We knew the MARS Incorporated Bromont Three Day Event wouldn’t be a dressage show. The undulating terrain requires an incredibly fit horse with enough experience to negotiate the questions presented by designer Derek di Grazia.
Boyd Martin said Derek “is by far the best designer we’ve got” but felt the CCI3* was pushing four-star difficulty. “It’s big and grueling with lots of combinations. But maybe for this country it really shows horses that are ready to get ready for a championship.”
“It was big and technical,” Lynn Symansky agreed. “You would want to have an experienced horse coming here and be an experienced rider … They really feel more like the end of a Kentucky track when getting home.”
Read on for more thoughts from today’s leaders.
Lynn Symansky and Mary Ann Ghadban’s 14-year-old Holsteiner mare Under Suspection (Contender X Naomagic I, Exorbitant xx) were the first CCI3* combination to get home clear and with only 2.4 time penalties to add, they moved up a few places to lead before the final phase. A good result here would mean Lynn moves provisionally into seventh place on the FEI Eventing World Rankings (this stat brought to you by EquiRatings) and have three horses qualified for the World Equestrian Games (Under Suspection, Donner, RF Cool Play).
“The mare is such an amazing cross country horse. She’s a beast. She did feel a bit tired coming home in the end and it sounds like a lot of them were. It’s a real fitness test here. I really couldn’t be happier with her today,” Lynn said. “It was a tough track out there. It walked hard. Derek is a fantastic designer. He definitely made you work and I think he asked all different kinds of questions.”
This was only Lynn’s third FEI event with “Pippy” and first CCI. The mare has successfully completed at the level with three different riders: Sharon White, Hannah Sue Burnnet and Lynn. “It’s a true testament to what an amazing horse she is. She comes out and gives it her all. She’s such a fighter.”
Jenny Caras and her longtime partner, Fernhill Fortitude (Courage II X Misty Matilda, Clover), a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned by a syndicate of his same name) produced the fastest round in the CCI3* to add just 2.0 time penalties and move up several placings to second.
“I had a bit of a rocky year last year with Kentucky and Fair Hill not going to plan, but he’s very experienced and there wasn’t one combination on the course that I was super concerned about,” she said. “I had a great prep run at the Jersey Fresh CIC3* and it carried over to today. He was a little tired at the end but he knows himself when he’s tired. He knows how to keep jumping well and stay honest and he was on it the whole way.
“We all know ‘Forty’ finds show jumping a little bit tricky and it’s not the phase I succeed in the most either. I’ve jumped clear in a three-day on the last day before so I’m trying to think about that and how I can ride him the best. The outcome will be the outcome and I’ll be happy as long as I ride well because I know he’ll put in a good effort. But he was great today and I can’t take anything away from him for that. I’d rather be on a cross country horse than a show jumper any day.”
Boyd Martin piloted Club Contessa’s Contessa (Contender X Veritas, Esteban) to a double-clear round in her CCI2* debut to move up from equal second to first. “I’ve spent a couple of years bringing her along and I think she’s got a huge amount of quality. She’s a mover, jumper, real trier, good galloper and I’m very pleased with the way she went today.”
Boyd said he could have taken the 9-year-old Holsteiner mare to Fair Hill International CCI2* last year but felt she was too green. “Rather than scraping around and completing and qualifying for the next level I thought I’d give her six more months and try and win (the CCI2* at Bromont). The plan has worked out so far.”
While he felt the three-star was particularly difficult, Boyd felt the two-star was a good test of endurance and scope. “The Intermediate level is a very crucial level in a horse’s career to build it up to four-star,” he said. “It really makes you understand if they’re ready to go on with the sport. I’d say (Bromont) is on the more difficult side and if you get one around here you know you have a good horse for the future.”
The CCI3* didn’t go Boyd’s way as he retired Kyra when she “ran out of puff” and picked up two stops at the sunken road at 25AB. Steady Eddie “went like a bullet” but overjumped into the second water and then picked up 20 at the skinny brush in the water.
“Eddie went really well around the whole course except for that one jump,” Boyd said. “I love that horse and he’s done a lot for me. I felt like the stars were aligning and we were ready to pounce, but there will be another day.”
Will Coleman piloted the Off the Record Syndicate’s 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse Off the Record (VDL Arkansas X Drumagoland Bay, Ard Ohio) to a double clear round in the CIC2* to retain their lead on a 26.1. “He stormed around. He’s become a really fast horse and did the time easily. I wanted to give him a good go but he likes the job. I think he’s quite fit and he really couldn’t have been much better for me today.”
Will said the courses were challenging enough but the two-star is all about developing horses for the future. “Hopefully if you finished with a horse that you learned a lot about,” he said. “Derek sometimes sets things that can be done a few different ways and you have to know your horse and make decisions based on that knowledge.”
Annie Goodwin and her 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood Fedarman B (Eurocommerce Washington X Paulien B, Fedor) moved up to first place when overnight leader Arden Wildasin and Watch Out picked up a refusal on course. Annie and “Bruno” added nothing to their dressage score to move ahead to the final phase on 27.1.
“He is a big warmblood and he does get tired on me. He did not get tired today which was nice. I’ve been doing a lot of fitness. I have a farm in Aiken but I’ve been training with Boyd (in Pennsylvania) recently. That’s played a huge role in how today went.”
Annie imported Bruno from Holland as an unbacked 3-year-old. “So we’ve been through it all together. He’s a bit quirky but I think that makes the relationship stronger. I know him well.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow she said, “He’s a phenomenal jumper but it was a lot out there today so we’ll see how he feels in the morning.”