Carolina International CIC3* Preview: Part One

Fair Hill CCI3* champions Jan Byyny and Inmidair. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Fair Hill CCI3* champions Jan Byyny and Inmidair. Photo by Jenni Autry.

After much anticipation, the week for the Carolina International CIC3* is here, and with 46 entries and a star-studded cast, it’s going to be a heck of a competition. Both Jenni Autry and Sally Spickard will be there to report on the happenings, and while I’m competing, I might throw in a few posts myself in between rides. This event has been working overtime to become one of the most highly-regarded competitions, and with a CIC3* this year, they’ve set themselves up well to be an important factor in how horses prepare for Rolex, and this year, the WEG. They’re also offering $25,000 in prize money for the CIC3*, $10,000 for the CIC2* and $5,000 for the CIC*, which is an amazing opportunity in a sport that doesn’t often have any prize money at all. Without further ado, I give you the first half of your CIC3* division!

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Peter Barry & Kilrodan Abbott: This is a pair that needs little introduction, as we’ve all grown fond of seeing Eddie gallop casually around the big cross-country courses for some years now. Having been to Rolex quite a few times at this point, Peter and Eddie went to London in 2012 only to be cut short by a fall on course. They’ve got all the experience in the world for this challenge and are just coming off an 11th place at Red Hills in the CIC3* there.

Emily Beshear & Here’s To You: After sustaining a small injury right before his second Rolex in 2013, Quincy has competed lightly and has not had a run at the Advanced level since last spring. Emily and Quincy had a good run at the first Pine Top in the Intermediate, finishing 12th, but then had a bit of a scary fall in the CIC2* two weeks later coming into the water complex. Quincy is a really talented horse, but given all of these factors, I expect they’ll be hoping for a quiet, confident run this weekend.

Tracey Bienemann & Zara: Tracey and her big red mare Zara were the stars of our Pine Top CIC2* cross-country helmet cam a few weeks ago after a good round there to finish in 20th place. Zara is a bold cross-country horse, but hasn’t seen an Advanced course since the fall of 2012, so I think this is another pair that will be looking for a quiet and clear round this weekend.

Timothy Bourke & Luckaun Quality: This is one of my favorite pairs to watch on cross country, as this horse was simply made for that. He might not enjoy the first phase, but he excels in the second two. After their great CCI3* debut at Fair Hill this fall, finishing in 8th place, they’ll have a grand time here at the Carolina International. Tim is a really quality rider, and Obie is an excellent upper-level horse for him to gain experience on.

Hannah Sue Burnett & Harbour Pilot: After a mishap early on course at Pau CCI4* that resulted in Hannah’s untimely dismount, she’s entered William in Rolex this spring, and I imagine that she’s more determined than ever to get there. These two almost always lay down an impressive dressage test that puts them in a good spot immediately, and I think they will be competitive here. They had a technical elimination at Red Hills a few weeks ago over the tricky combination at five, but I expect that will just make Hannah all the more serious here at CHP.

Will Coleman and Conair. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Will Coleman and Conair. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jan Byyny & Inmidair: The defending CCI3* champions of Fair Hill 2013, Jan and J.R. are a force to be reckoned with. I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody as determined as Jan, and J.R. has all the makings of a superstar. Thwarted last year by an airway issue right before Rolex, they’re headed back there this year after a great fall campaign. If J.R. can keep his hat on in the dressage, he’ll be very competitive this weekend.

Jan Byyny & Syd Kent: Just to complete Jan’s comeback tour, Syd is joining his stablemate in this division, following a story of his own comeback. During the cross country at Millbrook last fall, Syd suffered a life-threatening injury to one of his hooves, and for a while it was thought that he would never return to that level. But odds be damned, Jan and Syd are back at it again. I’m rooting for these guys, as they can also throw down a great score and jump clean to protect it.

Will Coleman & Conair: Will hasn’t even had this horse a year yet, but they’ve been able to form a really great partnership. The difference between how this horse went last summer and how he looks this spring is startling, and I think we’ll begin to see a whole new level of competitiveness from these two — which is frightening, considering they were 3rd at Fair Hill in the fall, and now they’ve had the whole winter to beef up on all the little pieces in between. Will might not let loose on cross country this weekend, as it’s their first Advanced run of the year, but you can be sure they’ll be in the top after the first two phases.

Hallie Coon & Namaste’: This pair has a few Advanced runs under their belt from 2013 and a nice 14th place finish in the CCI2* last year at Fair Hill. While they’ve yet to finish an event at the 3* level, I think they’ve got plenty of experience to handle this weekend’s challenge. Namaste’ is a lovely athletic horse, and Hallie is a very competent rider; they just have to put all the pieces together.

Buck Davidson & The Apprentice: Not that I’m saying anything that shocking, but Buck has FIVE horses in the CIC3* this weekend. And that’s not counting horses in other divisions. I just don’t even know how that man is still awake at the end of the day. Regardless, Dirk is his first ride in this division, and this horse has plenty of experience at this level. After an unfortunate elimination at Saumur CCI3* last spring, they went across the country to Galway CCI3* in the fall and finished 8th there. As with any of Buck’s horses, I expect him to go clean cross country and finish somewhere up in the top 20.

