Jennings and Kelsey Ann Quinn poised to take USEF National Championship titles.
The Virginia Horse Trials (VHT) International continued Saturday with all phases running concurrently on the sprawling property. Six dressage arenas, two cross-country courses, and a show jumping arena accommodated this year’s record entries.
Following cross-country, dressage leaders Jane Jennings and Ryan Wood remain tied for the lead in the CCI2*-LA. Both combinations went double clear to remain on 29.5. Should both combinations show jump clear on Sunday, Wood and Summit Sporthorses Ltd, Inc’s 10-year-old Oldenburg Ruby (Royal Prince x Dinara) would win the tiebreaker, as they crossed the finish line one second closer to the optimum time.
“All the questions rode well today. It was a fitness test but a lot of horses made the time. The ground was great, the temperature was ideal,” Wood said. “We’re sitting in a good position for tomorrow. It’s going to be a nail-biting finish. Hopefully Lady Luck is on our side. Ruby is a good jumper, but after cross-country anything can happen.”
As the highest placed American in the division, Jennings retains the lead in the USEF Two-Star Eventing National Championship with her 9-year-old Oldenburg mare Kontessa M (Royal Dream x Konja). Jennings was delighted with today’s performance.
“She ate up the course. We lucked out with the rain earlier this week; the footing was perfect. Because we’re still building our partnership it was a really confidence building round,” Jennings said. “She’s a new horse and a different kind of ride for me, but all our hard work is paying off. I was worried about the hills but she was on form. I live in Unionville, Pa., and I use Boyd Martin’s famous hill to condition and prepare.
“She’s good show jumping and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I just need to ride well and stay focused.”
The top two after dressage in the CCI2*-LB switched places following cross-country. Dressage leader Francesca Spoltore and Millstreet Mitch added 4.0 time penalties, dropping to second. That left the door open for Kelsey Ann Quinn, 17, and Julie Quinn’s 13-year-old Thoroughbred Dandy Longlegs (Tahkodha Hills x Shamrock Dancer) to move into the lead with a double clear round.
Friday’s tie after dressage in the CCI3*-L was broken Saturday by Woods Baughman and Masterel, a 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Masterful x Misorella) owned by Denis Glaccum and Sharon White, who produced a stellar double clear cross-country round.
Mikki Kuchta and the 6-year-old Thoroughbred Special Reserve (The Visualiser x Deco Jazz) remain in first place in the inaugural CCI1*-L after a double clear cross-country round. They sit on a two-phase score of 29.7.
Phillip Dutton dominated the CCI3*-S, taking the top three positions after the final phase with Lee Lee Jones’ Fernhill Pick Pocket (36.4), the Sea of Clouds Partnership’s Sea of Clouds (45.2), and Fernhill Mystery (45.4), who is owned by Bridget Colman, Caroline Moran, Thomas Tierney, and David Vos.
Sara Shulman and her own 12-year-old Thoroughbred Not for Nothing claimed the CCI2*-S, moving up from eighth after dressage to win after two fault-free jumping rounds.
Currently leading the 18-team Intercollegiate & Alumni Team Challenge is the combined University of Georgia & Fresno State Alumni team, which joined forces in honor of their shared mascot, the bulldog. Cindy Phillips, Kim Keeton, and Kimberly Steinbuch have a team score of 84.51. View the team scoresheet at this link.
Amanda Walker wasn’t sure what she’d gotten herself into when she went to try Runaway Romeo as a potential sales project in 2018. The gelding was a bit bigger than Walker was looking for and was quite pushy coming out of the stall. When she got on, it didn’t get much better.
For seasoned and novice riders alike, it is always good to revisit the basics. Serving as the foundation for any eventer, the positions used on the cross-country course differ from those in the dressage or show jumping ring. The USEA tuned into five-time Olympian, three-time World Equestrian Games rider, two Pan-American Games rider, and USEA ECP certified coach Karen O'Connor as she walked coaches and students at the USEA ECP Symposium through the basic positions for effective cross-country riding.
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With the recent wrap-up of the 2023 Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) Symposium in Ocala, Florida, USEA Podcast Host Nicole Brown chats with ECP Faculty Members Jennifer Howlett Rousseau and Robin Walker about all things related to the ECP. From the USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels to the benefits of pursuing certification, selecting the best coach for you, recapping this year's Symposium, and more - this week's USEA podcast is the perfect educational tool for coaches and riders alike!