Dana Cooke Aims for Ireland After Bouckaert International CCI4*-S Win

Dana Cooke FE Mississippi. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Dana Cooke and FE Mississippi have a long flight ahead of them as they barrel toward a busy summer season overseas. One of the last stops on their journey was Bouckaert International at Chattahoochee Hills where they won the CCI4*-S class over the weekend.

“I go to Kentucky in two weeks to do the four-star short and after that I’m planning to run the four-long at Millstreet over in Ireland. My plan is to try to make the World Games team,” Dana. said. “But I’m going to leave Missy over in the U.K. and if I make the World Games team that’s amazing, and if I don’t I’m going to plan to run Blenheim instead.”

Dana and “Missy,” a 12-year-old Württemberger (Cassini II x Liastra) mare owned by the FE Mississippi Syndicate, finished ten seconds over the optimum time in what Dana says is her most confident run yet at the level.

“She moved up the four-star level in 2019, but last year was her first solid season at the level and it was a bit rocky, she wasn’t as confident. But then after Galway (2021) — by the end of the cross country at Galway I felt like she was finding her grove, and she really just came out this year getting it and she understands it.” she said.

“She’s done that kind of as she’s gone up the levels. She went Preliminary, she’d have a good round, then she got a bit rocky for a few, and then was awesome. Then she moved up to Intermediate and her first one was good, then she’d get rocky and we’d drop back down. So the same thing happened at Advanced. Now she just feels like she gets it and is loving her job.”

Joe Meyer and Harbin. Photo by Shelby Allen.

No one caught the optimum time of 6 minutes and 50 seconds, but Joe Meyer came the closest with Harbin, a 12-year-old Irish Thoroughbred (Verglas x Rainbow City) owned by Joe, Ruth, Gay and John Meyer in partnership with Theresa Foote, in a time of 6:54. Their quick work moved the New Zealand pair from 10th to 2nd on a result of 33.3.

Mia Farley and BGS Firecracker. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Mia Farley finished in third place with her spicy mare BGS Firecracker as the top placed American. “Crack,” a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse, added 7.2 time penalties for a three-phase result of 33.7. Mia rounds out the top three, all which finished within less than a point of one another.

“She loves her job that’s for sure! I think we had everything going for us today, good weather and fantastic footing. She was so rideable and happy to be out there,” Mia said. “She gave me wonderful shapes over the jumps and even let me give the reins on the gallop stretches. I couldn’t be happier with how she went.”

Sara Kozumplik and Rubens D’ysieux. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Sara Kozumplik was all smiles after a confident run with one of her best mates, Rubens D’ysieux. “It was one of the best rounds I’ve ever had with him, and that’s saying something,” she said. “Rubens” is deliciously talented, but after a few bobbles recently, a simple equipment change made all the difference for this pair.

“Best thing I ever did was take his back boots off on cross country last year. I struggled sometimes with him hanging up high and not getting across.,” Sara said. “I asked my trusted vet Brendan Furlong about it in case he thought I was nuts, and he said in all the years he has done this, he’s never thought, ‘Thank God that horse had a hind boot on.'”

With bare hind legs, the pair had 9.6 time penalties for 4th place (37.7).

Jessica Phoenix and Freedom GS. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Fifth place belongs to the event’s busiest lady, Jessica Phoenix. With six (yes, SIX) horses entered in the four-star she had her hands full. Her best finisher was her own Freedom GS, a 9-year-old Trakehner/Oldenburg, on a score of 40.

It’s a family affair for many of Jessica’s rides. Freedom is joined by half sibling Isla GS (16th, 52.3), and their shared sire Humble GS, who finished 24th.

The division lost four before the start with Bobby Meyerhoff scratching all three of his rides and Ellen Doughty-Hume scratching Breakin’ All The Rules. Three pairs retired after issues on course: Hallie Coon & Global EX, Cosby Green & Highly Suspicious, and Heather Gillette & Vincent Chase. While no one accomplished a double-clear result, 21 competitors finished with no jumping faults for a 70% clear rate.

“I think Hugh designed a super course. It was technical, and Chatt has a little bit of terrain, which is great. The footing is probably the best it has ever been. It was tough, but the horses all jumped it well,” division winner Dana Cooke said. “Honestly, I’m disappointed that they don’t have an FEI here next year in April. I think it’s a super track for the horses that are going to their spring three-days and I do think it’s unfortunate that we won’t have that option.”

We at EN would like to give many thanks to Bouckaert Farm for hosting us and this prestigious event.

Until next time, go eventing.

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