Buck Davidson and Balleynoe Castle RM at Rolex 2013. Photo by Kasey Mueller.

Buck Davidson and Balleynoe Castle RM at Rolex 2013. Photo by Kasey Mueller.

Buck Davidson & Cool N’ Cavalier: Cavi is Buck’s second mount in this division, but he’s quite a bit less experienced than the others. This gelding has only completed one Advanced level horse trials last spring at New Jersey HT. However, he’s a lovely horse, and I’m sure that Buck has him well prepared for this next challenge.

Buck Davidson & Petite Flower: After disappointment at Fair Hill CCI3* last fall, this pair re-routed to Galway CCI3* and were rewarded with a win there. This mare is the definition of a little powerhouse and can easily end up in the top 10 here. She can be quite good on the flat and is a super jumper. If Buck gets her over those corners, they’ll be golden this weekend.

Buck Davidson & Ballynoe Castle RM: Reggie is a crowd favorite, and after his 4th place finish last year at Rolex, he’s been keeping it quiet, most recently with a second place finish at Red Hills in the Intermediate this spring. Whether or not Buck lets the the handbrake off on cross country remains to be seen, but I’m sure they will be in the top 10 following the first two phases.

Buck Davidson & Park Trader: Kobe is the final horse for Buck to ride in this division. After traveling across the pond to compete at Burghley last year, Buck unfortunately fell off on cross country, but then re-routed immediately to Fair Hill CCI3* and was rewarded with a second-place finish there. Kobe is a great jumper and could very well be up in the mix this weekend.

Phillip Dutton & Mighty Nice: Phillip is challenging Buck in the “How-Many-3*-Horses-Can-You-Ride-In-One-Competition” event, as he also has five horses competing in this division. First up, Mighty Nice, who was a promising star last spring for Phillip. Unfortunately, he didn’t have great luck on cross country at Rolex last year, retiring early on. Phillip has taken him to two events this spring since that point, but has only run CTs, posting good dressage scores and withdrawing before cross country. Hopefully we will get to see them run all three phases this weekend.

Phillip Dutton and Mr. Medicott at Pau CCI4*. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Phillip Dutton and Mr. Medicott at Pau CCI4*. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Phillip Dutton & Fernhill Fugitive: Jack is the second ride from Phillip’s stable. He was 7th at Bromont CCI3* last spring and was 15th at Richland CIC3* later that summer. Unfortunately, they were one of the pairs caught out at the tricky combination at 5 at Red Hills, but they did go on to complete the course in good style. I don’t think that result reflects their ability at this level, and I’m sure they’ll go on to be competitive this weekend.

Phillip Dutton & Mr. Medicott: As certainly one of the most experienced and successful horses at the competition this weekend, it’s always a treat to watch Cave go. He’s a consummate professional in all three phases, and after their 4th place finish at Pau CCI4*, they seem to be much more in sync these days, and if they run all three phases this weekend, I expect they’ll be in the top five.

Phillip Dutton & William Penn: Penn was 9th last year at the Fair Hill CCI3* and just ran the Intermediate at Pine Top to finish in 6th place. He’s a huge horse, but he’s incredibly light off the ground and a wonderful jumper. He’s pretty consistent, and I expect him to finish in the top 20.

Phillip Dutton & Atlas: Atlas was 4th at Bromont CCI3* in 2012, and since then has been competing consistently at the CIC3* and Advanced level. Unfortunately, he’s had a bit of trouble this spring, incurring two stops at Pine Top Advanced, and then falling prey to the combination at 5 at Red Hills a few weeks ago, retiring at that point. They’ll be looking for a quiet clear round here this weekend to get their mojo back.

Sinead Halpin and Manoir de Carneville. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Sinead Halpin and Manoir de Carneville. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Will Faudree & Pawlow: Will and Ernie had a good run at Rolex last year, finishing in 6th place. They traveled to Aachen only to have a fall just after the final fence due to some missing front shoes, but that can’t keep them down. They are coming off a win in the CIC2* at Pine Top a few weeks ago and have been looking really smooth in the jumping phases so far this spring. If they can pull off two clear jumping rounds on their home turf, they’ll be nicely poised to kick some butt this weekend.

Will Faudree & DHI Colour Candy: Andy recently came back to competing at this level after stepping down while Will worked on his education, winning his return to Advanced at Pine Top. He was 8th last fall at Fair Hill CCI2* and has been amazingly consistent at the Intermediate level. Though Will is known for being competitive, he’ll still be looking for a good education for his young horse in his first CIC3* since 2012.

Sinead Halpin & Manoir De Carneville: Sinead and Tate had a great 2012 and a quiet but successful 2013, winning the Plantation CIC3* and the Richland Advanced. They were great favorites to win Fair Hill CCI3*, but sadly Sinead suffered a tumble on the cross country. They ran the Intermediate a few weeks ago at Pine Top, finishing 2nd, and I fully expect them to finish in the top five here this weekend.

Becky Holder & Can’t Fire Me: Becky and Teddy had a fall late in the course at Rolex 2013, and since then have been taking it easy. They won the CIC3* at Poplar Place in the fall, but haven’t competed in the cross-country portion yet this year. They have the potential to do very well this weekend, but I don’t think we’ve really seen everything this horse is capable of yet.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of the CIC3* preview!

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