Team USA secured the win with three clear cross country rounds today at the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ at the 2022 Bromont CCI-S Horse Trials in Quebec, Canada.
Trailblazer Lillian Heard laid down a clear and fast round riding the 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Dasset Olympus (Lancelot x Cushlamochree), adding just 1.2 time faults to the overall team score. Andrew McConnon riding his and Caroline Martin and Jeanne Shigo’s 10-year-old Warmblood gelding Ferrie’s Cello (Chello III VDL x Karelza) and Liz Halliday-Sharp riding Deborah Palmer and Ocala Horse Properties LLC’s 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding Miks Master C (Mighty Magic x Qui Luma CBF) both subsequently went double clear and clinched the top placing for the team on a score of 138.6001.
“Going first worked out fine, my horse doesn’t always do what other horses do, so not knowing is fine; he did the beginning part well but the waters were a little sticky – they weren’t unfair, but they were almost five-star-esque,” she said. “My horse fought hard to stay between the flags. The jumps were big and technical; sometimes at the four-star you’ll get one or the other, and they were both … but I think it’s good, if you do that hard of a question, you go on and the next one’s not that hard.”
The host country Canada finished second overall, with Colleen Loach and Kendal Lehari posting double clear rounds and Jessica Phoenix finishing just outside the time allowed. Jamie Kellock parted ways with Summer Bay, but with four riders the team was able to drop her score to finish on a final score of 158.3002.
Team Australia finished third with a whopping 2050.3003 penalties. Yesterday Dom Schramm withdrew his wife Jimmie’s mare Eclaire after dressage, and today Ryan Wood withdrew before cross country after suffering from stomach flu. He was still game enough to cheer on his new bride Lillian Heard from the sidelines, but not up to the task of riding around the challenging four-star course. That left Ema Klugman as the last Australian standing, and did her country proud with a clear round and just 1.6 time faults riding Bronte Beach Z.
In the CCI4*-S division, Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp held on to the overall lead riding Miks Master C, finishing on a final score of 37.6. Colleen Loach finished second overall on Vermont, a, 18.2h Hanoverian gelding by Van Helsing out of a Heraldik mare (32.1) and third with FE Golden Eye (Goldfever x Cascade). Halliday-Sharp also won the CCI3*-S riding Cooley Nutcracker. She was also competing Cooley HHS Calmaria in the four-star, but pulled up on cross country after the mare took a bad step while galloping and was taken for examination by the veterinarian.
“My three-star horse was awesome, he is ready for advanced now, which is exciting. Miks Master C was super, I tried to have an organized round but still quick enough, because he was very strong with me at Rebecca Farm. I’m thinking of the big picture, which is a five-star next year and hopefully Boekelo this year, so I was thinking about the big picture and still wanted to take the win, so I’m glad it worked out that way. The course was tough, it was perfect,” she said.
Andrew McConnon, who was competing in his first Nations Cup, also said this was his first trip to Bromont. “I’m thrilled to be on the team and make the trip up, and I really think it did the horse well to come up here,” he said. “He was good in the dressage; there are a couple of things I need to improve. He show jumped well and tried hard, and the cross-country was great. I’m planning to go to Morven and do the four-star long, and this was an incredible prep for that. I think the terrain and the jumps were tough, he had to work in a couple of places, but I think he’s more educated because of it.”
Colleen Rutledge, who first competed on a Nations Cup team at Aachen with Covert Rights in 2015, but didn’t complete the event due to a fall in the water, was happy to cross the finish flags today. She had a runout at the corner coming out of the second water today, where she said she rode too aggressively, but credits her horse with getting her out of the trouble she got them into. “It’s super exciting, this is only my second Nations Cup Team and it’s so cool competing with your teammates; it gives you a taste and just makes me want to do more.”
The course was big and technical, and the terrain at Bromont is hilly. The combination of all three factors caught out a number of horses and riders who were not up for the challenge today. There were falls in every CCI division, and three riders are currently in hospital for observation.
This was the first year that Bromont hosted an FEI Nations Cup™ competition and competitors and organizers alike are eager to keep the competition going into the future. Wyatt Westover, a parliamentary assistant who was attending the event from the House of Commons, said, “It’s certainly huge, I know they want to expand even more and the venue is one-of-a-kind in the area, really. We’re privileged to have it here.”
CCI4*-S Final Top 10:
CCI3*-S Final Top 10:
CCI3*-S U25 Final: