Raeford, N.C. - March 26, 2022 – Known for influential cross-country tracks, this year’s Cloud 11~Gavilan North LLC Carolina International CCI and Horse Trial, presented by Lumbee River EMC lived up to its reputation with cross country shuffling the leaderboards, crowning new champions, and seeing history made as Will Coleman became the first back-to-back winner of the Setters’ Run Farm CCI4*-S.
When Tamie Smith elected not to run overnight CCI4* leader, Mai Baum, it left the door open for Coleman to defend his 2021 title. Sitting in second place after the first two phases with Team Rebecca LLC and the Four Star Eventing Group’s Dondante a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Pachio, Coleman set out with determination, posting one of three double clear rounds, ensuring history would be made while finishing as the only combination on their dressage score.
“My horse is great. He is a big horse so going around a course like that fast isn’t the easiest for him but he tried so hard. There’s a lot to be excited about with him and hopefully, he just keeps on getting better. I have a really incredible group of owners that have been with him since he was 4 in Team Rebecca and the Four Star Eventing Group and it was great to be able to deliver a win for them,” Coleman said. “I have had a great time as always here. I just love this event and the people that organize it. The courses were great, and the entire operation here is really in a class of its own. I am thankful to have my entire village as well as I couldn’t do it without them!”
Moving up a spot with a quick cross-country trip was Doug Payne and Laurie McRee and Catherine Winter’s Starr Witness. Starting the day in third, Payne and Starr Witness (Chello III x Carmen), an 11-year-old KWPN mare added only eight seconds of cross-country time to assure himself of a top-two finish. The 2018 winner, also finished in fifth, 11th, and 17th with his other mounts.
“Starr Witness was incredibly good. She is just getting stronger and stronger. She started eventing late so it took a little longer to get her base fitness there. She was really confident, and I couldn’t be much happier and excited for the future for her,” said Payne about his ride today. “The ground was honestly perfect and there has been a ton of work done to it. It really showed and the conditions couldn’t have been better.”
Will Faudree and Sterling Silver Stables and Jennifer Mosing’s 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Pfun (Tadmus x Celerina) repeated their 2021 third place performance with a fault-free trip. Faudree posted two of the day’s three fault-free rounds with Pfun and Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables’ Mama’s Magic Way (Mason).
“My horses were perfect today, and they are just so fun. Mason really showed his maturity and experience and Ted and I know this ground so well. I thought Ian Stark designed a brilliant cross-country course. It was big and impressive, and the Carolina Horse Park has gone above and beyond in making the footing the best in the country. You wanted to go fast on it,” said Faudree.
With cross-country time proving equally influential in The Cordelia Family Foundation’s CCI3*-S, double clear rounds were rewarded with a huge climb in the standings. Starting cross-country in 10th place, Christina Henriksen and longtime partner JTH Zest, the 11-year-old British Sport Horse mare (Zamboucca x Maybee Baybee) delivered a beautiful quick, clear trip that vaulted them to the top of the leaderboard.
“She just really loves competing. She was incredible and just gave me the most amazing feeling all the way around. My plan was not to run quickly actually but she is just so smooth making it all feel easy,” said Henriksen. “This winter was very different for me, but it has really worked. I came to Southern Pines and have been based here working with Bobby Costello. Having the consistency of Bobby has been amazing and it really all came together this weekend.”
Henriksen finished just ahead of local rider Ariel Grald and Annie Eldridge’s Isla de Coco with Julie Wolfert and her own, Sheri Gurske, and Renee Senter’s SSH Playboy rounding out the top three in the CCI3*-S.
The Breezeway Sporthorse and Diagnostic Clinic and Friendship Mobile Veterinary Imaging and Sports Medicine CCI2*-S saw the biggest leaderboard shakeup after cross-country. When the dust settled, it was Lucia Strini who came out on top riding Plain Dealing Farm’s Kevin G, a 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Dakar.
“I just love this event and the horses were really great. The course also couldn’t have been better. All the horses kept trying for me all the way to the end because I set out to go for time,” Strini commented about her day. “I was really impressed by my sister’s horse, Kevin G, who won. It’s only his second start at the level and he was just so great. He learned so much and gained so much confidence as he went. I am just super proud of how they all went and stepped up.”
Strini also had two other rides in the top five with Plain Dealing Farm’s FE Caspian finishing third and Plain Dealing Farm’s Keynote Dassett in fifth to cap off her great day of cross-country.
Splitting Strini’s horses in the top three was Sharon White and Abigail Niles’s Ginger II finishing on their dressage score.
Rounding out the day’s action was the Dark Waterspoon LLC/Crown Sport Horse CCI1*-S with Olivia Coolidge being the only FEI rider to hold their first-place position. She and her own Bold Impression, a 16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Bolductiv x Good Impressions), were quick and clear to take home the title in the inaugural running of the division.
“My horse was awesome. He is a cross-country machine and if anything, it is just a matter if I can ride him. I liked how much galloping there was because I could really focus on taking everything out of stride. That was our first FEI (event) so there were a lot of years of work leading up to this. I really couldn’t be happier,” said Coolidge.
Rounding out the top three in the CCI1*-S was Sandra Holden and her own Evil Munchkin and Nikki Scherrer with Jill Tallman’s Bold Tiger.
Carolina International is also hosting Training through Advanced level horse trial divisions, which got underway Friday with dressage, and will conclude their competition Sunday with their final jumping phases.
For more information about the event, visit https://carolinainternationalcci.com/.
The countdown is on for the 2022 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds! This year, the USEA AEC moves to the beautiful Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana. The AEC will move back to the Kentucky Horse Park in 2023, so if you have ever dreamed of riding in the Flathead Valley of Montana with views of Glacier National Park, you won’t want to miss this year’s very special opportunity.
USEA Podcast host Nicole Brown is joined by USEA CEO Rob Burk and USEA President Max Corcoran to look back on the highlights of the season so far. From the big five-stars to the road to Pratoni and what to look forward to this year.
When Auburn University’s Alayna Backel jumped the final jump on her cross-country course today you couldn’t even hear the announcer over the mob of Auburn students, fans, and family members standing at the finish flags. As the last member of the Auburn War Eagles team to compete at the 2022 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships, Backel’s double-clear cross-country round with Amy Dobbins’ 17-year-old Halflinger gelding Oliver Twist (Aurora x Ludora de Las Perlas) solidified Auburn’s first victory at the Intercollegiate Championships in three years on a cumulative team score of 79.23.
It has been three years since Auburn University has clinched the title of USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Champions, but the team aimed to rectify that at the 2022 Championships by sending six teams to compete, one of which, the Auburn War Eagles, sits in the pole position following the first day of competition.