Ocala and Fair Hill International Offer Kentucky Bound Final Prep

Caroline Pamukcu and HSH Double Sixteen. Photo by Xpress Foto.

Kentucky week has started, and while we’re so ready to jump into all of the excitement that that brings, we’ve been following along with some of our Kentucky-bound pairs as they make their final outings and preparations for the week ahead.

Ocala International Festival of Eventing and Fair Hill International offered two major stages to wrap up final preparations for horse and rider combinations making the trek to Kentucky this week, as well as offered opportunities including a 4*S, 3*L, and even a 5* CT.

Ocala’s 4* saw a strong showing from Caroline Pamukcu, who finished first with the rider and The Baltodano Family’s HSH Double Sixteen (Robin Des Pres – Azaria) and 4th with the rider and Derek Strine’s HSH Tolan King (Tolan R – Porter Rhodes Dam). HSH Double Sixteen moved up to the top position after a clear show jump and cross country round, while HSH Tolan King had one rail but also jumped around cross country with a clear.

Karl Slezak and Hot Bobo. Photo by Xpress Foto.

Karl Slezak and his own Pan-Ams mount Hot Bobo (VDL Arkansas – Taneys Leader) Hot Bobo finished in second, laying down a typical clear cross country for the duo, after an uncharacteristic 60 penalties at TerraNova in March. Sharon White finished in third with Shirsheen Ice (Beowulf — Candy Copper, by Regal Sting XX), owned by herself, Beth Lendrum, and Kathleen Neuhoff. Sharon and “Wolfie” added only time to the dressage score, an impressive debut at the 4* level!

Sharon White and Shirsheen Ice. Photo by Xpress Foto.

Ocala also saw a strong Advanced CT group, that was filled almost exclusively with Kentucky bound duos. As a final prep the weekend before Kentucky week, the CT offered riders the opportunity to test out their plan, and fine tune any additional details prior to running the upcoming 4* or 5*. We saw Colleen Loach and WEG mount FE Golden Eye (Goldfever I – Cascade, by Contendro I), owned by herself, Amanda Bernhard, and Maureen Lemay, secure the Advanced CT win, and will see them in the 4* later this week. We’ll also see second place finisher, Leslie Law with Jackie and Steve Brown’s Lady Chatterley (Connor 48 – Jucy, by Mytens XX) in the 4*, and third place finisher Sharon White with her own Claus 63 (Catoo—Tina II, Levisto) in the 5*.

Erin Strader and Live and Learn. Photo by Xpress Foto.

Fair Hill also offered CT options for pairs heading to Kentucky. We saw Ema Klugman with the Bronte Beach Syndicate’s Bronte Beach (Verdi TN – Dalphine, by Chopin) in the 5* CT, heading into “Bronte’s” 5* debut. In the 4* CT, we see Savannah Fulton with Nelson Warnell’s Cash Point (Cash and Carry – Up To Date 15) and Cassie Sanger with her own Fernhill Zoro (Verdi – Oronia 2, by Voltaire) and her own Redfield Fyre (Canabis Z – Tiona), all heading to the 4* in Kentucky this week.

Beyond the Kentucky prep, Fair Hill offered riders the opportunity to continue developing horses towards their 2024 goals. We saw twenty-two horse and rider combinations in the CCI3*S, with Emily Beshear and Nicholas Beshear’s Rio de Janeiro (River Dancer – Vanilla Ice) winning after clear show jump and cross country rounds. This was Rio de Janeiro’s second win at the level, the first in 2022 at River Glen with Nicholas Beshear. Ariel Grald with Anne Eldridge’s Isla de Coco (Cascadello – U-Lotti, by Guardus Limbus) came in second, with Jennie Brannigan and Nina Gardner’s Kismet (National Anthem – Ularinka, by Krack C) in third.

Good luck to all making their way to Kentucky, and those who are continuing on towards other 2024 goals!

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