wire in final race for Olympic team tickets]

Bubby Upton is officially back in the saddle following a spine surgery. The 24-year-old suffered a riding accident on the flat in August which lead to a lumbar spine surgery. After 11 weeks of rehabilitation, Bubby made her way home to horseback on November 7, and says, “This is my comeback and I’m going to continue giving it my absolute all.” [‘The day I’ve been dreaming about’: five-star rider shares major milestone following spinal surgery]

We’ve got good news from the Aharoni crew: Dutch Times is on the mend. Arielle Aharoni’s Dutch Times suffered an injury at the Maryland Five-Star last month, where the rider says he ruptured the superficial digital flexor tendon and will require at least nine months of rehab. He’s been doted on by Arielle while he’s on stall rest with hand grazing privileges. Though his future isn’t clear, Arielle doesn’t think he’ll be ready to retire anytime soon. [Dutch Times is on the mend]


Stable View Celebrates 10 Years of Eventing With Oktoberfest Cross Country

Fence 19, just one of the twenty-five questions facing the 4* riders this morning at Stable View Photo by Shelby Allen.

The entire team at Stable View has spent the last decade pouring their hearts and souls into the always adapting and improving facility here in Aiken, South Carolina, and this weekend is a celebration of all that they have accomplished at the Oktoberfest 2/3/4* and USEF/USEA Horse Trials. Of course one of the biggest components of an event venue is the cross country course, and Captain Mark Phillips has been an integral part of the vision and follow through of that effort for Stable View, and he once again comes forward as the course designer for the feature four-star class.

Competitors will be challenged with 37 jumping efforts that curl them around the sandy Aiken landscape, which the crew at Stable View has been tirelessly watering, and Mark will expect them back through the finish flags in an optimum time of 6 minutes 35 seconds. Easier said than done!

Overnight leader Phillip Dutton says this course, “is the best I’ve seen Mark do here,” and it’s certainly the creation of a man who knows this terrain and venue like the back of his hand. With that much familiarity, who better to take us around the Oktoberfest cross country course? Read on from Captain Mark Phillips himself:

“As riders set off from outside the Hunt Boxes, the Log Box (1) and the Hammock (2) have a familiar look to them. But turning down the hill towards the Meadow, the Diamond Brush, (3) with its new cedar top, starts to put the size of this year’s Oktoberfest into perspective.

“The Chevron Table and Corner in the Meadow (4) is a kind first combination before the climb up the hill to Boyd’s Table (5) and the Boyd’s Water Combination (6). While the Table is kind enough, riders will need to be brave at the Cabin and careful at the MIM Rail on the Mound. All will be thankful when the Open Corner after is behind them.

“The Log Pile (7) on the down slope to the Academy Alp looks massive. Riders have an interesting choice of the ends of the Alp (8) where the quicker right hand side down to a Stable View Shoulder looks a little scary while the left side will take longer.

Fence 12abc Stable View’s Sunken Road. Photo by Shelby Allen.

“The Hayrack (10) in the Cut Through and the Gate (11) after won’t hold too many fears but while the four efforts at the Sunk Road (12) is not new, it still needs a lot of respect.

15 a and bc over there in the far left of the photo, The Land Rover Question. Photo Courtesy of CrossCountryApp.

“Riders will enjoy Barry’s Desk (13) and the Memorial Garden Table (14) before coming to the daunting Derby Field Alp (15). Here the Triple Brushes and Brush Corner are definitely impressive.

Fence 17ab, the Beehive Oxers. Photo Courtesy of CrossCountryApp.

“The Cross Question (16) is unchanged but the Metal Oxer Combination (17) on the downslope cannot be taken for granted.

Fence 20a is followed by a corner at 20b. Photo Courtesy of CrossCountryApp.

“The Tiger Trap (18) is a welcome breather before the Derby Field. The Triple Bar (19) in the water followed by the Blanchard Table and Corner (20) will all come up quickly one after the other.

Fence 23a, followed by 23b in the second water, the GL Williams Water Complex. Photo by Shelby Allen.

“The Double Brush (21) with its new cedar top looks bigger than ever while the two Boats give the GL Williams Water (22) a completely new look. It’s then the run home over the Step Table (23) before the Stable View Village (24) and the Finish.

“A good round here will give horses and riders a massive confidence boost before heading for the Maryland 5* designed by Ian Stark later in the month.”

Need a TLDR? Check our EN’s quick ‘n dirty instagram reel:

First horse leaves the startbox for this division at 12:06 p.m. this afternoon. Check back with us to see how it all shakes out.

Stable View Oktoberfest 2/3/4* and H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Live Scores] [Ride Times/Orders of Go]



Dutton is Dominant On Day One of Stable View Oktoberfest CCI4*-S

Phillip Dutton and Z. Photo by Shelby Allen.

US Eventing team stalwart Phillip Dutton leads the Stable View CCI4*-S in both experience and placings as he and his World Equestrian and Olympic Games partner Z landed themselves in the overnight lead position after the first two phases.

On their morning dressage efforts, both judges — Vanda Stewart and Amanda Miller — shared similar opinions, both giving Phillip and Z the identical score of 71.88% for a penalty score of 28.1. Phillip gives thanks to dressage coach Tuny Page on that front, who he says has had him laser focused on maintaining a correct and effective position throughout the test.

“[Z is] getting so mature and professional about it all now and early in his career as dealing lot more with his tension and nervousness, whereas now he sort of understands a lot more the dressage. He kept his calm and kept thinking with me all the way through the test,” he said.

Phillip Dutton and Z. Photo by Shelby Allen.

The 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Asca Z — Bellabouche, by Babouche VH Gehucht Z) will stay on his sub-30 score (the only one in remaining in the division) after a show jumping showdown of sorts that saw only four of the twenty-two competitors emerge double clear.

“He’s just a beautiful jumper and he’s pretty rideable now as well, and I’ve gotten to know what works best in the warm up for him,” he said. “I just try to keep the warm up as quiet and as easy and as relaxed as possible with lots of walking in between jumping and just lets him take a deep breath and doesn’t build up and build up and get more and more tense.”

Phillip admits he had the advantage of being sat on an excellent show jumper, but he still had plenty of work to do across Michel Villancourt’s show jumping track. “I thought it walked strong actually when I walked it. It’s quite square and it wasn’t very forgiving in the lines — you kind of had to stick to the numbers or else you paid a price. I think the Liverpool probably came down the most, and that required you to get really straight and square to it and again I think you’ve paid the price if you didn’t you didn’t do that,” he said.

Lucienne Belissimo and Dyri. Phoot by Shelby Allen.

Phillip’s closest rival tomorrow is second-placed Lucienne Belissimo who saw one rail go early in the course with the Horse Scout Eventing’s Dyri.

“I was pleased with Dyri in the dressage this morning. He is an insecure gelding and can curl up on me a little — today he actually felt confident and maintained a good frame & brain throughout,” she said of the 11-year-old Holsteiner (Diario — La Calera, by by King Milford xx). “The one rail he had was a shame early on because the show jumping suited him as he likes to run a little deep, and there were a few clever combinations that were followed with a short distance.”

Lucienne and Dyri carry forward a score of 33.1 to the final phase.

Mary Bess Davis and Imperio Magic. Photo by Shelby Allen.

It’s a pleasure to see Mary Bess Davis and Imperio Magic in the top three of this feature class, but no one was beaming more Mary Bess herself. After being sidelined from a neck injury this spring, she’s picked up exactly where she left off with “McColl.”

“I knew it would be tough, and if you’re going to ride a course like that you want to be on a horse like him. It gives you a lot of confidence being on him, so I was really kind of excited about how hard it was because I thought we could jump clean and do well because it just suits him,” she said.

She was exactly right on that front, leaving all the rails in place with her 9-year-old Anglo European gelding (Cassander C — Khadija des Hayettes, by Banboula du Thot) to remain on their dressage score of 34.0 going into the final phase.

Sarah Kuhn and Mr Cash van de Start. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Sarah Kuhn is fourth with Mr. Cash van de Start after having one rail down for a two-phase score of 34.9, and Lucienne nabbed another top five position with her second ride, Tremanton coming in fifth on 36.4 points.

Allie Knowles and P.S. I Love You. Photo by Shelby Allen.

In addition to International divisions, Stable View is also playing host to the USEF/USEA Developing Horse Eventing National Championships for 6- and 7-year-olds.

Katherine O’Brien’s P.S. I Love You tops the 7-year-old Championship, which is held at the CCI3*-S level. Ridden by Allie Knowles, the Irish Sport Horse (FSS Correlli Bravo — Woodmount Queen, by Crannagh Hero) put forward a double clear show jumping effort to remain on their dressage score of 32.6.

The 6-year-old class currently belongs to Monbeg Zebedee, who is ridden by Allison Springer. The Zebedee Group’s Irish Sport Horse (Dignified Van’t Zorgvliet —  Bolacreane Dolly, by Cult Hero) earned a 28.6 on the flat and will continue forward with both jumping phases tomorrow.

Competition continues tomorrow with cross country for all International divisions beginning at 8:30 a.m. Stay tuned for much more from Stable View.

Stable View Oktoberfest 2/3/4* and H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Live Scores] [Ride Times/Orders of Go]


Saturday Links from World Equestrian Brands

We’re two days late, but please join us in wishing a very happy 21st birthday to Valegro! This sweet blueberry enjoyed his special day with a carrot and mint topped cake alongside his best girl, Charlotte Dujardin.

National Holiday: National Video Game Day

U.S. Weekend Action: 

The Maryland International + Horse Trials (Adamstown, MD) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times][Volunteer] [Scoring]

Arrowhead H.T. (Billings, MT) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (Fairburn, GA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Huntington Farm H.T. (South Strafford, VT) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Genesee Valley Hunt H.T. (Geneseo, NY) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring]

Masterson Equestrian Trust YEH/NEH Qualifier (Lexington, KY) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times][Volunteer] [Scoring]

Redefined Equestrian Horse Trials (Fort Collins, CO) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer][Scoring]

Summer Coconino HT and Western Underground, Inc. TR,N,BN 3 Day Event (Flagstaff, AZ) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Saturday Links:

Mare Surprises Breeder And Vets With Twin Foals

Saville and FE Connory Step Up at Inaugural Maryland International CCI4*-S

Get to Know the 2023 Area III Champions

All You Need For Summer Showing

Sunday Video: Take a ganger around the first ever CCI4*-S cross country course at Maryland International.

Tuesday News & Notes from Kentucky Performance Products


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A post shared by Andrew McConnon (@andrewsmcconnon)

After the excitement from Luhmuhlen over the weekend, we now turn our attention about seven hours southeast to FEI Nations Cup at Strzegom in Poland. We will see four recognizable entries come forward to represent the United States as part of the U.S. Eventing Development Tour for the summer of 2023. Tour participants receive funding through USEF and the USET Foundation, thanks to the Karen E. Stives Endowment.

The team has been settled in Europe preparing for this weekend’s competition under the direction of USEF Eventing Emerging and Development Coach Leslie Law. Keep scrolling to meet the team and see some clips from their final preparations.

National Holiday: World Refugee Day

Events Opening Today: Hoosier Horse TrialsRiver Glen Summer H.T.Catalpa Corner Charity Horse TrialsSpring Gulch H.T.Huntington Farm H.T.Olney Farm H.T.Early Bird Summer Event at Galway DownsArea VII Young Rider Benefit H.T. at Caber FarmCobblestone Farms H.T. II,

Events Closing Today: Huntington Farm H.T.Genesee Valley Hunt H.T.The Maryland International + Horse TrialsChattahoochee Hills H.T.Arrowhead H.T.Masterson Equestrian Trust YEH/NEH QualifierRedefined Equestrian Horse TrialsSummer Coconino HT and Western Underground, Inc. TR,N,BN 3 Day Event,

Tuesday News & Notes: 

Never turn down free dressage advice from Carl Hester. He’s got a few training tricks on Horse & Hound today that you can add to your own toolbox. For one, he says to count your horse’s strides in the dressage arena. Learning how many strides your horse takes on the short side can make your serpentines more accurate. [8 training gems from Carl Hester that could transform your dressage scores]

Laura Collett stretches to mainstream media: [Laura Collett completes five-star treble with win on London 52 in Luhmuhlen]

Ingrid Klimke suffered a broken collarbone after a fall with Equistros Siena Just Do It while competing in the CCI4* at Luhmuhlen. The break required surgery, and Ingrid says it should be a quick turnaround to get her back in the saddle, but she’ll likely miss out on the Nations Cup at the CDIO Aachen, leaving  Sönke Rothenberger to take her place. [Ingrid Klimke Injured in Cross Country Accident, Rothenberger on Team for CDIO Aachen?]

Tuesday Video Break:

Monday News & Notes from FutureTrack


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A post shared by Laura Collett MBE (@laura_collett)

If there’s someone who owns a prize giving, it’s London 52. He’ll turn the whole ordeal into his personal catwalk and make eyes at every camera in sight, and rightfully so. If you’re like us and haven’t gotten enough of Luhmühlen yet, take a peek through all our weekend coverage while you’re waiting for replays on H&C!

National Holiday: Juneteenth

 U.S. Weekend Action: 

Aspen Farm H.T (Yelm, WA) [Website] [Scores]

Full Gallop Farm June H.T (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Scores]

Honey Run H.T. (Ann Arbor, MI) [Website] [Scores]

Horse Park of New Jersey H.T. I (Allentown, NJ) [Website][Scores]

Seneca Valley Pony Club H.T. (Poolesville, MD) [Website][Scores]

Shepherd Ranch Pony Club H.T. I (Santa Ynez, CA) [Website][Scores]

Silverwood Farm Spring H.T. (Trevor, WI) [Website] [Scores]

Your Monday Reading:

Today we observe Juneteenth, the federal holiday enacted to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Much of the holiday’s history originates in Texas, where Major General Gordon Granger proclaimed freedom for enslaved people June 19, 1865. To mark the day, horsemen and horsewomen in Texas gather each year for a decidedly horse-y affair. [Freedom Is a Horse]

While all the attention was (rightfully) on Laura Collett this weekend, others from the British contingent delivered at Luhmühlen. Harry Meade and Tenareze were fifth and Tom Jackson was sixth with his five-star first-timer, Farndon. [‘He really showed his class’: top British rider’s exciting prospect delivers on five-star debut at Luhmühlen]

You’ll need Google Translate for this one, but we promise it’s worth it. First, Nicolas says he often sees apprehension from riders that results in them holding the horse back too much. One way to combat that with relaxation is to bridge your reins. [Tip of the Month: Astier Nicolas, Layout, Balance and Impulse]

Do you ever feel like you’re just a tad behind your horse’s motion? This one’s for you. Beezie Madden does not only photo, but also video analysis for this edition of Jumping Clinic. [Jumping Clinic: Staying with the Horse’s Motion]

Monday Viewing:

Who Jumped It Best? The LRK3DE CCI5* Wofford Rails

Who Jumped It Best?

