Bromont week is officially here! Our most favorite Canadian competition, and occasionally the source of highly popularized streaking videos, the great migration has begun toward the final CCI competition of the spring. This year, as in years past, the Bromont is hosting a CCI*, CCI2* and CCI3*, as well as an additional CIC3* level. Many of our competitors have re-routed from unhappy results at either Rolex or Jersey Fresh earlier this spring, while still some others have been aiming for this event for months. We have a strong field of 29 competitors in the CCI3*, so without further ado, let’s get to the preview!
Lisa Barry & F.I.S. Prince Charming: While Lisa and Peanut have been competing at the Advanced level for a few years now, this will be their very first attempt at the CCI3* level, and I’m sure their excitement is building. They were 7th this spring in the Advanced at Red Hills, and most recently placed 6th in the CIC3* at Jersey Fresh, finishing with only some time and one rail to add to their dressage score. Peanut is perfectly capable of turning in a nice score for the first phase,and he is a superb jumper with a great tail flip over the fences, and I expect them to finish this event victorious in completion of their first time at this level.
Emily Beshear & Here’s To You: Emily and Quincy are coming directly from an undesired result at Rolex, hoping to get some redemption in Canada. They posted a good dressage score of 52.2 there in Kentucky, but then seemed to lose a large part of the steering and control on cross country, resulting in a few stops and ultimately retiring on course. Quincy is very capable on the flat, and I expect them to be right up in the mix after the first day, and I hope that Emily has searched high and low for a new bit and some new techniques that will help her achieve her goal on Saturday.
Tracey Bienemann & Zara: Tracey and Zara made a return to the Advanced level this spring after more than a year away and have some good results under their belts. They were 8th together at Fair Hill CIC3* and most recently 11th at the Jersey Fresh CIC3*. Zara has had meltdowns in the dressage in the past, but seems to be perfectly capable of jumping around the cross country. While I don’t believe they will be competitive here at Bromont, this will be a good step for them as they tackle their first CCI3* together.
Maya Black & Doesn’t Play Fair: Maya and Cody made their successful move up to the Advanced level just this spring at Pine Top. While they may be new to the level, they’ve been together from the very beginning, rising from Beginner Novice in 2011 to tackling their first CCI3* here this weekend, and they know each other very well. They were recently 5th at Jersey Fresh CIC3*, with a 48 in the dressage and only a rail and some time to add for their final score, as well as winning the Advanced/Intermediate a few weeks ago at the Virginia Horse Trials. They are primed to do well here this weekend, and I think they could easily be top 15.
Darren Chiacchia & Amendment 15: This pair has been competing together at the Advanced level for two years now, and Pauli did his first CCI3* last year at Bromont, where they finished in 18th place. While they jumped around clean, they had a 66 in dressage and then an almost matching tally of time penalties on cross country. They’ve only competed at two competitions this spring, most recently Poplar Place CIC3* in March, where they were fifth. Darren has been patronizing the dressage circuit this year, and I hope to see these two performing at a more competitive level this time around.
Hallie Coon & Namaste’: Hallie is the youngest rider in the field, but just because she’s 19 doesn’t mean you can discount her as a competitor this weekend. They intended to make their CCI3* debut at Jersey, but were temporarily sidelined with a stone bruise. Yogi is a really keen and careful jumper and a great one to gain upper level experience on for Hallie. While they might not be at the top of the pack after the first day, I expect them to climb their way back up with two clear jumping rounds and finish their first effort at this level with a big smile.
Eliza Farren & Bantry Bays Dublin: These two completed their first CCI3* last fall at Fair Hill, but with less than desirable results, racking up 60 penalties on cross country and finishing in last place. This little Connemara gelding is a very capable jumper, but can be a little unpredictable in his record, and I’m sure that Eliza will be going for a steady clear here at Bromont to get them back on track this spring.
Will Faudree & DHI Colour Candy: Andy returned to the Advanced level in earnest this spring, placing 22nd at Carolina CIC3* and 14th at The Fork CIC3* a few months back. They unfortunately suffered a fall on course recently at Chattahoochee Hills, but we heard that everything is OK with both Will and Andy, and they will be contesting their first CCI3* since Fair Hill in 2012 this weekend. Andy is a super clean and careful jumper who is capable of posting a low 50s dressage score. With some luck, they could be top 15 here this weekend.
Katy Groesbeck & Oz The Tin Man: After competing extensively on the West Coast, Katie and Wort have moved east to work with Buck Davidson and take their game up to the next level. They’ve been competing at the Advanced and CIC3* level for quite a few years now, but this will be their first Bromont, and it will be a decent challenge. They were recently 10th together at Jersey Fresh CIC3*, as well as 15th at Red Hills CIC3* earlier this spring. Wort usually posts a good low-50s dressage score and is well experienced enough to rock around the course, although this spring the two have been experiencing the odd miscommunication or two on course. Here’s to it all coming together the way they deserve it to this weekend.
