The second day of the U.S. Eventing Mandatory Outing was a day filled with team spirit, Olympic level riding, and clear cross-country rounds. Only adding time penalties, all riders representing the U.S. jumped clear around Ian Stark’s Advanced level track. Unfortunately, the Canadian rider, Colleen Loach parted ways with Qorry Blue d’Argouges at the water complex only one jump from home. The remaining 11 horse and rider combinations will move forward to tomorrow’s second horse inspection.
The Tokyo team of Liz Halliday-Sharp, Boyd Martin, Phillip Dutton, and the traveling reserve, Doug Payne showed appreciation for their fellow Tokyo teammates. “It’s been my dream to ride with the two of them. They are such wonderful athletes, and so experienced and so professional,” said Liz-Halliday Sharp of Martin and Dutton.
"I thought he was a bit of a weirdo when I first met him!” Boyd Martin said of Dutton while smiling. “I was lucky enough, and obviously green, when I rode with him on my first team for America in 2010. We’ve been on every WEG and Olympic team for the last 11 years. It’s comforting. He’s the guy I turn to and ask for advice. He’s just a great guy. He’s humble, and he’s forever helping other people.”
Dutton and Martin, who are both originally from Australia, are going into their third Olympic Games together as teammates representing the U.S.
Martin, the only rider with two horses, was the first out of the box as well as the last rider out on course. His first ride was with the second direct reserve, On Cue (Cabri de Elle x On High) a 16-year-old Selle Français mare bred by Alyse and Jolyse Clancey, and owned by Christine Turner, Thomas Turner, Tommie Turner, and Boyd Martin. His last ride, and the last ride of the day, was with Tsetserleg TSF (Windfall II x Thabana) a 14-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Christine Turner, Thomas Turner, and Tommie Turner.
“He’s as good as they get, he’s starting to really understand each phase. He’s a real competitor.” said Phillip Dutton of the 13-year-old Zangersheide gelding, Z owned by Thomas Tierney, Ann Jones, Caroline Moran, Simon Roosevelt, and Suzanne Lacy.
Dutton, the 6-time Olympian, is going into his 7th Olympic Games. Dutton’s first three Olympics he represented Australia and helped secure the team gold medal twice (1996 - team gold, 2000 - team gold, and 2004). The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games were the first Olympics that Dutton rode for the U.S. and has been on the U.S. Olympic team ever since (2008, 2012, and 2016 - individual bronze with Mighty Nice).
“It’s a huge honor to represent our country and I’m certainly looking forward to it,” said the traveling reserve, Doug Payne after making easy work of Ian Stark’s cross-country track with the 17-year-old Trakehner gelding, Vandiver (Windfall II x Visions of Grandeur) owned by Debi Crowley, Doug Payne, and Jessica Payne.
“He was super. Eric and I have been working on me riding him a little different and I was actually nervous to change up what I’ve been doing my whole life but, it was amazing,” said the first team alternate, Tamra Smith after her strong cross-country round with Mai Baum (Loredano x Ramira), a 15-year-old German Sport Horse bred by Sachsische Gestutsuer Waltung, and owned by Alexandra Ahearn, Ellen Ahearn, and Eric Markell.
“He’s amazing - he gives me the same feeling as Antigua did,” said the second team alternate, Will Faudree of the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Mama’s Magic Way (Mighty Magic x Hauptstutbuch Straightaway) owned by Jennifer Mosing.“If he gets called up to Tokyo, there’s no better horse I’d be sitting on, especially in the heat.”
The final day of the mandatory training session is tomorrow with the second horse inspection at 8:00 a.m. and show jumping starting at 10:00 a.m.
Make sure to follow the USEA social media for updates and coverage of the event!
At the August USEA Board of Governors meeting, a proposition was brought forth to officially recognize what is commonly referred to as “Starter level” as a USEA division. For many years now, Starter level has been offered as a test at USEA approved events. The decision to recognize the level officially would allow those competing in Starter level divisions to receive recognition on the USEA Leaderboards and to compete at the Starter level at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) in the future. The motion was approved to recognize this level, and the USEA staff have been hard at work preparing all of the rules, guidelines, and standards that will go along with this level’s recognition for the 2024 season.
Karma is developing into one of the fastest and most-reliable cross-country horses in the West. The 9-year-old bay Oldenburg mare and James Alliston won their third-straight blue ribbon together at either the four-star or Advanced level in the CCI4*-S at the Twin Rivers Fall International in Paso Robles, California, with the only double-clear cross-country round on Saturday.
Most couples share a kiss and part ways at 8:00 a.m. as they head off to their own work days, but eventing power couple James and Helen Alliston do it all together. We gave our USEA members the opportunity to submit their questions for this West Coast-based couple, and USEA Podcast host Nicole Brown gets them to share all on many topics: eventing in the U.S. versus the U.K., who is the most competitive of the two, dealing with warmer temperatures, why James likes to drive illegally slow, and so much more!
The Plantation Field International CCI4*-S concluded today with the cross-country phase, and the final standings were nearly a matter of “last one standing.” As Tropical Storm Ophelia brought a torrential downpour to the area, a number of riders decided to opt out: of 39 competitors, only six completed, and 17 withdrew before the start of cross-country.