We’ve got a very special edition of Who Jumped It Best for you this morning. We bring you to the Wofford Rails on the CCI5*-L course at the 2023 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by MARS Equestrian. At fence 15, this mimed and reverse pined open oxer is the last obstacle before competitors reached the indomitable Head of the Lake. It’s a new addition this year, built and placed in homage to the late Jimmy Wofford, whose presence is very keenly felt here in Kentucky this weekend.

A “teacher’s teacher,” Jimmy’s opinion was regarded as law for nearly the entire professional equestrian community as he viewed the evolution of the sport through the lens of classical theory. With that in mind, take a look at these horse and rider combinations below, and decide who Jimmy would believe got it right.

Boyd Martin and Contessa. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Allie Knowles and Morswood. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Erin Kanara and Campground. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Jennie Brannigan and Twilightslastgleam. Photo by Shelby

Phillip Dutton and Z. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Will Faudree and Mamas Magic Way. Photo by Shelby Allen.

LRK3DE: [Website] [5* Times] [5* Scores] [4* Times] [4* Scores] [Schedule] [Live Stream] [Tickets] [EN’s Form Guide] [EN’s Coverage] [EN’s Ultimate Guide]

[Click here to catch up on all of EN’s coverage of the 2023 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event]

Want more LRK3DE info each day during competition? Sign up for the free LRK3DE Daily Digest email, which will be sent each day through Monday, May 1. Find all of EN’s latest coverage, sponsor promotions and discounts, chances to win daily giveaways, and much more! Click here to sign up.

Yasmin Ingham Brings Down the House on Friday in Kentucky

Yasmin Ingham and Banzai du Loir. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

If there was anyone who could’ve taken over the lead of the CCI5*-L at Kentucky, it would certainly be reigning World Champion Yasmin Ingham, and she certainly delivered today for over 13,000 spectators with her delightfully talented ride, Banzai du Loir.

Their dressage result of 22.1 was tantalizingly close to their best-ever International score, which was a 22 achieved in Pratoni, but still six points improved from their debut here in 2023.

“He felt absolutely amazing. He did absolutely everything I asked him. He had such a presence, he just felt like he was flicking his toes and it was super accurate, so I really could not have asked for any more of him today. I’m just so proud of him,” she said. “We’ve had a couple of practices at this now so we seem to have nailed his warm up. He loves this place. So he’s been super chilled all week, so actually, he’s made my life a bit easier than usual. We just took him for a little jump this morning, and just tried to loosen him up, and then we just came out and worked with Chris [Bartle] and Dickey [Waygood], just before his test. He just felt really loose and supple and on the ball.”

Riding high off their fairytale 2023 season, the options were endless for for Yas and the 12-year-old Selle Français gelding (Nouma d’Auzay – Gerboise du Cochet, by Livarot) this spring, but after finishing second here last year, the British rider felt Lexington calling her back again.

“The thought process behind that was the fact that we came here last year, and he had such a great run, and it set us up so well for his success in Pratoni in the summer, so we’re hoping that it might just do the same thing this year,” she said. “And obviously, our plans over the next two years consists of aiming for the Championships, hopefully the Europeans in the summer and then looking ahead to Paris in 2024. So that’s our main focus over these next two years, to try and prepare as best we can for those events.”

Countryman Tom McEwen handed over only one spot on the leaderboard after the second day of dressage, and he finds himself in second place with JL Dublin going into cross country. On a score of 22.6, he’s generously given his World Championship teammate one second in hand. Similarly, Tamie Smith held on to top three with her dreamboat Mai Baum on a score of 22.6. You can read all about Thursday’s action at this link.

Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The five-star test was a big question mark for Will Coleman’s second entry, Chin Tonic HS. With scores as low as 19.4 at the four-star level, inquiring minds wondered if he could reproduce the same work on this stage. At just 11-years-old, the Hyperion Stud-owned Holsteiner gelding (Chin Champ – Wildera, by Quinar) was slightly mind-boggled at the atmosphere, with tension sacrificing a few points here and there. Despite this, Will rode tactfully to produce a score of 25 for fourth place in Chin’s debut at the level.

“I think that the horse tried really hard. [He] definitely sort of shrunk on me a little bit in there. He’s been a lot of places, but there’s not many that feel quite like that on Friday afternoon. So all things considered, he’s still pretty green – it’s his first five-star. And so for this level, first time, I think I’m very happy,” Will said.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C. Photo by Amy Dragoo.

Another horse who reacted to the energy of the Rolex Stadium was Ocala Horse Properties’ and Deborah Palmer’s Miks Master C. Ridden by Liz Halliday-Sharp, the 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Mighty Magic – Qui Lumba CBF, by Quite Easy) is fifth on a score of 26.9.

“Certainly Mickey was feeling the atmosphere today — he was pretty amped up, and he is a very big, powerful horse, and [there were] just a few moments where he got a little bit mouthy in the ring, which I think really hurt the score, which is unfortunate,” Liz said of “Mickey” who is the highest-placed U.S. bred horse. “And I just sort of did the best I could with a big engine fresh horse today. This is his first five-star on the biggest atmosphere he’s been in and we haven’t even been together a year yet, so we’re still still learning some things.”

Previously campaigned through the four-star level by Maya Black, Liz and Mickey’s partnership has started to settle into a comfortable rhythm, and Liz thinks the world of him.

“His potential as an absolute world class horse is undoubtable. I believe in him, and I just think the world of him. When you’re sitting on something that beautiful and that special — I sort of had dreams about being able to pull out a 20 today, but I think it’s in there, we just have to do a little more training,” she said.

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Boyd Martin slotted himself into sixth place on a score of 28.3 with his Tokyo Olympics and double World Championship partner, Tsetserleg.

“He couldn’t have gone much better. It’s very rare you do a dressage test where you sort of come out and go ‘every movement was as good as I could have hoped,'” he said as he laid the credit with his two dressage coaches, wife Silva Martin and German Olympian Bettina Hoy. “Silva’s my dressage coach, and we know each other so well, that it’s important for me, obviously, to try and get other experts in here and there, and Bettina Hoy is obviously one of the best in the world. It’s sort of two people warming me up, which sounds confusing, but it’s really good stuff. They’ve been at me all week for shortening my reins and trying to get his frame out a little bit.”

The 16-year-old Trakehner gelding (Windfall – Thabana, by Buddenbrock) leaned into his years of experience, lighting up, rather than shying away from the crowd. “Thomas is so good under pressure. In the ring, where a lot of horses get nervous, he almost gets better. Like I said, before, I was thrilled with the way he went, and I couldn’t have hoped for much more,” Boyd said. “[He’s] so seasoned now, it’s just fine tuning every mark and trying to position the horse to sort of present him as best we could.”

Buck Davidson and Carlevo. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Another experienced pair, Buck Davidson and Carlevo are gunning to match, or hopefully improve, their fifth place finish here last year, and they’re off to a great start, in current seventh place on a score of 28.4.

“He’s pretty sleepy. Walking up here you’re sort of come on, Carlevo, let’s keep going,” Buck said of Katherine O’Brien’s 16-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Caresino – Ramatuelle, by Levernois). “He is a performer, but he’s got such a good brain. And he knows me, I know him. And it’s literally just trying to keep him interested and give him enough to do. He knows how to do everything, so we’re not going to train him. And his mind is so good you can rely on him.”

The next eight positions of the leaderboard remain claimed by Thursday’s riders: Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z are eighth (29), Sandra Auffarth and Viamant du Matz are ninth (30.4), Woods Baughman and C’est La Vie 135 are 10th (30.6), Alina Dibowski and Barbados 26 are 11th (30.7), Kirsty Chabert and Classic VI are 12th (30.8), Will Coleman and Off The Record are 13th (31.2), Phillip Dutton and Z are 14th (31.9), and Zara Tindall and Class Affair are 15th (32.6).

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The next fresh face comes in the form of reigning Land Rover/USEF CCI5*-L National Champions Doug Payne and Quantum Leap, a U.S. bred 12-year-old Zweibrucker gelding (Quite Capitol – Report to Sloopy xx, by Corporate Report xx) owned by Doug and his wife Jess. Their first phase score of 33.7 puts them in 16th place.

“For him, this is a pretty tough environment, and especially a bit windy and whatever — it’s definitely charged. I was really proud of him that was still, I want to say three and change [points] better than last year,” Doug said. “I think we’ve sort of got a system now as far as preparation goes. We kind of have to write off the first event or two of the year because he’s just wild, but then he starts settling in, and he’s just getting better and better. And the times that he can be confident about it, and he’s staying really relaxed, he has a lot to like.”

Sydney Solomon and Early Review CBF. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The only five-star debutant to come forward today was Sydney Solomon. Her test with Early Review CBF, a 14-year-old Hanoverian mare (Earl – Lois Lane CBF, by Le Primeur) owned and bred by Laurie Cameron, was sprinkled with a few exciting bucks through the flying changes, but nevertheless, Sydney was unbothered, soaking up the atmosphere of her first five-star. They’re in 35th place on a score of 43.3.

“As I went in there, I definitely felt her tense up, but honestly, some of it felt really good. Sometimes in the atmosphere, it really, really, really gets the best of us — especially in the canter work — and I at least feel like she held it together in the canter, other than in the changes, which sometimes that’s all you can ask. And I’m pretty green at the Advanced level, so I’m just excited for the rest of the weekend,” Sydney said. “We’re here for the cross country and the showjumping, so [my test] definitely could have been a lot better, but it could have been a lot worse. Overall, we got through it and I’m somewhat pleased.”

Tomorrow the four-star cross country begins at 9:15 a.m., followed by the five-star at 1:20 p.m. For questions about how and where to watch, click here.

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Like Mother Like Daughter: Kaylawna Smith-Cook Tastes Kentucky Magic with 5* Test Ride

Kaylawna Smith-Cook and Passepartout. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Kaylawna Smith-Cook came by the horse bug honestly. Daughter to Tamie Smith, she was basically indoctrinated in utero, and now at 27, Kaylawna is an Advanced-level competitor in her own right, and she kicked off the action this weekend as the test ride in the CCI5*-L at the 2023 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by MARS Equestrian.

“It’s unbelievable. I’ve always wanted to ride here,” Kaylawna said. “I was actually entered [in the CCI4*-S] on my mare, and she wasn’t able to compete, so we decided to ask to do the test ride on my big guy that I’m taking to Tryon this year. It was just really nice to get back and get in the ring even though I wasn’t competing — to have that experience.”

Kaylawna Smith-Cook celebrates her test ride at Kentucky. Photo by Shelby Allen.

After her 4* entry had a poorly-timed injury, Tamie suggested she offer to do the test ride with her other Advanced horse, Passepartout, a 14-year-old German Sport Horse (Pasco — Preschel, by Pardon), who is aimed at the Tryon CCI4*-L next month. While she hasn’t made her 5* debut yet, Kaylawna grabbed this opportunity and ran with it, giving “Pasci” the challenge of a higher-level test in a larger than life environment.

“It was definitely a step up from the four-star test, but I would say my trot work was probably the best it’s been. I do feel like it was really, really great to get in the ring and now know that I can even be a little braver and that he’s on my aids,” she said.

Photo by Shelby Allen.

Of course ringside was her mom, Tamie. “It’s been really awesome. Hopefully next year, she’ll be at the five-star as well,” Tamie said. “But to be at this level with your daughter, it’s really rewarding. I was helping her a little on the flat this morning — I’m getting the chills right now — just looking at her ride because she’s so good, and she’s way better than I ever was. But it was a really proud moment to just see how great she is. I mean, she has all the pieces she just lacks experience. So we’re working on that.”

Kaylawna spent her first years in the professional horse world working for Grand Prix dressage rider Niki Clarke before branching out on her own with a teaching and training program, which she runs out of the same facility as Tamie in Southern California.

Photo by Shelby Allen.

“We’re based off the same farm. I have my own business, she has hers, but obviously we work together as well,” she said, and who wouldn’t want to tap into the wealth of knowledge that Tamie has, but her mom has always pushed her to work hard for every single achievement.

“I would say it gets better by the years. We’re obviously mother and daughter and want to kill each other probably once or twice a week, but it’s amazing — especially now that I’m trying to compete at the four-star level to be competing against her and with her, it’s a bond that is really special,” Kaylawna said.

“I would say being her daughter is definitely a privilege, and it’s a great example to follow in her footsteps. I feel that she’s right there to guide me along with being my own rider and navigating through trying to become an upper-level rider. I’m really, really proud of her, and I’m excited to watch her this week and be right alongside her.”

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Kentucky CCI5*: Tom McEwen Out in Front with JL Dublin After Thursday’s Dressage

Tom McEwen and JL Dublin. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

What an exciting group of competitors we have coming forward to contest the 2023 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by MARS Equestrian. With a group of this caliber, no single entry stood out as the front runner during the lead up, but Great Britain’s Tom McEwen certainly made his mark on the first day, taking the lead of the class with JL Dublin.

The partnership between Tom and the 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Diarado – Zarinna, by Cantano), who is owned by Mr. and Mrs. J. Lambert and Mrs. D. Johnston, is less than a year in the making as the Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist took over the ride after Nicola Wilson had a fall with “Dubs” that resulted in life-threatening injuries which forced her retirement from the sport. It was Nicola who piloted the horse through his International career through last year, and it’s her years of training that Tom credits for today’s result.

“It’s all thanks to Nicola’s amazing training and the partnership they’ve had. [I’m] very lucky to take the reins on him, and he’s such a picture to watch anyway, so to go and pull off the tests — he can do it very easily and actually still have a few things to push up on. It’s very exciting really,” Tom said.