Jon Holling & Zatopek B: Another pair that is looking for some post-Rolex redemption, Zach went in for his four-star debut but seemed to get a little unsettled on cross country, and after surviving a few hairy moments along the course, Jon retired him for another day. The horse, as you can see from the picture above, is a bit of a freak of nature, but can get a little tense at times. They were 15th here last year and recently won their Advanced division at Chattahoochee Hills from start to finish, so they could climb the ranks with some good jumping efforts.
Jon Holling & Proper Timing: Jon’s second mount is a bit less experienced than his first, and while they attempted their first CCI3* last fall at Fair Hill, they retired on course and are taking a second shot here at Bromont. While this horse has only competed at the Advanced level once this year, he did win that effort in the CIC3* at Chattahoochee Hills a few weeks ago. This is a nice horse, and with Jon in the irons, he’s poised to have a good shot at completing his first CCI3*.
Avery Klunick & In It To Win It: Another West Coast lady traveling all the way to Canada, Avery and Winston are here at Bromont to contest their first CCI3* together. They’ve been together all the way from Novice to Young Riders and beyond, and they have a great relationship. They were recently 5th together at the Twin Rivers CIC3* and 5th at Woodside Advanced a few weeks ago. While they might not be competitive enough in the first phase to keep up in the rankings, they’ll love every minute of this new experience together and should finish with a big smile.
Allie Knowles & Sound Prospect: Allie got the ride on this gelding last fall, finishing up the season at Fair Hill in the CCI2* with a 28th place finish. She moved him up to Advanced this spring and completed three CIC3* events, most recently placing 9th at Jersey Fresh. Allie is hoping this horse could be her next star upper level mount, and this weekend will help her on her way to proving that.
Leah Lang-Gluscic & A.P. Prime: This pair is certainly amongst the least experienced in this division, having only completed two Advanced horse trials and one CIC3*; they are just squeaking by on qualifications. AP was featured on EN’s Got Talent last spring, and we’ve been watching this CANTER Thoroughbred ever since as he progressed through the levels. While he won’t be competitive in the first phase, he’s a super jumper and should be able to navigate his way through his first CCI3*.
Kendal Lehari & Totally Frank: This is another pair that is going into their first attempt at this level with only one CIC3* under their belt, having just moved up to Advanced this spring at Pine Top and recently placing second at the Fair Hill CIC3*. Frank is a huge horse, but a real freak of nature over the jumps and surprisingly able to travel fast across the terrain. I expect that Kendal will post a low 50s dressage score and be able to crawl up the leaderboard unnoticed with some clean jumping efforts to bring home a top placing for Canada.
Bobby Meyerhoff & Utah B: Socket has competed at the Advanced level for quite a few years now and attempted to complete a CCI3* three times, each time encountering a problem or two on cross country. Recently, he and Bobby went to Jersey and met their downfall at the infamous corner in the water early in the course, where Bobby went for a swim. I don’t expect them to be competitive in the dressage, but come on Bobby, fourth time lucky? This is a lovely horse, and they just need it to all come together this weekend.
Bobby Meyerhoff & Dunlavin’s Token: Bobby and Token went in for their four-star debut this year at Rolex, causing quite the uproar when Bobby’s top hat blew off and hit his horse on the butt in the dressage. They had a cracking good cross country round until the third to last fence, where a tired horse met a big question and they had a fall. They’ve rebounded and re-routed to Bromont, hoping to end the season on a good note. Token isn’t fond of the dressage, even if Bobby keeps his hat on his head, but should be able to smoke the course easily.
Holly Payne & Never Outfoxed: This little spitfire gelding is the typical Thoroughbred; with his distaste for dressage and his feisty way of going on cross country, it’s hard not to like him. Holly is well acquainted with his type; after riding Madeline for years, she knows about Thoroughbred sports cars. Fox moved up to Advanced this year and went to Jersey CCI3* a few weeks ago, but had an unfortunate dismount on cross country. They’ve only completed one Advanced and one CIC3* with a sixth at Fair Hill a few weeks ago, so they are a bit short on experience, but I feel that they are nonetheless up to the task. Go Holly go!
Jessie Phoenix & A Little Romance: Jessie has two rides here in this division, with both making their CCI3* debut. This mare was Jessie’s CCI2* mount at the WEG test event last summer, where they finished in 26th place with only a rail to add to their dressage score. She isn’t usually competitive on the flat, but has an almost flawless jumping record, and at this level, that kind of performance can move you up the leaderboard quite a bit. They were recently 12th together at the Jersey Fresh CIC3* with only some cross country time in addition to their dressage score, but they’ll want to aim for a score out of the 60s here at Bromont.
