An exciting day of cross-country in the final phase of the Adequan USEA Gold Cup and PRO Tour Series CIC3* at The Fork in Norwood, North Carolina ended with a race against the clock. Tremaine Cooper’s cross-country course was challenging enough, but the optimum time was very tight, and riders and spectators anxiously waited for each competitor’s results to be announced. Many riders in this division are on their way to the Rolex Kentucky CCI4* at the end of April and therefore were not galloping for time. Lynn Symansky exclaimed at the finish line that she did not mean to make time, but she and her 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Donner cruised around the course in style and finished with nine seconds to spare to take home their first international win as a pair.
“The course was riding a little harder than I had expected so you had to be pretty aggressive out there at some of the combinations,” Lynn said. “Donner is a spooky enough horse that he kind of backs himself off. You don’t really have to take a pull on the reins. I never pushed him once, but he was so great out there; It was a nice fitness run. I think it’s good to give them that kind of ride before you go into Kentucky and not canter around. Set the tone.”
Now on her way to Rolex, Lynn is feeling pretty confident despite riding with an injured hand. She said she felt a little rusty in the show jumping, however, and will do some schooling rounds back home in Virginia to prepare. Otherwise the plan is “keep doing what we’re doing and keep the bubble wrap on.”
Jennie Brannigan and Nina Gardner’s 11-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Cambalda were clean and fast, with just 0.8 time penalties to move up from fourth to finish second. With a great overall performance this weekend, Jennie and “Ping” should be feeling very confident about tackling their first four-star at Rolex.
Marilyn Little, who set out in second in the three-star, had an unfortunate run out at the Cheese Wedge with Phoebe and Michael Manders and Raylyn Farms, Inc.’s 8-year-old Wurttemburg gelding RF Smoke on the Water. Marilyn said he had grabbed his shoe at the Trakehner the fence before and then did not have the right rhythm for the narrow wedge as a result. She knocked the flag down with her knee, and Smoke turned around and jumped the narrow wedge without flags. “He was trying to be good. He had already conquered all the hard stuff and made it look easy,” Marilyn said. “It doesn’t change my plans at all for the horse. As far as he thinks, he had a good run.” A double-clear with RF Demeter in both jumping phases rocketed the mare up from 22nd after dressage to finish fourth overall with Marilyn.
Buck Davidson and Carl and Cassandra Segal’s 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Ballynoecastle RM also benefited from a fast round, moving into third place from a tie for ninth. “He’s a treat to ride. Every time I sort of pinch myself and give him a pat partway around the course and think about how lucky I am to be doing this,” Buck said. “I’m really happy for Lynn though, my teammate [at the 2011 Pan American Games]. She’s an awesome girl and she rode fantastic this weekend. I’m really proud of her.”
Though time penalties were a huge factor in the final standings, a couple particular fences caught a number of three-star riders off guard. Many had stops or retired at the coffin, which Marilyn described as a scaled down version of what you would find at Rolex. The ditch was low in a valley and the third element was a very narrow triple brush. “A lot of them just didn’t register the out. They didn’t lock on to it,” Lynn said, having watched many rides in the morning before she tackled the course herself. “I came in pretty forward. The rail in was pretty forgiving so you could ride a little harder in and across the ditch. I just held my line and fought for it.” Two horses in the CIC3* slipped at the rollback from the Yellow Top Table at fence 18, and in the CIC2*, a few pairs were eliminated for jumping incorrect fences. Otherwise the course reported to ride well, the spectators enjoyed being able to see so many fences at a time from various locations, and announcer Brian O’Connor and guest commentator Sinead Halpin had everyone cheering and urging on the riders as the division neared its end.
The top six horses and riders in the CIC2* all finished on their dressage scores, and Lauren Kieffer and Courtney and Kylie Ramsay’s 7-year-old Warmblood Czechmate held onto their overnight lead with a bold, fast round today. “He’s a super classy horse,” Lauren said. “I was able to go out and attack it today since I was in the position to do so, and he really rose to the occasion. He was really class. It’s a forward course and it worked really well for him because he is quite a big striding horse. When he’s galloping he looks kind of slow but he’s covering a lot of ground. So it worked well that I could keep coming into my combinations and not worry about getting too tight.”
Marilyn picked up yet another good finish, putting in a great round with Raylyn Farm’s 8-year-old Holsteiner mare RF Black Pearl to finish second in the CIC2*. Marilyn feels as though this competitive horse could be an asset to the international U.S. team in the future. “I can’t say enough good things about her. I love her.”
In the Advanced, Leslie Chelstrom and her 10-year-old Thoroughbred mare Cecelia posted the only double-clear round in their division, finishing six seconds under the clock for first place. “Today I knew that I was sitting right there and time was a factor, but I just wanted to go out and have a clean round. If the speed was there to be had then I was happy for that, but I just wanted her to have a good confident run,” Leslie said. “She’s always willing to run but where she’s fast is she doesn’t have set up for the jumps. She can just cruise on down and keep on coming. That I think is where I have the time factor on my side. She’s not the fastest galloper in the world but she can run and jump at high speed, and I don’t have to do much in front of the jumps.
Leslie thinks many of the courses this spring ask whether a horse and rider can keep coming forward to fences, which she says is good because then she can’t pick. This pair will “skip around” the Intermediate at the Loudoun Hunt Pony Club Spring Horse Trials later this month before heading to Bromont for the CCI3* in June.
It was a glorious weekend of eventing at The Fork. Thank you to Jim and Bernadette Cogdell for hosting us at their world-class facility, and to organizer Shelley Spielman and the rest of the staff, officials, and excellent volunteers that kept everything running smoothly and often ahead of schedule.
The 37 horses and riders who completed the CIC3* are now qualified for the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Final at the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships in Tyler, Texas. The next stop for the USEA Gold Cup Series is the Chattahoochee Hills CIC3* May 16-19 in Fairburn, Georgia. The PRO Tour Series will head to the Jersey Fresh CCI3* in Stone Tavern, New Jersey May 7-9 before also routing to Chattahoochee Hills.
For full results from The Fork, check Event Entries Live Scoring.
The Adequan USEA Gold Cup features 11 qualifying competitions throughout the United States at the Advanced Horse Trials and CIC3* levels with the final at the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships September 26-29 in Tyler, Texas. Riders who complete a qualifier earn the chance to vie for $40,000 in prize money in the Adequan Advanced Division and the title of Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion.
The Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series is made possible through the support of its many sponsors: Adequan; Nunn Finer; SmartPak Equine; Nutrena; Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency, Point Two; Dubarry; and FITS.
The PRO Tour Series consists of 13 premier destination events in the United States and Canada in 2013 featuring the best riders and most entertainment. Riders and Horses are awarded points on the PRO Tour Rider Leader Board and PRO Tour Horse Leader Board. Riders can also earn points on the PRO Tour Series at the Intermediate or two-star level for the Multi Radiance Intermediate Challenge. The 2013 Multi Radiance Challenge Leader Board Champion will win a Multi Radiance MR4 ACTIVET Portable Laser System.
The Professional Riders Organization would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of the 2013 PRO Tour Series: Martin Collins USA, The Official Footing of PRO; Multi Radiance Medical, The Official Laser Therapy of PRO & Sponsor of the Multi Radiance Medical Intermediate Challenge ; Tex Sutton, the Official US Equine Air Carrier of PRO; SSG Riding Gloves; Finish Line Horse Products; Midlantic Ltd.; and Mythic Landing Events.
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.
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.
The Chattahoochee Hills H.T. is hosting one of three CCI4*-S divisions this weekend across the country and with 34 entries they have the largest turnout as riders prepare for their spring CCI4*-L and CCI5*-L goals. The facility in Fairburn, Georgia is running seven events in 2021, but their April event is the only one offering a CCI4*-S.