“Dubs is the kindest person you could ever meet. If I could put him into personality-wise what you see in the arena is sort of what you get. He’s lovely, soft, kind, but with the personality and a huge showmanship. He loves just being on the stage. He’s a lovely, lovely person.”

Tom McEwen and JL Dublin. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

In his first trip to Kentucky — about which, Tom says all he knew of the state was “racehorses, bourbon, and tobacco” — Tom earned a 22.6 with a test that features several nines awarded from the Ground Jury of Christina Klingspor (SWE), Peter Shaw (AUS), and Angela Tucker (GBR).

Speaking about his first trip to Kentucky, Tom said: “To be honest, it’s probably one of the greatest talked about events that I’ve never been to. So it’s been a pleasure to be able to come and an even bigger pleasure to be able to start competing here. Everyone is so super friendly. So that is the first thing I would say, but the stadium, I mean, the TV doesn’t quite do it justice. It’s quite a brilliant experience. It’s much, much bigger. And of course, it’s beautiful. The course is designed so well and it’s beautifully carved. So yeah, it’s a stunning place to be and I’m very lucky to be here,” he said.

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

California girl Tamie Smith held the lead through the middle of the afternoon on a 24.2 with her World Championship partner Mai Baum before taking one step down the podium to rest in second place at this point in the competition.

“I think it was one of his best tests to date. We’ve been working on just getting him stronger and being more in self carriage and being in front of my leg and he answered all the questions super. I really couldn’t have asked him to be better. I maybe had a couple of little tiny mistakes, but I was very pleased,” Tamie said.

Tamie and “Lexus,” a 17-year-old German Sporthorse gelding (Loredano – Ramira, by Leoni) owned by Alexandra Ahearn, Ellen Ahearn, and Eric Markell, spent their time very carefully over the winter, dedicating their focus to straight dressage competitions.

“I spent a lot of time this winter just getting him stronger and working with my dressage instructor, Johann Hinnemann, at home. I ended up doing the Prix St. George over the winter, and it was a really good exercise because I felt like that was his best test [today]. He really stayed in front of me,” she said.

Their partnership is nearly a decade in the making, but Tamie says that with each year it gets sweeter and sweeter. “I think with any horse as time goes on you hope to develop a very good trusting partnership and the quality has always been very much there, but his confidence and strength has — I think for both of us — has grown. I felt like the best way to describe it is like a hand in a glove. We think for each other — I think something and he does it; I look somewhere he goes like he’s just so with me,” she said.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Liz Halliday-Sharp, who currently leads the CCI4*-S division, claims third place in the five-star aboard Deniro Z. Their result of 29.0 wouldn’t be their best at the level — they achieved that here two years ago on 27.4 — but Liz was pleased to see that their hard work on the flying changes, which they’ve historically struggled with, has begun to pay off.

“He got three out of the four so I guess we should be excited about that. Actually at home they’ve been the best they’ve ever been this year and I would say I owe a lot of that to some training I’ve done with Shelly Francis lately. She really kind of changed the way that I teach the horses to do changes, and I think it’s made a huge difference to him.”

“Obviously it wasn’t our very best test today. Deniro decided something was terrifying with the camera on the first centerline which genuinely he’s never done that in my entire time with him. But here we are, it just shows they’re individuals and they can still do cheeky things,” Liz said of the Ocala Horse Properties’ 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zapatero – Zonne-Trend, by French Buffet xx). “But yeah, he is starting to really understand what he’s supposed to do with the changes. The right to left has always been harder for him. They’re physically very hard for him. At home he very rarely would miss the right to left this year now which is great. But when he’s feeling a little excited and a little snazzy, that’s usually when he leaps in the air or misses it. But here we are 15 years old and we’re still getting better, but at least he’s still learning.”

Sandra Auffarth and Viamant du Matz. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Another Kentucky first-timer, former World Champion Sandra Auffarth is in fourth place. Sandra is no stranger to the very top levels of the sport, having represented her country at each and every Olympics and World Championship since 2012, and her partner here this weekend, Nikolaus Prinz von Croy’s  Viamant du Matz, a 14year-old Selle Français gelding (Diamant de Semilly – Heralina X, by Voltigeur le Malin X)helped Germany earn team gold in Pratoni last autumn. Despite his championship experience, this is a five-star debut for “Mat,” which he’s kicked off with a dressage score of 30.4.

Woods Baughman and C’Est La Vie 135. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Woods Baughman rounds out the top five with his and his parents’ C’est la Vie 135 on a score of 30.6. Growing up in the Lexington area, Woods certainly has a loud and proud cheering squad for his and the 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding’s (Contendro – Anette, by Aarking xx) performance in the first phase. “Contendro” certainly felt the atmosphere, showing his exuberance through the extended canters, but Woods has focused his warmup on producing relaxation through all possible conditions. 

“I did get a little too excited. That canter — the extend across the diagonal back, and then the counter-canter, the corner change — really is hard [for him],” Woods said. “[It’s about] just getting him really flexible because he’s such a big, stiff thing. Most of my warm up is in the walk and turn about the haunches, pretty much go side pass, and then back, and then small circle. Just keep moving him around and then do really long and low, and only the last five minutes I shorten the reins and put his head up and then he looks like a horse again.”

Alina Dibowski and Barbados 26. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Five-star debutant Alina Dibowski stands in sixth place with Susanna Dibowski’s Barbados 26 on a score of 30.7. At only 22, Alina is the youngest rider in this year’s competition, but she’s got mileage that belies her age. She and “Baba,” a 14-year-old Polish Sporthorse gelding (Moravia – Babilonia xx, by Jape xx) represented Germany in the junior championship ranks before taking up the call up to compete as individuals at the 2022 World Championships in Italy. For her, this is a new opportunity to showcase their partnership on a world stage.

“We’re into our ninth year together, so we built a very strong bond. That’s why my dad is the groom on paper for the accreditation, but I do everything myself, so I think this is why we have such a strong connection. We grew into this together. At the start I didn’t even know that he may be capable or I may be capable of riding here in Kentucky. So I think this is something I just have with this horse and this is why I call him once a lifetime.

Kirsty Chabert and Classic VI. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Great Britain’s Kirsty Chabert came over to Kentucky riding on her successes of 2022. After a heartbreaking elimination nearly at the end of the Badminton cross country course, Kirsty redirected to the 5* at Luhmühlen where she and her quirky mare Classic VI proved their mettle and finished second, and she’s chasing a similar fairytale here in the states.

“[It’s a] bit of a once in a lifetime — potentially — opportunity, the horse was in amazing form last year, so it’s an incredible experience to come and ride in such an atmosphere,” she said. “[We] got very established last year. We had a little hiccup at Badminton and sort of went away and rectified it, and then I can’t really fault the horse from then on, to be honest. She was second at Luhmühlen, she won two four-stars and a second in another one, so I feel like this year was the chance to come over.”

She and the 14-year-old Anglo European Sporthorse mare (Calvaro F.C – Indian Summer), who is owned by Carole Somers, John Johnston, and Kate Ward, are starting their American bid in good form with a 30.8 on the flat that has them in current seventh place.

Will Coleman and Off The Record. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The Team USA stalwart Will Coleman felt like he left points on the table after his 31.2-point dressage test with World Championship partner Off The Record, a 14-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Arkansas VDL – Drumagoland Bay, by Ard Ohio) owned by the Off The Record Syndicate. They’re in eighth place at day’s end.

“I just couldn’t really get them to breathe in there. He was just kind of holding his breath the whole time and felt like he was almost trying too hard. You know, just a lot of little mistakes. He swapped off his lead a couple of times, just anxious and tight and it wasn’t very good,” Will said. “It’s a shame, he’s been doing good work, I don’t know if he just didn’t have it in there. He never has really done a great test in there. It’d be nice if maybe we could school him in there a few times during the week, but they never let you do that here. I just can’t really get him over those demons in there. He just goes in there and holds his breath.”

Phillip Dutton and Z. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Phillip Dutton had the major competitive advantage of dressage coaching from Silva Martin to help he and the Z Partnership’s Z, a 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Asca Z – Bella Bouche B, by Babouche vh Gehucht Z), produce a 31.9 for ninth place. Though Phillip says he envisioned a slightly lower score, he’s thrilled with the work Z produced.

“He’s getting more mature. Silva Martin’s been helping me, she’s been a big help,” he said. “He went really well. As long as they keep marking hard like that throughout the competition — because 31, he’s always done better than that — but I think this is the best test he’s ever done. So I was pleased, very pleased.”

Zara Tindall and Class Affair. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Rounding out the top ten is another British entry, Zara Tindall riding Gleadhill House Stud LTD’s Class Affair. “Socks,” a 14-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding (Obos Quality 004 – Ruby’s Rosshaven Flight, by Laughton’s Flight) has proved to be a tricky personality for Zara, and that’s heightened at the five-star level.

“He hates people. This situation is literally his worst thing ever. He’s just a tricky horse, in his brain — you’ve got to be a bit careful with him. You’re not sure which side of the bed he’s gonna come out on. He’s really talented, but his brain kind of interferes a bit,” she said, and although her score of 32.6 is their highest at five-star level, Zara is the first to point out: there’s plenty more to do this weekend.

Looking at today’s scores in their entirety, the Ground Jury were in strong agreement in their judging, with the biggest spread being seen in Will Faudree’s results with Mama’s Magic Way, with a 4.62-point disagreement. They were similarly divided on Tamie Smith’s performance, with Christina Klingspor giving her a 78.65% from her spot at C, while Peter Shaw and Angela Tucker were in agreement on a 74.42% from their places at E and M, respectively.

The 5* will resume tomorrow at 1:00 PM with Emily Hamel and Corvett cantering down the centerline and we’ll be there to bring you all the action!

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All Accepted in Easy Breezy First Horse Inspection at Kentucky

Allie Knowles and Morswood. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

All CCI5*-L horse and rider combinations have been accepted to compete at the 2023 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by MARS Equestrian after an essentially drama-free first horse inspection.

Thirty-eight pairs presented for the Ground Jury of Christina Klingspor (SWE), Peter Shaw (AUS), and Angela Tucker (GBR) under a cloud dotted sky in Lexington, Ky., with nary an entry even flirting with the hold box at the start of competition. The only excitement came in the form of pre- and post-jog antics from the likes of Daytona Beach 8.

Sandra Auffarth embracing the stars and stripes with Viamant du Matz. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The total count did drop by one ahead of the trot up as five-star first-timer Andrew McConnon withdrew Ferrie’s Cello today.

The 5* dressage begins at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday with Buck Davison as the first to go aboard Erroll Gobey. We also can’t forget “mini-Kentucky” being held this week as a CCI4*-S competition. They did not participate in this afternoon’s trot up, but they’ll be the first to kick off dressage competition tomorrow morning beginning at 8:00 a.m.

As the action gets underway, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the 5* entries by checking out our comprehensive Form Guide here.

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Ocala International: Le Lion Reserve Champion HSH Connor Claims CCI3*-L Debut with Caroline Martin

HSH Connor drops into the final water with Caroline Martin. Photo by Shelby Allen.

The young horse pathway has been one that Caroline Martin has followed to the letter with her up-and-coming horses, and it paid off this weekend as she won the CCI3*-L at the Ocala Festival of Eventing aboard the 7-year-old HSH Connor.

“I’m a huge fan of the young horse program. It’s great to have mile markers every year: As a 4-year-old your mile marker is to get to the 4-year-old Championship, the 5-year-old year getting him to that Championship. And then as a 6-year-old six year old, our goal was to get him to Le Lion, so our whole season is just around that one goal,” Caroline said, and that’s exactly how “Connor’s” career has progressed: He won the 2020 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse East Coast 4-Year-Old Championship, reserve champion as a 5-year-old the following year, and finally finished second place in the FEI WBFSH Eventing World Breeding 6-year-old Championship last autumn.

“So this year, I’m trying to follow the same plan — do an early, long, given him a break, and then hopefully get him ready for Le Lion again in the fall,” she said.

Caroline’s business partner, Kelly Hutchinson talent spotted the Irish Sport Horse (Connor 48 — Galway Bay Merstona, by Mermus R) from the breeder, Justin Burke, before he made it over to Caroline in 2020. From the start Caroline says that Connor has been sharp with a mean spook, but he’s come out his 7-year-old year with those energies focused on the job.

“He would spin me off every day, stop at every single jump, spook at everything, but he’s always been incredibly talented. And so that still translates to him — even as a 7-year-old, but he’s definitely grown up a lot this year,” Caroline said. “Last year, when I’ve gotten back into work, he’d stop every time at any type of grid. This year, he’s jumping through grids on the first try. He’s jumping in and out of water. The horse is just so intelligent that you can’t you have to carefully explain stuff to him because he overthinks, but he’s been great this week, and everything felt super, super easy for him.”

HSH Connor and Luann McElduff share a cuddle at Ocala.

Connor won his class wire-to-wire, with his only fault being one second in the show jumping, to finish on a final score of 23.3, cheered throughout the weekend by his faithful supporters, but no one cheered louder than Luann McElduff who shares ownership of Connor with her daughter, Maddie, the rider and Sherrie Martin.

Jon Holling was second with Constance Holling and Team Rebecca’s Juczt My Style S. “Polo,” a 9-year-old KWPN (Ahorn — Sakura Hill Czola, by Alla’czar) who was bred in the U.S. by Sakira Hill Farm, finished on his dressage score of 27.1.

Leslie Law and Countess Cooley. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Also finishing on their dressage result (27.4) was third-placed Leslie Law aboard Countess Cooley, an 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Remiro B — Regular Eaton) owned by Craig McCallum.

Sharon White and Claus 63 tackle the tricky water complex on the 4*-S course. Photo by Shelby Allen.

While this event has run upper level competition since 2006, this year for the first time they hosted a CCI4*-S, which was topped by Sharon White and her own Claus 63.

Sharon has been thoughtfully bringing along the 11-year-old Holsteiner (Catoo x Tina II) after taking over the reins from Dirk Schrade several years ago, and their success this weekend is a well deserved feather in their cap as Sharon eyes even bigger future goals.

