Never turn your back on a chestnut mare. Clark Montgomery and Caribbean Soul snuck up from behind to take the win in The Fork at Tryon’s Adequan Advanced division, moving from 10th after dressage to 6th after show jumping then landing the top spot today.
Clark and the 12-year-old Thoroughbred mare (Cimarron Secret x Ogygian’s Dasire, by Ogygian) are plenty competitive in a class field — they finished 4th in the Red Hills CCI3*-S in March. This weekend, however, they started out … not on the wrong foot, but perhaps without their best foot forward, having left some points on the table in their dressage test.
“To be fair to her, I was packing to go home to Kentucky like crazy just a couple days before we got here, and didn’t get to do my normal preparation for the dressage, so that was probably my fault,” Clark says of their 36.6 score. “She wasn’t misbehaved at all, she just didn’t have a very clean test, with a couple little mistakes. So we didn’t score as low as we’ve been scoring, but like I said I was still really happy with her because she didn’t misbehave.”
Onward and upward to the jumping phases. They turned in a fault-free round in the big TIEC stadium, then posted the fastest cross country time in their division, collecting just 1.6 time penalties. “In cross country she was absolutely phenomenal,” Clark says. “I couldn’t ask for her to be better. I mean, her gallop is just the coolest thing I’ve ever felt, for sure. It’s just so easy. And honestly, I wasn’t going to go quick on her today — she just loves it. It’s just the speed she operates out of, and so I just let her kind of cruise around, and she came in that fast. It was wonderful.”
The Advanced cross country course employed time as its sorting hat, thoroughly reshuffling the leaderboard, and asked plenty of compelling questions.
“I thought the course was super,” Clark says. “I thought it was definitely tough enough and big enough and I thought it was going to be the biggest track she had jumped to date, so I was excited to see how she handled it. I like Mark’s courses a lot. They remind me a lot of the tracks you jump in England, with the bolder, forward distances and bigger fences. And the setting down there on the old golf course is just absolutely beautiful around the lake, so I thought it was great!”
As for the mare’s future, Clark says he really wants to keep her in the barn and is trying his best to syndicate. Bromont is on the horizon: “I absolutely love Bromont, and always have good luck there.”
Clark had a great weekend at The Fork, also winning the Open Intermediate division with Theodoor.
Boyd Martin and Long Island T bounced from 1st to 4th to 2nd over the course of the weekend. The 2006 Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding (Ludwig Von Bayern x Heraldik XX), owned by The Long Island T Syndicate, is one of three horses Boyd has entered in Kentucky.
“He’s a strong, feisty, wild man,” Boyd says. “He still jumped really well, but he’s definitely a little bit too keen. He gave me a good ride. I think he’ll be better suited for Kentucky because it’s a longer and more flowing course where you can get him to fall asleep a little bit more between fences. He’s very strong in the dressage and show jumping, and he’s very game on cross country, just gets really strong and a little bit out of control. He’s a hard horse to ride fast. You get baited into wrestling with him and have to steady him up. It could go either way come Kentucky, but you’ve got to be in it to win it.”
Rounding out the top three was Felix Vogg with Archie Rocks. Felix purchased the 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Le Monde x Unbridled Diva, by Unbridled Jet) from Maya Studenmund early this year, and he says their partnership is still developing but progressing well.
Felix says that while Archie is slower than his CCI4*-S mount Colero, he is also “more used to cross country, I think, from racing in his career before.”
“There is still a lot of work to do because we don’t know each other that well and it was our second cross country run, but for that he did it pretty well,” Felix says. “Both my horses did well today.”
Boyd also finished 4th with Contestor, a 12-year-old Dutch gelding (Contango x Jer’s Princess, by Killer Jer) owned by Denise Lahey. Ariel Grald came 5th with Leamore Master Plan, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Master Imp x Aredragh Bash, by Cavalier Royale) owned by Anne Eldridge.
Many thanks to Sarah Madden for assistance with quotes for this story.
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