Competitors rode to win in the second day of dressage at the third annual Cloud Eleven/Gavilan North Carolina International CIC & H.T. with three riders tied for the lead. Allison Springer & Arthur, Maya Black & Doesn’t Play Fair and Emily Beshear & Shame on the Moon will have to fight it out to remain on top after Marc Donovan’s show jumping and Ian Stark’s cross-country courses. These three ladies will give it all they’ve got tomorrow to take the sole lead and earn their chance at a piece of the $75,000 purse at this Adequan USEA Gold Cup qualifier.
Allison Springer and her veteran partner Arthur made an unsurprising leap into the lead on day two of dressage. Despite a bit of spookiness, the 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Brandenburg’s Windstar secured a 43.10 on the first ride of the day. “A lot of it felt good, but he just felt really spooky this morning,” she said. “I think I’m like most eventers, you always think it could be way better.” Springer knew she had her work cut out for her when she drew the first ride of the day with the Arthur Syndicate LLC’s gelding. “It’s really hard with the time change this time of year. I was riding him in the dark,” she laughed. “The 8:00 a.m. test wasn’t the most ideal situation, but you just have to get on and go.” Arthur showed a few jumpy bobbles, but Springer pushed through the spookiness to show off the gelding’s impressive movements.
Arthur is no stranger to finishing at the top of the pack after dressage, and has become one to watch in this phase. “He’s really great on the flat. He’s a beautiful horse and he’s beautifully trained, but I don’t think many people realize how hard it is to get a good test on Arthur,” Springer described. “The pair are returning to Carolina to prove themselves after an unfortunate fall last year on their way to Rolex Kentucky CCI4* next month. “Last year I fell off in the gallop lane, so I hope to improve on that this year,” she joked. “It’s Arthur, I love him to death and he’s so funny and he’s such a sweet horse but he’s just very aware all the time.”
Maya Black was the second rider of the day to join the leading rank aboard Dawn and Jonathan Dofelmier’s Doesn’t Play Fair (Camiros x Oncoeur). “Cody”, the 11-year-old gelding, arrived at Carolina International after an 8th place finish in the CIC3* at Red Hills International Horse Trials earlier this month. Today the pair improved their three-star dressage score by an impressive 7.70 points, a result of Black’s persistent training on the flat. “The last [score] we had in the low 40’s was a few years ago at Richland and it’s just been a little while coming back to get to that points again,” Black explained. “Every year you get better but sometimes it doesn’t show like that in the ring.”
Last year, Black started training with Karen O’Connor in order to come out swinging this season. “Over the winter I worked to try to figure out how to make his brain better in the ring. The last few years I was trying to really improve how he moved, so that we always had at home, but struggled with the tension in the ring,” Black said. “Now I feel like he’s much more relaxed and able to have a bit bigger movement.”
Carolina international is the gelding’s second to last run before the Rolex, and finishing dressage on this score sets her on the right track. “That was the first test in a while that I was like, ‘that was fun,’” Black smiled. “It’s been a little bit of a struggle trying to show that he can be that good because I know he can. When he’s good, he’s fun to ride.”
Deep Purple Eventing’s Shame on the Moon (Soneset Sieger x Indy) was the last to join the leading position this afternoon ridden by Emily Beshear. The 10-year-old mare performed an accurate and bold test right before the lunch break. The pair managed scores in the low 40’s at their last two three-stars with a 44.50 at Blenheim and 41.30 at Richland Park last fall. The Trakehner/Thoroughbred mare have historically few cross-country jump penalties at the level, so this pair will be ones to watch on Saturday.
CIC3* riders will show jump tomorrow at 10:45 a.m. and the Advanced division kicks off their competition with dressage tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. Don’t forget to follow along tomorrow with live scoring and live streaming. You can also find event coverage by adding us on Snapchat @USEventing, as well as following our social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the Adequan USEA Gold Cup and PRO Tour Series
Qualifying for the 2016 Adequan USEA Gold Cup began last fall with the Richland Park Advanced & CIC3* (MI), Aspen Farms Advanced (WA), Plantation Field Advanced & CIC3* (PA) and the Woodside International Advanced & CIC3* (CA) and features 11 qualifying competitions throughout the United States at the Advanced Horse Trials and CIC3* levels. The final will take place at the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships, September 1-4 in Tryon, North Carolina. Riders who complete a qualifier earn the chance to vie for $40,000 in prize money and thousands of dollars in prizes in the Adequan Advanced Division and the title of Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion.
The 2016 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series is made possible through the support of its many loyal sponsors: Adequan, Standlee Forage, Nunn Finer, Nutrena, Merck, Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency, Pyranha and FITS.
The PRO Tour Series consists of 13 premier destination events in the United States and Canada, featuring the best riders and most entertainment. Riders and Horses are awarded points on the PRO Tour Rider Leader Board and PRO Tour Horse Leader Board.
The Professional Riders Organization would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of the 2016 PRO Tour Series: KER Optimum Time, Tex Sutton, Triple Crown Nutrition, and SSG Riding Gloves.