Meet the Horses and Riders of the 2023 Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International 4*-S, presented by Yanmar America

It’s very nearly time to get underway with the 2023 Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International, presented by Lumbee River Membership Corporation! The marquee division is the Yanmar America CCI4*-S, which will feature 26 horse and rider combinations. 2022 winner Will Coleman will return to defend his title, which he won with DonDante, but there will be plenty of challengers in the wings ready to tackle the weekend.

This year’s Ground Jury for the 4*-S will be presided over by the USA’s Robert Stevenson, accompanied by New Zealand’s Andrew Bennie. Gretchen Butts will serve as the Technical Delegate for the 4*-S as well as the 3*-S. Ian Stark returns as the 4*-S, 3*-S, and Advanced course designer, and Marc Donovan retains his role as show jumping course designer.

You can also build your Carolina #dreamteam in the EquiRatings Eventing Manager app. You have until Wednesday to select your team with a budget of $10 million — it’s harder than you think, and the market prices of each pair will vary based on timing and popularity.

The action kicks off in earnest on Thursday, March 16 with FEI dressage. The 4*-S will then show jump on Friday, followed by what will be sure to be an exciting cross country conclusion on Saturday. You can catch all three phases on the H&C+ live stream with your H&C+ membership or a one-time pass purchase for $19.99 here. If you can’t follow along on Saturday, Abby Powell will be providing live updates for the 4*-S.

For now, get your fix with our Form Guide to introduce you to each pair competing in the Yanmar America 4*-S. We’ll see you in Carolina! Breeding data is provided by Amanda Chance at Breed.Ride.Compete.

Carolina International: [Website] [Entries] [Orders of Go] [Ride Times] [Live Scoring] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage] [EN’s Form Guide]

Fylicia Barr and Galloway Sunrise. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Fylicia Barr and Galloway Sunrise
15-year-old American Warmblood mare (Duty Officer – Coco Chanel). Owned by Shannon and Daniel Barr and the rider.

It was a Craigslist ad that first introduced Fylicia to “Sunny.” She was 13 at the time, and the American Warmblood mare (Duty Officer – Coco Chanel) was a yearling who wasn’t even halter-broke. An easy $500 later, Fylicia and her mother took home the ‘diamond in the rough.’ The once-feral mare blossomed as an event horse, and the duo grew up together in the sport.

Together, the pair has two five-star completions under their belt and are confirmed at the Advanced level where the mare can show off her gutsy attitude on cross country. In the first phase, they likely won’t break any records, so we’ll expect them hanging out in the low 30s, and Fylicia will be pleased to have show jumping come before an endurance day for a better chance to stay close to their dressage mark.

After finishing 22nd at Kentucky last spring, Fylicia and Sunny had a quiet rest of 2022. In the new year, they have had two successful outings at Pine Top. This will be their first FEI event of the season as they prepare for bigger things to come.

Breeding Facts:

  • By full TB stallion Duty Officer

Woods Baughman and C’est La Vie 135. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Woods Baughman and C’est La Vie 135
15-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I – Anette, by Aarking xx). Owned by Kim, James, and Woods Baughman.

“Contendro” is a horse to keep on your radar this weekend. Fully capable of a sub-30 dressage score, more often than not he’ll also keep the rails up as he enthusiastically navigates Marc Donovan’s show jumping track.

Enthusiasm is a double edged sword for an event horse, though. Boldness is a welcome attitude on cross country, but Contendro often brings forward more than his jockey probably likes to reckon with. This has led to some jump penalties in the past, but Woods says he’s upped the German gelding’s jumping regime and hopes for more control out of the start box because of it, though a drive-by at the eventing showcase at Bruce’s Field may have sent the pair back to the drawing board.

Breeding Facts:

  • 52% blood
  • Dam has also produced a 4*S horse, D’Accord 70 (by Diarado) ridden by Chistoph Wahler – GER

Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS. Photo by Erin Gilmore Photography.

Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS
11-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Chin Champ – Wildera, by Quinar Z). Owned by Hyperion Stud LLC.

This exciting young horse isn’t just one of the most fun horses to watch in the US right now – he also made a whole venue full of Europeans stop everything to watch him when he took the lead in Luhmühlen’s incredibly competitive CCI4*-S last year. He’s the real deal, and after last season, when Will sensibly opted to run him educationally even if it sometimes meant sacrificing a win, he’s no doubt ready to step up to the plate and show what he’s really made of.

