Canadian Jessica Phoenix won the CCI3* here last year and now teammate Selena O’Hanlon is doing her part to ensure that the crown stays on home turf.
She and Foxwood High laid down a seamless test this morning to take the early lead and hung onto it throughout the afternoon despite challenges from second-placed Emily Beshear and third-placed Marilyn Little.
Selena and Foxwood High — 1st (46.7)
Selena comes to Quebec with her longtime partner and WEG mount “Woody” as a re-route from Rolex, where they had a less-than-happy Saturday.
“I didn’t actually come here to prove that I could do circles,” Selena says. “I came here to prove I could get him going back on the cross-country after a disappointing Rolex but it certainly is icing on the cake.”
Dressage may not have been their top priority but you couldn’t tell it from their test, which was relaxed yet expressive. “I was worried he might be tense but he just went to work,” Selena said.
Mostly, she says, she’s just eager to gallop out of the start box and give her horse a confidence building round. She’s prepared to pick up a few time penalties in favor of making sure he crosses the finish line feeling like a prince and plans to take the option at fence 20, a bending line with a big, watery ditch to an angled hedge to a corner. “Too much is riding on this and I really more than anything just want to go clear tomorrow — I don’t care about the time so much,” she says.
This is Woody’s third Bromont — they’ve done the CCI2* and CCI3* once apiece — and Selena says he’s come off the sprawling, hilly cross-country course a bit tired in the past. This time, though, she says he feels fitter than ever, so here’s hoping the pair finds the redemption they’re seeking without having to step on the brakes too much.
Bromont is the final selection trial for the Canadian Pan Am team and Woody is among the horses Selena has qualified. She’s earned her stripes already, representing her country at the 2014 World Equestrian Games and the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, and says she would love to be named to the Toronto squad.
“I love the team,” Selena explain. “I hate losing out on the team things. I just have such a good time… It’s more than just the show, it’s the coaching you get and the lessons learned.”
Emily and Shame on the Moon — 2nd (48.4)
Emily says that Bromont has been part of the game plan since Fair Hill last fall, as preparation for her ultimate 2015 goal: Bleinheim in September. She felt that, between the toughness of the course and the challenging terrain, it would be a better prep for them than last month’s Jersey Fresh.
First things first, of course, was the dressage. Like Selena, Emily expected the atmosphere to generate a bit of electricity in her mare and was surprised when it produced just the opposite.
“She was really relaxed and almost lazy so I didn’t quite have the test I hoped for,” Emily says, nitpicking at a few little mistakes. “I know what she’s capable of but I was thrilled with the fact that she was so quiet and relaxed in that environment. It shows we’ve come a long way.”
As for the course tomorrow, she’s impressed but looking forward to the opportunity to attack.
“There’s a lot to do,” she says. “In a sense it’s what I hoped for. It’s what I feel like she’s ready for.”
Emily says she keeps joking that it’s time to start riding Delta like a grown-up three-star horse and not the baby she has been carefully bringing up through the levels.
“There are a lot of lines where you have to be determined and accurate,” Emily says. “Delta is certainly ready for those challenges and I need to convince myself she’s not green anymore and I need to go out and ride the course the way it’s meant to be ridden.”
Marilyn Little and RF Demeter — 3rd (48.5)
Rounding out the top three is Marilyn and RF Demeter. This mare was unofficial Eventing Nation statistician Maggie Deatrick’s pick to win the whole division in her By the Numbers post earlier this week:
After a disappointing stop at the coffin early on the Rolex course, Marilyn chose to retire RF Demeter in hopes of saving her legs for another day. That day is here, and Marilyn and Demeter will be looking to pick up their first win at the CCI3* level.
An average of 49.2 for this particular test will put these two at or near the top after the first phase. Marilyn and RF Demeter finished double clear over Derek’s Rolex course in 2014, and it’s likely they will repeat that feat here.
An overall show jumping average that leans slightly towards one rail for these two won’t stop them from picking up the win. A final score in the low 50s will help this pair top the field.
Maggie’s prophecies are spot-on more often than not and, if the mare has her groove back after Rolex, a top finish here is far from out of the question. Certainly, Marilyn is on a roll, leading the CCI2* as well with RF Overdressed.
For more videos from all divisions of the Bromont CCI, visit The Horse Pester’s YouTube page.
CCI3* Photo Gallery
CCI3* Dressage Results:
On the topic of Canadians and crowns, local eventer and Pan Ams hopeful Peter Barry and Long Island T have the CIC2* lead on lock.
CIC2* Top 15:
Best of luck to all the competitors tomorrow. Alléz Concours Complet!