Phillip Dutton said he didn’t think John and Kristie Norton’s I’m Sew Ready has ever galloped as quickly as he did today across Hugh Lochore’s CIC3* cross country course at the Cloud 11-Gavilan North LLC Carolina International in Raeford, North Carolina.
After the horse missed his first run of the year at Pine Top due to a cough, Phillip decided to open him up today, and aside from a hairy moment when “Jackson” scrambled over the wedge leaving the SPEA War Horse Complex at fence 16c, the horse looked very much ready to rise to the occasion. And he did just that, taking home the big win in the $35,000 Attwood Equestrian Surfaces CIC3* on a score of 43.1 after jumping double clear.
“I don’t think he’s been that fast before in his life, so there was no question it was a little bit of an eye opener for him, but I believe that it will be a good experience for him. The horse has got to think quick and look for the flags. The jump needs to become like a magnet for them. He was starting to figure that out,” Phillip said.
“It’s a little bit of a unique kind of cross country riding here, with a lot of jumping and turning, and you have to be able to look for the jump through a bending line or through the woods where the jump is coming at you. I think they’ve done a good job of trying to open the track up, but at the end of the day, it’s still in a forest.”
Phillip said he thought the day proved to be a good experience for the 11-year-old Dutch gelding, who will now go to The Fork and Jersey Fresh on his quest to be considered for the U.S. Pan American Games team. If Jackson does make the team, Phillip, who has been riding the horse for Kristen Bond while she settles into motherhood, said the Bonds and Nortons have graciously agreed to allow him to keep the ride until then.
Boyd Martin is also looking ahead to the next big event after another solid showing with Steve Blauner’s Master Frisky. The 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, who finished second in the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International CCI3* last year, jumped one of the 14 double clear rounds today to finish in second place on his score of 45.6.
“He’s a class horse. He’s been a little bit under the radar, but I rate him highly. The exciting thing for me is his dressage is world class. He’s a great cross country horse, and the show jumping has really improved this year,” Boyd said. “I’m thrilled with him and very thankful my longtime supporter Steve Blauner has owned him. I asked Steve to purchase him when he hadn’t even seen him. He backed me and believed me, and he’s starting to pan out to be a super star.”
With the solid run today, “Mikey” is looking on point to tackle his first CCI4* next month at Rolex. “He’ll be green at Kentucky, but he’s gutsy and he’s a trier. He’s a bit awkward in his jump, but he busts himself to get between the flags, and that counts for a lot when you’re going around a very big course. I think he’ll be right in there after the dressage, and he’s show jumping well right now. He could be impressive there.”
Will Faudree had a fairytale trip with Jennifer Mosing’s Andromaque, jumping double clear to finish in third place on 47.2. The mare returned to FEI competition for the first time since The Fork last year, and Will said at this point in their longtime partnership, he doesn’t take a single thing for granted when it comes to this 14-year-old Irish Thoroughbred mare.
“I’m so excited. It’s a love affair every time I get on that mare, and it’s a honeymoon when I get to go cross country on her. She’s one of the best cross country horses I’ve ever ridden. She reminds me so much of Antigua; they go very similarly. She didn’t miss a beat,” Will said.
“I actually left the start box today and was not going to hammer for time. I wanted her to go at the pace where she was comfortable. But she’s so quick across the ground, and I don’t have to touch her mouth coming to the jumps. She’s so efficient through the combinations.”
With the mare coming back into form after a series of small setbacks, Will said he plans to take it one day at a time, but he hopes to take Missie to Rolex next month, which would be her second appearance at the event; they placed 16th in 2012.
“I just jogged her, and she looks fantastic. Her legs feel great. It was a great course with really good footing. She’s entered at The Fork, but I will only run a combined test there,” Will said. “She’s so experienced now that she’s a point and shoot type of girl, so she doesn’t need a lot of runs.”
Michael Pollard and Carl Bouckaert’s Cyrano jumped clear with 2 time penalties to finish fourth on 50.8, with Boyd Martin and Crackerjack going clear with 2.8 time penalties to round out the top five on 53. “Cracker,” a 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Lucy Boynton, is also aiming for his first CCI4* at Rolex alongside stablemate Mikey.
In addition to the pairs already named, the following also jumped double clear: Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive, 6th; Allie Knowles and Sound Prospect, Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM, 10th; Buck Davidson and Petite Flower, 11th; Jimmie Schramm and Bellamy, 14th; Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn, 16th; Maya Black and Doesn’t Play Fair, 19th; Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights, 20th; Andrew McConnon and Ziggy, 23rd; Tim Bourke and Luckaun Quality, 30th; Holly Payne and Never Outfoxed, 31st.
Hugh’s course rode well for the most part, with 38 of the 40 combinations that completed jumping clear. The corner coming out of the Cloud 11 Watership Down caught out Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night, who were sitting in third place overnight. Waylon Roberts and Kelecyn Cognac also parted ways there; both were OK after the incident.
Allison Springer had a bummer of a day all around, falling from Mr Sydney Rocks at Zoe’s Bank Complex and then falling again later in the division when Arthur spooked badly at a rider standing next to the galloping lane by the Farm Use Escapade, a large table in the water at fence 9.
Kevin Keane fell from Fernhill Flutter at Stonehenge, which caught out its fair share of riders across the divisions all day. They were both OK after the fall. Taryn Nolte retired Cleverly after a runout at the SPEA War Horse Complex. For more on what went down, click here to get a play-by-play of all the action via our live updates.
The fantastic USEF Network team has assured me that full cross country playback footage will be available for viewing soon on their website. Be sure to click here to catch up on all of EN’s coverage from the Cloud 11-Gavilan North LLC Carolina International and here to see what Chinch as been up to. Thank you to the organizers and volunteers for another great day!