If we had to put money somewhere, we’d say that betting on this pair to lead the dressage would probably be a fairly safe investment. They regularly score in the mid-to-low 20s in the first phase, including a 25.8 at Aachen last year, a 21.9 at the Plains CCI4*-S, and a 22.4 at Stable View’s spring CCI4*-S a year ago – but even more excitingly, they’ve gotten down to a 15.7 in the CCI3*-S at Stable View in September. A winter full of dancing practice could see them lay down the law with a sub-20 score to start their competition here, and then, if Will’s ready to take the handbrake off, we should see them look very swift indeed. Chin Tonic rarely has a rail, too, so he’s truly one of the ones to beat – if Will doesn’t use this as an educational season starter.

Breeding Facts:

  • 41% blood
  • Dam has also produced a 3*L horse (Canto Royale, by Canto, ridden by Katherine Delaney – USA) and two 1.35m show jumpers
  • Sire show jumped to 1.45m

Will Coleman and Off The Record. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Will Coleman and Off The Record
14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (VDL Arkansas – Drumagoland Bay). Owned by the Off The Record Syndicate.

‘Timmy’ is a bit of a national hero these days, and rightly so: before he helped the US to a drought-ending team silver at Pratoni last year, where he finished seventh and best of the American contingent, he joined his much-loved rider in becoming the first-ever American winners of the world’s most prestigious CCI4*-S at Aachen in Germany. Not too bad for a horse who his rider fondly describes as ‘a kitchen table with a Ferrari engine’.

Timmy came to Will via Cooley Farm’s Richard Sheane as a four-year-old, with the ‘given’ name Cooley Stateside – talk about destiny! Though the gelding’s beginnings were pretty humble, like many gangly Irish horses, he’s since matured into a serious athlete, finishing third in the Tattersalls CCI4*-L in Ireland in 2019, 15th at the Kentucky CCI5* in 2021, 12th at the same event in 2022, and, of course, winning here in 2021.

Expect to see them make a very good effort of claiming the title again: they should score in the mid-20s, though have slipped down to the very low-20s at the level, and they’re about as quick and reliable as it gets across the country. The one thing that could stand in their way? A tendency to a rail.

Breeding Facts:

  • 40% blood
  • Sire show jumped to 1.40m


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Dana Cooke and FE Glamour
12-year-old KWPN mare (Vigo d’Arsouilles STX – Princess Roos, by Karlstad). Owned by Kingfisher Park.

Canada’s Dana Cooke has been partnered with with KWPN mare “Roo” since 2018. Sourced by her longtime coach Clayton Fredericks, Roo continues to step forward as major International contender for Dana and team Canada.

Her rider describes her as “sensitive and spicy,” but Dana has a special knack for forging partnerships with her horses, and she’s thoughtfully produced this one with big ambitions in mind.

The mare stepped up to the Advanced level last spring. Dressage remains a phase where a few more points could be chipped away, and Dana will be aiming to shoot below their usual high 30s mark at this level. The show jumping may be the pair’s most challenging phase, as they usually find at least a pole or two on the ground once all is said and done. But this weekend will be another educational outing for the promising partnership.

Breeding Facts:

  • 51% blood
  • Sire Vigo d’Arsouilles won gold in showjumping at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky
  • Her dam show jumped to the 1.30m level and has also produced two 1.45m show jumpers

Mary Bess Davis and Imperio Magic. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Mary Bess Davis and Imperio Magic
9-year-old Anglo-European gelding (Cassander C – Khadija des Hayettes, by Banboula du Thot). Owned by the rider.

One of the youngest horses in the class, Mary Bess Davis brings forward the Belgian-bred gelding “McColl.” Sourced by Mike Winter, McColl has been a special ride for the Georgia-based eventer, bringing her back to the four-star level after a hiatus filled with starting a family and running her busy teaching and training operation at Triple Creek Farm.

Mary Bess moved McColl up to the Advanced level last season, picking up second- and fourth-place finishes at TerraNova and Stable View, respectively. This duo will likely hit the mid-30 mark on the flat, but McColl has never had a cross country penalty in any of his International appearances, so he’ll likely step up to meet Ian Stark’s challenging track. In fact, he found success on Ian’s courses before when he was the USEF CCI3*-L Young Horse Eventing National Champion at Maryland in 2021.

Breeding Facts:

  • 66% blood
  • Sire show jumped to 1.30m

Sydney Elliott and QC Diamantaire. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Sydney Elliott and QC Diamantaire
13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Diarado – Lantana, by Sandro Hit). Owned by Carol Stephens.

QC Diamantaire is a seriously tall drink of water at over 17hh, but diminutive Louisiana native Sydney has certainly learned how to get the best out of him. We’ve seen this pair embark on a number of ‘world tours’ over the past couple of seasons with some pretty stellar results: they were fifth, and best of the US contingent, at the Nations Cup finale at Boekelo in 2021 and have twice jumped classy clears around Aachen. While abroad, they base themselves with the German and Belgian eventing power couple of Kai-Steffen Meier and Lara de Liedekerke-Meier at the beautiful Chateau d’Arville, and it’s safe to say that Sydney’s finely-honed global social network is working its magic over this talented duo.

