Entries for next week’s Boekelo CCIO3* are live, and North America has a large contingent of 12 horses and riders slated to compete, with 10 U.S. combinations and two Canadian combinations entered. A field of 95 horses and riders from 18 different countries will contest the final leg of the 2015 FEI Nations Cup Series, which has attracted 11 total teams.
The USEF announced the U.S. Nations Cup team on Wednesday: Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF, Buck Davidson and Copper Beach, Liz Halliday-Sharp and HHS Cooley, and Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous or RF Quarterman. The team alternates are, in ranked order, Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo and Jon Holling and Downtown Harrison.
Team USA is bringing a lot of momentum to the Netherlands for this event after solid showings in overseas events over the past six weeks. Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen’s dominant win at Blenheim — with an additional three U.S. riders in the top 11 — stands out as a clear highlight, and we also had two riders in the top 25 at Burghley plus a third place team finish in the Nations Cup at Aachen CICO3*.
With a team comprised of consistent combinations and good cross country horses, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t expect Team USA to deliver yet another good showing at a major international competition, this time at Boekelo. It’s also important to note that Boekelo is one of the final U.S. team selection trials this year for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics (the others are Fair Hill, Pau and Galway Downs).
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the U.S. and Canadian combinations slated to compete at Boekelo (in alphabetical order). Click here to see the full list of entries.
Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF: It’s been a rocky road for Matt to get to his first overseas competition. After receiving two grants to compete at both Blenheim and Boekelo, BCF Belicoso suffered an injury at Fair Hill and Super Socks BCF colicked badly. But they’re back on track now, and “Flaxen” a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Blossom Creek Foundation, just did a 45.3 on the flat — his personal best at the level — at Plantation Field CIC3* before withdrawing after dressage as planned.
Katherine Coleman and Longwood: This is a big event for British-based American Katherine, as it’s her first time competing at Boekelo, and it’s also her first CCI3* with Longwood, a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding she owns. Longwood previously completed the CCI3* at Blair Castle in 2013 with former rider Charlotte Agnew. This pair most recently completed the CIC3* at Millstreet at the end of August as their final preparation for Boekelo.
Buck Davidson and Carlevo: Buck and Carlevo, an 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Carlevo LLC, had been going great guns since their move up to the Advanced level until Plantation Field, where they picked up 40 jumping penalties on cross country. Buck said after the fact that holds on course pushed their ride time back by two hours, and they both needed to “wake up.” If we write that off as an anomaly, the horse can hit the low 40s in dressage, is a very good show jumper and has all the pieces to deliver a good performance at Boekelo.
Buck Davidson and Copper Beach: Copper Beach has had a relatively quiet summer since completing his first overseas competition in June at Tattersalls CCI3* in 17th place. Buck took “Sean,” a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Carl and Cassie Segal and Sherrie Martin, around the CIC2* at Stuart in July and the Richland Park CIC3* in August, where they finished ninth. The CIC dressage scores tend to fluctuate for this horse, but he is very capable of hitting the low 40s and consistent in the other two phases.
Liz Halliday-Sharp and HHS Cooley: It’s great to see this horse back out after a minor injury at The Fork stymied his run at Rolex and ultimately kept him from competing through the summer. The 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Deborah Halliday has shown very good form since, most recently delivering a personal best dressage score of 37.6 to ultimately finish third in the CIC3* at Ballindenisk in his final prep run for this event. “Cooley” is also a good tough mudder, which he proved at Breda last month with a clear cross country effort around a very sloppy track to finish 12th in a huge CIC3* field.
Jon Holling and Downtown Harrison: “Will,” an 11-year-old Thoroughbred/Trakehner gelding owned by Constance Holling, last completed a CCI3* at Boekelo in 2012. After competing very lightly for the past three years, it’s wonderful to see this horse back out. Jon and Will most recently finished fifth in the Poplar Place CIC3* and are still working to get back to some of those lower dressage scores we’ve seen from them in years past, like the 46.0 they did at Bromont CCI3* in 2012 (the year they won the event and Jon famously streaked in front of the Bromont sign).
Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo: “Patrick,” a 9-year-old Irish/Thoroughbred cross owned and bred by Jacqueline Mars, already competed against many of the Boekelo competitors in the 8-/9-year-old CIC3* class at Blenheim last month, where he finished 16th on a final score of 56.3. He had a 20 on cross country in the only other CCI3* attempt of his career at Bromont this summer, but he’s also spent the entire fall competing at the UK and is a better horse heading into his first CCI3*.
Lauren Kieffer and Vermiculus: “Bug,” an 8-year-old Anglo-Arabian gelding owned by Jacqueline Mars, showed his cheeky side in the 8-/9-year-old CIC3* class at Blenheim, where he was quite naughty in the dressage and ultimately withdrawn before cross country. Lauren took him around an Open Intermediate division at South of England last weekend to work out the kinks, and he was much better behaved — and delivered a 29.8 on the flat.
Marilyn Little and RF Quarterman: “Fitty” is the youngest horse in the field at 7 years old, and the Oldenburg gelding owned by Raylyn Farms already has one CCI3* appearance under his belt in Bromont, where he finished seventh in June. He scored a 47.0 in the first three-star test of his career at Red Hills in March and hasn’t quite made it back that low since then, but he shows an exciting amount of promise for a horse that is young and still coming into his own.
Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous: “Kitty” was on her way to potentially winning a seventh consecutive FEI competition at Poplar Place last month when she stumbled in show jumping, unseating Marilyn. The 10-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Raylyn Farms and Phoebe and Michael Manders then rebounded at Plantation Field, finishing second in her first CIC3* in a star-studded division. Now the Pan American Games individual gold medalist is set to make her CCI3* and overseas debut at Boekelo on yet another U.S. team.
Kathryn Robinson and Let It Bee: Kathryn and “Bee,” a 14-year-old Westphalian gelding she owns, have been bouncing back since the Pan Ams, where they fell at the second fence on cross country after sitting in silver medal position following dressage. After completing the Aachen CICO3* in August, they continued to get their mojo back at Wellington International last month, where they finished third in their Advanced section as their final prep for Boekelo.
Lindsay Traisnel and Candar van het Neerveld: A Canadian based in France with her husband, Xavier, Lindsay has been back to competing for several months now since the birth of her adorable daughter, Elise. Now she returns to Boekelo for the second year in a row with “Candy,” a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion owned by Patricia Pearce, for a second try at completing the event. Bonne chance, Lindsay!