Cross Country Powerhouses of WEG

It’s cross country day at #Tryon2018! The cross country consists of 26 numbered obstacles (40 total jumping efforts when taking all the direct routes, after 23A and 24B ) across Tryon International. The horses will have to cover the distance under the optimum time of 10 minutes, 0 seconds, or they will incur time penalties, 0.4 added to their score for each second they are over. Click here for a full course preview.

Captain Mark Phillips of Great Britain has been the course designer here since 2011. The Captain currently designs many courses around the world, including the recent Burghley CCI4* and he was the course designer of Luhmuhlen CCI4* until 2014.

The horses listed below fall into three different categories: pairs who have been proven both consistent and fast at the CCI4* level (the Stalwarts), pairs who are very fast when clear but could pick up a jump penalty (the Heartbreakers), and pairs who have stellar 3* form and speed but the 4* is a bit of a question mark (the unknowns).

With scores clustered so close together, a cross country run that is clear and inside the time could potentially move you up many places, especially with the dressage losing some weight due to the removal of the coefficient in scoring. Here are the projections of horses who will make the biggest moves up the leaderboard tomorrow … or maintain their place at the top.

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Will Coleman and Tight Lines. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Will Coleman (USA) and Tight Lines: As a pair, these two have four CCI3/4* under their belt and have been clean at three of them. In each of those clear rounds, he has brought Tight Lines home inside the time. He’s also finished within fifteen seconds of the fastest time in those three runs, which will become a big factor if time proves to be tight.

Potential Issues: This horse isn’t hugely experienced at the top level and in his first attempt at CCI4* in 2017 (which came after only half a year at the 3* level), he had two stops at Kentucky. That’s the only blemish on his jump record at the 3/4* levels. This pair is in an identical position as Gemma Tattersall and Arctic Soul; they are the path finders for the team, they are very early in the go, and their responsibility is primarily to provide a clear round for the team.

Ride Time: 11:09 a.m.

Gemma Tattersall and Arctic Soul. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

Gemma Tattersall (GBR) and Arctic Soul: Arctic Soul has never had a jump fault at a 4* run, and they’ve completed six of their seven CCI4* starts with only a technical elimination at their very first attempt marring their record. Arctic Soul has finished inside the time at three of the six completions; at two of the remaining three, no one made the time. The pair has never failed to finish within fifteen seconds of the fastest ride of the day at this level and in their most recent two CCI4* starts, they finished within ten seconds of the fastest time.

Possible Hiccups: They go out as only the fifth pair of the day, which could both be a blessing and a curse today. Going so early in the order means they won’t be able to see how combinations are riding and adjust their plan accordingly. On the other hand, they are one of the fastest 4* pairs in the world and they’ll get the best of the ground today as the rain starts arriving.

Being the pathfinder on the team will be another variable in this pair’s plan; Gemma will be responsible first and foremost for delivering a clear round for Team GBR so later members can perhaps take a risk. On the other hand, her speed could be very important later if the Brits end up needing her score so Gemma will have to balance priorities carefully.

Ride Time: 11:12 a.m.

Sam Watson and Horseware Ardagh Highlight. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Sam Watson (IRL) and Horseware Ardagh Highlight: This Irish pair have never had a cross country jump penalty, have finished within twenty seconds of the leader at both of their CCI3* starts, and clocked in inside the time at the horse’s first CCI4* start at Luhmuhlen this year.

Potential Issues: As several others noted, they are the pathfinders for their team today which may mute their individual hopes. They will however be late enough in the order to have seen a few go through the course before them. These two also aren’t ranked up with the fastest horses in the field today but can certainly make a go of it if that’s their mission.

Ride Time: 11:24 a.m.

Julia Krajewski and Chipmunk FRH. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Julia Krajewski (GER) and Chipmunk FRH: This precocious horse has run a CCI3* every year for the least three years and has finished as the fastest time or only one second slower than the fastest time…while still coming inside optimum. He doesn’t have a single jump penalty on his 3* record.

Potential Hiccups: He hasn’t done a 4* yet, and while this WEG course should ride like a 3*, it’s also a championship with all the added pressure. Julia is no stranger to being in first individually and it’s unlikely the Germans will have her ride conservatively for the team chances when she’s so well positioned to take the individual gold as well.

Ride Time: 12:06 p.m.

Cathal Daniels and Rioghan Rua. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Cathal Daniels (IRL) and Rioghan Rua: One of the youngest riders in the competition also has one hell of a reputation with his chestnut mare Rioghan Rua. This pair has tackled two CCI3* and three CCI4* together, never had a jump penalty at any of them, and never failed to finish within twenty seconds of the leader. They’ve made time at their first CCI3* and their most recent CCI4* at Luhmuhlen, where they also clocked in the fastest time of the day.

Potential Hiccups:  This is Cathal’s first call up to a senior level championship team so there’s an added pressure from that. He’s also the second rider out for his team so a clear round remains the highest priority for Team Ireland.

Ride Time: 12:27 p.m.

Lynn Symansky and Donner. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Lynn Symansky (USA) and Donner: Donner has the distinction of the longest CCI4* track record in the field, with nine starts and nine completions. These two have jumped clear at all but one of them, the last World Equestrian Games. Since that time, they’ve jumped around clear in fifteen of their sixteen 3/4* starts, including Badminton and Burghley, and then made mincemeat of the Kentucky course this spring. They’ve also shown they can make the time if they want to, with rounds inside the time in three of those CCI4* completions.

Potential Hiccups: If Team USA has already brought home two clear rounds, Donner will likely be let loose to go for the kill, but if the priority ends up being a clear round due to trouble from the earlier riders, Lynn may have to ride first for the team. Donner fans should note that despite the ability to make time, this pair actually racks up time penalties at the four star level more often than not with an average of 7.7 time penalties for clear rounds at the CCI4* level.