We’ve seen Q deliver sub-30 scores at this level, but he’s also prone to moving towards the mid-30s mark. In his last FEI run, the CCI4*-S at Stable View in September, he put a very good 28 on the board, and if he can continue that run of form, he’ll put himself in very good stead indeed for the next phases: he’s an enormously consistent cross-country horse, and though he’s not one of the fastest in the field, that should give them some climbing space. They’ll have to work hard not to have their customary rail, though.

We’ve seen them perform very well here previously: they finished fourth in 2022 and sixth in 2021 in this class.

Breeding Facts:

  • 40% blood
  • His sire showjumped to 1.50m level and his dam competed to mid-level dressage
  • He has a full sibling, QC Diabolo Hit, who competed through 3*L level

Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way
12-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Mighty Magic – Straightaway, by Star Regent xx). Owned by Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables.

There’s every chance that Will Faudree’s horse (who is, yes, a gelding) has the best name in the field — or at the very least, the most delightfully divisive. Saying ‘Mama’s Magic Way’ to someone is a little bit like hissing ‘moist’ at them as you walk by: their reaction will tell you everything you need to know about who they are. The sensible ones will simply light up and say, ‘oh, he’s special, isn’t he?’

And truly, this German gelding is special. He was produced by veteran German team rider Andreas Dibowski through the two-star level and joined Will’s string in 2019. Other than just one getting-to-know-you blip in a Preliminary event in their first outing, and 11 penalties for activating a MIM clip in the five-star at Maryland, they’ve had nary an issue across the country, and have earned many fans with their fast, focused, classy rounds. We saw the gelding step up to five-star at Kentucky in 2019 with big shoes to fill: the much more experienced Pfun had been sidelined with a minor injury, and so all Will’s hopes for the week rested on his young debutant. ‘Mason’ didn’t disappoint, and finished fourteenth after adding just 4.4 time penalties and a single rail to his 33.8 dressage. At Maryland he bettered his dressage score, posting a 31.9, and was quicker across the country, too, with just 3.2 time penalties, but that 11 for the MIM and three rails on Sunday pushed them to 24th place overall. At Badminton last year, which was his last international run prior to this week’s competition, he finished 31st with a respectable clear and a double handful of time penalties.

While we won’t see this pair at the business end of the leaderboard after the first phase with their low-to-mid 30s score, we’ll certainly be looking to them to climb through the weekend. This is one of the fastest, most reliable horses in the field for cross-country day, and he has course form, too: he was ninth here with no time penalties in his pre-Badminton run last year.

Breeding Facts:

  • 80% blood
  • His sire competed through 4* level and won the 7yo World Championship for Young Event Horses at Mondial du Lion under rider Andreas Dibowski.
  • His dam evented through the 2* level.
  • Same sire as Liz Halliday’s mount Miks Master C

Will Faudree and Pfun. Photo by Erin Gilmore Photography.

Will Faudree and Pfun
16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Tadmus – Celerina, by Cento). Owned by Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables.

We haven’t gotten to see the excellent Pfun run in a while because the gelding was sidelined with a minor injury through much of 2021, and then didn’t run cross-country other than at Kentucky in 2022 – but now he’s back, baby, and comes to Carolina as one of the most experienced horses in the field.
This will be Pfun’s first international run in nearly a year, but that won’t worry Will, though, because his experienced gelding has been so consistent in the nine years they’ve been tackling the FEI levels together. Together, they’ve consistently delivering the goods, finishing fifth in the CCI4*-L at Millstreet, Ireland and fourth in the CCI4*-S at Unionville. His dressage scores have drastically improved over the years, too, and we saw him go sub-30 for the first time here last year, adding just a rail to finish third. There might be a touch of rust on the tracks now, but the pair will be ready and able to put a couple of slightly abortive seasons behind them.

Will is well-known and widely respected for his dedication to his program and the well-being of his horses. He’s been through the wringer, but through it all he’s maintained a steadfast dedication to his horses and his craft. And no one could ever get away with calling Will anything but incredibly resilient: after breaking the C6 and C7 vertebrae in his neck due to a fall in 2015, he was back on a horse — and winning — just six months later. Two years later, he would return to the five-star level, finishing 25th at Kentucky with Pfun in 2017. He’s a trooper, and so is his tough, cool horse.

Breeding Facts:

  • 46% blood
  • His sire and damsire both showjumped to 1.60m
  • In addition to Pfun, his dam has also produced a 1.50m Grand Prix showjumper and a 3*L eventer.