“There were some really good questions. And in the warmup, people were like, ‘Oh, they’re not reading the first water and do the option.’ But I’m gearing up towards bigger and better things, so I wanted to challenge him a bit. And he said, ‘No problem,’” Sharon told the U.S. Eventing Association.

Just three weeks out from the Tryon CCI4*-L next month, this event was perfectly scheduled as a final preparatory event, and Sharon was among many of the riders who applauded Organizer Emily Holmes and her team for putting it on.

“I really appreciate the organizers making the effort,” She said. “We’re just really grateful that they were willing to do it. I think anyone who wants to run an event deserves all the recognition. It’s a lot of work—whether you’re an organizer, an official, a competitor, or volunteer, I think we should all band together and give each other a high-five because we’re all in this together.”

Leslie Law and “the twins” Fernhill Lottery and Must Be Cooley. Photo via Lesley Grant-Law.

Leslie Law won first and second in the CCI2*-L with Fernhill Lottery and Must Be Cooley, respectively.

Jamie McAllister and Army Ranger. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Jamie McAllister piloted her own Army Ranger to win the Advanced division. The 11-year-old Thoroughbred stepped up to the Advanced level this spring, and delivered for Jamie this weekend, cruising around a technical cross country designed by Jay Hambly with 17.2 time penalties.

Well done to all for a great weekend at Ocala. Go eventing.

From An ER Nurse: The Cross Country Vest I Trust With My Safety

Taking the Freejump X’AIR SAFE for a spin. Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

As a nurse who works in an Emergency Department, safety is my number one priority when shopping for any horse-related gear. 

Equestrian sports, and eventing more specifically, comes with its share of inherent risk that rivals some of this country’s riskier leisure activities. That comes out to more “accidents per hour of sport compared with motorcycle riding, skiing and football” (Gates & Lin, 2020). 

As an amateur rider, and even more importantly, an amateur rider who frequently finds myself at an array of distances from a fence (despite the heroic efforts of my talented horses), proper personal protection equipment (PPE) is key. The current research on equestrian sports shows that amateurs are far more likely to experience injury than our more experienced professional counterparts. One study said, “when injury rates were adjusted by hours spent in the saddle, experienced equestrians were injured less commonly than amateurs” (Gates & Lin, 2020). 

While head trauma trumps as the most frequently occurring equestrian injury, studies have found that in high intensity riding, like racing and jumping, trauma to the chest or trunk is frequent, with one study citing rib fracture occurring in half of severely injured riders (Carmiachael, et al., 2014). And that’s where a vest can quite literally be a lifesaver. Rib fracture not only opens you up to collapsed lungs (hemo/pneumothorax) but also makes you a more likely candidate for pneumonia. Having seen my share of patients come through the ER with chest trauma, I don’t skimp when it comes to my own body protector. 

Staying comfortable and breezy even on a sweltering day in Ocala, Florida. Photo by Ashley Greene.

After taking a few involuntary dismounts from my up-and-coming thoroughbred last year, a friend pushed me toward using an air vest. She shared that from her personal experience, the aches and pains associated with falls were reduced when she was wearing an air vest. In August of 2022, the French company FreeJump launched their first two-in-one protective vest and airbag, and after vetting it for several weeks I’m sold. 

A combination vest, as opposed to a body protector + separate air bag, gives precise protection every time you zip it up. When I’ve used separate pieces, I found myself wondering if I had secured the airbag properly. Would it stay in place correctly? Did I fasten it tight enough for protection, but also loose enough so that I can breathe after it deploys? Though these are mostly unjustified ramblings of an anxiety-prone rider, I find I prefer the reliability and convenience of a combination vest. 

In an independent test conducted by the French company CRITT Sport Loisirs (Regional Centre for Innovation and Technology Transfer), the X’AIR SAFE had eight times better protection compared to a body protector alone, and four times better protection than a body protector with separate airbag on top when compared to other top brands. 

A small size of the airbag deploys in 89 milliseconds, one of the fastest acting when compared to other top brands. In a sport where wins and accidents are decided in inches and seconds, that’s a safety net that’s irreplaceable to me.

As far as specs go, the X’AIR SAFE meets the EN 13 158: 2018 level 3 standard of the Eventing body protections for competition use, which makes it appropriate for USEF sanctioned competition, and the NF S72- 800-2022 standard for equestrian airbags. It’s of note that Freejump’s airbag technology in previous products was the first to be certified by the NF S72 800 2022 standard. 

The airbags are integrated inside the body protector, padding around the spine and neck specifically, to give an ideal distribution of the airbag’s benefits. While there is still little research regarding airbags in equestrian sport, their use is growing, and in 2022 the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) for the first time ever recommended their use. 

Testing out my range of motion in the X’AIR SAFE. Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

While safety ratings and statistics are important, a cross country vest must also be functional because what use is a good vest if it doesn’t allow you to do your job as a rider? Freejump’s promise of a weight reduction of 20% was enticing, and in my opinion was delivered with this X’AIR SAFE. Historically, body protectors have been bulky and restricting in my experience, but I find the X’AIR SAFE to be very allowing. I am happily able to move my arms and torso without restriction.

The vest is constructed of laser cut pieces that include a dense outer foam layer and a more rubbery foam inner layer to provide shock distribution and absorption. That inner layer contains materials similar to what is seen in bulletproof vests. The first time I donned the X’AIR SAFE it was immediately obvious how light the vest was. It was a literal weight off my shoulders when I compared back and forth with my current body protector. This became even more obvious when I took it off and didn’t find my usual sports bra sauna — even when I tried it out on an 80 degree day in Ocala. The cordura-based military grade outer fabric is also a godsend for someone as accident prone and messy as I am. After bumbling several times in and out of my stall and trailer, the material still looks good as new. 

Freejump has a pretty comprehensive size guide, so you’ll want to grab a friend to help you measure yourself. My measurements matched me with a size large. The body protector portion comes down right around my ribcage in the front aptly protecting my chest, ribs and all those visceral (lots of blood vessels!) organs like the liver and spleen, and the longer cut in the back reaches far enough to to cover into my lumbar spine. I also appreciate the elastic side adjustments. While my vest was a pretty perfect fit out of the box, it’s nice that you could make it a bit more snug if you preferred.

Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

Another thing that won me over is FreeJump’s accountability to its products and its brand. Each and every airbag is produced at their own workshop in Bordeaux where every product individually undergoes its own inflation and triggering tests before being shipped to retailers. The results of these tests are filed away to match the vest’s specific serial number. This of course would be compared to batch testing. I find comfort in knowing that my specific vest underwent performance screening before it ever reached me. 

The Freejump team really believes in its products which is evidenced by a warranty of up to four years from purchase date – much longer than the average for this industry.

After nearly two months of trial, the X’AIR SAFE has now become my go-to safety vest. The level of protection paired with its comfort and breathability exceeds my requirements to leave the startbox.

You can check out the X’AIR SAFE for yourself through one of Freejump’s retailers or learn more on their website


Carmichael SP 2nd, Davenport DL, Kearney PA, Bernard AC. On and off the horse: mechanisms and patterns of injury in mounted and unmounted equestrians. Injury. 2014 Sep;45(9):1479-83. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2014.03.016. Epub 2014 Apr 1. PMID: 24767580; PMCID: PMC4125461.

Gates JK, Lin CY. Head and Spinal Injuries in Equestrian Sports: Update on Epidemiology, Clinical Outcomes, and Injury Prevention. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2020 Jan;19(1):17-23. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000674. PMID: 31913919.

Ms. Stickability: Check Out Jennie Saville’s Amazing Save at Stable View

Jennie Saville (née Brannigan) has always been a gutsy, determined rider, but her latest feat takes the cake.

While competing in the Stable View CCI3*-S, Jennie found herself relying on her balance, strength and a little bit of luck when things got dicey aboard Nina Gardner’s Kismet while navigating the tricky combination of 16abc. At the preceding obstacle, the 8-year-old KWPN (National Anthem —  Ularinka) seemed to stutter step before leaving the ground at 15b, a narrow cabin with a drop on the landing.

Jennie’s face says it all: this might look like any other jump photo, but things were very much not going to plan. Photo by Shelby Allen.

“I wasn’t sure if he was going to leave the ground,” Jennie said, but leave the ground he did, but with the next combination — a line of two angled brush followed by a corner — only a handful of strides away, Jennie was then off her step and that’s when things got interesting. What followed was several moments of incredible balance on Jennie’s part and heart-warming honesty on the part of her horse, “Herbie.”

This effort would have been inspiring on a good day, but the day’s buckets of rainfall make it all the more herculean.

While Herbie might have shown his greenness at the level over that narrow cabin, he stepped up to exceed expectations where it really mattered, like when his jockey was down a stirrup and face-deep in his mane.

“That’s the moment right there,” Jennie said of the fifth photo in the series. “That’s where I was sure I was falling off.”

Jennie isn’t going to let a little thing like nearly hitting the deck slow her down, though. She kicked on to meet the corner element at C in the prescribed forward four strides. For their efforts, Jennie and Herbie earned the Harmony Chiropractic Best Save Award and will both be treated to a well-deserved adjustment.

Jennie and Herbie making it happen on the final c element. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Go Jennie. Go eventing.


Who Jumped It Best? Stable View Preliminary

Who Jumped It Best?

Our latest edition of Who Jumped It Best takes us between the pines of Aiken, S.C. to Stable View’s Spring International Event & H.T. In stark contrast to Saturday’s gloomy, soggy conditions, Sunday’s competitors had nearly perfect going. The previous day’s rainfall produced springy, pristine footing for the remaining combinations on cross country.

Preliminary competitors kicked off the morning, and we caught them very early in the track, at fence 2. Mogie Bearden-Mullen’s course opened up with good, open galloping from the jump before turning up the heat with challenging combinations in the latter half. Though straightforward, a course’s beginning fences are crucial to set the tone and the step of a course.

Take a look at these seven Preliminary horse and rider combinations and cast your vote in the poll at the bottom of this post.

Stable View Spring 2/3/4* and H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Scoring] [EN’s Coverage]

Charlotte Collis and Call The Law. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Molly Koch Toome and Diamond Lad. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Mikki Kuchta and Semore Smoke. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Susan Gornall and Gray Area. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Hugh Wrigley and FE Santos. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Emily Ballard and Sexy Swingin Walk. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Callia Englund and Boss Indy. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Will Coleman and Larcot Z Conquer CCI3*-S + More From Stable View

Will Coleman and Larcot Z. Photo by Shelby Allen.

A year ago, eventer Reagan LaFleur started her career in law, and because of her new professional time constraints, decided to hand the reins of her own Larcot Z over to Will Coleman. Now one season later, Will and the 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding (L’arc de Triomphe — Kocote de la Londe) have cashed in on their partnership, claiming a win in the Stable View CCI3*-S.

Reagan produced “Dwight,” aptly named after the character from The Office for the natural middle part of his forelock, through the two-star level. “I bumped him up did his first intermediates last year,” Will said. “He’s a really attractive horse — beautiful type, like a real blood type and a great jumper.”

He earned a 30.5 on the flat, with a score of nine for his final halt. A fault-free show jumping and just 8 cross country time penalties gave the pair a winning result of 38.5. Will was especially proud of the up-and-coming horse considering the deluge of rainfall he faced in addition to Mogie Bearden-Muller’s cross country track.

“It was just raining so hard. I could barely see I felt like I needed windshield wipers for my eyeballs,” Will said. “I think he was backed off by the ground. The ground held up really nicely, but it was still soft and kind of squishy. It just made the jumps maybe feel a little bigger, and he’s quite a careful horse so it was a good experience for him. He was really honest everywhere. I really can’t fault him.”

The LaFleur family have given their blessing for Will to continue campaigning Dwight for now, and he says he’ll aim for a spring three-star long, but hasn’t narrowed down yet exactly which one he’ll chose.

Doug Payne and Quiberon. Photo by Shelby Allen.

With 23 starters, only two came through the finish inside the time: Doug Payne and Waylon Roberts, who finished second and third place, respectively.

Doug piloted his and his wife’s 8-year-old Oldenburg stallion (Quite Easy — Avalon) to a second place finish on a score of 43.5. Only one rail in yesterday’s show jumping was added to their final result. A promising member of Doug’s string, Quiberon was bred in the U.S. by Didi Callahan.

Waylon Roberts and OKE Ruby R. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Canadian rider Waylon Roberts finished third with OKE Ruby R, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Namelus R — B. Termie R 6) owned by John Koppin, Michelle Koppin and Waylon, on a final score of 46.

North Carolina-based Ariel Grald picked up two wins in both the Advanced and the CCI2*-S.

Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan. Photo by Shelby Allen.

It was her World Championships partner Leamore Master Plan who took top honors in the Advanced after braving nearly the worst of the weather across both jumping phases. Annie Eldridge’s 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Master Imp — Ardragh Bash) has had a quieter spring following their 11th place finish at Pratoni, only so far running a combined test in the Carolina International four-star, but this weekend he stretched his legs for the first time adding 6.8 time penalties to their final score of 37.5.

Buck Davidson and Erroll Gobey. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Buck Davison was second with Erroll Gobey, who will be the pathfinder at the upcoming Kentucky CCI5* on a score of 44.

Australian transplant riding under the New Zealand flag, Hayley Frielick was third with her Dunedin Black Watch. They cruised to add 20 time penalties which included adding the third four-star corner which was not flagged for the Advanced course as an extra bonus fence.

Ariel Grald and In Vogue. Photo by Liz Crawley Photography.

In the CCI2*-S, Ariel’s partner In Vogue topped the leaderboard. Top Run Equestrian’s 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Future Trend — Ballymolloy Holly Hock) finished on her dressage score of 24.8.

“She’s owned by one of my best friends Claire Williams. We bought her during COVID as a 4-year-old from Ireland [off] videos. Bought the horse for Claire, and we’ve sort of shared the ride she you know, has a busy, real person job. So I take her for a little while and then Claire rides are a little bit, so she’s kind of bounced back and forth. But unfortunately Claire got hurt skiing this winter, so I’ve been riding her all winter,” Ariel said. “She’s just really, really cool. The more you do it, the more she steps up, and she’s actually getting quite hungry to go do the job. She’s just getting better and better.”

Lucia Strini. DHI Kevin G. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Lucia Strini took top honors in the Open Intermediate with DHI Kevin G, an 8-year-old KWPN (Dakar VDL — Varia) owned by Plain Dealing Farm, on a score of 37.7.

