Selena O'Hanlon and Foxwood High are winners of the first phase of competition in The Dutta. Corp/USEF CCI** National Eventing Championship. Owned by John and Judy Rumble, the 14-year-old Canadian Sport Horse earned a personal best score of 39.4.
"Foxwood High felt a little bit fitter in the ring today which was great because he put it to good use. Being that much older he's started to become more rideable in the ring, so I was pleased that he didn't let it get the better of us," O'Hanlon said. "In general the horse has just been leading up to this and I'm super excited to break into the thirties."
Second place belongs to Colleen Rutledge and her own Covert Rights, an 11-year-old Thoroughbred Cross, who earned a standout score of 39.8. "'CR' is really cool because he always feels good even when I'm wrong, so it's just amazing to ride a horse like that. He's my homebred and I love him to pieces," she said, though she admits she still strives for an improved test. "It's polishing the little details. It's getting his walk to be just slightly more relaxed. He tries so incredibly hard. He almost tries too hard to do what I want, and sometimes he needs to tell me no. That's what makes him just so amazing."
Buck Davidson and Ryan Wood share third place on a tied score of 40.3 with Carlevo and Powell, respectively.
The very last horse in the ring today, Carlevo proved himself to be the best of Davidson's three rides in this division. "He's sort of hovering always around 40s. He's very consistent. He's a beautiful mover. He's nice to ride in the arena, and he's just getting stronger and more mature as we go, so I was very proud of him," he said of the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Carlevo LLC.
For Wood, Powell's dressage success is celebrated, but not without looking forward to Derek di Grazia's cross country track.
"We got our personal best dressage score, so I'm very happy. He's a very nice horse. Really rideable in the ring and he's flashy and we were able to go through mistake free. To be able to perform like that is pretty exciting, but there's a long way to go. Cross-country looks pretty challenging. It's relentless, and Derek [di Grazia]'s got questions going all the way to the end, so you're going to have to have a fit horse and stay sharp," Wood commented.
The top of the leaderboard remained unchanged for The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI** National Eventing Championship, with Tamra Smith and Sunsprite Syrius maintaining their lead. Owned by Sunsprite Warmbloods, the 9-year-old Trakehner carries a score of 40.9 to the cross country phase, where Smith expects a tough challenge.
"I always feel like the two-star here is almost like a three-star," she said. "With the terrain and the technicality, it's serious. I haven't really seen a two-star harder than Fair Hill. I think he's up for it and ready to go, so I'm excited."
North American Young Rider silver medalist Cornelia Dorr moved into second place with her own Louis M. The 12-year-old Rheinlander gelding was given a score of 48.1. "He was slightly behind my leg throughout, and it was a little bit more difficult than our test at Young Riders. I didn't quite have them up there with me, but he was super and as always did his job," she smiled.
Allison Springer and Lord Willing moved to third place. The Lord Willing Syndicate's 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding obtained a score of 48.3 to lead the way for Springer's three rides in the division.
"I have three wonderful young horses in the two-star. I'm really excited about it. My horses were fantastic. All three put in their best tests to date. Lord Willing was wonderful. He's a wonderful horse to ride. I was thrilled with all three horses," Springer said proudly.
We all work hard to get our horses shiny and clean for competition day, but it can sometimes take a bit of extra elbow grease to get those grey or white horses looking their best. Rachael Livermore, head groom for Sharon White at Last Frontier Farm, shares some of the tricks she uses to get Sharon's horses looking spick and span - and it starts with everyday care!
This is it! The weekend we've all been waiting for is finally here - the return to competition has arrived! After nearly three months of suspended competitions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the country and the world, riders are shining up their boots and preparing to trot down the centerline. While our "new normal" will certainly look different than things did before the pandemic, these new regulations are in place for all our safety.
The return to competition upon us! This week on the show Nicole Brown is joined by Sinead Halpin Maynard to talk about how you can make sure you and your horse are prepared to get back to competing.
This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).