Lynn Symansky, of Middleburg, Va., and The Donner Syndicate’s RF Cool Play were the only combination in the Virginia CCI2* to finish on their dressage score. Their proficiency in all three phases was rewarded with a commanding victory at Virginia Horse Trials (VHT) in Lexington.
“He’s finally coming into this own,” Symansky said of the 9-year-old German Sport Horse. “He’s amazing on the flat and there’s so much more to be had there, honestly. He’s so fancy. He’s almost too fancy sometimes and I’m figuring out how to ride that in the ring.”
Sitting in second after dressage with a 42.2, Symansky and “Coolio” moved into the lead with a fast, clear round on Captain Mark Phillips’ and Andy Bowles' cross-country track.
“I could have trotted home for the last minute! The horse has such a huge galloping stride. He’s such a big horse and he covers the ground so easy,” Symansky said. “In hindsight I think I probably got the horse too fit for this competition. He’s a big horse and you kind of don’t know until you get them ready.”
Due an ominous weather forecast, the VHT officials elected to move the two show jumping arenas indoors. Even with more than ten points of breathing room, Symansky wasn’t sure how Coolio would perform in the coliseum. He ultimately jumped one of his best rounds.
Coolio was first campaigned at the two-star level in 2015 with Alexa Perkiel. He ran his first CCI2* the following year with Australian Clayton Fredericks. Symansky and Coolio made their international debut as a pair at the 2016 Carolina International, where they finished fifth in the CIC2*. They most recently won the Plantation Field CIC2* in September. With this latest victory, Coolio will go on holiday and move up to Advanced early next spring.
A longtime patron of VHT, Symansky praised the recent upgrades and continued development of the property: “I’ve been here off and on since I was a kid. I think they’ve made some great improvements. I thought the cross-country course design was really good and [show jumping designer] Chris Barnard did a great job.”
Tim Bourke had been sitting second in the CCI2* with Tracy Zack’s Astrana De La Galerna but withdrew before the final phase. This moved Hannah Whalen and hers and Lauren Pollin’s Didgeridoo into second. Whalen and the 10-year-old Selle Français were fifth after dressage on 47.7 and went double-clear across the country. A rail down and two time penalties gave them a final score of 53.7 to remain in second place.
Hallie Coon and Shanon Baker’s 11-year-old Thoroughbred finished third in their FEI debut, moving up from seventh after dressage to finish on a 55.8. Coon and Lansdowne were faultless on cross-country and added a rail and one time penalty in stadium.
Ryan Keefe and Flintstar led the CCI*-A division from start to finish, ending on a score of 52.1. Ryan and Rumsey Keefe's 17-year-old Thoroughbred added a rail in show jumping to narrowly hold onto first place. Caty Nolan and her 13-year-old Thoroughbred, Man of Conviction, added a single time penalty in stadium to finish on 52.3. Close behind in third was Andi Lawrence and her 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, Cooley Northern Mist, who dropped to third with four added time penalties.
In the CCI*-B division, Molly Kinnamon and her 8-year-old Thoroughbred, Concord Dawn, led the field throughout the first two phases. They jumped a clear show jumping round but added seven time penalties to fall to fifth. Mexico’s Pedro Gutierrez and his 9-year-old Selle Français mare, Unanyme du Loir, show jumped clear, finishing on their dressage score of 43.0 and moving up to take the win.
Daniel Clasing and his 6-year-old Dutch Warmblood, Galileo WP, remained in second place throughout the competition, adding four jumping penalties in stadium to finish on 43.5. Young Rider Alice Roosevelt, 17, and her and Simon Roosevelt’s 9-year-old AES gelding, Fernhill Zoro, moved all the way up from 12th after dressage to finish third on 44.3.
Area II Championships and Team Challenges
VHT is proud to host the 2017 Area II Championships. To qualify, competitors must have placed first through fifth at one Area II event in the last year. The 2017 Area II Champions are:
Preliminary: Ariel Grald and GHF Gosling
Junior/Young Rider Preliminary: Nicholas Beshear and It’sakatthing
Training: Christina McKitrick and Lotte Lenya Q
Junior/Young Rider Training: Skyler Decker and MHS Cooley Vegas
Novice: Kathleen Cannon and Tribal Prospect
Junior/Young Rider Novice: Annabelle Kress and Cooley Streetwise
Beginner Novice: Katie Label and Rock Hard Safe
Junior/Young Rider Beginner Novice: Brynn Hershbine and Cadenza Aria
The Area II Adult Rider Team Challenge is a staple at VHT and had more than 60 horse and rider combinations participating this year. The winning teams are:
Preliminary Team: The Mane Event
Casey Osborne and Heir Apparent
Kathy Cain and Legal Limit
Jennifer Cobb and Little Sorry
Sharon Church and Rose and Crown
Training Team: Bucking Good Fun
Heidi Robertson and Redshift
Hillary Irwin and Harry Cotter
Cindy Anderson Blank and Galerna Campari Mailk
Domenique Carson and FCF Midnight Encounter
Novice Team: CDCTA Unicorns
Kathleen Cannon and Tribal Prospect
Carly Eddahri and La Perle Noir
Suzy Gehris and Taking a Taxi
Cindi Moravec and Holloway
Beginner Novice Team: Reining Chaos
Lisa Austin and CMA Lookndownthebarrel
Suzy Gehris and Watch Me
Tori Nuckols and Gingerman
Ashley Beheler and Noblesse Oblige
VHT hosted the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships in 2016 and 2017 and was pleased to offer a friendly Intercollegiate Team Challenge this weekend, with students from eight colleges and universities making up six teams.
The winning intercollegiate team was a scramble team from University of Virginia, University of Richmond, and Randolph Macon. Congratulations to Sara Schulman and Not for Nothing, Eliza Eddy and LVS Jackson, Erin Kober and Mighty Appeal, and McKenzie Ragan and Surefire’s Anwar.