Ryan Wood and Powell Cruise to Early Lead in Carolina CIC3*

Ryan Wood and Powell. Photo by Jenni Autry. Ryan Wood and Powell. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Summit Sporthorses’ Powell made the first CIC3* test of his career one to remember today at the Cloud 11 ~ Gavilan North LLC Carolina International Horse Trials, scoring 44.1 to hold the lead at the end of the first day of dressage in the packed three-star division.

This is an exciting up-and-coming horse for Ryan. Bred in New Jersey by Ilona English, the 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Pablito x Donnerwerth) stepped up to the Advanced level at Millbrook Horse Trials last year and is contesting the first three-star of his career here at Carolina.

“He’s a pretty calm-headed, level-headed character, so he entered (the ring) pretty well,” Ryan said. “He’s naturally very good in the dressage phase, and he actually had a little bit of a dressage career before I started eventing him, so all the movements in the Advanced test have been established for quite awhile.

With this being Powell’s first three-star, Ryan said he’ll be looking for a clear show jumping round on Friday and will plan to cruise around Ian Stark’s new cross country course on Saturday. The big spring plan for this horse is the CCI3* at the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event, so Ryan will be keeping a few cards up his sleeve for that competition.

Ryan has a cadre of horses moving up to the three-star and four-star levels right now. With three entered at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in Frankie, Fernhill Classic and McLovin, and with Ryan also listed as a Generation Next rider on the Australian High Performance Squad, 2016 is set to be a big year for him.

It’s also an exciting time for Powell’s breeder Ilona English, who has consistently been ranked as one of the Leading Eventing Breeders in the United States Equestrian Federation rankings. “She’s definitely making an imprint on the eventing here in the States,” Ryan said — and he also has a slew of young horses bred by Ilona that are coming up the ranks. Remember her name!

Elisa Wallace and Simply Priceless. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Elisa Wallace and Simply Priceless. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jessica Phoenix was thrilled with Bentley’s Best after his test today, which scored 45.6 to take second place after the first day of dressage. The 9-year-old Trakehner gelding (Hirtentanz x Eichendorff) owned by Don Good stepped up to the CIC3* level at Plantation Field last year and has been showing plenty of promise ever since.

Don Good, who also owns Pavarotti, is a longtime supporter of Jessica, and she said she’s excited Don will be here this weekend to watch “Benny” go in person. It’s been eight years since Jessica last competed at this event, and she said it’s eye-opening to see all the changes that this superstar organizing committee has implemented since overhauling the competition three years ago.

Buck Davidson and The Apprentice were the second pair to go this morning but made a lasting impression in their test, scoring 45.9 to sit in third place on 45.9. Dirk, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Sherrie Martin (Casado X Fernblick), is cross-entered at both Rolex and Badminton Horse Trials, and Carolina will be one of the horse’s key prep runs regardless of which competition he ultimately targets.

It certainly wasn’t an easy day in the sandbox for the three-star division, with many combinations receiving much higher scores than what we usually see on the leaderboards. The judges, Sandy Phillips and Bobby Stevenson, seemed to reward contact that proved steady, consistent and correct, and a rock-solid turn on the haunches and clean flying changes proved equally critical.

Looking to the other divisions, Eliza Farren and Crotty Equine Ventures’ Cooley Dawn Raid are leading the CIC2* on a score of 43.4, followed by Will Faudree and Jennifer Mosing’s Hans Dampf in second on 44.1, with Doug Payne and Kristin Michaloski’s Lysander in third on 44.4 at the halfway point of the division.

Will Faudree and Hans Dampf. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Will Faudree and Hans Dampf. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Will is steadily making his comeback after undergoing neck surgery to stabilize his C6 and C7 vertebrae following a fall at this venue while competing in Five Points Horse Trials in September of last year. He ran several of his horses around the Preliminary at Southern Pines Horse Trials two weeks ago, and this weekend is his first FEI competition since the accident.

“It’s great to be back on top of the horses and not watching them on the ground anymore. I feel great. I’ve had no reservations about coming back out, and I expected to. I was prepared to, but I have a good partnership with all the horses,” Will said. “I’ve been working on getting to know Hans better, and since I’ve been back in the tack we’ve had lots of long hacks and conversations. He’s a phenomenal horse, and I’m very excited to be able to come back on him.”

Looking to the CIC*, Katie Lichten and RF Luminati lead in the early going on 39.4, with Liz Hawley and Signature Moves in second on 44.8 and Will Coleman and Cooley Off the Record in third on 45.2. We have two more days of dressage ahead of us here at Carolina, with a record-breaking number of entries pushing the event to start a day early today.

Remember that you can watch the remainder of CIC3* dressage live tomorrow, plus both jumping phases for the CIC3* and CIC2* courtesy of EQSportsNet. Karen O’Connor and Charlotte Skinner-Robson are providing commentary, with guests like Hannah Sue Burnett joining them today on the live steam. Click here for details on how to watch.

The second day of dressage starts bright and early tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. Stay tuned for a full CIC3* course preview from EN’s own Kate Samuels, who is back out with her own Nyls du Terroir at Carolina this weekend. We’ll also be bringing you a special episode of the Shehannigans Show featuring Sinead Halpin and Hannah Sue Burnett, so stay tuned for much more.

You can view a full video of Ryan Wood and Powell’s leading CIC3* dressage test below courtesy of EQSportsNet, and be sure to check out EN’s Instagram for plenty of behind the scenes photos from #2016CI. You can also view more amazing photos from Allie Conrad Photography on the Carolina International Facebook page.

#2016CI Links: WebsiteEntriesRide TimesScheduleLive ScoresLive StreamEN’s CoverageTwitterInstagram

Watch Ryan Wood and Powell take the lead of the Setters’ Run Farm CIC3* on a score of 44.1 on the first day of the Cloud 11 ~ Gavilan North LLC Carolina International.

Posted by EQSportsNet on Wednesday, March 23, 2016