Dan Kreitl (USA) and Kay Dixon’s Carmango (Chirivell x Templer GL XX) were the winners of The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI 4*-L Eventing National Championship hosted at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC), finishing on a score of 40.0. In second place the Reserve National Champion was Liz Halliday-Sharp (USA) riding Ocala Horse Properties’ Deniro Z, the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zapatero x French Buffet XX), finishing with a score of 40.6. Completing the podium was Phillip Dutton (USA) and Anne, Caroline, and Michael Moran’s 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare Azure (Omar x Cavalier Royal) with a score of 42.6.
It was both Kreitl and the 9-year-old Westphalian gelding Carmango’s first CCI4*-L, and Kreitl’s first FEI win, making it extra special for the pair as they edged out Halliday-Sharp by 0.6 points. It was a storybook weekend from centerline to starting box to stadium finish timers, he recapped.
“I was really happy with Carmango to get steady tests in the dressage. He’s a really consistent horse, and I was happy with him there. Then on cross-country, it was our first CCI4*-L division for both of us and it was definitely challenging enough, and took some scrappy riding, but I’m super proud of the horse. I was curious how he was going to feel today, and show jumping has never been our strongest phase, but he had a lot of jump. I was thrilled with his fitness and how he recovered.”
For Kreitl, as a non-professional competing at the highest levels for the first time, the win was surreal as he sat between Halliday-Sharp and Dutton at the Dutta Corp. press conference. “It’s amazing to end on such an epic high, and to win against these legends in the sport. As an amateur, I look up to them, and I’ve always thought someday I’d love to be able to be up there and win,” he explained. “It was kind of a pipe dream, so it’s super fun to actually get to live it out here today.”
Tryon International Equestrian Center and Tryon Stadium in particular are known for an electric atmosphere, and this energy was just enough for Kreitl and Carmango after some hairy moments in the past, he revealed:
“I appreciate the atmosphere and the big stadium here. This horse, in Kentucky this year, spooked badly at the atmosphere, and it’s nice to be able to have venues where he can get more exposure. I think it’s a great venue for that.”
As the newly-crowned Dutta Corp./USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Champion, Kreitl is the proud new owner of a $20,000 ticket grant that will allow him to travel abroad to compete with Carmango at the competition of his choosing in 2023. He concluded that he hadn’t let himself get his hopes up by dreaming of where he would go with the ticket, but now gets to make that choice.
“I haven’t considered where I would go, because I was like, ‘let’s just cross this one step and get it done first!’ I’ve been in the lead coming into Show Jumping before, and haven’t won. I’m super excited, though, and definitely can’t wait to take advantage of this awesome opportunity to go overseas. I think it’s a gift of a lifetime, and an opportunity I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. So I’m super thankful for such an awesome, awesome opportunity.”
Karl Slezak (CAN) and his own Hot Bobo won the CCI3*-L at the Dutta Corp. Tryon International Three-Day Event with a score of 31.8 after three phases. In second place was Shannon Lilley (USA) and Kevin Keane’s 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding Clueso (Clarimo x Caretano) with a score of 33.3. Finishing in third was Bruce Davidson Jr. (USA) and Shahrzad Khayami’s Stracathro Solitary Minstral, the 13-year-old British Sport Horse mare (Solitair x Beheshi Ahurahazda) with a score of 36.2.
After a tough three phases with lots of movement in the leaderboards, Slezak and the talented 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare Hot Bobo took the win, despite Slezak breaking his hand prior to the event, he revealed
“Before I even got here I broke my hand, so I didn’t have a great start. Once I got here, and she settled in really well, I was excited. She was a little spooky on dressage day, so it wasn’t quite the test I was hoping for, but we kind of worked our way back up. I’m very excited about her. She was a rockstar yesterday [on cross-country]. She was feeling feisty today, so I had a good feeling going into show jumping.”
The pair were one of few contenders to go double-clear in the cross-country phase, with Slezak saying, “She was on fire. She’s a little on the small side, and I have had to baby her a little bit over the years. We’ve had some ups and downs. This year, though, she’s come up really, really strong and wanting it. She was all about it yesterday: she was running fast and just locking on to everything. Usually she’d spook at jumps [while] galloping by, and she didn’t care at all about anything, so I was very excited by that.”
