By the Numbers: Morven Park CIC3*

Will Faudree and Caeleste. Photo by Jenni Autry. Will Faudree and Caeleste. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Morven Park means fall has officially begun and as usual, rain is in the forecast. Although we won’t be looking at another 6-inch deluge from the remnants of a hurricane, Morven competitors will as usual need to contend with mud and showers in Leesburg, Virginia.

Although there are a few heavy hitters in the CIC3* division, the Advanced division boasts most of the serious contenders. A handful of the horses here this weekend are late entries searching out ground softer than what we had at Plantation Field, while others may just be looking to sharpen up some ring skills before withdrawing in preparation for the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International. Quite a few pairs are greener at the level and are just looking to add some experience to their resume.

The dressage test will be 2015 FEI 3*-B. Tremaine Cooper is the long-time designer for the cross country, while Chris Barnard has stepped in to create the stadium course.


1. Will Faudree and Caeleste: Caeleste has been lightly competed this year, running only two Advanced, a CIC3* and a CCI3*. She’s been incredibly consistent across the board in all of her starts though, and a similar run this weekend will slide this pair into first place.

Caeleste averages a 52.7 on this particular test, which would put her in a stalking position after the first phase. Thus far an excellent show jumper, she has yet to have a rail over a Chris Barnard course and trends towards double clear rounds overall. In her one attempt at a Tremaine Cooper course, she finished only one second over her overall average of 8.0 time penalties. A finishing score just over 60 would give Caeleste her first win at this level.

Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

2. Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF: Always a solid bet to finish well, this pair will be competitive this weekend without even needing to push the envelope. With a solid record in all three phases, Super Socks BCF is just hitting his best stride.

An average of 49.9 on this particular test would put these two inside the top five after dressage. These two equaled their average of one rail in their only attempt over a Chris Barnard course. An average pace of 6.8 time penalties across the country would move them up the leader board on cross country day. Look for Matt and Super Socks BCF to be nipping on Will’s heels with a score in the low 60s.

3. Jessica Phoenix and Bentley’s Best: One of the named alternates for the Canadian Olympic team, Bentley’s Best has certainly stepped up to the plate in a big way this year. With the team pressure off, Jessica will be free to push this gray horse to his full capabilities.

Bentley’s Best is talented on the flat, averaging a 47.4 on this test. Although he is a careful jumper most of the time, he has averaged one rail and two time penalties over Chris Barnard’s designs. This pair averages 10.8 time penalties across the country, which would drop them to third. Look for them to round out the top three with a score in the mid-60s.

Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

4. Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti: Jessica has also brought her longtime partner Pavarotti out to play this weekend. The multiple Pan American Games individual medalist is always a force to be reckoned with, and this weekend is no exception.

With an average of 43.6 on the flat, Pavarotti will be one of the top two after the dressage. He averages a rail and a time penalty over Chris Barnard courses, matching his overall average. He is a bit faster running over Tremaine Cooper courses, averaging 16.0 time penalties when Tremaine is the designer. That would put him in fourth place, with a score just a touch behind his stablemate.

5. Colleen Rutledge and Escot 6: A veritable jumping bean, Escot 6 exemplifies power with every leap he takes. Although dressage is not his forte, he has shown improvement in that phase, which makes him more and more of a threat on the leaderboard.

With an average of 60.6 on this test, Colleen and Escot 6 will be left with some ground to make up after phase one. They’ll begin with a typical double clear show jumping round over Chris’s course. They also favor Tremaine Cooper courses, running on average about six seconds faster over his designs. A final score just over the mid-60s would have this pair rounding out the top five this weekend.

Will Faudree and Pfun. Photo by Samantha Clark

Will Faudree and Pfun. Photo by Samantha Clark.


Will Faudree and Pfun: Pfun has re-routed to Morven after a disappointing Blenheim. Despite a stellar start to his spring season, he has struggled on cross country at his CCI3* attempts. With a very strong show jumping record and falling dressage scores, he certainly has what it takes to be on top this weekend. As long as he regains his CIC cross country form, Pfun could have this show in the bag.

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Jenni Autry.


Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border: In this horse’s relatively short Advanced and three-star career, he has almost exclusively finished in the top five. That’s not hard to believe when he hasn’t scored higher than the FEI equivalent of a 46.4 on the flat and has no rails in seven show jumping rounds.

However, while he’s been consistent across the country for the most part, he doesn’t have an entirely clean cross country record and most recently picked up a 20 at the American Eventing Championships. That appears to be the exception, not the norm, and a clear cross country round will almost guarantee these two a place very close to the top this weekend.

Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.


Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy: After stepping up to Advanced for the first time this spring, Paddy the Caddy has shown flashes of talent in all three phases. Most recently he led his Advanced division from start to finish at Plantation Field, and although he seems to still be finding his legs in the cross country phase at this level, his show jumping record speaks for itself. Keep an eye on this one.

Hannah Sue and Under Suspection. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Under Suspection. Photo by Leslie Wylie.


Number of entries: 18

Pairs to watch:

  • Jennie Brannigan and I Bella
  • Hannah Sue Burnett and Under Suspection
  • Buck Davidson and Carlevo
  • Lauren Kieffer and D.A. Duras
  • Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo