Yesterday I brought you a preview of the first half of the exciting CIC3* division at Carolina International this week. There are forty-six horses entered in total, and many of them are headed to Rolex this spring, and a few are WEG hopefuls. We’re here to take a closer look at the combinations competing this weekend, and get you excited for this event! Without further ado, I give you the second half of the CIC3* division.
Jon Holling & Downtown Harrison: After winning the Bromont CCI3* in 2012, Jon Holling made Eventing Nation history by going viral in his victory streaking video, and now, every time we think of this horse, all we can picture is Jon streaking in front of the Bromont sign. Aside from that, this is a lovely horse, and he can be incredibly competitive in all three phases. He’s been a little bit on the quiet side for a while, he’s coming off a third place at Pine Top Advanced, and a win in the Intermediate at Full Gallop recently. Jon is a beautiful rider, and this pair could be a bit of a dark horse this weekend (no pun intended). This pair is headed to Rolex this spring.
Rachel Jurgens & Ziggy: Rachel and Ziggy have been competing at the Advanced level for some time now, and this little gelding is a great little thoroughbred with a jumping heart. They unsuccessfully attempted Rolex last year, and they have been building back up since then, recently placing 6th in the Pine Top Advanced. Ziggy might not have the patience for dressage, but they have all the experience necessary to complete this weekend well.
Kevin Keane & Fernhill Flutter: As our resident veterinarian slash sompetitor, Kevin and his gelding may or may not have started the Fernhill craze that is currently part of our sport. They were victims of the Red Hills cross country course, garnering a stop on course but continuing on to finish just fine. They’ve been competing at the Advanced level for quite a few years now, and have plenty of experience to perform well here this weekend.
Lauren Kieffer & Lucky Devil: Taz is not as experienced as some of the other horses in this field, but he is incredibly athletic and he has a very conscientious rider aboard. He’s been very competitive at the Intermediate level, rarely placing outside of the top five. This pair is coming off a win in the Intermediate at Rocking Horse HT, and I expect they’ll be looking for a good clean round in the top twenty.
Kimberly Kojima & High Time II: This will be Kim and Ralph’s first attempt at this level, having just moved up to the Advanced level a few weeks ago at the Pine Top Advanced. This is a lovely big horse, and I saw them through the water complex there, and they made it look easy. For the experience, they’ll be looking for a good clean run here, and a good time at this level.
Marilyn Little & RF Demeter: This will be Demi’s first competition back since Pau CCI4*, where they finished in 18th place. This mare is really incredible to watch, and she’s lovely on the flat and on cross country. Occasionally she experiences trouble in stadium jumping, but I’m sure Marilyn has been working hard over the winter on that. They’re just coming back from almost a year in Europe, and I don’t doubt that the experience there will help her be competitive this weekend.
Marilyn Little & RF Smoke on the Water: Smoke is the less experienced of Marilyn’s two horses, and he had a bit of an up and down record last year. He was 2nd at the Red Hills CIC3*, and then almost won The Fork CIC3* before having a stop late on course, and then retired on course at Jersey Fresh CIC2*. He then placed 8th at Saumur CCI3* immediately after that, but unfortunately was eliminated at the CIC3* in Aachen. This will be his first competition back since then, and I’m sure they will be looking for a good result to get his season started out right.
Caroline Martin & Quantum Solace: As the reigning NAJYRC CCI2* champion, Caroline and Nacho have a great relationship and could be very competitive this weekend. They moved up to the Advanced level last spring and were 4th at the Chattahoochee Hills CIC3*. They were recently 16th in a tough crowd at Red Hills CIC3* and could be poised to do well here in North Carolina.
Holly Payne & Santino: Sunny is one of my favorite horses to follow, as he always seems to be having a good time out there. He’s fairly new to this level, having only done two Advanced HTs and two CIC3*s last year. This will be his first competition of 2014, and I’m excited to see the new improvements that Holly has been able to make this winter. Sunny is an incredibly talented horse, and he’s got a lot more up his sleeve than we’ve seen just yet. They could be the surprise pair of the weekend.
Holly Payne & Never OutFoxed: Holly’s other mount is pretty neat too, and this will be his first attempt at this level, having just moved up to Advanced at Pine Top a few weeks ago. He’s a really athletic Thoroughbred who can jump clean easily and lay down a nice dressage test if he feels inclined to do so. Holly will be looking to pilot this nice young horse around his first three-star with a good trip to educate him for the future.
Doug Payne & Crown Talisman: Newly married Doug (he took Jess’ last name, right?) won’t have wasted any time at the parties and will certainly be bringing the big guns to the show with Tali this weekend. This horse is almost a freak of nature in the athleticism department, and this is the first year that I’ve seen him strong enough to really carry some of the bigger movements. I think they’re going to be very competitive in dressage and then consistently stalking the leaders all weekend to finish in the top five.