Jessie Phoenix & Abbey GS: Jessie’s second mount is also a mare and also hoping to complete her first CCI3* after moving up this spring. Jessie is re-routing from Jersey, where she attempted the CCI3*, but retired on course after one stop, deciding to save the mare for another day. They quickly hopped back to Canada to compete in the Will O’Winds CIC2* just a few weeks ago and had a good run there, winning the division. This mare isn’t terribly competitive on the flat, but has a great jumping record, minus that blip at Jersey, and should be able to confidently find her way around her first three star.
Michael Pollard & Ballingowan Pizazz: A few weeks ago, I previewed Michael and Mango for Jersey Fresh CCI3*, and my predictions almost came true … until Mango ran out of gas three-quarters of the way around the cross country. This horse is usually great all around, posting top six placements at two CIC3*s this spring with double clear jumping efforts, and he can easily do the same here. However, he’s still looking for his first CCI3* completion, and Bromont is definitely a bigger test of fitness than Jersey. All I can say is I hope Michael’s been doing all his work with this horse on a hill and has that fitness under control.
Jimmie Schramm & Bellamy: One of my favorite competitors, Jimmie is making her CCI3* debut with her own “Hells Bells,” and while she might look serious prior to the cross country, I expect her to be grinning ear to ear afterwards. They’ve been putting a lot of work into their dressage, as Bells can get a bit tense, and have steadily shown progress this spring in that regard, posting a 54 at Jersey CIC3* a few weeks ago. They can have the odd problem on cross country, but Bells is a superb jumper, and if Jimmie can grit her teeth and get out there, I have confidence that it will all come together for them this weekend.
Mackenna Shea & Landioso: Mackenna and Landi have been competing at the Advanced level since 2011 together and have a good record — except when they go for a CCI3*; then they seem to have some bad luck. I predicted a few weeks ago that they would bring the heat at Jersey, and despite the fact that they suffered an extremely unusual fall at fence three, I stand by my statement. I really think that these two can post a competitive score in all three phases and end up near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday, but they’ll have to put that bad juju behind them first.
Caitlin Silliman & Catch A Star: Caitlin and Hoku went back to Kentucky this spring for their second Rolex, but sadly didn’t have the cross country trip they were hoping for. They quickly re-assessed their spring plans, heading to Jersey for the CIC3*, finishing in fourth place with a 54 on the flat, two rails and a little cross country time. They were fifth here in 2012, having a cracking good cross country round to move them up the ranks. I’ve seen this mare go around all three phases in great form, but we also know that she has the stop in her, so I’m looking forward to them returning to their former glory here at Bromont and whipping around this course for some redemption.
Erin Sylvester & No Boundaries: Erin and Bucky went to Rolex this spring for their third trip around and seemed to have a good go until a slip and a nasty fall ended their trip early. Miraculously, both of them were unhurt, and they’ve come to Bromont to finish the season on a good note. They were second in the CIC3* at Jersey a few weeks ago with just a little time to add to their score of 54 on the flat, assuring us that neither of them are worse for the wear. While Bucky certainly can be naughty in the dressage, I think the environment here at Bromont is quiet enough for him to keep a lid on it and post a competitive score. They should be able to post two clear jump rounds and stay in the top 15.
Elisa Wallace & Simply Priceless: Elisa is delighted to be back at this level again, having just acquired the ride on this lovely gelding. They were 21st together this spring at the Ocala CCI2* and have only recently moved up to the Advanced level; with one horse trial and a qualifying score at Chattahoochee Hills CIC3*, this new challenge will be quite the step up. They might not be experienced enough to stay competitive on the flat here at Bromont, but they should have a nice trip around the course to gain some more exposure to the level and put another notch in their belt. Johnny is a nice horse, and I look forward to seeing more of him and Elisa at the top levels.
Julia Wendell & Cavendish: Julia and Cavendish have been competing at the three-star level together for two years now and have enough experience to get around this course. They completed here last year in 12th place, but with quite a bit of cross country time, as well as three rails in stadium, so they’ll want to improve upon that record. Their dressage score will leave them out of the ribbons, but hopefully it will all come together for them and they’ll be able to lodge another Bromont completion.
Jennie Jarnstrom & Cape Town: I met Jennie last year at Red Hills while walking my course, and was really impressed with her giant horse, Cal. He’s absolutely enormous, but he’s a lovely type and a super jumper. At only 9 years old, this will be his first CCI3*, as he just moved up this spring. They were 7th recently at the CIC3* at Chattahoochee Hills, but I think he’s still got some experience to gain. Unfortunately, that might keep him out of the top placings, but he seems very game, and I think Jennie is quite a determined rider. That combination of characteristics might very well surprise me, and I hope they have a successful go at their first attempt at this level.