By the time Katherine Coleman cantered into the show jumping arena aboard Monte Classico she knew that she had a few penalties in hand to take the win, so she took her time to ensure a clean round. The 9-year-old German Sport Horse (Monte-Bellini x W-Sally) hasn’t had a rail down all season and he kept his record intact and clinched Coleman’s first CCI3* win at the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event despite adding five time penalties in show jumping.
“He is a pleasure to ride, and he just really jumps,” said Coleman about Monte Classico. “He moved up to three-star this year and hasn’t had a pole down all season. That is a really nice feeling going into a phase like this when you don’t really have a rail in hand to be sat on something like this.”
Coleman’s win was extra special as she is the first rider to be able to claim the title of CCI3* champion at the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event. While Coleman was excited to have won and thrilled for her horse she said, “I think it is a small class. We are missing some heavy hitters. I feel really disappointed for Tamie [Smith who had to withdraw before dressage], she has such an amazing horse. The leaderboard might have looked a little different, but I couldn’t be happier with this horse. He showed up in every phase and just season this season he has really grown up and is consistently showing up in every phase. I think he is a horse of a lifetime and I am grateful I have the ride on him.”
Erin Sylvester and Frank McEntee’s 11-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding, Paddy the Caddy (Azamore x Slamy) moved up two spots from overnight to finish in second with just one time penalty added today. He also won the prestigious Thoroughbred award offered every year by the Ocala Jockey Club.
Lauren Kieffer and Paramount Importance, Jacqueline Mars’ 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Paramount Importance, (Pasco x Gesche II), lowered two rails to drop from second to third place.
A familiar name was also at the top of the CCI2* leaderboard with Alexander O’Neal and Fury H, Elinor MacPhail O’Neal’s 8-year-old KWPN gelding (San Remo x Miss Marple) jumping clear to win.
“He jumped a great round,” said O’Neal. “I wouldn’t say he was tired at all from yesterday – he felt really fresh. He gave the jumps a few taps, but he really tried in there.”
Fury H is a really good show jumper, so O’Neal said that he wasn’t too nervous because he was confident in the horse’s abilities. “He is a really good show jumper,” continued O’Neal. “He can get quite excited, but he is pretty calm after cross-country and actually jumps his best. I thought that might be the case after a 10 minute course and he was ready to go in there and do the job – I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
The CCI2* was a sizable division packed with some of the top riders from around the country so the win meant a lot to O’Neal. “It is huge. It definitely is the biggest win I have had and to do at home – five minutes from my house with my wife here who picked the horse and produced him.”
Doug Payne was hot on O’Neal’s heels all weekend – sitting just .1 behind the leaders, but despite jumping a double clear with Starr Witness, he couldn’t quite catch the win. The 7-year-old KWPN mare (Chello III x Carmen) is owned by Payne, Laurie H. McRee, and Catherine Winter.
Third place went to Alexandra Knowles and Madeline O’Brien’s Casarino, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cassaro x Rosy M) who moved up from fourth with a double clear show jumping round.
Tamie Smith’s year has been nothing short of action-packed as she packed up all 25 of her competition horses and made her way to the East Coast for the first part of the year before hopping on a jet to Tokyo where she served as the U.S. team reserve for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She then stayed overseas and competed abroad for a little while before returning home to the West Coast. While this year has been full of opportunities to show, her aspirations are bigger than just competition. The 2021 Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year has been full steam ahead chasing goals in both her riding career as well as in her impact on the sport’s future.
Get to know each United States Eventing Association (USEA) Areas a little better in this new series, Meet the Areas! This month’s feature is USEA Area I which is comprised of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Founded in the 1960s, Area I was the birthplace of the United States Combined Training Association (USCTA) which was founded in 1959 and would later evolve into the USEA in 2001. In 2021 just under 800 members made up the membership count in Area I.
Trainers, riders, parents, and more are in for a real treat when the all-new USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels is officially released. Those participating in the 2022 USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) Symposium at Barnstaple South Farm in Ocala, Florida on February 8-9 will be the first to set eyes on this all-encompassing guide that has been two years in the making.
The USEA established the Young Event Horse (YEH) program in 2004 to identify young horses that possess the talent and disposition to, with proper training, excel at the uppermost levels of the sport. While the goal of the YEH program is to identify horses that will be successful at the four- and five-star levels, horses with the potential for lower-level success are also showcased by the program.