Doug Payne (Aiken, SC) maintained his lead in both Advanced A and Advanced B divisions at the Blue Ridge Mountain Horse Trials at TIEC presented by EquiSafe Global. Starr Witness, the 2011 Dutch Warmblood mare (Chello III VDL x Veneur) owned in partnership with Catherine Winter and Laurie McRee, added nothing to her dressage score to remain in first with a 25.70 heading into cross-country on Sunday. The same was true for Payne with Quantum Leap, the 2011 Zweibrücker gelding (Quite Capitol x Corporate Report) owned by Doug and Jessica Payne, adding nothing to their 26.10 dressage score to hold onto second place. Matthew Flynn (Potomac, MD) improved from fourth to third, riding Wizzerd to a clear round to keep his original score of 27.30 aboard A. Patrick Flynn, Kathleen Flynn, and Merry Go Round Farm’s 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Wizzerd WV x Oklund).
“These two are both stepping up to the level,” Payne said of his Advanced A mounts after touring the Chris Barnard course design. “Quantum [Leap] has had a little more experience than Starr Witness, but both of those guys responded really well and I think they benefited from the time we spent here in the summer.”
Looking forward to Sunday’s cross-country course challenge set by Captain Mark Phillips, Payne shared that he was “not going to linger” on course: “I think certainly the goal is clearing them all, and trying to be as smooth and efficient as possible. I’m not trying to go crazy fast, but I think if we can be efficient and smooth and soft, then their times should be pretty competitive and hopefully they’ll still come out on top. With Vandiver in the Advanced B, it’s the same way. They’re all in their preparation for the fall championship here in November. Obviously, we’re looking for a confidence-building round, but we’re not going to hang around and linger.”
Payne emphasized that utilizing the venue now to prepare for November’s Tryon International Three-Day Event will benefit his upper level horses as well as the younger mounts he brought along. “I think it’s an incredible opportunity to prep for the remainder of the season, because they are well-built, solid courses, and I think it’s a very good preparation. Having the [CCI4*-L National] Championship here, it’s going to be a different course, but there’s no other place I’d want to be to prepare.”
About his Intermediate and Preliminary mounts, Payne relayed, “We had two younger horses that got to jump in Tryon Stadium that generally wouldn’t. I had one rail down with each of them but was actually really proud of them, because I think it’s such a great opportunity for the developing horses to get in a big atmosphere like that.”
Payne also held onto his lead in the Advanced B division with an untouched score of 23.10 with Vandiver, the 2004 Trakehner gelding (Windfall 2 x Mystic Replica XX) owned by Debi Crowley in partnership with Doug and Jessica Payne. The remainder of the leading trio also remained unchanged after show jumping, with Hallie Coon (Ocala, FL) on 26.90 aboard Celien, the 2007 Dutch Warmblood mare (VDL Tenerife x Hamlet) owned in partnership with Helen Coon, and Ann Goodwin (Aiken, SC) in third on a score of 28.00 after two phases with her own Fedarman B, the 2010 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Eurocommerce Washington x Fedor).
“Vandiver has never jumped better, honestly,” Payne emphasized. “He just keeps getting stronger and stronger, and he’s just got about the biggest heart of any horse I’ve ever had. It’s getting to be a lot of fun with him, actually, because he’s so reliable and jumping great.”
Open Intermediate A concluded show jumping with Will Coleman (Charlottesville, VA) in the lead aboard Chin Tonic HS, the 2012 Holsteiner gelding (Chin Champ x Quinar) owned by Hyperion Stud, LLC, keeping their dressage score of 25.50 ahead of Sunday’s cross-country competition. Leslie Law (Ocala, FL) and Craig McCallum’s Typically Fernhill held onto second place on a score of 26.40 with the 2012 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Dondoctro Ryal K x Castlefield Sarah), and Alexander O’Neal (Reddick, FL) improved to third with Miss MoneyPenny V, the 2012 British Warmblood mare (Talan x Irco Mena) owned by Sally Cox, carrying a score of 27.70 into Sunday.
“He’s been a good horse for me,” Coleman said of his mount. “We’ve taken our time with him, and he’s rewarding us by turning into a nice horse. He’ll probably do a three-star long this fall, and then we’ll probably move him up to four-star next year."
“Chris Barnard built a great track,” Coleman emphasized. “Jumping in an arena like that is such a privilege for us eventers and our horses. It gives us a huge advantage to get to these top-class venues and jump over a really proper set of jumps with a good course. It’s good for our sport and our horses. I loved it!”
Ahead of Sunday’s test on the White Oak cross-country course, Coleman has made his plan and is excited to “give it a whirl,” he concluded: “The course looks great. Mark Phillips designs good tracks. I think there’s a couple serious questions, and there’s plenty to do out there. I hope to just give the horses the best ride I can. We’ll see how it comes out and how [Chin Tonic HS] is tomorrow. I walked the course and have a plan, so now we’ll go and give it a whirl. We’re happy to be here and looking forward to tomorrow!”
Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (Ocala, FL) and Maryville Sir Henry maintained their lead in the Open Preliminary A division after a clear show jumping round, heading into the cross-country phase Sunday with a score of 28.50. Just behind, Mary Bess Davis (Mansfield, GA) rode her own CSF Dassett Decoy, a 2013 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Flipper D’elle x Cruising), to a clear round to sit on a score of 29.60, while Dominic Schramm (Cochranville, PA) and Quadrocana, the Quadrocana Syndicate-owned 2013 Dutch Sport Horse mare (Quadrofino x Ituango XX), held onto their dressage score of 30.00 heading into the final phase.
Maryville Sir Henry, her own 2013 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Sir Shutterfly x Cavalier Royale), “jumped one of the best rounds he’s jumped, which is pretty cool because he’s taken a bit of time to settle in a big environment,” Halliday-Sharp revealed. “So, I was really pleased with him. I’ve not had him very long – I’ve not had either of my Preliminary horses very long – so it’s great to have them go in there and perform like they did.”
Halliday-Sharp hung onto a first-place spot from dressage day, and admitted that her score could actually have been lower: “I had a couple mistakes in the ressage test, if I’m honest – it was not one of our better ones. So, I was pretty pleased to still be in the lead! In another year’s time he is going to be an outstanding dressage horse. He’s a late 7-year-old, and just needs to find himself a little bit,” she shared. “I was very pleased with the score, and it shows what he can become getting that kind of score with a test that’s not perfect, so it’s an exciting future with him for sure.”
Halliday-Sharp has horses across the divisions this weekend, mostly younger mounts, and emphasized that “it’s great to be able to put all our horses in that arena [Tryon Stadium], because it has so much atmosphere and is such a good experience for them. That’s partly why we came with the young ones, too. I’m planning on bringing a few others here in November [for the Tryon International Three-Day Event] as well.”
In the meantime, however, there’s still Sunday’s cross-country course to tackle. Halliday-Sharp is hoping for a win, but a good, smart ride is the ultimate goal: “Obviously, I’d love for this horse to have another win. He’s one that I’m hoping to get some owners involved in, because I think he’s going to be a top horse, so I’d love for him to perform well again. He’s not one that runs slowly well anyway, and it’ll suit him to cover the ground a little bit, so I’m hoping it’ll be a good track for him. I’m going to just give him a good ride and be smart and all that, and hopefully it ends up with a good result for him.”
In the Modified A division cross-country phase Morgan Batton (Aiken, SC) and I’m Sew Ready, owned by Kristine Norton, claimed the lead with a score of 32.70 to date. In second place, Erin Thiel (Norcross, GA) and Colleen Rutledge’s Your A to Z’s hold a two-day total of 34.30, with Batton also taking third aboard her own Jamaican Vacation following closely behind on a score of 34.40.
The Open Novice Division saw Mary Bess Davis (Mansfield, GA) and her own Imperio Magic take the lead with a two-day total score of 25.50, adding nothing to their dressage result. Savannah Smith (Mooresville, NC) and Gotcha Covered landed second place following their fault-free cross-country round resulting in a cumulative score of 27.10. Erika Adams (Knoxville, TN) and Kristie Withrow’s Townsend landed third place, sitting on a two-day tally of 29.80 heading into show jumping.
For full results and live scoring from all divisions, click here.
US Equestrian has announced a horse substitution for the U.S. Eventing Olympic Team ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The Luke Syndicate's Luke 140, the selected mount for Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.), will be replaced by Martin’s first direct reserve, Tsetserleg, a 14-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Christine Turner, Thomas Turner, and Tommie Turner. Luke 140 sustained a minor injury during his training preparation and has been withdrawn from consideration for the team but is expected to make a full recovery.
If we go along with the edict that preparation is everything, then getting the warm-up right for each phase at a competition is crucial and should be treated as though it is as important as what happens inside the arena or on the course. CCI5* rider Jennie Brannigan gives us her top tips for a good warm-up for the jumping phases.
World-class equestrian competition is back with full spectator attendance and opportunities for giving back
After a one-year hiatus for spectators due to Covid-19, The Event at Rebecca Farm will be running at full strength for competitors and spectators, July 21-25. The Event draws more than 600 riders and 8,000 spectators each year to the picturesque Flathead Valley in northwest Montana.
Max Corcoran, President of the USEA & 5* event groom, joins host Nicole Brown. Talking all things from preparations & time management tips to specific top-level grooming insights. Max shares her wealth of experience with us, highlighting that knowing your horse is the most important factor when considering all elements of equine management.