It seemed almost too good to be true – 75 degrees and not raining? Not your typical Morven Park International Fall CIC3* cross-country day. Heading into the first phase of the competition in Leesburg, Va. there were 15 pairs entered in the CIC3*, 13 in the Advanced, and five in the Advanced Area II Championships. However with many horses having run last two weeks ago at Plantation Field CIC3* and many aiming for the Fair Hill International CCI3* in two weeks – withdrawals were the name of the final day.
Caroline Martin rode Sherrie Martin’s 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, The Apprentice, to the win in the CIC3*. They scored a 30.7 in the dressage for fourth place and moved up to third after a double clear show jumping round. Both first and second places withdrew, so Martin went into cross-country as the leader. She added 15.2 time penalties, but had enough in hand to keep her lead.
Martin showed her consistency by adding exactly 15.2 time penalties to her second ride, Danger Mouse’s score as well. She finished in third place with the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding.
Colleen Rutledge and Confidence Game had the fastest round of all three divisions by a mile and moved up from 11th to take second. This was only the 8-year-old Thoroughbred stallion’s (Morluc x Pam's Ruckus) second attempt at the level.
It was a wire-to-wire win for Lynn Symansky and the Donner Syndicate’s RF Cool Play, a 10-year-old German Sport Horse gelding (Condors Champion x Roxana) in the Area II Advanced Championships. They finished 37.2 points ahead of second place, Ema Klugman and Jeni Klugman’s 18-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Bendigo.
Kim Severson and the Cross Syndicate’s Cooley Cross Border had a great run across the country to hold on to their overnight lead in the Advanced division. Not only did the 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Diamond Roller x Whos Diaz) win, they were also the only pair to complete all three phases in the class.
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.