Hayley Frielick and Dunedin Black Watch. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Hayley Frielick and Dunedin Black Watch
13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Dylan Thomas – Love First, by Lonhro). Owned by Katheryn Robertson.

New Zealand’s Hayley Frielick burst onto the U.S. eventing scene last fall after buying a one-way ticket over for herself, two horses and her Labrador. She landed with Dom and Jimmie Schramm with plans for the Maryland CCI5*, where she and “Nelson” finished 21st.

Hayley has enjoyed a rather worldwide life — born to South African parents in the United States and raised in Australia before living for a few years in Scotland. She ultimately chose to ride under the kiwi flag.

She found Nelson in the Australian outback. They actually had come looking for another horse, but Nelson came home with them as part of a 2–for-1 deal.

Their personal best at this level is a 35.6, and after a disappointing fly-by at Maryland, she’ll be hell-bent on zero jump penalties come Saturday.

Breeding Facts:

  • Full TB, bred in Australia
  • Registered as Storm in Africa; raced 7 times, no wins, earned $1200

Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan
14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Master Imp – Ardragh Bash, by Cavalier Royale). Owned by Annie Eldridge.

This is a big week for Ariel and her exceptional gelding, because owner Annie Eldridge of Setters’ Run Farm is also the title sponsor of Carolina – so expect big cheers to carry them around the course! Those cheers, of course, will be bolstered by the fact that Ariel and Simon are arguably the biggest stars to burst onto the US eventing scene in the last few seasons, and were exceptional at the World Championships in Pratoni, where they competed as individuals. That was their last international run, and they finished eleventh, adding nothing to their dressage score of 32.5.

The ‘exuberant’ gelding, who can often be found doing his own chatty commentary in schooling sessions, is a big chap, and in typical Irish fashion, it’s taken a while for him to build up the physical strength to be able to really fight for competitive marks. They’ve focused a lot of their attention on getting global five-star experience, and so we’ve been largely tracking their form there – and it’s looking very promising. Their first two five-stars (Kentucky 2019; 12th, and Burghley 2019; 10th) saw them put upper-30s marks on the board, but by Luhmühlen in 2021, where they finished third, they’d got that down to a 33.8. Last year’s Badminton had them back in the mid-30s, but they went back to the low-30s at Pratoni – and crucially, they’re very, very good at adding nothing to whatever they post in the first phase. This will be one of the rounds to watch on cross-country, and the showjumping has certainly improved over the last year – they used to be one-rail finishers, and now they haven’t had a rail in an international since 2021. Maybe Simon’s been inspired by a pep talk from his best friend, rescued mini Lil’ Biscuit.

Breeding Facts:

  • 80% blood
  • Sire is the full TB stallion Master Imp, who is also the sire of 5* horse Brookpark Vikenti (Kazuma Tomoto – JPN)

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver were the first pair of the afternoon to achieve a double clear round. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver
12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Womanizer – Kylemore Crystal, by Creggan Diamond). Owned by The Monster Partnership.

Cooley Quicksilver, or ‘Monster’, has become one of the U.S.’ greatest assets – particularly after a decisive fifth-place finish in the CCI5* at Luhmühlen in Germany last summer. That proved that the then-eleven-year-old, who’s had a swift upward trajectory since his flourishing young horse career, had truly hit the big leagues, and followed up an impressive victory in the achingly tough CCI4*-S – often jokingly referred to as a ‘five-star short’ – at Kentucky last spring. That result is probably the most important one to keep in mind as we look ahead to this week’s competition, as is the fact that in their other two CCI4*-S runs last year, they had a win (The Plains) and a fifth-place finish (Unionville).

Monster earned his nickname because he was a ‘weird’ youngster, in Liz’s words (and a bit like an overcooked spaghetti noodle to ride – also in her words!), and he remains a cheeky character who rules the roost at her base. Anyone who pops in to visit him needs to watch out for one of his little lovebites, but it’s hard to hold that against him when he’s so good at delivering the kind of performances that win classes like these. We’ll see him go sub-30 without a doubt – though mid-20s wouldn’t come as a surprise at all – and he’ll deliver one of the most efficient rounds across the country, though Liz will be hoping for a good, tough course to slow down some of the real speed demons in this lineup. Over the poles, they’ll be feeling good: they haven’t had a rail down in an FEI class in a year.

Breeding Facts:

  • His dam has also produced a 3*S horse in the UK
  • 35% blood

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C
11-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Mighty Magic – Qui Luma CBF, by Flyinge Quite Easy 958). Owned by Debbie Palmer and Ocala Horse Properties.