The longtime partnership between the pair, and Slezak’s belief in his ride showed in their performance over the last three days. “We bought her as a four year old as a sale horse from the Monart Sale in Ireland,” Slezak explained, “and she was just a bit too spooky for people when they would Cross-Country school her, so I never sold her. From the get-go, I just loved her. She’s been amazing. She is actually my favorite horse in the barn, and I love her to death. Anybody who knows me thinks it’s ridiculous how much I love her.
“I’ve been so excited about her, and she’s finally had her time to shine,” Slezak beamed. “So, I hope to aim her at the Pan Am Games next year. She’s a phenomenal jumper and it doesn’t feel like there’s a limit yet. I’m very, very excited.”
While Slezak has not been to TIEC in awhile, after this weekend he aims to make it a regular stop, he shared. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been here. The only time I’ve ever been here before was for the test event for WEG in 2018. They’ve done a great job and it has changed so much. They’ve definitely done a great job of organizing it and trying really hard to just keep making it better for us. So that’s exciting to have a venue like this. Hopefully we’ll be back in the spring for the CCI4*-L.”
Julie Wolfert (USA) and SSH Playboy, the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (by Cit Cat) owned by Sheri Gurske, Renee Senter, and herself, won the Dutta Corp. Tryon International 3-Day Event’s CCI4*-S Division with a score of 55.3. In second place was Ariel Grald (USA) and Anne Eldridge’s 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding Forrest Gump 124 (Amaterasu x Amerigo Vespucci XX) with a score of 55.4. Finishing in the third place position was Cosby Green (USA) riding Edie & Clay Green’s Highly Suspicious, the 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (by Russel) with a tied score of 55.4, with the dressage scores being used as a tie-breaker.
Kevin Keane (USA) and his 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Sportsfield Candy (Condios x Cruising) won the Dutta Corp. Tryon International 3-Day Event’s CCI2*-L Division with a score of 25.7. Boyd Martin (USA) and the Barney Rubble Syndicate LLC’s 8-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Barney Rubble (Cador 5 x Glockenklang), finished in second place with a score of 27. In third was Olivia Dutton (USA) and Caroline Moran’s 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding Carlchen (Clinton x Lordanos) on a score of 27.4.
Liz Halliday-Sharp (USA) took the top two positions in the Dutta Corp. Tryon International 3-Day Event CCI1*-L Division, keeping both spots throughout all three phases. Riding Deborah Palmer’s Maybach, the 6-year-old German Sport Horse (Millennium x Heraldik XX) she took the win with a total score of 22.3. Her own Newmarket Cooley, the 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, finished second with a score of 28.6 on the weekend. In third was Ashley Adams (USA) and her own 7-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, Quicksilver Grans (Camaro M x Feliciano), with a score of 29.1.
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Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.
When super groom Max Corcoran mentioned in 2005 that it would be fun to participate in a USEA Classic Series event, her employer and eventing legend Karen O’Connor took that to heart. “I did a lot of grooming for the classic format when Kentucky and all those other competitions were proper long format,” Corcoran shared. “When Gretchen [Butts] started offering the Classic Series at Waredaca [Gaithersburg, Maryland,] she asked if I would come up and do some lectures to help people understand what the 10-minute box was and how to pack for it. I did that a few times and said to Karen, ‘Man, it would be so fun to do one of these.’ And so Karen's like, 'You want to do one? Yeah, you're gonna do one next year.'”
Has this horse quality? The answer is definitely yes. This first impression is so important. As a selector for the Goresbridge Go for Gold Event horse sale, I have an abbreviation ‘GPO’ which stands for "Good Pull Out." It means that the first look prompts the potential client the need to bring the horse out of his box for a further look.
It was a beautiful but chilly weekend in the pines at the Setters' Run Farm Carolina International. After a record-setting 19.4 in the CCI4*-S dressage, Will Coleman became the first three-time winner in the event's history when he led from start to finish on Hyperion Stud's Chin Tonic HS.