Jul 29, 2023

Sharon White and Claus 63 Take the Lead at Millbrook Horse Trials

Advanced cross-country leader at the Millbrook Horse Trials, Sharon White riding Claus 63. Photo copyright Amber Heintzberger and for use only with the attached press release.

Millbrook, N.Y. - July 29 - Sharon White and Claus 63 (Catoo x Tina II) took the lead after cross-country at the 2023 Millbrook Horse Trials, held July 27-30 in Dutchess County, New York. She’s also standing in 5th place with the 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Shirsheen Ice (Candy Copper x Regal Sting xx), who White co-owns with Kathleen Neuhoff.

"Claus is very experienced," said White who owns the 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding. "I pulled my groin a couple of weeks ago and I’m so exhausted but I thought, ‘Claus will take care of mama’, and he was better than he has ever been before, which is saying something, because he’s a very good cross-country horse. But I’ve always struggled a bit with him pulling down, and while I’ve never liked a Waterford bit, I went ahead and tried one on him today. He was just magical, it was easy, and just so satisfying.”

Heavy rains the evening before cross-country kept the footing soft but not overly muddy and sticky, and White said that course designer Morgan Rowsell’s course was very bold and that the horses could read it easily.

“The horses had really good experiences, and the ones that had more experience just clocked around. It was nice that there’s been rain and for once the ground wasn’t hard, and I didn’t have to worry about pounding them on the hard ground.”

White is also in the lead in Preliminary Division A riding her 7-year-old Westphalian mare Jaguar Duende (Jaguar Mail x Latina).

The overnight leader after dressage, Woods Baughman, said that C’est La Vie 135, a 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I x Anette), owned by Baughman, Kim Baughman, and James Baughman Jr, who he has struggled to contain on the cross-country phase, had his best round yet today and felt much more rideable. However, the gelding pulled a shoe and is footsore, so Woods opted to save him for another day.

Will Faudree, who is Woods' current coach, moved up to second overall with Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables' 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding Mama’s Magic Way (Mighty Magic x Straightaway), when Baughman withdrew. Faudree also holds the fourth place spot riding Pfun, a 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Tadmus x Celerina) also owned by Mosing.

He said, “Pfun and I have a great partnership; he was so excited to be out, he was really taking me to the fences, but I think after the water the heat and humidity were getting to him so I backed off on the pace a little bit and he jumped amazing all the way to the end. He was very proud of himself. ‘Mason’ was the polar opposite, he was so excited to be out and going cross-country and not a lot backed him off, so I had to spend a lot of time getting him set up. He’s not a strong horse, I ride him in a French link snaffle bit, but he was eating the distances up pretty easily so I toned it down on him and he was dragging me all the way to the finish.”

Faudree commented of his student, “I’m so proud of [Woods]…when I started helping him, he was telling me the different bits he’s tried and I said, you can put whatever you want in this horse’s mouth and he was just be stronger you have to change your position. You don’t ever want to take his exuberance away. When I teach, I teach balance, rhythm, speed, direction, in that order; if they can pull you forward, they’ve affected your balance, so therefore they’re in control. He’s a great student and the horse really listened to him today. His mare was also great this morning.”

Out of 26 starters in the Advanced division, 21 jumped clear and only one horse and rider combination, Arden Wildasin riding Sarah Wildasin's 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Sunday Times (Cult Hero x Lackagher Crest) finished within the optimum time. Wildasin and Sunday Times now sit in third place going into the final phase of competition on Sunday.

Beginner Novice through Training level wrapped up the competition with show jumping today, while Preliminary through Advanced levels will show jump tomorrow. Patrons will enjoy a Sunday luncheon in private tents overlooking the show jumping arena. Both the Trade Fair and the Millbrook Market will be open tomorrow, and food vendors will be available on-site. General admission and parking is free of charge.

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