0.1 – that is all that separates the top two spots on the MARS Great Meadow International CCI4*-S leaderboard in a world-class field of riders. The top 20 all scored sub-20 with the remaining 48 riders all bunched closely together. Yesterday the Great Meadow CCI4*-S dressage record was broken and today another two riders also came in under the old record.
The 2018 Great Meadow Champions, William Coleman and Off The Record (VDL Arkansas x Drumagoland Bay), the Off The Record Syndicate’s 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse, scored a 21.9 – the gelding’s best ever dressage score by 5 points. Judges Peter Gray and Valerie Vizcarrando rewarded “Timmy’s” test with second place.
“Well he sometimes he doesn’t feel quite as good as he can look, but he came out today and I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a good day or a bad day – he was pretty stiff warming up, but he has always been a horse that savors competition and getting into the arena and he really just delivered a steady test. I was very pleased. My wife and my whole team have been working really hard on this horse and it was nice to see some fruits for all of their labor,” said Coleman of Timmy’s test.
After finishing third at the Tattersalls CCI4*-L in May of 2019, Timmy had the rest of the year off and only had his first run back in July of 2020 – winning a Preliminary at the War Horse Event Series. They followed that run with the Fair Hill CCI3*-S just a few weeks ago, so looking ahead to the rest of the weekend Coleman is planning to take it phase-by-phase.
“Timmy loves to go for it, but we need to take it one day at a time,” Coleman explained. “Tomorrow is show jumping and we will try to jump a clean round, hopefully. He is still building back up to all of the form he was in – or maybe even better than the form he had in 2019. We have the big picture in mind, but we love Great Meadow and we certainly would like to give it a crack.”
Every eventer handled the shutdown of competitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic from the end of March to June differently and for Coleman it had its plusses and minuses.
“On the one hand you do miss the competitions – it helps your training going to competitions and being able to test out what you are working on and seeing how you will perform when the pressure is on, so it has been hard not to have that from a training perspective,” he said. “But on the other hand, it has just been nice to be home with my family and our horses and continue working on ways to get better and focusing on what we can focus on times when you can’t compete. It has been nice, but I am glad to be back out. I think all of us have been hankering for these events to run again.”
Also hot on the heels of the leaders is Kim Severson and her longtime partner Cooley Cross Border who scored a 22.1 for third place. “I think ‘Crossy’ is happy to be out, huh?” said Severson of the Cross Syndicate’s 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Diamond Roller x Whos Diaz). “He's learned a lot in the last year and a half – he's solidified a lot of things, in particular, his flying changes. He finally fixed his once change that I struggled to get. He needs to be a big stronger in his medium trot – that's always been his weakest thing, so we're still working on that.”
Crossy got injured at the 2018 Pau CCI5* and was off for a year. He started back into work last November and was able to fit in one Intermediate run in February before the shut down. He ran again in the Advanced/Intermediate at the Virginia Horse Trials last month as prep for Great Meadow.
“It's the same thing he's been doing all along anyway,” said Severson of Crossy’s time in quarantine. “Just bringing him back all together and getting him going. Honestly, he's had a lot of hacking time and light work. He came back from Chattahoochee [in February] and he basically has just been doing a lot of trotting and some dressage and some jumping here and there. His base should be quite good.”
The CCI4*-S show jumps tomorrow before heading out on cross-country on Sunday afternoon. Of David O’Connor’s course Severson said, “I think the course looks fantastic. It's a relatively straightforward course, but I think that's probably appreciated with what's going on. I know for [Crossy], because he hasn't done a lot, it looks pretty great for him. And of course, the ground is perfect, so we're going to show jump tomorrow, see how that goes and proceed from there.”
As USEA members prepare for the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, the USEA is pleased to share “The Business Toolkit For Eventers” from our educational partner STRIDER. This webinar is part of their popular Professional Development Series for Equestrians, which features experts from across the horse industry speaking on business topics relevant to equestrian sport.
If you look at HSH Blake’s competition record, it won’t take you long to understand why Caroline Martin is dreaming big with the7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. Owned in partnership by Caroline Martin, Sherrie Martin and Molly Hoff, HSH Blake (Tolan R x Doughiska Lass) has already seen much success in his short career, collecting the championship title at the 2020 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse East Coast 5-Year-Old Championship, several top 2 finishes at the CCI2* level and multiple top 10 finishes at the CCI3* level since stepping up this year.
How we breathe is speaking volumes to our horses every step of the ride. Physical Therapy concepts about the breathing muscle of the diaphragm, the ribcage, and the nervous system open up awareness for proper breathing mechanics in and out of the saddle. Practical ideas for using breathing as your new riding aide are also provided!
Adult rider Dan Kreitl recently claimed his first FEI win in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI 4*-L Eventing National Championship, but his eventing story traces way back to his Dressage roots in high school. USEA podcast host Nicole Brown sat down with Kreitl to talk business, family, and, of course, eventing with the Muncie, Indiana native.