No one in the big Advanced division at Millbrook Horse Trials could touch Sharon White and Wundermaske’s score of 25.3 from yesterday, and she’s officially the overnight leader as we look ahead to cross-country day tomorrow. Two pairs gave Sharon and Patch a serious run for their money, with Buck Davidson and this year’s Jersey Fresh CCI3* winners Copper Beech coming dangerously close to their score with 26.2, which times them for equal second place with Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch.
Buck and Copper Beech were the last pair to go before the lunch break, and they delivered a truly lovely test, with Buck giving “Sean” a ton of pats and praise after the final halt. This 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding is an exciting up-and-coming horse for Buck, having just moved up to the Advanced level this year and already seen notable success, namely clinching the big win at Jersey this past May in his first CCI3*. Keep your eyes on this one, EN.
Callie Evans and Glendening Avis were one of the last pairs out today and very likely would have taken the lead had it not been for a couple costly bobbles. The horse, a really cute buckskin mare, almost broke to the canter a couple times during the extended trot from M to F when Callie stepped on the gas a little too much, and the changes weren’t quite as clean as we’ve seen from other combinations over the past two days, but wow — they really had a great performance, scoring 27.8 for equal fourth place.
Courtney Cooper and Who’s A Star also had a very nice, obedient test this afternoon, scoring 28.4 for ninth place. Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn are coming off a win in the Cosequin Stuart CIC2* in just their second event together, and they looked very much in a rhythm today, scoring 28.8 for equal 10th. Allison Springer and Arthur were first out this morning, and a good crowd gathered to watch this talented dressage combination do battle in the little white box. Unfortunately, Arthur was a bit tense today, and they scored 30 for 13th place.
Katy Groesbeck and Oz the Tin Man put in the typical workmanlike test we’ve come to expect from this pair, scoring 30.6 for 14th place. Wort looked a little more wide-eyed than he usual does in this phase, likely a byproduct of being very fit and raring to go as we get closer to the start of the fall season. Boyd Martin and Master Frisky, his third ride in this division, also had a consistent test for 30.9, with owner Steve Blauner, who sits on the organizing committee for the event, cheering loudly at the final salute.
A large group of Team Orange owners and supporters turned out to watch Sharon White and Under Suspection, who are sitting in 16th place on 31.3. “Pippy” is preparing to cross the pond for Boekelo CCI3O* in October thanks to her Land Rover competition grant, and she’s another horse that looked very fit in the little white box today. She got away from Sharon in the extended trot from M to F and looked thrilled when she finally did get to canter from M to F.
Philippa Humphreys and Rich N Famous, who scored 31.6 for 17th place, had one of my favorite tests of the day with some true moments of brilliance. Plus, the horse is so fun to watch, as he’s a big, powerful mover with flashy coloring. Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon, who scored 32.5 for equal 18th place, started their test beautifully only to have things come a bit unraveled. The mare broke to canter during the extended trot from M to F — which we’ve seen a lot in the past two days — and threw in a few bucks for good measure during the changes. But there is so much potential there, and she’s definitely one to keep your eye on.
Allison Springer had something of a moral victory later in the afternoon with Copycat Chloe, who was been unstable in this phase through much of the season. Chloe really listened and tried during the test, which scored 32.5 to tie for 18th place, and Allison said after that she was very pleased with the performance. Her team has been struggling to get Chloe’s allergies under control, and she said that had really been bothering the mare, who now seems to be coping much better.
If you missed Kate’s excellent preview of the Advanced cross-country course, go check it out here. Tremaine has made some exciting changes and added new fences to up the ante this year, and though there are thunderstorms predicted for tomorrow, it’s sure to be an excellent day of red on right, white on left and insanity in the middle. I can’t say enough about how wonderful the organizers and volunteers have been — everyone seems to have a smile on their face at all times. Stay tuned for much more from Millbrook.
Video of Buck Davidson and The Apprentice courtesy of Thehorsepesterer: