It was another great day of competition with even better weather here at the Woodside International Horse Trials, with the CCI3*-S through Introductory levels finishing up their dressage followed by some late afternoon show jumping for all FEI levels as well as Advanced and Intermediate.
Chris Barnard's course with assistance from Kelly James was a flowing course that required a forward stride with adjustability in the combinations. With only seven clear in the CCI4*-S, there was a lot of movement happening in the placings. While the top three remain unchanged, Lauren Billys and Emilee Libby shot up the leaderboard with efficient clear rounds.
The CCI4*-S riders can look forward to some new combinations out on course tomorrow from course designer Ian Stark and course builders Bert Wood, Louis Blankenship, Adri Doyle, and Timothy Ringhoffer. "The riders will have to think and ride their lines, but I think it’s probably moved it on a fraction we’re a little more technical, a little bolder. We’re asking a little more of the riders and I think we need to for the riders to go on to the top level,” Stark stated.
In the CCI3*-S, Tamie Smith and Solaguaryre California (Casparo x Solaguaryre Calandria), David and Julianne Guariglia's 9-year-old Holsteiner mare, continue getting better each outing with this being the pairs sixth event together and second FEI. This mare has yet to have any jump faults on cross-country and Smith definitely isn’t looking to change that. Smith is one-two in this division so it will be hers to lose.
In the CCI2*-S, Lauren Billys and Can Be Sweet, her own and the Can Be Sweet Syndicate's 8-year-old German Sport Horse gelding (Candyman x Tres Belle), shot up to first place after a double clear show jumping round. Sophie Click unfortunately had a rail that was not originally recorded that knocked her down to third. The division is separated by only a couple of points so there will be no room for error out on course tomorrow. The pressure is on for Ian Stark's cross-country course.
Down in the dressage courts, Hawley Bennett-Awad showed that she spent her quarantine drilling the flat and it paid off today with her own and the Jollybo Syndicate's Jollybo (Jumbo x Polly Coldunnell), a 16-year-old British Sport Horse mare, scoring a 26.30 in the Open Intermediate. Hawley had an unfortunate rail in show jumping this afternoon to put David Koss and Anna Parson's 8-year-old Oldenburg mare Crescendo (Corcovado x Can't You See) into the lead, but they remain neck and neck.
In the Open Preliminary, Amber Levine wowed everyone scoring a 17.80 giving her a 5.90 lead over Rebecca Braitling in second place. Both Preliminary divisions will tackle the cross-country tomorrow.
All the major contenders passed the eventing final horse inspection at the Tokyo Olympics and will carry on to contest the show jumping phase in a few hours’ time.
The ground jury (Nick Burton, GBR, Christina Klingspor, SWE, and the U.S.A.’s Jane Hamlin) and vets only failed to accept one horse - Fantastic Frieda, ridden by Poland’s Joanna Pawlak, who had completed the cross-country in 41st place with a refusal and 25.2 time-faults.
The FEI has announced that the Swiss horse Jet Set, ridden by Robin Godel has had to be euthanized after pulling up extremely lame on the Sea Forest Cross Country Course during Equestrian Eventing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on August 1, 2021.
In 2002, at the age of 15, I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Maine while Tremaine Cooper was there building some cross-country jumps. I helped him build a trakehner, not realizing that this day would set the course for my future. A few weeks later he called asking if I could help him at Millbrook Horse Trials. From there I helped Tremaine during most of my school vacations and throughout the summers. After graduating high school I kept at it never looking back. I lived the gypsy lifestyle for about six years going from coast to coast and event to event. In 2013 my wife Kathryn and I settled down in Lexington, Kentucky. These days I spend roughly 60-75 percent of my time on the road preparing events or building private schooling areas. I’ve had the privilege of being involved with some really great events around the states and have cultivated many friendships all over the country. In 2019 I was asked to be a part of Team Evans Olympic cross-country building crew. As I write this I am on my third trip to Tokyo. Here’s a day in Tokyo . . .
The British team cemented their gold medal position at the Tokyo Olympics with three magnificent cross-country performances, all clear inside the time. Added to that, their first rider, Oliver Townend, holds pole position individually after the dressage leader, Germany’s Michael Jung, picked up 11 penalties for triggering a frangible device.