Stable View Spring 2/3/4* and H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring] [Course Preview[EN’s Coverage]


Liz Halliday-Sharp’s Hot Streak Continues with Stable View CCI4*-S Win

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Liz Halliday-Sharp had a monster of a day at Stable View finishing three horses in the top six of the CCI4*-S class, but it was her Monster Partnership-owned Cooley Quicksilver who stole the spotlight — and the win — of the premier class.

“He’s very consistent,” said Liz of the 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Womanizer – Kylemore Crystal, by Creggan Diamond) who has been a seasoned campaigner at the upper levels with Liz for several years. “Of course he knows his job and he enjoys it. He was fantastic. I actually had a different bit on him than I haven’t used before. I think he was good in that, and it is just kind of always trying to fine tune the ride on him.”

Overnight leaders after yesterday’s influential show jumping, Liz knew she would release the handbrake for “Monster” on today’s cross country, but it also took careful calculations of course designer Capt. Mark Phillips’ bold, forward lines — especially to the challenging angled line at 18abc where Liz and Monster both had to dig deep to make a gappy two stride — to ensure they met their marks.

“He’s a fighter. He likes being ridden with a bit of pressure — that has always suited his brain. I think he had a good time today,” she said. “Some of the distances were were pretty long, and he never lands far off the jump, so I definitely needed to commit to the distance. But he was a good boy, and he fought for me the whole way.”

Will Coleman and Off The Record. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Only one of the twenty-five starters beat the clock today: the U.S. World Championship entry Off The Record who was guns blazing for rider Will Coleman in his first International cross country run of the year.

“Timmy was amazing. He just honestly just skipped right around. He’s a little on the muscle — he missed the run at Carolina because it fell off, so he was really happy to be out here doing cross country today,” Will said.

Where some combinations had to fight the clock, the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (VDL Arkansas – Drumagoland Bay) galloped eagerly to meet the time constraints of six minutes fourteen seconds.

“I felt like the horse was smiling ear to ear the whole way around. Maybe a couple of times he was a little, almost over exuberant, but he was just class. I mean, he got the time and I was slowing down at the end. He just flew around,” he said.

Will Coleman finished nearly ten points ahead of the rest of the competition.

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Twenty-fourth after dressage, Doug Payne and Quantum Leap had a lot of climbing to do for a top finish, but they seized the opportunity when it presented itself in this afternoon’s rainy conditions. A clear round with only 3.2 time penalties boosted Doug into a third-place result with the Kentucky-bound 12-year-old DSP gelding (Quite Capitol – Report to Sloopy, by Corporate Report).

“Unfortunately the score didn’t reflect it in the dressage, but that was the quietest, most settled he’s ever been, so that was extremely exciting for me,” Doug said of their first-phase result of 33.9. “His jumping has been quite good and reliable, so this was a fun one to go out on even with the conditions — this place, the wetter it is the better the ground,” he said.

Doug is practical about his spring preparatory competitions: he picks the events whose courses will best suit his horses, but as someone who has an ownership stake in most of his upper level rides, he also considers the venues that might be the most financially advantageous.

“I think the prize money is important too. I’ve got to commend Stable View because for these top [horses], in all honesty — they’re quite expensive, and we own a share of almost all these guys, so it helps to keep everything rolling when he have that support.”

Boyd Martin and Contessa. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Boyd Martin spent several educational seasons at the intermediate level with the 14-year-old Holsteiner (Contender – Veritas, by Esteban) Contessa where he ensured she had the basics and education required to be a competitive, top-level horse, and after a full season at the four-star level, the German-bred mare is really beginning to blossom into the complete event horse package as she heads into her five-star debut later this month. Today, she had a quick, efficient cross country round to move from tenth to fourth place on a score of 39.4.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Liz Halliday-Sharp’s newest ride, Miks Master C, an 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Mighty Magic – Qui Luma CBF, by Flyinge Quite Easy 958) owned by Debbie Palmer and Ocala Horse Properties, had a clear and intentionally slower round for fifth place on a score of 40.1.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z. Photo by Shelby Allen.

The third of Liz’s string here, Deniro Z, a 15-year-old KWPN gelding (Zapatero – Zonne-Trend, by French Buffet xx) owned by Ocala Horse Properties, was close behind on a result of 40.8. This was a final run for both horses ahead of Kentucky.

“I feel good about where they’re at. I sort of went out with a plan for them, and I feel like they accomplished it. They all ran well. They’ll finish feeling great. I think there were a lot of good questions here and plenty of terrain which was useful in the run up to the five-star,” she said.

Jennie Saville and Stella Artois. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Jennie Saville was the busiest rider in the division with four entries, and her longtime partner Stella Artois came out as the most competitive. The 15-year-old Hanoverian mare (Satisfaction FRH — Comtessa, by Contender) had 14 time penalties to finish seventh (41.4).

Jennie Saville and FE Lifestyle. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Less than a point behind is Nina and Tim Gardners’ FE Lifestyle, who actually was quicker than stablemate “Toddy” with only 11 time penalties, to finish in eighth place.

Buck Davidson and Carlevo. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Dressage winner Buck Davidson ended the weekend in ninth place with Katherine O’Brien’s Carlevo, a 16-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Eurocommerce Caresino – Ramatuelle, by Levernois), on a score of 44.9 after 14.4 time penalties.

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Boyd’s Tokyo and World Championship partner Tsetserleg, 16-year-old Trakehner gelding (Windfall II – Thabana, by Buddenbrock) owned by Christine, Thomas and Tommie Turner, finished in 10th place with 17.6 time penalties (46).

Out of twenty-five starters, only five ran into issues on course, though the clear rounds were heavily affected by time penalties which averaged out at 14.76 points per rider. Of the few jump penalties, only two fences were influential: 12c and 15c.

Woods Baughman and C’est la Vie 135. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Early in the going, second-placed Woods Baughman had a fly-by at 12c, a right-handed corner on a mound that was the latter element of a wide table to a double of corners. He represented, but C’est la Vie 135 said no a second time, and he decided to retire. Andrew McConnon also had a runout here with Ferrie’s Cello, though he was successful on his second presentation.

Caroline Martin was the first rider to discover issue at 15c, another right-handed corner off the bounce bank, but successfully cleared it on her second attempt with her new partner HSH Double Sixteen. Lillian Heard Wood and Dassett Olympus also earned 20 penalties here, as well as Tracey Bienemann who ultimately retired at this point in the track with four-star first-timer Reg The Ledge after two refusals.

With a busy and constantly shifting spring calendar, Stable View is, for many, a key preparation for the riders who are entered at the Kentucky CCI5*-L in three week’s time.

Stable View Spring 2/3/4* and H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring] [Course Preview[EN’s Coverage]




Cooley Quicksilver Rises to Stable View 4* Show Jumping Challenge for Halliday-Sharp

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Show jumping proved influential this afternoon at the Stable View Spring CCI4*-S. Even well executed, organized rounds fell victim to errant poles across John Williams’ course, but those who could get home clear were kindly rewarded with a new rung on the leaderboard.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and her “very weird” parter Cooley Quicksilver rose to the top after a classy round that keeps them on their dressage score of 23.9, which is a personal best for the 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Womanizer – Kylemore Crystal, by Creggan Diamond).

“I was thrilled with him today I thought he was very professional, and tried really really hard,” Liz said of the first phase. “Sometimes you can be a bit of a goof and make some silly, unnecessary mistakes but he really fought for me today and I was I was very pleased with the test.”

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Liz elected to not run cross country with “Monster” at the Carolina International two weeks ago due to a skin allergen flare, but he seemed very much back to himself today with his usual professional performance.

“I think we made the right decision there [to withdraw at Carolina] because he’s such a consistent horse — he doesn’t have rails and he just wasn’t really feeling himself so he did the right thing to save him for another day,” she said. “Cooley Quicksilver jumped amazing [today]. It was one of the best rounds he’s done I think. I was really, really pleased with him.”

No stranger to winning, Liz plans to be quick around Capt. Mark Phillips’ track tomorrow to be competitive, but more importantly to give Monster the best prep possible for the upcoming CCI5*-L at Luhmühlen this summer.

“He’s in a good place. He’s feeling really great and feeling good about himself, which is where he needs to be to run cross country. And like say he’s a horse that I tend to always run pretty quick because he likes a lot of leg on and he kind of likes that pressure — it just suits him better. And his next run will be the Kentucky four-star After this, so it would be a good good fitness run for him tomorrow, for sure.”

Liz is also 6th and tied for 11th, respectively, with her other two Kentucky-bound horses, Miks Master C and Deniro Z.

Woods Baughman and C’est la Vie 135. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Woods Baughman moved from sixth to second after a clear round with his family-owned C’est la Vie 135. Despite an error in his test for performing a shoulder-in one letter too early, they still earned an impressive 26.7 from judges Peter Gray and Bea DiGrazia in the first phase.

“Contendro” brings forward ample enthusiasm to each phase, and generally benefits from an arena familiarization. Due to travel delays, Woods wasn’t able to take advantage of that opportunity yesterday, but he thinks it actually helped produce a better performance from the 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I – Anette, by Aarking xx).

“I normally take him in the ring because he can be a little funny, but I got here a little later than I planned last night, so I missed the familiarization. He was a little bit more backed off than I would have liked, and I had to kick him a bit around the ring which I think actually was good for him because it kept him in a nice rhythm and everything just kept coming really smoothly,” he said.

Woods has tweaked his approach to jumping this winter to achieve more ridability over fences with Condentro, and you could see that over today’s course where he was tactfully hitting his strides and intentionally adding steps to ensure control, and he says he’s looking to replicate that tomorrow as well.

“I was really happy when I walked [the cross country]. It has a lot of good questions that are definitely hard enough, but they’re presented in a nice enough way that you can give the horse a lot of confidence doing them,” he said. “There’s obviously inside line where you could be a little bit more aggressive here and there, but that’s definitely not the goal with him. So there’s there’s the option in plenty of places to take a little time and give him a nice, confident round where he can play with going forward and coming back.”

Will Coleman and Off The Record. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Stable View has a pretty home base, laid-back atmosphere, which didn’t seem to inspire a lot of brilliance from Off The Record in the dressage according to rider Will Coleman, but their result of 27 plus a clear show jumping performance moved the pair into overnight third. Their current position is enviable enough, but especially so for the perennially reliable “Timmy” who had an uncharacteristic stop in the show jumping at Carolina that resulted in Will falling off.

“It’s definitely better than lying on my backside looking at the clouds like like we were at Carolina a few weeks ago,” he said. “I thought he felt confident and careful [today]. And you know, I do think that was an odd episode what happened with him at Carolina. I think it rattled him a little bit because you could just tell the next few rounds I did some horse shows and even at home, but I was pleased that he came here today and seemed to be on his game.”

Like many of the four-star competitors, Will is aiming the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (VDL Arkansas – Drumagoland Bay) at his third appearance at the Kentucky Three-Day Event in three weeks time and tomorrow is a key preparatory run.

“It feels like a long way around for 6 minutes, 14 seconds. I think we’ll be looking to use the run as a good fitness run, so I’m gonna probably let him go a little bit — maybe with a focus on just keeping it rideable and making sure that he’s listening. But it should suit him,” he said. “I think the beginning is nice and galloping open and, and there’s a couple tricky combinations towards the end, particularly that Sunken Road question, which I think we’re all sort of maybe interested to see how that rides but other than that, it’s a nice course and hopefully, we’ll have a good go.”

Jennie Saville and Stella Artois. Photo by Shelby Allen.

The very last four-star combination of the day, Jennie Saville and Stella Artois, a 15-year-old Hanoverian mare (Satisfaction FRH — Comtessa, by Contender) owned by the Stella Artois Syndicate,  faced a deluge of rainfall during their round, but still managed to keep all the poles in their cups which landed them in fourth place on their dressage score of 27.4. Jennie produced another clear round aboard FE Lifestyle to see Nina and Tim Gardner’s 13-year-old DSP gelding (Leo von Faelz — Berina A, by Bradenburger) step into seventh position.

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Third-placed Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg, a 16-year-old Trakehner gelding (Windfall II – Thabana, by Buddenbrock) owned by Christine, Thomas and Tommie Turner, dropped a rail at fence three, an oxer off a rollback turn, and those four penalty points moved them into fifth place.

Buck Davidson and Carlevo. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Dressage leaders Buck Davidson and Carlevo, a 16-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Eurocommerce Caresino – Ramatuelle, by Levernois) owned by Katherine O’Brien, had rails down at the a elements of both fence 7 and 11, moving them into a tie for 8th place which they share with Phillip Dutton and Z, a 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Asca Z – Bellabouche, by Babouche VH Gehucht Z) owned by Evie Dutton, Ann Jones, Suzanne Lacy, Caroline Moran, Tom Tierney, Patricia Vos and David Vos.. Both pairs have a score of 30.5.

Boyd Martin and Contessa. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Boyd Martin rounds out the top ten aboard Contessa, a 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Contender – Veritas, by Esteban) owned by Club Contessa. who achieved a clear round, on a score of 30.6.

Sydney Solomon and Early Review C. Photo by Shelby Allen.

One third of the class demonstrated a penalty-free show jumping performance. In addition to those in the top ten, other notable clear rounds include Caroline Martin with She’s The One (11th), Sydney Solomon with Early Review C (14th), Doug Payne with Quantum Leap (15th), and Emily Hamel with Corevett (19th).

The first CCI4* leaves the start box at 12:23 p.m. Check out our course walk at this link to see what riders are up against.

Go eventing.

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Personal Best Puts Buck Davidson & Carlevo in Front of Stable View Spring CCI4*-S

Buck Davidson and Carlevo. Photo by Shelby Allen.

It was a personal best of 22.5 that edged Katherine O’Briens’ Carlevo to the front of the Stable View Spring CCI4*-S class after the first phase. Piloted by Buck Davidson, the 16-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Eurocommerce Caresino – Ramatuelle, by Levernois) is long established at the four-star level having campaigned at this caliber since 2015.

Carlevo consistently posts a sub-30 result on the flat, but this is the lowest score he’s received since his last personal best in 2018 at Millstreet where he had a 23.5.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver. Photo by Shelby Allen.

