Raeford, N.C. - March 24, 2022 – After a wet start to the Cloud 11~Gavilan North LLC Carolina International which saw start times pushed back temporarily for a brief rain delay, California’s Tamie Smith danced into the lead in the Setters’ Run Farm CCI4*-S with her longtime partner Mai Baum (Loredano x Ramira), Eric Markell and Ellen and Alex Ahearn's 16-year-old German Sport Horse gelding.
Smith and “Lexus” as he is affectionally known earned top marks all the way through their test from the moment they entered at A. Earning the best dressage score in the history of the CCI4*-S with a 20.7 to sit nearly seven points ahead of second-place rider, Will Coleman on Team Rebecca and the Four Star Eventing Group’s Dondante, the 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Pachio. It was a Carolina International debut to remember for Smith who made the journey from her base in Temecula, California, to prepare for the Mars Badminton CCI5* in England in six weeks’ time.
“Lexus was great. We have such a solid partnership that dare I say it is almost easy now. He is only doing the dressage and show jumping this weekend in preparation for Badminton, but I think jumping on the grass tomorrow will be a super test before we go to England,” detailed Smith. “It’s been awesome being here, everyone has been super accommodating and helpful. It’s the first time my horses have been out since last fall so they were all a little bit excited to be out, but they all were fantastic,” she added about the rest of her day and her time at the Carolina Horse Park.
Defending his CCI4*-S title from a year ago, Coleman is sitting in a familiar position on the leaderboard but with a different mount this year in Dondante. Putting in the best FEI test of his career, they earned a 27.4 to start Coleman’s title defense strong.
“I was really pleased with Dondante today. He is feeling a little bit more established and confident and while there are always some areas we can clean up, but he was great today. My team and I have been quietly confident that he was capable of getting some better marks and I am just thrilled for his owners, Team Rebecca and the Four Star Eventing Group who have been a part of his career from the start,” said Coleman.
Rounding out the top three in the CCI4*-S is Doug Payne with Starr Witness (Chello III x Carmen), Laurie H. Mc Ree, Catherine Winter, and Doug Payne's 11-year-old KWPN mare. Known for producing good tests with a sub-30 average at the CCI4* level, they are nipping at Coleman’s heels on a 28.7.
“It was a big atmosphere, and I am just honestly really proud of her,” Payne said of Starr Witness. “It was her best test at the level I thought, and she went in and stayed so focused. Last summer and fall we didn’t event her much and stayed home to really work on her flat work and jumping preparing her with this in mind. I couldn’t be more pleased, and I am really looking forward to the jumping phases,” he added.
Caroline Martin started her weekend off strong in The Cordelia Family Foundation CCI3*-S. She not only leads the division with her and Sherrie Martin’s Redfield Champion, an 8-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Diarado x Calinka), but also sits third and sixth with her own and the Hoff Family’s Galwaybay Blake and the HX Group’s King’s Especiale. Additionally, Martin sits in the top 10 in the CCI4*-S with her own Islandwood Captain Jack and in third in the CCI2*-S with her own Galwaybay Redfield HSH Connor capping off a brilliant day of dressage for her.
“Redfield Champion is just phenomenal. Paul Hendrix sourced him two years ago and he has been brilliant ever since. To have a horse that really wants to come out and win every day is an incredible feeling and it was great to see all his talent reflected in the marks today. He is only 8 and both Blake and King are 7 having just stepped up to the level this year so to see them all sitting at the top of such a competitive division is so rewarding,” Martin said about her day.
Leading the way in the Breezeway Sporthorse and Diagnostic Clinic and Friendship Mobile Veterinary Imaging and Sports Medicine CCI2*-S after dressage is Dominic Schramm with the Quadrocana Syndicate’s Quadrocana, a 9-year-old German Sport Horse mare (Quadrofino x Rocana II). Earning a 25.2 from the judges, they positioned themselves firmly atop the leaderboard with their nearest challenger, Elinor O’Neal and Sally Cox’s Koraline sitting in second on a 28.6.
“I thought Quodrocana did a lovely test, and she deserved every mark she got. She has always been a super nice horse on the flat but for one reason or another something has always popped up. I thought today everything really came together and she did her best test,” Schramm said about his ride today. “I’m looking forward to the weekend ahead and jumping on the grass tomorrow as I have found it is good practice and exposure,” he added.
In the small but mighty Dark Waterspoon LLC/Crown Sport Horse CCI1*-S division, Lily Dal Cin and her own FE Bobby Dazzler, a 9-year-old Polish Warmblood gelding (Sokrates x Bramina) earned the best mark of the day, a 26.4, to lead the class going into the jumping phases this weekend.
“FE Bobby Dazzler was super today, and I am just thrilled with him. We had an amazing warm up and he was so relaxed going into the ring. He was obedient, and I was thinking he might have been a bit looky once he got into the ring, but he was so focused. This is both of our first FEI and he couldn’t have been better,” said Dal Cin. “I am really excited to be able to jump in the Derby Field tomorrow and I think the cross-country course looks great,” she added.
All four FEI divisions will show jump tomorrow starting at 10:00 a.m. with The Cordelia Family Foundation’s CCI3*-S. The Setters’ Run Farm CCI4*-S will show jump at 1:00 p.m. followed by the Dark Waterspoon LLC/Crown Sport Horse CCI1*-S at 1:50 p.m. with the Breezeway Sporthorse and Diagnostic Clinic and Friendship Mobile Veterinary Imaging and Sports Medicine CCI2*-S rounding out the day’s show jumping at 2:40 p.m. The thrilling cross country finale will conclude the international competition on Saturday.
Carolina International is also hosting Training through Advanced level horse trial divisions, which get underway Friday with dressage.
Click here for live scoring.
Working round the clock since the event ended last year, the staff of the Carolina Horse Park has been building, developing, and managing the grounds with this event in mind. With the addition of a newly built competitor tower and several exciting changes on the cross-country course as well as the addition of the CCI1*-S division, this year’s event is set to be the best yet.
For more information about the event, visit https://carolinainternationalcci.com/.
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