Coming in hot off the back of a win in the $50,000 Grand-Prix Eventing Festival at Bruce’s Field is a relatively new ride for Liz in Miks Master C – and what a horse he’s proving to be so far. We saw them make their international debut together a winning one at Bromont last year in the CCI2*-L, and they stepped up to CCI4*-S on their next outing – again winning, this time at Rebecca. Third time’s a charm and all that: they won their third FEI run, too, back at Bromont again but this time for the CCIO4*-S. In October, they headed across the pond to compete for Team USA at the Nation’s Cup finale at Boekelo CCIO4*-L, and though Liz still felt she and the gelding were in the getting-to-know-you stages, they still look hugely classy throughout to take a final fifth place, adding just 3.2 time penalties across the country to their first-phase score of 26.2.

This year, they’ve hit the ground running and look like they’re singing from the same hymn sheet, and a winter full of training has made the gelding Liz’s, honing him to her style from the original, quality foundations laid by former rider Maya Black. He’s one of the hot favorites for the win this week, and should start with a mid-20s score – enough, realistically, to set us up for a first-phase match race between him and Will Coleman’s Chin Tonic HS. Let the flickiest toes win!

Breeding Facts:

  • His sire competed through 4* level and won the 7yo World Championship for Young Event Horses at Mondial du Lion under rider Andreas Dibowski
  • His dam evented through the 3*L level
  • 71% blood
  • Same sire as Will Faudree’s mount Mama’s Magic Way
  • Bred in the USA

Erin Kanara and Campground. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Erin Kanara and Campground
16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Forest Camp – Kneel). Owned by Marnie Kelly

“Gideon” was bred to race, but never took well to the track. His breeder, Churchill Downs chairman Alex Rankin, looked for him to find a better suited career by his 3-year-old year. That’s when owner Marnie Kelly found him while horse shopping during her visit to Lexington, Ky. for the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

Marnie originally asked Erin to introduce the ex-racehorse to the sport. “I asked Erin to please train him a level above me so when I go out I can just have fun and be nice and safe,” she told Paulick Report last year. “Well, he went way above me.”

Gideon always eagerly shows up for Erin, especially on cross country. He’s never had a cross country jump penalty at the four-star level. He made his five-star debut with Erin at Maryland last fall, finishing 15th. Despite numerous upper level runs, Gideon is also just as happy stretching his legs at the lower levels with Marnie.

The first phase won’t be their strongest, but you won’t want to miss this pair tearing around the cross country.

Breeding Facts:

  • Unraced TB
  • Bred in the USA

Allie Knowles and Morswood. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Allie Knowles and Morswood
15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Ricardo Z x Princess In Arms). Owned by Katherine O’Brien.

Allie Knowles brings forward one of her top horses, “Ginge” to this year’s competition. Aptly named due to her vibrant copper coat, Ginge was first competed by Great Britain’s Piggy March and her then-stable Jockey Susie Berry before landing in Midway, Ky. with Allie.

The pair know each other well at this top level having finished 11th and then more recently 8th in the last two runnings of the CCI5* at Maryland. They’re certainly capable of a sub-30 mark, but Allie may find the show jumping phase their most challenging as they navigate the course across the undulations of grass footing.

When the Pony Club A graduate isn’t galloping around some of the biggest courses in the world, she’s busy wrangling her biggest fan, her daughter Atticus.

Breeding Facts:

  • Sire has produced four other 5* horses: Ballylaffin Bracken, Sportsfield Othello, The Lion, and Cooley On Show.
  • 48% blood

Sarah Khun and Mr. Cash Van De Start. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Sarah Kuhn and Mr. Cash Van de Start
11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Deauville Van T L – Ishtar Van de Start, by Toulon). Owned by Deborah Kuhn.

Aiken-based event rider Sarah Kuhn has produced “Mr. Cash” since he was 5, bringing him up the ranks of eventing to the Advanced level. He is her first four-star horse, and the two have settled in after two seasons at the level.

She originally bought Mr. Cash from a dealer in the Czech Republic with plans to resell him, but his quirky personality made that difficult for Sarah. Once he reached the Preliminary level, their partnership had officially meshed and Sarah decided to keep climbing with him.

They’ve scored anywhere from 31 to 39 at this level on the flat. At this event last year, a 38.1 was where they landed, but with a year’s worth of education under their belts, Sarah will be aiming for a lower mark. They proved their mettle on the 2022 cross country, and she’ll be pleased with a repeat effort this time around.

Based at Fair Oak Farm, Sarah operates a busy teaching and training operation. While she’s spent the better part of the last decade as a horse professional, Sarah previously worked a 9-5 in the field of environmental marketing and renewable energy.

Breeding Facts:

  • Sire show jumped to 1.50m level
  • 42% blood

Boyd Martin and Commando 3. Photo by Liz Crawley Photography.