The Monster Partnership’s Cooley Quicksilver stands in second with Liz Halliday-Sharp. The 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Womanizer – Kylemore Crystal, by Creggan Diamond) earned a 23.5, which is also a top recorded score for this entry.

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg. Photo by Shelby Allen.

The veteran combination of Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg are third at this stage of the game. The 16-year-old Trakehner gelding (Windfall II – Thabana, by Buddenbrock), owned by Christine, Thomas and Tommie Turner has a score of 24.4, despite a bout of excitement in the extended trot.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Liz pops up again in the top five with Miks Master C. The 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Mighty Magic – Qui Luma CBF, by Flyinge Quite Easy 958), owned by Debbie Palmer and Ocala Horse Properties, is fourth on a score of 24.5.

U.S. Team stalwart Phillip Dutton holds fifth place with his longtime partner Z, a 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Asca Z – Bellabouche, by Babouche VH Gehucht Z), on a score of 26.5.

Now we turn our attention to this afternoon’s show jumping phase. Be sure to check back here to see how this class shakes up, and in the meantime you can get a first look at tomorrow’s cross country track at this link. Go eventing.

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‘Hop’ Around Capt. Mark Phillips’ CCI4*-S Track at Stable View

Grab a No. 2 pencil four-star riders! Your cross country test begins soon.

Spring has sprung and it’s time to gear up for one of the biggest weekends of sport in the southeast (and no, we don’t mean The Masters!). EN is on the ground at Stable View for their $62,000 Spring International Event.

We have thirty CCI4*-S pairs coming forward to contest Capt. Mark Phillips track, and here’s what they are up against. Competitors have 3,550 meters of varied terrain that they’ll want to cover in the optimum time of 6 minutes 14 seconds. The track follows its usual route, which is similar to past editions at Stable View.

Phillips has laid out an open, galloping start, which should encourage horses to get moving from the jump. Once they’ve got momentum and confidence, combinations come fast and heavy in the latter parts, most of which can be viewed from the Pavilion and tailgating spots, so spectators will have a front row seat to the main action this Easter weekend.

Being a spring four-star, this is a key preparation for many Kentucky-bound horses this weekend as well, and Phillips had that in mind when concocting the challenges. “The questions that are being presented mean it’s a good preparation for Kentucky. The terrain here allows us to produce big fences, which is good five star prep, and we can use this terrain to present questions the likes of which they might see at Kentucky,” he says.

The weather is also a massive consideration with a gloomy forecast looming, but with Aiken’s sandy base that can run on the firm side despite heavy land management, historically a little rain makes the going that much better.

“You always design for good weather. You go to Plan B if the footing deteriorates. Here at Stable View you cannot have enough water, so the more water, the better the footing,” Phillips says.

EN took a spin around the Easter-decorated track with our canine mascot in tow, so read on to see what’s in store.

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Splish splash! Let’s go eventing.

Before they even leave the ground for the first fence, horses get their feet wet at a water complex situated ahead of their first effort, the Let’s Go! Log Rails.

The first half of the course gives competitors a good opportunity to stretch their legs and move into a good gallop. Fences 2 (The Hitch and Tow Hammock), 3 (Attwood Aqueduct) and 4 (Skip Over The Log Pile) are all rather straightforward tables that take athletes along the Boyd Martin/ETB Schooling Field on the east stretch of the property.

The Twin Oxers are the first combination on course.

Riders meet their first combination at fence 5ab, the Twin Oxers. For horses of this caliber, they won’t find this incredibly challenging (despite the fact that these are maximum height, airy fences), but rather an opportunity to ensure that they’re on their desired line. This is followed by the Easter Table at 6.

Quite a climb to the Academy Alp at 7a.

Seven is where things start to get interesting. This Academy Alp combination takes full advantage of the steep terrain up to the MiM rail at 7a — there’s only a few feet of purchase for takeoff at the base here — before it takes them right back down toward a rail-thin skinny triple bar.

The “Hoppy” Easter Hay Rack.

The “Hoppy” Easter Hay Rack leads them between two aisles of pine trees before a great big pull uphill deposits these pairs at a relatively small, yet upright fence at 9, The Gate of Glory.

The Gate of Glory.

With good galloping behind them, Capt. Mark Phillips starts to turn up the heat from here on out.

Fence 10a into the water.

At this point in the course horses and riders are meeting their first official water obstacle, the G.L. Williams & Daughter water complex at 10abc. Competitors will jump in over an arrowhead brush situated at the water’s edge, then they’ll ride out to meet a roll top that drops them into a twin pond. Element c is a another narrow brush.

Fence 11b.

The line here is a straight one, and there shouldn’t be much hemming and hawing on that fact, but rather, it’s a test of accuracy.

The Table at the Memorial Garden.

A hard left-handed turn brings these riders to 11ab, the Table at the Memorial Garden. The big table in is set five strides away from a narrow, but otherwise similar b element.

The Blanchard Table.

The Blanchard Table to a double of corners brings forward a perennial challenge that riders familiar with this venue will recognize. A big, bold table is followed by two offset corners, which are left- and right-sided so unilateral horses will find no relief here. The most direct route is five strides between both, but riders could have the option to bend their line out for a six stride line with a bit more breathing room if necessary.

Cyndy’s Cross Question.

Cyndy’s Cross Question at 13 will require a bold leap.

Hang on tight! We’re dropping into 15abc.

Competitors come left-handed to the FEI Stabling Step Table at 14, which should set them up nicely for the combination at 15abc.

If they get a big jump over the preceding table, riders will want to carefully set themselves up for the open rail at 15a because they’ll need some fancy footwork for the following bank down which is set as a bounce. The work’s not done then, though, and three strides later they’ll tackle an open right-handed corner.

The Tiger’s Trap at 16.

The unassuming Tiger’s Trap at 16 brings them back to the main spectator viewing.

The Pavilion Water complex is front and center for spectators.

A water-to-water house meets them at the Pavilion Splash, followed by a skinny cabin right out of the water, but this is made all the more challenging by its proximity to the upcoming tricky combination at 18abc.

Thread the needle for 18abc.

While not related in number, these two combinations are only a handful of strides away from one another, causing the first to affect the second. The Stable View Combination at 18 features an angled brush to a corner to a second angled brush. Set on a straight line, this will require riders to thread the needle to achieve a smooth line here.

Bunny Barn at Fence 20.

Riders will likely let out a big breath of air by this point as they’ve tackled the trickiest of what Capt. Mark Phillips has to offer. Now they have five single fences between them and the finish.

Barry’s desk, the penultimate fence.

No pairs caught the time here last year, though many came close, and the majority of those time penalties were only due to a handful of seconds. The question more for this type of event — one that is a key preparation for upcoming long formats — is whether riders are looking for a steady or speedy trip.

If you’re here on site, be sure to join us at the start box by the Hunt Box lodging at 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon for a preview of the course with designer Capt. Mark Phillips and Boyd Martin fore more insights on Saturday’s track.

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Meet the Horses and Riders Competing in the Stable View CCI4*-S

We’re gearing up to get underway here in Aiken, SC with the $60,000 Stable View FEI & H.T., where a strong field of 4*-S contenders comprised of multiple Kentucky-bound pairs are set to duke it out for $30,000 in prize money. We’ll have much more coming your way all weekend from Stable View, but for now you can take a few minutes to get familiar with the pairings we’ll see over the next two days.

Action gets underway with dressage and show jumping on Friday, followed by cross country on Saturday. There is no live stream this weekend, but you can find the latest info here on EN or using the links below.

If you’re here on site, be sure to join us at the start box by the Hunt Box lodging at 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon for a preview of the course with designer Capt. Mark Phillips and Boyd Martin.

Stable View Spring 2/3/4* and H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring] [EN’s Coverage]

Woods Baughman and C’est La Vie 135. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Woods Baughman and C’est la Vie 135
15-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I – Anette, by Aarking xx). Owned by Kim, James, and Woods Baughman.

Woods Baughman and C’est la Vie 135 are longtime partners that have come up through the upper levels together. They’ve got a couple of 5* starts under their belt, but have been chipping away at the rideability factor in their practice at home. “Contendro” is a horse that carries a high level of motivation, which can sometimes turn into a lack of listening on cross country. This offseason, Woods has gotten some help from Liz Halliday-Sharp, and he turned in a lovely and balanced cross country run around the 3*-S at Carolina last month, which has to have him feeling like he’s close to cracking the code with his big gelding.

This is a pair that’s got all the chops to lay down a solid, if not winning, performance this weekend, but they’ll have their sights set on the upcoming Kentucky 5* as their big goal this spring. This weekend will be primarily focused on making sure they have the right pieces in place to thrown down in a few weeks’ time in Woods’ hometown of Lexington.

Tracey Bienemann and Reg the Ledge
11-year-old KWPN gelding (Coniona – Aomia, by Oklund). Owned by Lucia Casale.

We’re big fans of any uniquely colored horse, and the splashy Reg the Ledge is one horse you’ll want to earmark to watch this weekend. This is a newly-minted Advanced pair, with Tracey and Reg stepping up to the level last month at Carolina International. Reg the Ledge originally made his way stateside via Kate Tarrant and Justine Dutton’s bustling import business, making his U.S. eventing debut with Justine and then Clark Montgomery before joining Tracey’s string in 2020. This weekend will be a building one, as they’ve entered and are on the wait list for the upcoming Lexington CCI4*-S at Kentucky.

Will Coleman and Off the Record. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Will Coleman and Off The Record
14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (VDL Arkansas – Drumagoland Bay). Owned by the Off The Record Syndicate.

“Timmy” came to Will via Cooley Farm’s Richard Sheane as a four-year-old, with the ‘given’ name Cooley Stateside – talk about destiny! Though the gelding’s beginnings were pretty humble, like many gangly Irish horses, he’s since matured into a serious athlete, finishing third in the Tattersalls CCI4*-L in Ireland in 2019, 15th at the Kentucky CCI5* in 2021, 12th at the same event in 2022, and, of course, finishing seventh overall at the FEI World Eventing Championships in Pratoni last year as a part of the silver medal-winning Team USA.

After a very surprising parting of ways in the show jumping at Carolina, Will will have his sights set on getting in a solid prep run for the Kentucky 5*. The blip at Carolina was, hopefully, just that, as Will rubbed his chin and mused at what could have caused the issue. For all intents and purposes, this is a stalwart part that can be relied upon for three solidly competitive phases, and they’ll be looking to put those tools to final practice this weekend.

Dana Cooke and FE Glamour. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Dana Cooke and FE Glamour
12-year-old KWPN mare (Vigo d’Arsouilles STX – Princess Roos, by Karlstad). Owned by Kingfisher Park.

Canada’s Dana Cooke has been partnered with with KWPN mare “Roo” since 2018. Sourced by her longtime coach Clayton Fredericks, Roo continues to step forward as major International contender for Dana and team Canada.

Her rider describes her as “sensitive and spicy,” but Dana has a special knack for forging partnerships with her horses, and she’s thoughtfully produced this one with big ambitions in mind.

The mare stepped up to the Advanced level last spring. Dressage remains a phase where a few more points could be chipped away, and Dana will be aiming to shoot below their usual high 30s mark at this level. The show jumping may be the pair’s most challenging phase, as they usually find at least a pole or two on the ground once all is said and done. But this weekend will be another educational outing for the promising partnership.

Sally Cousins and Wizard. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Sally Cousins and Wizard
15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding. Owned by the OTTB Syndicate.

This will be a first run at the 4*-S level for Sally Cousins and Wizard, an off-track Thoroughbred produced by Sally herself since he began his eventing career as a five-year-old. Sally is an experienced 5* rider with a knack for the Thoroughbreds, and she’s taken her time gaining the mileage and confidence in her chestnut gelding over the past seasons. That attention to patience has paid off well, as the pair have an excellent cross country jumping record. Dressage remains the biggest factor that holds this pair back from competitive placings after dressage, but they’ll be looking to gain more of that oh so valuable experience and strength this weekend as they look ahead to bigger things.

Zoe Crawford and K.E.C. Zara. Photo by Abby Powell.

Zoe Crawford and K.E.C. Zara
17-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Visa Aldatus Z – Puissance Flight, by Puissance)

Zoe and Zara have made their way up the levels of eventing together — in fact, Zara was the first eventing horse Zoe partnered with. Over the last near-decade, the pair have ticked off milestones together, gaining more experience and confidence with each go. They’re aiming for the Kentucky 5* later this month, and they kicked off their 2023 campaign with an easy Prelim run followed by a 3*-S leg-stretch at Carolina in March. These gals won’t be threatening the Miks Master C’s of the world in the dressage, but boy do they love to jump. Look for them to do some moving and shaking up the leaderboard if going fast is the name of the game for Zoe’s final Kentucky prep.

Buck Davidson and Carlevo. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Buck Davidson and Carlevo
16-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Eurocommerce Caresino – Ramatuelle, by Levernois). Owned by Katherine O’Brien.

Carlevo is another horse on the entry list sourced through Germany’s Dirk Schrade, coming to Buck Davidson in time for the 2015 season having done some 2* and 3*-level eventing. Since then, he’s become a stalwart campaigner for Buck, and the pair most recently finished 12th at the 2022 Maryland 5 Star. They were also fifth at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2022. This is a pair who are well capable of putting down a competitive dressage mark, and if they can get up on the time come Saturday they could be one to threaten the top of the leaderboard and take home a chunk of the prize money.

Phillip Dutton and Z. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Phillip Dutton and Z
15-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Asca Z – Bellabouche, by Babouche VH Gehucht Z). Owned by Evie Dutton, Ann Jones, Suzanne Lacy, Caroline Moran, Tom Tierney, Patricia Vos and David Vos.

Z came to Phillip Dutton having formerly been partnered with Portuguese rider Duarte Seabra, who rode the gelding in honor of his brother, Francisco, who passed away in a riding accident in 2015. Duarte made the difficult decision to sell Z as a future top event horse, wanting to focus on show jumping in his own career. Through Fernhill Sport Horses’ Carol Gee, the gelding found his way to Phillip and would go on to be his partner in the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games (finishing 13th individually) as well as the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo (finishing 21st individually). This pair knows each other quite well, now in their eighth season together. Most recently, Z was fourth in the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill in October of 2022. This is a horse we could expect Phillip to go for the gold on, though it may well come down to how quickly he can get around Saturday’s cross country. This weekend will serve as a final prep for Kentucky for this experienced pair.

