Show jumping proved influential this afternoon at the Stable View Spring CCI4*-S. Even well executed, organized rounds fell victim to errant poles across John Williams’ course, but those who could get home clear were kindly rewarded with a new rung on the leaderboard.
Liz Halliday-Sharp and her “very weird” parter Cooley Quicksilver rose to the top after a classy round that keeps them on their dressage score of 23.9, which is a personal best for the 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Womanizer – Kylemore Crystal, by Creggan Diamond).
“I was thrilled with him today I thought he was very professional, and tried really really hard,” Liz said of the first phase. “Sometimes you can be a bit of a goof and make some silly, unnecessary mistakes but he really fought for me today and I was I was very pleased with the test.”
Liz elected to not run cross country with “Monster” at the Carolina International two weeks ago due to a skin allergen flare, but he seemed very much back to himself today with his usual professional performance.
“I think we made the right decision there [to withdraw at Carolina] because he’s such a consistent horse — he doesn’t have rails and he just wasn’t really feeling himself so he did the right thing to save him for another day,” she said. “Cooley Quicksilver jumped amazing [today]. It was one of the best rounds he’s done I think. I was really, really pleased with him.”
No stranger to winning, Liz plans to be quick around Capt. Mark Phillips’ track tomorrow to be competitive, but more importantly to give Monster the best prep possible for the upcoming CCI5*-L at Luhmühlen this summer.
“He’s in a good place. He’s feeling really great and feeling good about himself, which is where he needs to be to run cross country. And like say he’s a horse that I tend to always run pretty quick because he likes a lot of leg on and he kind of likes that pressure — it just suits him better. And his next run will be the Kentucky four-star After this, so it would be a good good fitness run for him tomorrow, for sure.”
Liz is also 6th and tied for 11th, respectively, with her other two Kentucky-bound horses, Miks Master C and Deniro Z.
Woods Baughman moved from sixth to second after a clear round with his family-owned C’est la Vie 135. Despite an error in his test for performing a shoulder-in one letter too early, they still earned an impressive 26.7 from judges Peter Gray and Bea DiGrazia in the first phase.
“Contendro” brings forward ample enthusiasm to each phase, and generally benefits from an arena familiarization. Due to travel delays, Woods wasn’t able to take advantage of that opportunity yesterday, but he thinks it actually helped produce a better performance from the 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I – Anette, by Aarking xx).
“I normally take him in the ring because he can be a little funny, but I got here a little later than I planned last night, so I missed the familiarization. He was a little bit more backed off than I would have liked, and I had to kick him a bit around the ring which I think actually was good for him because it kept him in a nice rhythm and everything just kept coming really smoothly,” he said.
Woods has tweaked his approach to jumping this winter to achieve more ridability over fences with Condentro, and you could see that over today’s course where he was tactfully hitting his strides and intentionally adding steps to ensure control, and he says he’s looking to replicate that tomorrow as well.
“I was really happy when I walked [the cross country]. It has a lot of good questions that are definitely hard enough, but they’re presented in a nice enough way that you can give the horse a lot of confidence doing them,” he said. “There’s obviously inside line where you could be a little bit more aggressive here and there, but that’s definitely not the goal with him. So there’s there’s the option in plenty of places to take a little time and give him a nice, confident round where he can play with going forward and coming back.”
Stable View has a pretty home base, laid-back atmosphere, which didn’t seem to inspire a lot of brilliance from Off The Record in the dressage according to rider Will Coleman, but their result of 27 plus a clear show jumping performance moved the pair into overnight third. Their current position is enviable enough, but especially so for the perennially reliable “Timmy” who had an uncharacteristic stop in the show jumping at Carolina that resulted in Will falling off.
“It’s definitely better than lying on my backside looking at the clouds like like we were at Carolina a few weeks ago,” he said. “I thought he felt confident and careful [today]. And you know, I do think that was an odd episode what happened with him at Carolina. I think it rattled him a little bit because you could just tell the next few rounds I did some horse shows and even at home, but I was pleased that he came here today and seemed to be on his game.”
Like many of the four-star competitors, Will is aiming the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (VDL Arkansas – Drumagoland Bay) at his third appearance at the Kentucky Three-Day Event in three weeks time and tomorrow is a key preparatory run.
“It feels like a long way around for 6 minutes, 14 seconds. I think we’ll be looking to use the run as a good fitness run, so I’m gonna probably let him go a little bit — maybe with a focus on just keeping it rideable and making sure that he’s listening. But it should suit him,” he said. “I think the beginning is nice and galloping open and, and there’s a couple tricky combinations towards the end, particularly that Sunken Road question, which I think we’re all sort of maybe interested to see how that rides but other than that, it’s a nice course and hopefully, we’ll have a good go.”
The very last four-star combination of the day, Jennie Saville and Stella Artois, a 15-year-old Hanoverian mare (Satisfaction FRH — Comtessa, by Contender) owned by the Stella Artois Syndicate, faced a deluge of rainfall during their round, but still managed to keep all the poles in their cups which landed them in fourth place on their dressage score of 27.4. Jennie produced another clear round aboard FE Lifestyle to see Nina and Tim Gardner’s 13-year-old DSP gelding (Leo von Faelz — Berina A, by Bradenburger) step into seventh position.
Third-placed Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg, a 16-year-old Trakehner gelding (Windfall II – Thabana, by Buddenbrock) owned by Christine, Thomas and Tommie Turner, dropped a rail at fence three, an oxer off a rollback turn, and those four penalty points moved them into fifth place.
Dressage leaders Buck Davidson and Carlevo, a 16-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Eurocommerce Caresino – Ramatuelle, by Levernois) owned by Katherine O’Brien, had rails down at the a elements of both fence 7 and 11, moving them into a tie for 8th place which they share with Phillip Dutton and Z, a 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Asca Z – Bellabouche, by Babouche VH Gehucht Z) owned by Evie Dutton, Ann Jones, Suzanne Lacy, Caroline Moran, Tom Tierney, Patricia Vos and David Vos.. Both pairs have a score of 30.5.
Boyd Martin rounds out the top ten aboard Contessa, a 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Contender – Veritas, by Esteban) owned by Club Contessa. who achieved a clear round, on a score of 30.6.
One third of the class demonstrated a penalty-free show jumping performance. In addition to those in the top ten, other notable clear rounds include Caroline Martin with She’s The One (11th), Sydney Solomon with Early Review C (14th), Doug Payne with Quantum Leap (15th), and Emily Hamel with Corevett (19th).
The first CCI4* leaves the start box at 12:23 p.m. Check out our course walk at this link to see what riders are up against.