Boyd Martin and Commando 3
10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Connor 48 – R-Adelgunde, by Amigo xx). Owned by DSN Equestrian Ventures.

Originally produced in Europe by Swedish Olympian Louise Romeike, Commando 3 joined Boyd Martin’s string over the winter and has so far come out in 2023 at the Preliminary and Intermediate levels in the States. With this being a new ride for Boyd, we would expect this weekend to be about getting to know each other, but this is an exciting young horse who’s already got one Nations Cup competition under his belt and a nearly-perfect international cross country record to boot. This 10-year-old gelding would be one to mark as keen to score a sub-30 dressage mark, and do his darndest to finish on it. Don’t expect Boyd to gun for the time on Saturday, but keep an eye on this one as a potential star in the making. To be honest, we’re mostly keen to giggle whenever an announcer says “and here’s Boyd Martin, riding Commando” and would wager that this factored into his decision to buy the horse.

Breeding Facts:

  • Sire showjumped to 1.45m level
  • 58% blood
  • Dam has also produced several show jumpers up to 1.40m level

Boyd Martin and Contessa. Photo by
Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Boyd Martin and Contessa
14-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Contender – Veritas, by Esteban). Owned by Club Contessa.

Boyd’s second entry comes in the form of the German-bred mare Contessa. The Olympic veteran has had the ride on the Holsteiner mare since she was five, having found her in Germany thanks to Philipp Kolossa.

Under Boyd’s tutelage, Contessa made the leap up to the four-star level after many educational seasons at the Intermediate level, a training principle that Boyd believes is essential in a top horse’s development.

This duo will likely land in the low 30s to start. A talented jumper, Contessa rarely has a rail, and this will keep them competitive. If Boyd decides to put the pedal down on cross country, they could be looking at a competitive result.

Breeding Facts:

  • Same sire as Tim Price’s Vitali and David Brittnell’s Continuity
  • 57% blood
  • Has a full sister, Maya, that has competed to 3*L level with Boyd Martin/Michael Pendleton

Boyd Martin and Miss Lulu Herself. Photo by Joan Davis / Flatlandsfoto.

Boyd Martin and Miss LuLu Herself
10-year-old Hanoverian mare (Stolzenfels – Noisette, by Nobre xx). Owned by Bonnie J. Stedt.

If you’re a chronic startlist and scoreboard watcher, then you’ll probably recognize Miss LuLu Herself as having been in Boyd’s stable for quite some time. This youngster made it on to Boyd’s radar as a four-year-old bred in Germany by Sandra Konig, and he was able to convince long-time supporter Bonnie Stendt to purchase the mare sight unseen.

Boyd has taken his time producing Miss LuLu Herself up the levels, and Bonnie’s faith has paid off as the pair took the win in the CCI3*-L at Bromont last spring and then claimed fourth place in the CCI3*-L at Maryland in the fall. Boyd stepped the mare up to the Advanced level just last month and this will be her first four-star. She’s a careful jumper and in fact has no cross country penalties and just a single rail to her name on her FEI record.

Breeding Facts:

  • 42% blood
  • Dam has also produced 1.60m show jumper Cartado (by Cassus)

Meghan O’Donoghue and Palm Crescent. Photo by Libby Law.

Meghan O’Donoghue and Palm Crescent
17-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Quiet American x Edey’s Village). Owned by William Duhring and the rider.

It was a circuitous journey that brought Palm Crescent to Virginia-based Pony Club alum Meghan O’Donoghue, who became a fan favorite when she debuted her mighty off-the-track Thoroughbred, Pirate, years ago. After a three-year racing career during which he raced 12 times, “Palmer” was placed with CANTER MidAtlantic, and after transitioning from track life under the watchful eye of Allie Conrad, the bright bay gelding eventually was purchased by and started his eventing career with Jan Byyny. He was later purchased by the Shipka family, who would go on to own the horse as a ride for Meghan as he showed his prowess at the upper levels. Meghan has since taken on ownership, but she’s always quick to reflect back on all of the wonderful people who helped her find this next shining star.

Palmer made his Kentucky debut in 2021, finishing 23rd, and they cracked the top twenty for 17th place on their sophomore run at Maryland that October. In 2022, they returned to Kentucky and finished in a very respectable 11th place, which led to the opportunity to spend the rest of the season in Europe, contesting Aachen, Hartpury, and Burghley, where they gained a huge amount of mileage. They’re low-to-mid 30s scores – their Kentucky test earned them a 32.8, while Maryland saw them score a 35.8, though they’ve had outliers on either end of the spectrum, such as a 40.7 at Kentucky last year and a sub-30 score in their last international run at Burghley in September. In any case, they have a real talent for the climb.