Sophie Click and Quidproquo. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Clayton Fredericks and Quidproquo
12-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Quidado – Waleila, by Limbus). Owned by Amy, Peter, and Sophie Click. 

Australia’s Clayton Fredericks takes the reins on West coast-based Sophie Click’s Quidproquo this weekend, aiming the Holsteiner gelding known as “Rocky” at home for the upcoming Lexington CCI4*-S. Rocky has been in the Click family since his six-year-old year, first taking on the eventing ropes with Sophie’s sister, Harper, before eventually moving on to become Sophie’s partner. The pair have spent many seasons steadily progressing up the levels, and while the transition from Sophie to Clayton is a big change, there’s no doubt Clayton will be well-sat on a special and athletic horse to make a bid for some competitive results this spring.

Hayley Frielick and Dunedin Black Watch. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Hayley Frielick and Dunedin Black Watch
13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Dylan Thomas – Love First, by Lonhro). Owned by Katheryn Robertson.

New Zealand’s Hayley Frielick burst onto the U.S. eventing scene last fall after buying a one-way ticket over for herself, two horses and her Labrador. She landed with Dom and Jimmie Schramm with plans for the Maryland CCI5*, where she and “Nelson” finished 21st.

Hayley has enjoyed a rather worldwide life — born to South African parents in the United States and raised in Australia before living for a few years in Scotland. She ultimately chose to ride under the kiwi flag.

She found Nelson in the Australian outback. They actually had come looking for another horse, but Nelson came home with them as part of a 2–for-1 deal.

Hayley rerouted here after an unfortunate parting of ways at the first water on cross country at Carolina. They’re a solid cross country pair that should rebound nicely here over Capt. Mark Phillips’ track on Saturday as they aim for the Lexington 4*-S later this month.

Ariel Grald and Diara. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Ariel Grald and Diara
9-year-old Hanoverian mare (Diacontinus – Lady Revens, by Colon xx). Owned by Annie Eldridge. 

Ariel’s German-bred mare stepped up to the Advanced level this spring, and Stable View will be her first official four-star. “Dani” has been brought up the levels by Ariel, and most recently was the best of sixteen entries in the Carolina International Advanced. At the Intermediate level, the mare has waffling dressage scores ranging from 25 to 32, so we can expect her form this weekend to sit somewhere in that space. This is a promising new face at the upper levels for Ariel and we’re looking forward to seeing their result this weekend and beyond.

You’ll notice Dani as a cute little grey on course, but be sure to keep an eye out for her floppy ears that will adorably plop around every step of the way.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C
11-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Mighty Magic – Qui Luma CBF, by Flyinge Quite Easy 958). Owned by Debbie Palmer and Ocala Horse Properties.

We saw Carolina 4*-S runners-up Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C make their international debut together a winning one at Bromont last year in the CCI2*-L, and they stepped up to CCI4*-S on their next outing – again winning, this time at Rebecca. In October, they headed across the pond to compete for Team USA at the Nation’s Cup finale at Boekelo CCIO4*-L, and though Liz still felt she and the gelding were in the getting-to-know-you stages, they still look hugely classy throughout to take a final fifth place, adding just 3.2 time penalties across the country to their first-phase score of 26.2.

This year, they’ve hit the ground running and are in top form to secure a solid placing at the gelding’s upcoming 5* debut in Kentucky. After a competitive run at Carolina, Liz told us she plans for a steadier, fine-tuning competition here this weekend — but if we know Liz, that won’t necessarily keep her from going for a win if she’s well-placed come Saturday.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z
15-year-old KWPN gelding (Zapatero – Zonne-Trend, by French Buffet xx). Owned by Ocala Horse Properties.

The stalwart Deniro Z has been with Liz since the beginning of his FEI career in 2015 and has been a real competitor for the former racecar driver/current adrenaline junkie. After rehabbing from a hoof injury that kept him out of the Tokyo Olympics, Deniro Z returned to competition in the spring of last year, finishing the year with a second place in the 4*-L National Championship at Tryon. Deniro has had a light spring, only running so far at the Grand-Prix Eventing at Bruce’s Field. He’s an experienced horse that won’t need a ton of mileage for a spring three-day, and Liz will be looking to make sure she’s got her ducks in a row on her old friend ahead of Kentucky later this month.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver
12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Womanizer – Kylemore Crystal, by Creggan Diamond). Owned by The Monster Partnership.

Cooley Quicksilver, or “Monster”, earned his nickname because he was a ‘weird’ youngster, in Liz’s words (and a bit like an overcooked spaghetti noodle to ride – also in her words!), and he remains a cheeky character who rules the roost at her base. Anyone who pops in to visit him needs to watch out for one of his little love bites, but it’s hard to hold that against him when he’s so good at delivering the kind of performances that win classes like these.

This year, Liz and Monster have had a lighter go of things, opting not to run cross country at Carolina due to a skin allergy flare-up. Liz is aiming the gelding at Luhmühlen this June and will be looking to make sure she’s got what she needs to go full steam ahead to the next stop.

Emily Hamel and Corvett. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Emily Hamel and Corvett
16-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Corrido – Tina XII, by Clearway). Owned by Black Flag Option LLC.

It’s everyone’s favorite jumping bean, “Barry”! Corvett is one of the most exuberant jumpers you’ll see in this sport, always making sure to clear even the biggest 5* fences by a healthy margin. Despite this, he’s quite nimble and light on his feet, though the hang time does add a bit of time on the clock come cross country day. This has been Emily’s first 5* horse, and they’ve done quite well to see the sights together: they’ve competed at Kentucky, Maryland, Badminton, and Burghley. She’ll be aiming to add another one to her impressive CV with a run at Kentucky later this month.

Lillian Heard & Dassett Olympus. Photo by Abby Powell.

Lillian Heard Wood and Dassett Olympus
10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Lancelot – Cushlamochree, by Cruising). Owned by rider.

Dassett Olympus is entering his 10-year-old season ready to compete, having already picked up several top results in 2022. He represented the U.S. at Bromont last summer, finishing fourth individually, and was in the top 10 at the Morven Park 4*-L later in the year. This is an exciting rising star for Lillian, who knows a thing or two about producing a 5* horse (she brought two to her own debut at the level, for starters!). She’s also got her more seasoned horse, LCC Barnaby, with her this weekend, giving her double the chances to put those quick-riding cross country skills to the test for a strong finish.

Lillian Heard and LCC Barnaby. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Lillian Heard Wood and LCC Barnaby
17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Guy Cavalier – Lady Tanjour, by Rafael). Owned by rider.

LCC Barnaby brings seven 5* completions to the table this weekend, having traveled the world with longtime rider Lillian. They were most recently 11th at Maryland last fall, where Lillian told us he’s felt better and better as he’s gotten older, allowing her to ride him more efficiently and lower his dressage marks in the process. He’s historically not been the most rideable horse across the country but once more, Lillian credits time and experience with him understanding the task at hand better each year. At 17, Barnaby is an older guy, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at him — he’s still got energy and spring to spare! Barnaby is cross entered in both Kentucky and Badminton this year — we will see which option Lillian chooses!

Christina Henriksen and JTH Zest. Photo by Lisa Madren.

Christina Henricksen and JTH Zest
12-year-old British Sport Horse mare (Zamboucca – Maybee Baybee, by Mayhill). Owned by Rider.

Another 4*-S debut is on the books, this time for Christina Henricksen and her own JTH Zest. Christina has brought JTH Zest along from her very first USEA events on, stepping up to the Advanced level for the first time last year. They’ve ramped up steadily so far this season, starting with a Prelim followed by an Intermediate and, finally, an Advanced run at Carolina in preparation for this weekend. Look for this pair to be out for education and experience this weekend; Capt. Mark Phillips’ beefy track should be just the thing to get those 4* feet wet!

Allie Knowles and Morswood. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Allie Knowles and Morswood
15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Ricardo Z x Princess In Arms). Owned by Katherine O’Brien.

Allie Knowles brings forward one of her top horses, “Ginge” to this year’s competition. Aptly named due to her vibrant copper coat, Ginge was first competed by Great Britain’s Piggy March and her then-stable Jockey Susie Berry before landing in Midway, Ky. with Allie.

The pair know each other well at this top level having finished 11th and then more recently 8th in the last two runnings of the CCI5* at Maryland. They’re coming off an 11th place finish at Carolina last month and are entered in the Kentucky 5* in a few weeks’ time.

Sarah Kuhn and Mr. Cash Van de Start. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Sarah Kuhn and Mr. Cash van de Start
11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Deauville Van T L – Ishtar Van de Start, by Toulon). Owned by Deborah Kuhn.

Aiken-based event rider Sarah Kuhn has produced “Mr. Cash” since he was 5, bringing him up the ranks of eventing to the Advanced level. He is her first four-star horse, and the two have settled in after two seasons at the level.

She originally bought Mr. Cash from a dealer in the Czech Republic with plans to resell him, but his quirky personality made that difficult for Sarah. Once he reached the Preliminary level, their partnership had officially meshed and Sarah decided to keep climbing with him.

They’ve scored anywhere from 31 to 39 at this level on the flat. At this event last year, a 38.1 was where they landed, but with a year’s worth of education under their belts, Sarah will be aiming for a lower mark. They proved their mettle on the 2022 cross country, and she’ll be pleased with a repeat effort this time around.

Based at Fair Oak Farm, Sarah operates a busy teaching and training operation. While she’s spent the better part of the last decade as a horse professional, Sarah previously worked a 9-5 in the field of environmental marketing and renewable energy.

Boyd Martin and Contessa. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Boyd Martin and Contessa
14-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Contender – Veritas, by Esteban). Owned by Club Contessa.

Boyd’s second entry comes in the form of the German-bred mare Contessa. The Olympic veteran has had the ride on the Holsteiner mare since she was five, having found her in Germany thanks to Philipp Kolossa.

Under Boyd’s tutelage, Contessa made the leap up to the four-star level after many educational seasons at the Intermediate level, a training principle that Boyd believes is essential in a top horse’s development.

This duo will likely land in the low 30s to start. A talented jumper, Contessa rarely has a rail, and this will keep them competitive. Contessa really stepped up to the plate in her first 4*-S cross country at Carolina, really showing her grit and determination to get the job done, especially through a tricky and busy top water complex. We’ll look for Boyd to fine tune that raw talent this weekend as he puts the finishing touches on the mare for her upcoming 5* debut in Kentucky.

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg
16-year-old Trakehner gelding (Windfall II – Thabana, by Buddenbrock). Owned by Christine, Thomas and Tommie Turner.

Boyd’s Tokyo and FEI World Championships partner is back in action this year and stands as a positive threat to take the win from stablemate Fedarman B. “Thomas” is the little horse that could, one of those horses that might be unassuming at first but seems to grow a few inches taller when faced with a beefy cross country track. He and Boyd know each other quite well at this point in their lengthy tenure together, and this partnership has served them well with countless top finishes in both National and FEI competition. Show jumping would be the only “weak” link in the 16-year-old U.S.-bred’s repertoire, but Boyd works diligently with coach Peter Wylde to coax the best possible results out of Thomas.

Caroline Martin and HSH Double Sixteen. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Caroline Martin and HSH Double Sixteen
8-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Robin Des Pres – Azaria). Owned by Caroline and Sherrie Martin and the Baltodano family.

Fresh off a second-place finish in the 3*-S at Carolina last month are Carolina Martin and HSH Double Sixteen, making the step up the 4*-S level this weekend. Formerly campaigned by Ireland’s Leila Barker, HSH Double Sixteen joined Caroline’s string in time for this season. Longtime business partner and friend Kelly Hutchinson helped Caroline find “Six” on a trip to Ireland, and he’s one Caroline’s got high hopes for as he continues his eventing education. That full Thoroughbred blood certainly doesn’t hurt!

Caroline Martin and She’s The One
8-year-old Anglo-European Sport Horse mare (Jaguar Mail – One to Watch, Condios). Owned by Mollie Hoff and Sherrie Martin.

We love a Jaguar Mail offspring, and the 8-year-old She’s the One – formerly ridden by French World Championships rider Gaspard Maksud – is one who we’d bet would live up to that precocious name. This will also be a 4* debut for this young mare, so don’t expect Caroline to be pushing too hard for a big result here. Bigger things are in store, and these talented young horses will gain a world of experience here at Stable View this weekend.

Andre McConnon and Ferrie’s Cello. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Andrew McConnon and Ferrie’s Cello
11-year-old KWPN gelding (Chello III VDL – Karelza, by Wolfgang). Owned by Jeanne Shigo.

Andrew McConnon is entered in his first 5* event later this month at Kentucky with the 11-year-old Ferrie’s Cello (“Eddy”), with whom Southern Pines-based Andrew has been partnered since 2019. The gelding was first campaigned in the U.S. by Caroline Martin before joining Andrew’s program. Since then, it’s been steady as she goes, with Andrew slowly making his way toward that pie in the sky goal of the 5* level, picking up recognition along the way including a spot on the 2023 USEF Eventing Development Program squad. He’s got a world of education in his hands after spending a year abroad working with William Fox-Pitt, and that wisdom now comes across in his quiet riding style. This is a stylish pair who could put a competitive stamp on the weekend if that’s their plan — just as easily, this could be a straightforward run aimed at helping the horse peak just at the right time in a few weeks.

Andrew McConnon and Wakita 54. Photo by Abby Powell.

Andrew McConnon and Wakita 54
10-year-old KWPN mare (Pilot Blue – Werusa, by Padinus). Owned by Rider.

Hoping to make the Lexington 4*-S their next stop as second on the waitlist currently are Andrew and his second ride, Wakita 54. This quirky mare, known as “Kiki”, is also newer to the Advanced level, but she stands to be a competitive one once she can gain the strength and mileage needed to earn the top results at this next step. Kiki has a stellar cross country record — one pesky parting of ways kept her and Andrew’s 2022 season from being flawless across the country. Andrew will be testing the buttons this weekend, wanting to see progression and understanding of questions as he works toward the next goal with this mare.