Michael Pollard & Ballingowan Pizazz: Michael and Mango are another pair to keep your eye on this weekend. They’re coming off a second place at Pine Top Advanced, but I get the feeling that we haven’t seen everything that they’re fully capable of yet. Michael has taken his time with this horse, spending a lot of time at Intermediate building their relationship. They were 6th last year at the Richland CIC3*, and I think they’ll be quietly hoping to improve upon that here.
Michael Pollard & Mensa: Mensa is a very experienced horse, and we know he’s got the capabilities to do well in all the phases. He had a runout about three-fourths of the way around Pau CCI4* in the fall, but he’s entered at Rolex this spring to redeem himself. He’ll be using this as a prep run, and I think that his disappointment in France will only drive him to perform better here.
Colleen Rutledge & Shiraz: Shiraz is known for his cross-country prowess, but he’s alway struggled with the other two phases. I saw them at the Pine Top Advanced, and I thought they looked more polished than ever in the dressage, and it would be delightful if they could get the kind of result that they deserve after completing so many four stars with such ease.
Kate Samuels & Nyls du Terroir: Reviewing yourself is nothing if not awkward, so here we go. He was just fourth at Pine Top Advanced, and this horse eats cross country for breakfast. He can jump clean in show jumping easily if he decides to slow his brain down that day, but he sometimes harbors a distaste for dressage and is not the most expressive mover, so hopefully he will stun me with some heretofore unbeknownst obedience, and we can be competitive against this strong crowd.
Kim Severson & Fernhill Fearless: I actually don’t think that there has ever been a horse more aptly named than this one. Sparky lives for the jumping phases, and he’s obligingly learned to do this dressage thing under Kim’s tutelage. This is a formidable pair, and while they didn’t have luck on their side at Red Hills a few weeks ago, they’ll be sure to be back on their game this weekend.
Lizzie Snow & Coal Creek: Devon is one of the most experienced horses competing this weekend, and Lizzie is one cool competitor. They have a wonderful relationship, and competing on their home turf should give them a nice advantage. They were 17th together at Bromont last year and recently were 6th in the Advanced at Pine Top. They’re quite capable of putting together three good phases and finishing in the top 15.
Allison Springer & Arthur: Allison is on a comeback tour with Arthur, who is delighted to be back competing after having 2013 off. They were 6th together at Burghley in 2012 and won their debut for 2014, and placed second at their first Advanced back together at Pine Top. We all know that Arthur can basically beat everyone on the flat, and he’s looked better than ever in the jumping phases this spring. I think a top-five finish is totally reasonable for these two and a good preparation for Rolex this spring.
Allison Springer & Copycat Chloe: Allison has also entered Chloe in Rolex this spring, and she’ll be using this event to help prepare the mare. Although they finished Bromont CCI3* in 5th place, they had some on and off trouble on cross country later in the fall, finishing with some stops and a fall at Galway CCI3*. I think they’ve been working really hard to resolve these differences over the winter, and they looked great this spring, finishing 3rd at the most recent Pine Top in the Advanced.
Kaitlin Spurlock & Expedience: The ultimate chestnut Thoroughbred mare, Speddy and Kaitlin were 11th at Jersey Fresh CCI3* in the spring and 16th at Fair Hill CCI3* in the fall. They are coming off a 3rd place in the Intermediate at Pine Top, and although Speddy sometimes displays her opinion in dressage, they’re a treat to watch in the jumping phases and generally make mincemeat of the courses. They are also entered at Rolex this spring, which is pretty darn exciting, and I look forward to watching them go there.
Sharon White & Wundermaske: Patch is a really cool little horse, and he’s got all the makings of a future star for Sharon. She’s been diligently working on his dressage to make him competitive in that phase, and after a little blip in their cross-country confidence following a fall at Millbrook, they rebounded this fall to finish 7th in the competitive Fair Hill CCI3* field. I think that’s behind them now, and I feel like Patch is due a little notice soon, so I wouldn’t put a surprise top finish out of their reach.
Sharon White & Rafferty’s Rules: Sharon’s second ride is her longtime companion Reggie. They completed both Rolex and Burghley together in 2012, but had a very quiet 2013, with not much action at all. They’ve come back quietly this year and just won their last outing at Rocking Horse in the Intermediate. I think it’s safe to say that they have plenty of experience to deal with the challenge this weekend and could very well be right up in the top 10.
Sharon White & Under Suspection: Pippy is the newest horse for Sharon at the upper levels, having only just gotten the ride on her last year from Dirk Schrade in Germany. This mare is really nice; she’s smooth on the flat and accurate over the jumps. They’ve been in the top six at every event they’ve completed, including a 4th place in the Fair Hill CCI2* last fall. Relatively new to the Advanced level, Sharon will be looking for a smooth and confident ride around the mare’s first CIC3*.