On the final day of the Virginia Horse Trials, Colleen Rutledge and C Me Fly jumped a clear round in the third and final phase of the USEF CCI* Eventing National Championship to claim the title. In the USEF CCI*-JR/YR Eventing National Championship, it was Isabel Finemore and Rutherglen that emerged victorious, also jumping clear to become national champions.
In contention for the top spot throughout the entire competition, Rutledge (Frederick, Md.) and her 6-year-old Westphalian mare, entered the show jumping phase sitting in second place. C Me Fly put in a flawless jumping round, jumping clear and within the time allowed, to finish on their cross-country score of 30.30 and claim the national championship title, awarded to the highest-placed U.S. athlete 22 years of age or older
“[C Me Fly] is a fantastic little creature,” gushed Rutledge. “She is a 6-year-old and her barn name is “Ci-me.” She is a recent import from Germany with some amazing bloodlines that I feel so fortunate to actually get ahold of. She has exceeded every expectation that I have had for her all year, hands down.”
“I couldn’t have asked for [C Me Fly] to be any better across this entire weekend,” continued Rutledge. “It was a completely different horse for me, and we were in completely unchartered territory for me. Even though we have show jumped after cross-country in some of the recent events, we’ve never show jumped after cross-country with that length and that amount of terrain…Historically, my weakness has been show jumping, and I have been working really hard to not only improve my eye, but to improve my horses’ elasticity and flexibility and their ability to stay on a 12-foot step. [C Me Fly] is naturally just an exceptional show jumper, and I am just so fortunate to be able to keep working on myself with something like her that is just starting her career. She just gives me so much more confidence; she helps me out. She has one of the most magnificent brains that you will ever meet. She reads questions; she is so smart and so brilliant at so many things.”
Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and Ringo Star, an 8-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Helle Goodrich, also jumped a clear round to finish on their cross-country score of 30.70 and second place in the national championship. Abby Maude (Colts Neck N.J.) and Stonehavens Dream, her 9-year-old Holsteiner mare, would come from the fifth place position to also jump clear and round out the podium, finishing in third place in the national championship with a score of 33.40.
Isabel Finemore and Rutherglen Capture USEF CCI*-JR/YR Eventing National Championship Title
A clear round in show jumping also earned Finemore (Clinton Corners, N.Y.) and Rutherglen the national championship title in the USEF CCI*-JR/YR Eventing National Championship, awarded to the highest-placed U.S. athlete between the ages of 14 and 21. Finemore and the 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding finished on their cross-country score of 33.20, in their very first one-star event.
“It was great [from the] start,” said Finemore. “[Rutherglen] was fantastic in the dressage. Unfortunately, he had a coughing fit, so we were a little concerned that maybe this wasn’t his weekend, but he really pulled through. Cross-country was great; he flew, just a little bit of a miscalculation with me and some timing. And then show jumping, perfect. So, I am very happy.”
“[Virginia Horse Trials] was very fun, and it was really nice to be here,” continued Finemore. “I got a little bit more nervous as [the weekend] went on. Show jumping is always frightening, so that was a little bit nerve wracking, but everything else was great. I know that [Rutherglen] knows what he is doing.”
Finemore and Rutherglen’s partnership is fairly new, as the gelding was ridden with great success in numerous four-star events with British athlete, Andrew Hoy. Finishing 13th individually in the 2012 London Olympic Games, Rutherglen made the transition to schoolmaster earlier this year.
When asked about their relatively new partnership, Finemore said, “Originally, when I found out about [Rutherglen], I was ecstatic. He is a four-star horse, and I wasn’t sure if I would be big enough or strong enough, but he is so kind to me. He is very, very thoughtful and it was very easy to build a really great partnership with him.”
Kelsey Ann Quinn (Finksburg, Md.) and Dandy Longlegs, the 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Julie Quinn, were leaders through the dressage and cross-country phases. Eight faults in the show jumping round dropped the combination to second in the national championship, finishing on a score of 40.90. Close behind was Dylan Philipps (Pittsboro, N.C.) and Fernhill Fierce, a 10-year-old IrishSport Horse mare he owns with Meredith Philipps, finishing third with a score of 41.40.
The spring eventing season in the Midwest is always a toss-up due to unpredictable weather. Will it rain, will it be sunny, or will it be a snowstorm? No one knows! Mid-America Combined Training Association’s (MACTA) first cross-country schooling of the season was cancelled in March due to extremely muddy footing conditions and by the time our April dates came around, COVID-19 was in full force and we were unable to host our cross-country schooling and schooling show.
The FEI has published its Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at assisting organizers and national federations with the safe resumption of international equestrian events in line with national and local restrictions.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) has approved additional modifications to the qualification period for the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. The AEC is scheduled to take place August 25-30, 2020 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, and the USEA is doing everything possible to ensure a safe and successful Championship, while also ensuring fair opportunities for all.
This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).