In his preview of the new Fork cross-country course, Tremaine Cooper said that he and co-course designer, Capt. Mark Phillips wanted to create a track that would provide a positive final run before the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in a few weeks. The duo definitely accomplished their goal as all 17 horses who started on the CIC3* track at the Tryon International Equestrian Center came home with clean jumping rounds. Three riders even crossed through the finish line with no time penalties to add to their scores.
Overnight leaders, Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous, completed the course in 6 minutes and 40 seconds – 15 seconds over the optimum time – but they had the time penalties in hand and galloped home as the winners of the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3*.
Riders couldn’t have asked for better horse show weather today here at the beautiful Chattahoochee Hills in Fairburn, Ga. in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* and Advanced divisions. The day started at 8:00 A.M. with Hannah Sue Burnett and the first of her four rides in the Advanced division. It was Burnett’s final dressage ride that topped the leaderboard after the flat.
Cooley Dream (Cruising X The Dreamseeker), a 9-year-old Irish gelding owned by the Cooley Dream LLC, scored a 28.7 and posted a double clear show jumping round to retain his lead heading into cross-country. Burnett and RF Demeter (Rubin Royal X Patricia), a 15-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Jacqueline Mars, scored a 32.9 and also produced a double clear show jump round to lie third before cross-country.
The top two places of the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* at The Fork Horse Trials remained unchanged following the show jumping phase as both Marilyn Little with RF Scandalous and Kim Severson with Cooley Cross Border jumped fault-free rounds. Chris Barnard’s show jumping course in the George Morris Arena at the Tryon International Equestrian Center caused very little trouble for the three-star competitors with 14 of the 19 pairs leaving all of the rails in their cups.
It’s been a blustery day here at Chattahoochee Hills Horse Trials in Fairburn, Ga. resulting in some fresh horses in the dressage arena this morning. Of the 19 pairs in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* and only Buck Davidson on Copper Beach were able to break into the 30s. Davidson and "Sean" (Radolin X Cloverballen), an 11-year-old Irish gelding, earned a 38.7 the gelding’s best score to date at the CIC3* level.
“He knows the job now, he’s maybe not the biggest mover and I’ve been really trying to get him longer in the neck and get his nose out more and I felt like I did that today. I couldn’t be happier with him. He was fantastic,” said Davidson of the gelding owned by Carl and Cassie Segal and Sherrie Martin.
Not only is this the first year of the Fork Horse Trials at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, but it is also the first event to use the new cross-country course on the White Oak property adjacent to the horse park. Both the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* and Advanced divisions will be leaving the first hoof prints on the future 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG) gallop paths.
While a connecting road and bridges have been constructed, the recent storms have made them impassible so horses will be trailered to the property to tackle Tremaine Cooper and Capt. Mark Phillips’ course on Sunday. The land features a large pond, multiple streams, wide galloping lanes and old established turf that gives course a bucolic feel of “over the river and through the woods.”
Major storms and tornados came through North Carolina yesterday resulting in a cold and windy morning at the Fork Horse Trials at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, N.C. Combine that with the atmosphere of the George Morris Arena and only four of the 20 horses that competed in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* earned sub-50 dressage scores from judges, Christian Landholt and Gretchen Butts.
In her first FEI start since winning the 2016 Fair Hill International CCI3*, Marilyn Little rode RF Scandalous, 12-year-old Oldenburg (Carry Gold x Richardia), to the top of the leaderboard earning a 41.7.
It is a big weekend for the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series with two qualifying events happening. The USEA will be both The Fork and Chattahoochee Hills, so make sure to follow along for daily reports and live social media updates.
“This one was for him,” a teary eyed Thieriot Stutes said proudly after clinching the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* win at Galway Downs with The Chatwin Group’s Chatwin. She was speaking of Eric Bradenburg, one of the members of The Chatwin Group who unexpectedly passed away this week.
“It’s been a really emotional week for me. It’s myself, my cousin Elizabeth, and him who helped me get Chatwin in the first place, so I wanted to keep my emotions about me and win this weekend for him because without him I wouldn’t have Chatwin,” she lamented.
Ian Stark and the phrase “rider frightener” have become synonymous in the eventing world. His big, bold tracks typically garner wide eyes and nervous stares from competitors, and this CIC3* track for the Adequan USEA Gold Cup competitors is no different. Stark’s course is certainly challenging, with big questions throughout, but if past experiences here give a glimpse of today’s results, the track will reward bold, forward riding.
Dressage leader Frankie Thieriot Stutes says she won’t be taking anything for granted on the cross-country. “It's a very hard course. I think it’s a tricky CIC. It’s got a lot of the elements that were on the CCI3* here in November,” she said.
This afternoon’s show jumping at Galway Downs shuffled every combination on the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* leaderboard. Every combination that is except dressage leaders Frankie Thieriot Stutes and The Chatwin Group’s Chatwin who remained anchored in their first-place position after a double clear round.
Thieriot Stutes and the 9-year-old Oldenburg (Contendro I x Oktav) gelding nimbly navigated Michael Roy Curtis’ International track, leaving all the poles in their cups to progress to the final phase in the lead on their dressage score of 42.1.
At the conclusion of dressage it was Frankie Thieriot Stutes and The Catwin Group’s Chatwin who stood firmly in front of the pack in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* division. The 9-year-old Oldeburg gelding (Contendro I x Oktav) earned a score of 42.1 from judges Marilyn Payne (USA) and Helen Brettell (USA).
“I actually was not that happy with our test,” Thieriot Stutes commented. “He broke in the counter canter, and I was very surprised. He just seemed to come out of that half pass and not quite be under himself and be able to hold it. I had a bit of a challenge getting him back to get the proper lead which was just very uncharacteristic of him, so I just tried to take that movement for what it was and move forward and get my change and try to make up for it a little bit.”
The USEA is on the ground in beautifully sunny Temecula, California for this Adequan USEA Gold Cup at the Galway Downs International Event. The Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series features 11 premier CIC3* and Advanced level, culminating in a $40,000 finale at the USEA American Eventing Championships.
The international competition is officially underway following the completion of the veterinary inspection this afternoon. Of the 16 three-star entries, 15 were accepted by the Ground Jury and will begin competition in the dressage arena tomorrow at 10:55 a.m. Leah Breakey’s Master King II was sent to the hold box, and unfortunately not accepted upon representation.