Show Jumping day at Red Hills International Horse Trials in Tallahassee, Florida shuffled the leaderboard, but not the leaders in any of the FEI divisions.
Marilyn Little on RF Scandalous had a fault-free ride to keep a hold of their top position in the CCI4*-S on a 22.4 after day two. She attributed today’s success to RF Scandalous being a reliable competitor and a careful jumper. “She jumped very well, she was very brave,” Little said of Phoebe and Michael Manders and Jacqueline Mars’ 16-year-old Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Richardia). “Time was definitely a factor, [the course] really kept you on the ball and didn’t give you a second to breathe.”
Little is looking forward to tomorrow’s cross-country. She hopes to capitalize on the long galloping tracks to make up time because the combinations of the three water jumps will slow the ride down. “The course is exactly what I expected, it’s big, it’s beautifully presented, the footing is lovely,” says Little. “It’s a great track and the lines are better than they have ever been.”
Alexandra Knowles riding Katherine O'Brien's 10-year-old Westphalian mare, Ms. Poppins (Congress x Copa Cabana) moved up to second place from seventh with a clear round.
Knowles was “super happy with the round” saying that “Ms. Poppins is a very good show jumper. I wasn’t expecting her to jump clean, but I was hoping she would.” Red Hills is Knowles' first FEI event since 2019 because she had a baby in 2020. She said is a bit nervous, but excited and thinks this will help her as she heads into tomorrow’s cross-country phase.
Colleen Loach on Peter Barry's Qorry Blue D’Argouges, a 17-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Mr. Blue x Hardie Du Bourg) moved to third place from 10th. In response to moving up, Loach said, “Qorry was jumping really, really well. I like Chris Barnard’s courses; he always sets a really good course. I find they are always fair courses, inviting you to have a nice flow and the horses tend to jump well.”
It’s been about six years since Loach has been to Red Hills. Looking ahead to tomorrow’s cross-country, Loach said, “Qorry is an amazing cross-country horse and we have a super good partnership so I feel good about it. I don’t know how fast I will run him; I’ll see how good he feels on the ground.”
Sitting in second after dressage, Tamra Smith’s comment rang true for her ride with En Vogue, Ruth Bley's 16-year-old Hanoverian mare (Earl x Laurena), today. Following a strong dressage day, when asked what she thought about the rest of the weekend, she replied, [En Vogue] is really good on the dressage and awesome in the cross country, and I think her weak link is the show jumping.” En Vogue dropped three rails, falling to the 17th spot.
Lauren Nicholson on Landmark’s Monte Carlo, Jacqueline Mars’ 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Formula One x Glamour) dropped from third place to sixth. “Monte Carlo has always hated show jumping since the first one he ever did,” Nicholson said. “He was actually pretty good today so I was pretty happy.” Nicholson is optimistic for tomorrow as she said Monte Carlo “is a great cross-country horse.”
Leslie Law riding on Voltaire De Tre, Tre’ Book’s 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Gentleman IV x Jasmina Du Fresne) moved up from 15th to fourth place. Law said, “[Voltaire De Tre] rode great today and jumped really well, and we look forward to tomorrow.”
When asked about today’s results for the CCI4*-S level show jumping, Course Designer Chris Barnard said, “I thought the horses jumped great, I think I had a few more clears than I thought I would.”
Barnard’s approach to designing his courses is simple: “The trick for me is building a course that caters to the whole group. You are going to have people doing their first four-star and people that have done 500 of them so the key for me is building for the time of year and at the appropriate level but also not losing confidence for the greener horses or greener riders and not having it too easy for upper-level horses or more experienced riders. I like 30 percent clean, ideally. That’s a nice number in eventing.”
Smith kept her lead in the CCI3*-S with David and Julianne Guariglia's Solaguayre California, a 10-year-old Argentinian mare (Casparo x Solaguayre Calandria) despite dropping a rail, she had the penalties in hand due to her dressage score of 20.1.
Similarly, the top spot of the CCI2*-S remains unchanged with Alyssa Phillips jumping a clear round on her own Cornelius Bo, a 7-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Concours Complet x Charlotte).
In the Advanced division, Jennie Brannigan maintained her lead with Tim and Nina Gardner's FE Lifestyle (Leo von Faelz x Berina A), an 11-year-old German Sport Horse, on a 30.2.
Cross-country gets underway tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. – be sure to follow along with the live scores.
Both the CCI4*-S and Advanced divisions are qualifiers for the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final that will take place at the USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds in August.
"Too plain" is not a description that fits today's wire-to-wire winner of the Twin Rivers Spring International's inaugural CCI4*-L. But that's what Amber Levine heard five years ago after importing the now 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Classe VDL x Walta) as a sales prospect. So, she kept him. His long-delayed debut at the CCI4*-L level proved the wisdom of that decision.
This year’s pre-Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event USEA Official Podcast isn’t a traditional preview show, but rather Host Nicole Brown and the team of Max Corcoran, Rob Burk, and Diarm Byrne are discussing their favorite Kentucky memories as everyone gets giddy for the 2021 event!
At the second-to-last of 40 efforts, "I thought, 'This is actually happening,'" said Amber Levine of a faultless finish with Cellar Farm's Cinzano today to stay on their 31.5 lead going into show jumping tomorrow morning in the Twin Rivers Spring International CCI4*-L. The Jeffs Hot Tub Waves complex at 19 a/b was the awkward exception to a Hugh Lochore-designed course that otherwise "rode great" for the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Classe VDL x Walta) in his long-delayed debut at the level. An entirely new portion of the course around the racetrack featured a series of bright-white painted obstacles, but nothing distracted Cinzano's "tunnel vision for those flags." Levine expects a similar game attitude tomorrow and has a rail to spare.
Black stallion antics after the CCI4*-L jog inspection yesterday were not a preview of Cinzano's dressage test today. "When you are riding and working him, he's all into what you are doing," says Amber Levine, who owns the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Classe VDL x Walta) through her Cellar Farm. A 31.5 dressage test puts them atop a field of four, three of which, including Cinzano, are first-timers in the division in Paso Robles, California.