Palmer tends to be at his fastest on a long-format course, which suits his bottomless stamina and long, rangy gallop. His speed average is brought down a tad by his slower runs at short-format internationals, so this pair will benefit from a tough track, rather than a time challenge, this week. Luckily for them, though, he’s at his best over the poles when competing in a short format, and should do a one-or-none round in the stadium.

Breeding Facts:

  • OTTB, bred in New York
  • Raced 12 time, 1 win, earned $9,462

Doug Payne and Camarillo. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Doug Payne and Camarillo
9-year-old DSP gelding (Chicardo – Rehobeth, by Riverman). Owned by Patrice Jennings-Rado and the rider.

Camarillo or “Carl” is another one of the youngest entries for this four-star class. He was bred right here in the USA by Elizabeth “Didi” Callahan at her and her husband’s Cool Na Grena Sporthorses in Oxford, Md.

Every time Doug swings his leg over the saddle, Carl, who only moved up to the Advanced level last year, is better for it, and we can certainly expect this partnership to use the weekend to etch ahead with the horse’s education.

Breeding Facts:

  • Bred in the USA (same breeder as Doug Payne’s other mount, Quantum Leap)
  • His sire showjumped to 1.40m
  • His dam has also produced a 2* eventer
  • 56% blood

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap
12-year-old DSP gelding (Quite Capitol – Report to Sloopy, by Corporate Report)

We’re well past the time it’s acceptable to keep calling Quantum Leap “Baby Quantum”, as he was nicknamed early on in his career. This tall gelding, who was bred by well-respected U.S. breeder Elizabeth “Didi” Callahan, is the reigning USEF National 5* Champion, having come in third overall in the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event last spring. He wrapped up his 2022 campaign with a top-10 finish at the Maryland 5 Star and this year will look to build on that success with two full seasons at the 5* level on his resume.

Breeding Facts:

  • Bred in the USA (same breeder as Doug Payne’s other mount, Camarillo)
  • His sire showjumped to 1.50m
  • His dam has also produced a 1.45m showjumper
  • 76% blood

Doug Payne and Starr Witness. Photo by Alison Green for Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Doug Payne and Starr Witness
12-year-old KWPN mare (Chello III VDL – Carmen, by Veneur). Owned by Laurie McRee, Catherine Winter and the rider.

What’s not to love about the little powerhouse Starr Witness? This lady will certainly be a first phase threat as her average dressage marks sneak lower and lower with each passing event. Most recently, she pumped out a 19.9 at the Grand-Prix Eventing Showcase two weeks ago with a remarkable perfect 10 for one of her flying changes.

Doug, who has steadily transformed from a moonlighter to a full fledged show jumping regular, will be to her advantage over Marc Donovan’s show jumping track. Her biggest limiting factor, even Doug will admit, is the time across the country. Though at Carolina last year, her mere 3.2 time penalties had her finishing second.

Breeding Facts:

  • Her sire showjumped to 1.40m
  • Her dam has also produced a 1.45m showjumper
  • 44% blood

Lexi Scovil and Chico’s Man VDF. Photo by Abby Powell.

Lexi Scovil and Chico’s Man VDF Z
12-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Chico’s Boy – Chardonnay Z). Owned by the rider.

Lexi and ‘Sprout’ finally got to make their long-awaited five-star debut at Kentucky last year after a couple of false starts: she’d originally planned for a trip to Pau in 2020, then rerouted to Kentucky 2021 as a result of the pandemic, and finally to Maryland that October, but some issues with their prep and an ill-timed abscess for the gelding meant that it wasn’t to be. But Lexi’s an eternal optimist, and pragmatic, too, and she believes that everything happens for a reason — and last spring, as she made the trip to Kentucky for real, it’s with a horse who has physically and mentally matured as a result of all the extra time spent building up to it. That paid off with an educational top thirty finish.

Lexi has certainly spent the last few years prioritising his education, and her own, too. She relocated to England in 2019, basing herself with the ultimate professor, William Fox-Pitt, who imparted his slow-and-steady-wins-the-race philosophy unto her and helped her learn to trust her gut in the training process. As a result, she and Sprout picked up a top twenty at Bramham that year over a tough CCI4*-S track, jumped clear around four-star courses at Burgham, Burnham Market, and Chatsworth, and racked up some educational mileage at Blenheim and Hartpury, too, before Lexi moved back to Florida to set her own business up. This will be their first FEI run of the 2023 season, and their first trip to this event since 2021, and they’ll be looking to put all that invaluable education to work this week. We’ll be looking for a mid-30s starting score, a steady clear, and probably a rail down for a great confidence-boosting run to start their year off on the right note.