Ride Time: 1:27 p.m.

Padraig McCarthy and Mr Chunk. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

Padraig McCarthy (IRL) and Mr Chunky: Padraig took over the ride on Mr Chunky after his wife Lucy (Wiegersma) first competed him up through CCI4*. They quickly meshed and have never has a jump penalty in their time together. These two also finished inside the time at both of their CCI3* starts.

Potential Hiccups: Mr Chunky isn’t the fastest horse in the field and while the pair has made time at CCI3*, they have often picked up time penalties in the double digits at the CIC3* level. They accumulated 6.4 time penalties in their only CCI4* start at Badminton this spring, but did finish within fifteen seconds of the fastest time of the day.

Ride Time: 1:45 p.m.

Ingrid Klimke and SAP Hale Bob OLD. Photo by Thomas Ix.

Ingrid Klimke (GER) and SAP Hale Bob OLD:  The reigning European Champions have a long CCI3/4* record to their name and although it’s not without a couple of hiccups, they’ve had a 100% completion rate. When jumping clear at these CCI levels, they’ve made the time or been within ten seconds of the cross-country leaders in five of six rounds.

Possible Hiccups: SAP Hale Bob OLD has twice had stops at CCI3/4*, with issues at his first CCI4* back in 2014 and a stop at the Rio Olympics. This pair also had a surprise of a stop at Aachen CICO3* in July, bouncing back with a clear round in Strzegom for their final prep run.

Ride Time: 2:27 p.m.

Phillip Dutton and Z. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Phillip Dutton (USA) and Z: Z has started three CCI3* and a CCI4* under Phillip’s tutelage, has never had a jump penalty in any of them and has never had a time penalty in any of the three he completed. He also completed the test event here with only one second over optimum.

Possible Hiccups: Z is relatively green at 4* and did have a rider fall in one of his three CCI3* starts. He’ll also go at the end of the day when conditions are starting to deteriorate.

Ride Time: 2:30 p.m.

Jonelle Price and Classic Moet. Photo by Nico Morgan Photography.

Jonelle Price (NZL) and Classic Moet: This pair needs no introduction as our most recent Badminton CCI4* winners. They’ve completed eight CCI4*, never had a jump penalty at any of them, and finished inside the time at four of them. At the four they didn’t finish inside the time, they were the fastest time of the day at three of them. This is the fastest four-star horse in the world right now.

Possible Hiccups: They’ll be headed out at the end of the day, when conditions may be quite bad. That hasn’t stopped them before though, as they were the fastest ride of the day at the 2014 WEG.

Ride Time: 2:45 p.m.


Piggy French and Quarrycrest Echo (GBR). Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Piggy French (GBR) and Quarrycrest Echo: This pair has a very clean CIC3* jump record together and it’s fast too, with fifteen seconds of less of time penalties in six runs; four times they’ve finished either inside optimum or only one second over. In the horse’s first CCI3*, they finished on their dressage score and at his first CCI4* this June, he finished inside the time on cross-country day.

Potential Hiccups: Quarrycrest Echo’s CCI3/4* record is more spotty than not, with a stop at the Strzegom CCI3* European Championships last summer and then a missed flag penalty at Luhmuhlen knocking them out of contention. The potential is there for a fast, clear run but question marks remain.

Ride Time: 12:12 p.m.


Donatien Schauly and Pivoine des Touches (FRA). Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.


Donatien Schauly (FRA) and Pivoine des Touches:  Up until this calendar year, Pivoine des Touches had a very clean, very fast cross country record. He’s completed three CCI3* and a CCI4* in his career and at three of the four had less than two seconds worth of time penalties. In all four, he finished within 15 seconds of the fastest cross country time.

Potential Hiccups: His 2018 record is a bit of a departure, with a missed flag and a stop at Arville in June, and quite a few time penalties in his other CIC3* starts this year. He qualified for WEG based on finishing second at Saumur CCI3* in 2017, but prior to that he hadn’t attempted a CCI3/4* since 2013, when he completed Pau. Again, being the pathfinder can also come with pressure.

Ride Time: 11:30 a.m.

Chris Burton and Cooley Lands (AUS). Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Christopher Burton (AUS) and Cooley Lands: Chris Burton is the fastest cross-country rider in the world and in four 3* runs with Cooley Lands over the last twelve months, he’s produced three clear, inside the time rounds where he also happened to be the fastest time of the day. That includes Boekelo CCI3* last fall.

Potential Hiccups: Cooley Lands literally only has three CIC3* runs and a CCI3* run under his belt. This is a big ask for him, but he has one of best (if not the best) cross country jockeys in the world. Trust in Burto.

Ride Time: 12:18 p.m.

Sara Algotsson Ostholt and Wega (SWE). Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Sara Algotsson-Ostholt (SWE) and Wega: This mare’s career speaks for itself, with a silver medal at the London Olympics and two wins at the CCI3* level. In five runs at CCI3/4*, she’s added nothing to her score on cross country day save her very first attempt at the CCI3* level, back in 2010. Sara’s here as an individual, so she has free rein to go as fast as she needs.

Potential Hiccups: Four of this mare’s five CCI3/4* runs were in 2010-2012; only one is from 2018.

Ride Time: 2:15 p.m


The reality is, at a championship like this, there are too many good cross-country horses to count. Horses like Honor Me and Colani Sunrise are good bets to go clear but time penalties keep them out of the top. Qing du Briot Ene HN could be spectacular and little Tsetserleg is quite reliable in this phase as well. There are too many to mention here, but we’ve hopefully outlined some of the best, even if we’ve missed others.

Go eventing, go team USA and CAN, and wishing everyone a safe ride today!