Doug Payne and Camarillo. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Doug Payne and Camarillo
9-year-old DSP gelding (Chicardo – Rehobeth, by Riverman). Owned by Patrice Jennings-Rado and the rider.

Camarillo or “Carl” is another one of the youngest entries for this four-star class. He was bred right here in the USA by Elizabeth “Didi” Callahan at her and her husband’s Cool Na Grena Sporthorses in Oxford, Md.

In his second season at the level, Carl has already shown leaps and bounds in his education. Most recently, he finished 16th at Carolina International after one of his best dressage scores at the level, a 32.5. Doug historically hasn’t raced the clock on cross country, but rather chosen to build a successful foundation for the future.

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap
12-year-old DSP gelding (Quite Capitol – Report to Sloopy, by Corporate Report)

We’re well past the time it’s acceptable to keep calling Quantum Leap “Baby Quantum”, as he was nicknamed early on in his career. This tall gelding, who was bred by well-respected U.S. breeder Elizabeth “Didi” Callahan, is the reigning USEF National 5* Champion, having come in third overall in the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event last spring. He wrapped up his 2022 campaign with a top-10 finish at the Maryland 5 Star and this year will look to build on that success with two full seasons at the 5* level on his resume.

Starr Witness and Doug Payne. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Doug Payne and Starr Witness
12-year-old KWPN mare (Chello III VDL – Carmen, by Veneur). Owned by Laurie McRee, Catherine Winter and the rider.

What’s not to love about the little powerhouse Starr Witness? This lady will certainly be a first phase threat as her average dressage marks sneak lower and lower with each passing event. Earlier this spring she pumped out a 19.9 at the Grand-Prix Eventing Showcase with a remarkable perfect 10 for one of her flying changes.

Jennie Brannigan and FE Connory. Photo by Lisa Madren.

Jennie Saville and FE Connory
11-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Conrato — Hocaponta, by Laurie’s Crusader xx). Owned by Nina and Tim Gardner and Jennie Saville. 

Jennie Saville will be a busy lady this weekend with four entries in the marquee class. First up is one of her greenest horses at the level. Sourced from Clayton Fredericks, Connory had his first crack at the Advanced level in 2022 with two starts at four-star level in a short fall season. Cross country jump penalties marred both of his starts at the level, blemishing his otherwise sparkling resume, but he has come out this season with two confidence-inspiring runs at the Intermediate and three-star level coming into this weekend’s competition.

She describes Connory as very much “her type” and believed in him enough to buy him herself before her longtime owners Nina and Tim Gardner stepped in on the partnership. While back in the barn, Connory is never alone thanks to his roommate, a mini pony named Hank with whom he shares a stall.

Jennie Saville and FE Lifestyle. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Jennie Saville and FE Lifestyle
13-year-old DSP gelding (Leo von Faelz — Berina A, by Bradenburger). Owned by Nina and Tim Gardner. 

Another entry with the Fredericks Equestrian moniker, “Foxy” is seasoned campaigner for Jennie, but he’s known to make her work hard for a good result. Jennie chalks it up to his red-headed coloring, but her gutsy riding often makes all the difference. Last fall this pair had their best five-star result at Maryland where they finished fifth.

This pair was third in this very event last year after having the second quickest cross country performance, so they’ll be a pair to keep on your radar come Saturday.

Jennie Brannigan and Stella Artois. Photo by Abby Powell.

Jennie Saville and Stella Artois
15-year-old Hanoverian mare (Satisfaction FRH — Comtessa, by Contender). Owned by the Stella Artois Syndicate. 

It’s an absolute pleasure to see “Toddy” back on the eventing scene this spring after an injury set her on the sidelines all of last year. She spent 2022 rehabbing and relaxing at Nina and Tim’s farm in Pennsylvania, and came out in good form at Carolina International in the three-star last month.

Jennie has had the ride on this mare since the Novice level, and they’ve had successful finishes including a fourth place at the 2021 Maryland CCI5*. Jennie says this mare feels ready and excited to be out again, and will aim to keep everything relaxed on the flat to achieve some of their best work, which historically has been as low as a 25. She rarely breathes on a pole in the show jumping and shows her athleticism across the country, so we eagerly await her cross country performance.

While successful in her own right, Toddy also has a string of foals coming along via embryo transfer. Stella Royale is one of them, and she’s competed through the Preliminary level.

Jennie Saville and Twilightslastgleam. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Jennie Saville and Twilightslastgleam
13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (National Anthem — Royal Child). Owned by Nina and Tim Gardner. 

While Foxy was fast here last year, “Comic” was even faster, coming home the closest to optimum time out of the entire division (just one second over!). Bred right here in the United States by owner Nina Gardner, Comic has been in Jennie’s program from the beginning. He’s now had nearly five seasons at the four-star level, and made the step up to five-star last fall where he finished 16th.

We can expect a dressage score in the low 30s, and with show jumping preceding the endurance phase, it’s likely he’ll leave all the rails up there. Full Thoroughbred, Comic has plenty of blood to rocket him around the cross country if the Pennsylvania-based rider chooses to let him go.

Sydney Solomon and Early Review C. Photo by Abby Powell.

Sydney Solomon and Early Review C
14-year-old Hanoverian mare (Earl — Lois Lane CBF, by Le Primeur). Owned and bred by Laurie Cameron. 

Sydney has been partnered with “Coco” for nearly a decade, and the pair will rely on their intimate partnership as they use this run at Stable View to prepare for their five-star debut at Kentucky later this month. Sydney started her career working for Phillip Dutton at his True Prospect Farm before striking out on her own, and she’s used that base of knowledge to produce this special mare through the levels including three CCI4*-L completions, the best of which was a sixth place at Morven Park last autumn.

As gearing up for a big event goes, Sydney says her goal is to have a steady, confident run here at Stable View, so you likely won’t see this pair running against the clock, but rather laying the groundwork for bigger things to come.

Jill Thomas Smith and Obos Darko. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Jill Thomas and Obos Darko
15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Obos Quality 004 — Angie Van Paemel). Owned by Jill Thomas. 

Riding under the Canadian Flag, Jill brings forward her own Obos Darko. Jill and the Irish gelding have forged a very deep partnership, having done all of their first two-, three-, and four-star longs together. He debuted at the four-star level two seasons ago and finished 11th at the Tryon CCI4*-L last fall. In addition to eventing, “Obie” has also moonlighted in the straight show jumping and dressage worlds, and his favorite snack after an event is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Jill operates a teaching and training facility in Northern Virginia where she elected to stay this winter.

Will Coleman Claims Four-Star Hat Trick at SRF Carolina International

Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

He’ll have another, please! Will Coleman picked up his third consecutive win at the Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International CCI4*-S today after a masterful cross country performance with Hyperion Stud’s Chin Tonic HS. His hat trick is achieved on the backs of three different rides: Chin Tonic HS (2023), Dondante (2022), and Off The Record (2021).

“I feel like a pretty lucky guy that I have three horses to bring to an event like this,” Will said. “Mostly, I’m just proud of the horses and our team, our program, and my wife, staff, coaches, vets, farriers, kind of everybody, owners especially. It takes a village and I’m thankful to have a really nice group of people helping me.”

The FEI World Equestrian Games team silver medalist has been bringing along the 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Chin Champ – Wildera, by Quinar Z) since he was five, and today he showed his potential as a future world-beater, finishing square on the optimum time of 6 minutes 33 seconds. Their result of 19.4 sets a new record for the lowest four-star finishing score at this event.

“I think the key to getting the time here is to be pretty efficient and quick in the beginning, because that’s the most open part of the course,” Will said. “I thought Chin Tonic was great through that whole section. I think he just was very neat. I thought we were hyper-efficient, and really all the way through the first water, everything was going to plan.”

Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Ian Stark’s track laid out steeplechase-like galloping in the early bits, but turned on the heat as the course continued, and that’s where Will said “Chin” showed what he’s capable of. “Coming out to the final water, I kind of knew I was going to be pretty close [to the time]. It was kind of like wheels-up time for Chin, and he answered the bell. I did press on him quite a bit there, but that I think is sort of the stage he’s at in his career, he’s ready to maybe have a little more pressure on. I thought he answered the call really nicely for me.”

A horse with a charismatic presence, the Hyperion Stud entry has a heritage that nods more to show jumping and dressage success. At just 41% blood and with a sire that jumped 1.45m classes himself, Will says that Chin’s heart and try are what carry him through across the country — and that’s what he’s banking on heading to the German-bred gelding’s first five-star later this spring. “It’s taken a while for him to develop a step on cross-country. I still don’t think he’s the most natural galloper on cross-country, but he’s improved tremendously and he does really enjoy it. I think his character in that regard is really what makes it possible for him to be a successful upper-level event horse. I think Kentucky will be a big question for him, but I feel like he’s feeling more and more ready all the time,” Will said.

Liz Halliday-Sharp finds in second-placed Miks Master C a horse that’s finally, truly hers. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Just two seconds were added to Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C‘s cross country performance, finishing on a result of 20.9 for second place. Liz, who won here previously in 2019 with Fernhill By Night, reports that her new relationship with “Mickey,” 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Mighty Magic – Qui Luma CBF, by Flyinge Quite Easy 958) is finally starting to “gel.”

“He’s such a world class horse. I feel like we’re a real partnership now,” she said, praising the horse for his polite attitude without sacrificing boldness, which Liz has been aching to achieve with the exuberant jumper. “Some of the distances were challenging because they were quite short and he’s a big, bold, big-striding horse, but he was with me the whole way. I probably had a few more controls than I expected. It was a good thing — it was sort of my plan, but I probably over set him up in the odd place — which was where the 0.8 time penalties were.”

Like Chin, Mickey is also eyeing a five-star debut at Kentucky.

“I’m really glad I came here [to prepare for Kentucky]. These are some of the biggest drops he’s probably seen in competition. He’s not done that many, so it was a great test for us with a lot of ditches and things like that. I kind of puts you in a place where you know where you are, which is great and I came here for a reason to ride around his track and I think it was very beneficial,” she said. 

Will Faudree’s experienced campaigner Pfun takes third. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

This year marks the seventh season at the four-star level for Will Faudree‘s eldest campaigner, Pfun. The local Souther Pines resident and the 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Tadmus – Celerina, by Cento) owned by Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables demonstrated their partnership by delivering a classy clear round inside the time to finish on a score of 30.1 for third place. It’s a great start to the next phase of Pfun’s career, which sees the stalwart five-star horse step down a level to focus on the short-formats.

“He and I have such an amazing partnership — and it’s just fun, no pun intended,” laughed Will. “He’s a horse I believed in from day one, and there’s no pressure on him now; I’m not going to do another five-star with him, because the distance is hard for him. I always joke that if Kentucky wanted to do a preview of how the combinations should be ridden, a monkey could take him through there; he just loves it, but if it’s over seven minutes, he gets a little tired, and it’s not fair to try to do that to him. Without the fitness and the pounding necessary for five-star, I can really focus on the finer details and things like the dressage.”

Sydney Elliott and QC Diamontaire. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Just one-tenth of a penalty point further down the leaderboard sit Sydney Elliot and QC Diamantaire. They’ll take home fourth place after a wonderfully fast round — fastest of the division, in fact — which saw them cross the finish flags inside the time. The 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Diarado – Lantana, by Sandro Hit) owned by Carol Stephens, a huge supporter of Sydney’s, is now a veteran of international competition having contested Aachen, Boekelo and of course Kentucky, where the pair finished 8th last year.

Doug Payne and Starr Witness. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Doug Payne couldn’t beat the clock with overnight-third-placed Starr Witness, and the pair landed in fifth. The 12-year-old KWPN mare (Chello III VDL – Carmen, by Veneur), owned by Laurie McRee, Catherine Winter and the rider, added 6.8 time penalties to finish on a score of 31.4. Doug, however, told us yesterday that his plan for the spicy liver chestnut mare was to go “efficiently fast” across country, not necessarily looking to beat the clock today but not wasting any time during their round either.

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Where his mare lacked speed today, Doug’s U.S. CCI5*-L National Champion Quantum Leap, a 12-year-old DSP gelding (Quite Capitol – Report to Sloopy, by Corporate Report), picked up the slack, coming home one second under the optimum time for a result of 34.8 for sixth place.

Boyd Martin and Commando 3. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Boyd Martin wrapped up seventh with his brand-new partner Commando 3. This is a first International finish for DSN Equestrian’s 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Connor 48 – R-Adelgunde, by Amigo xx) under Boyd’s tutelage since being acquired from Sweden’s Louise Romeike, and what a successful “getting to know you” outing they had, finishing with 10.8 time penalties, but no jump penalties for a final result of 36.6.

Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Will Faudree’s second top-ten finish came in the form of a 44.5-point finish aboard Mama’s Magic Way. Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables’ 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Mighty Magic – Straightaway, by Star Regent xx) was his pathfinding ride for the four-star division, and “Mason” came home with only 4.4 time penalties faulting their result (44.5).

Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Canada’s Lindsay Traisnel picked up a ninth-place finish with the 12-year-old Selle Français gelding (Mylord Carthago – Lelia, by Clyde de la Combe) Bacyrouge. The pair, who were named to the 2023 Equestrian Canada National Squad earlier this season, had 13.2 educational time penalties to end the weekend on 45.4.

Mary Bess Davis and Imperio Magic. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Mary Bess Davis’ Imperio Magic carried her to a top-ten finish on a score of 46. “McColl” has a natural instinct to hunt the flags that belies his nine years of age, and the Anglo-European gelding (Cassander C – Khadija des Hayettes, by Banboula du Thot) had only 6.4 time penalties in a very clever performance today.

The biggest competitor for the four-star riders was the clock, as very few entries had jump penalties. Just three pairs ran into trouble out on course: Lexi Scovil and Chico’s Man VDF Z where eliminated for collecting refusals at the latter two elements of the coffin complex followed by a stop at the Normandy Bank; New Zealand’s Hayley Frielick tumbled from Dunedin Black Watch at 13B, the corner after the first water; and Meghan O’Donoghue and Palm Crescent collected an uncharacteristic stop at fence 18, the big drop into the final water complex.

That’s a wrap from the marquee class here at the 2023 Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International. We can’t wait to see you at the next one, EN!

Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International: [Website] [Entries] [Schedule] [Scores] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage] [EN’s Form Guide] [Volunteer]

 Abby Powell contributed to this report.