Breeding Facts:

  • Sire showjumped to 1.30m
  • 49% blood

Booli Selmayr and Millfield Lancando. Photo by Abby Powell.

Booli Selmayr and Millfield Lancando
16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Lancer II 00 Fancy II, by Langata Express xx). Owned by Jacqueline Thorne, Kelly Morgan, and the rider.

You can’t miss Booli Selmayr and the 17.1-hand Millfield Lancando galloping across the cross country. While the tall, rangy gelding may look imposing, he’s actually a gentle giant and a rather sensitive fellow around the barn.

The Millbrook, New York-based rider acquired “Lance” seven years ago from renowned equine sport medicine veterinarian and fellow event rider Kevin Keane. When she purchased him, Booli had a gut feeling that he would be the mount that she poured all her time and energy into to see how far he could go. As it turned out, Lance went all the way to the top of the sport. The pair made their five-star debut at the Kentucky Three-Day Event last spring and are aiming for a return trip this year.

Breeding Facts:

  • Dam has also produced a PSG dressage horse (by Quite Capitol, Quantum Leap’s sire)
  • 50% blood

Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge. Photo by Abby Powell.

Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge
12-year-old Selle Français gelding (Mylord Carthago – Lelia, by Clyde de la Combe). Owned by Patricia Pearce.

For Lindsay Traisnel, Bacyrouge certainly lives up to his moniker of “Dreamy.” Though the French-bred gelding was originally acquired as a resale project, Lindsay wound up liking him so much that she and husband/ fellow rider, Xavier Traisnel, sold nearly everything else they had in order to keep him.

This Canadian native is well-traveled and educated, having lived in England and then France where she and Xavier owned a farm and operated their own training business for a number of years. Ultimately the couple, their two daughters, and Dreamy moved back to Lindsay’s native Ontario to be closer to Lindsay’s parents as they raise their family and operate a busy boarding and lesson barn in Windsor-Essex.

After a great 2022 season which saw the pair complete the Lexington CCI4*-S and then place second at Bromont CCI4*-L last spring, Lindsay and Dreamy were named to the 2023 Equestrian Canada National Squad. Keep your eyes on these two this weekend and throughout the season – Lindsay has her sights set on representing Canada at the Pan American Games later this year.

Breeding Facts:

  • Sire Mylord Carthago won a silver medal in showjumping at the 2010 World Equestrian Games and competed at the 2012 London Olympics (with French rider Penelope Leprovost)
  • 65% blood

Elisa Wallace and Renkum Corsair. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Elisa Wallace and Renkum Corsair
13-year-old Anglo European Sporthorse gelding (Renkum Chapot – Renkum Colitas, by Renkum Valentino). Owned by the Corsair Syndicate.

Elisa Wallace acquired this exciting British-bred gelding in early 2022. Campaigned previously by Saffron Creswell through the three-star level, “Caz” got a late start to the sport of eventing. He was only show jumping, up to 1.45m, until he was seven.

Riding for the Corsair Syndicate, Elisa spent last year getting to know Caz, and they ended the season with a bang taking the CCI3-L* Eventing National Championship title at Maryland last October.

Carolina will be this entry’s first crack at the Advanced level, and it will be a big test for the partnership, but Elisa has big plans, so they’ll certainly be two to keep your eye on.

Breeding Facts:

  • His dam has also produced a 1.40m and a 1.45m showjumper
  • 41% blood

Julie Wolfert and SSH Playboy. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Julie Wolfert and SSH Playboy
11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Cit Cat – Stomeyford Black Pearl). Owned by Sheri Gurske, Renee Senter, and the rider.

Kansas-based Julie Wolfert is back on the Advanced radar with the talented and athletic SSH Playboy, who was sourced in Ireland on an adventurous horse-shopping trip with two of her longtime supporters, Sheri Gurske and Renee Senter. Naming themselves “Team Pivot” in light of the eternal flexibility required to live a life full of horses, this fun group has thrown their weight behind Julie, who travels long distances to compete at the top levels from her base in Bucyrus, KS. She runs one of the most successful eventing programs in Area IV, balancing her upper-level ambitions with teaching the next generation of riders at home and on the road.

SSH Playboy, or “Jaego” as he’s known at home, was originally produced by Ireland’s Camilla Spears before joining up with Julie in 2021. In 2022, they made their emphatic international debut together, finishing on the podium at Carolina International 3*-S last year. They also won the 3*-L trophy at Tryon International and capped off their 2022 campaign with a win in the 4*-S at Tryon’s year-end event. This spring, they’ll also head to the Lexington 4*-S en route to the 4*-L at Tryon in May.

Breeding Facts:

  • Sire showjumped to 1.45m
  • Damline is mostly unrecorded, so blood percentage is unknown
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