Great Britain’s Izzy Taylor recorded her second success of the week at Millstreet in Co. Cork as she won the feature Noel C. Duggan Engineering CCI3* on the closing day of the 2017 Millstreet International Horse Trials. Riding Alex Phillips 15-year-old warmblood gelding ‘Perfect Stranger,’ the regular visitor to Ireland and recent winner of the CIC3* class at Kilguilkey House International was lying in second place after dressage and cross-country, just behind New Zealand’s Blyth Tait (Havanna van’t Castaneahof). Sunday’s show-jumping action was influential and the time allowed proved hard to get. Tait had two horses placed in the top three coming in to the show jumping arena and proved that a clear round inside the time could be achieved with his first ride, ‘Darius.’ The winner of the Connolly’s RED MILLS CIC3* class the previous evening, Izzy Taylor delivered a clear round timed to perfection with ‘Perfect Stranger’ and put the pressure on the overnight leader. Last to jump with ‘Havanna van’t Castaneahof,’ Blyth Tait’s chances of success came to an unfortunate end early in the James Tarrant-designed track when he lowered the first two fences. Proceeding to incur two time faults, Tait dropped down to third place behind his first ride.
First-time visitor to Millstreet from the USA, Jennie Brannigan picked up just a single time penalty to complete in fourth place with Stella Artois. In December 2016, Brannigan received the USEA Foundation's Rebecca Broussard Developing International Rider Grant and Cory Walkey, Beth Lendrum, and Elsbeth Battel’s 2008 Holsteiner/Thoroughbred mare received the USET Foundation's Connaught Award to further their education competing abroad. These grants enabled Brannigan to take Stella Artois to compete in Ireland.
"I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported Toddie and I this weekend," Brannigan said on her Facebook page. "I was thrilled with her the whole weekend and I think this was such an important step for both of us! She jumped clear today with one time to come fourth and had earned herself a long vacation. It was great to watch so many of the U.S. riders do so well this weekend and I am proud to be one of them!"
"I have endless people to thank, but I really just want to say thank you to the Rebeccca [Broussard] International Rider Grant for making this trip possible," continued Brannigan. "This weekend really made me hopeful for the future and put some demons to rest. Thank you as well to the Connaught Grant for choosing Toddie last year . . . the countless lessons and things I have been able to because of that support is incredible."
Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Rubens d’Ysieux, Rubens d’Ysieux Syndicate, LLC’s 2005 Selle Français gelding (Balougran x Orenda D'Ysieux) also represented the U.S. to finish ninth in the CCI3*.
All eyes had been on the British-based rider, Jonty Evans, on Saturday afternoon when he headed into the deciding cross-country phase in the Connolly’s RED MILLS CIC3* class with ‘Cooley Rorkes Drift.’ The 2016 winner and pathfinder for the class, Izzy Taylor (Be Touchable) produced what turned out to be the only clear round inside the optimum time to retain her title with the Sophie Dodds’-owned gelding. Making his first competitive appearance on the 11-year-old gelding having secured ownership after a €550,000 crowd funding campaign, Evans and ‘Art’ looked set to maintain their runner-up position in the class, but an unfortunate slip on the flat just before the Global Event Horses Wallis Water complex (16) saw them part company and ended their chances, leaving the door open for American visitor Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border, the Cross Syndicates, 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Diamond Roller x Whos Diaz) to move up to second place having added just 2.4 time penalties to her dressage score. Andrew Hoy moved up the leaderboard to take eventual third place with Rutherglen. The Australian native was making his first trip to Millstreet with his wife Stefanie and new-born daughter Philippa Isabel Jane. Dublin’s Ciaran Glynn proved to be the best of the Irish, taking fourth place with ‘November Night.’
U.S. rider, Hannah Sue Burnett, also finished ninth and 10th with her pair of Jacqueline Mars owned horses. The 15-year-old Oldenburg mare, RF Demeter (Rubin-Royal x Patricia) ended in ninth on a 55.4 – a mere .1 penalty ahead of Harbour Pilot, the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Cruising x Shannon).
We all work hard to get our horses shiny and clean for competition day, but it can sometimes take a bit of extra elbow grease to get those grey or white horses looking their best. Rachael Livermore, head groom for Sharon White at Last Frontier Farm, shares some of the tricks she uses to get Sharon's horses looking spick and span - and it starts with everyday care!
This is it! The weekend we've all been waiting for is finally here - the return to competition has arrived! After nearly three months of suspended competitions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the country and the world, riders are shining up their boots and preparing to trot down the centerline. While our "new normal" will certainly look different than things did before the pandemic, these new regulations are in place for all our safety.
The return to competition upon us! This week on the show Nicole Brown is joined by Sinead Halpin Maynard to talk about how you can make sure you and your horse are prepared to get back to competing.
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).