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Sun, 2016-04-10 17:40

Black Bests the Rest in The Fork CIC3*

Maya Black and Doesn't Play Fair. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.

Maya Black kept a solid grip on her lead in the Adequan Gold Cup CIC3* division this afternoon Doesn’t Play Fair. Tied for second after dressage at The Fork International Horse Trials in Norwood, N.C., the pair bumped into first after a clear show jump round yesterday. Dawn and Jonathan Dofelmier’s “Cody,” a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding positively zoomed around this track today finishing 15 seconds underneath the optimum time, which was the fastest round in the three-star. The pair ended the weekend on their dressage score of 41.80.

“He was pretty fresh at the start and in the warm up,” she said. “It took me a few fences to get into a good rhythm, but after I got going everything rode quite well.” Black piloted the enthusiastic gelding well despite his exuberance, and said running this event was great feedback on her spring training.

“I wanted to get around safely and confidently and use this to move forward,” Black said. “It was nice having the hills at the end because that is exactly what I wanted to practice. Letting him gallop up the hills, and letting him gallop down the hills and looking at where we’re at rideability wise and what we need to work on [before Kentucky]. It feels like some of the pieces are coming back together again because the horse is very capable of winning at this level, so it’s nice to have that show that our hard work at home is paying off.”

“Mainly I have to learn to ride him a bit at speed and I think this was a great run,” she added. Not having a string of upper level horses, Black mentioned earlier this week that the gallop fences here would be some of her best opportunities to practice. The 15.2 hand dynamo also seemed more keen than ever, dragging Black to the fences even at the end of the course. “I have to work harder to get him back for [combinations]. Where they walk long, I have to work harder to get him back because they don’t ride long for him. They ride short,” she said “Going into Kentucky again it’s good for me to make sure he’s in the right balance for the combinations because he has such a huge stride for his size.”

Lauren Kieffer and Veronica. 

Lauren Kieffer finished second in this big CIC3* division aboard Team Rebecca LLC’s Veronica (Pacific x Kimbel). The 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding easily navigated around this Tremaine Cooper track adding only 1.2 time penalties to her original dressage score, which ended the pair on a 43.30.

After skipping the Carolina International this year, the mare came to the Fork off of a win in the Advanced division at Red Hills International last month. “I let her pick her own pace,” Kieffer said, and that pace was right on enough to earn a top three finish. “She’s only run at Red Hills, so she was quite keen to get out there.” Kieffer also reported this track tested her fitness well, and she’s planning on simply maintaining the mare until Kentucky.  

After a solid ride around the three-star track, Kieffer had an unfortunate fall off Landmark’s Monte Carlo, another of her rides also slated for the four-star at the end of the month. She reports that both she and the horse are okay after the uncharacteristic end to their cross-country. “I’m going to try to get him into the Intermediate at Ocala next week. I feel like it was a fluke thing, so I’m not panicking much,” she said.

Collen Rutledge and Covert Rights. 

Rounding out the top three was Colleen Rutledge and her own Covert Rights (BFF Incognito x Let’s Get It Right), a 10-year-old Thoroughbred cross gelding. “CR,” has been on a hot streak this spring, winning his first FEI event this spring at Pine Top Horse Trials, and then placing 6th in a huge CIC3* division at Carolina International.

“He was fantastic. He was really super and rideable,” Rutledge said. “There was a moment where he shifted his shoulders a bit at the angles brush [at 6bc], but he was really honest. He’s just so easy to ride and he’s game for everything.”

CR is headed for a second trip around Kentucky this month, and Rutledge is eager to best their 11th place finish last year at the gelding’s first four-star. “Making the dressage a little more of the show that it can be, adding a bit more rideability where I need rideability and adding a little more sparkle where I need sparkle [is the plan for Kentucky],” she said. 

Following the top three ladies, Phillip Dutton claimed the next three spots finishing fourth with Mighty Nice, fifth with Fernhill Cubalawn and sixth with Indian Mill for a fantastic showing for the veteran rider. 

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About the Adequan USEA Gold Cup

Qualifying for the 2016 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Championship began last fall with the Richland Park Advanced & CIC3* (MI), Aspen Farms Advanced (WA), Plantation Field Advanced & CIC3* (PA) and the Woodside International Advanced & CIC3* (CA) and features 11 qualifying competitions throughout the United States at the Advanced Horse Trials and CIC3* levels. The final will take place at the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships, September 1-4 in Tryon, North Carolina. Riders who complete a qualifier earn the chance to vie for $40,000 in prize money and thousands of dollars in prizes in the Adequan Advanced Division and the title of Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion.

The 2016 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series is made possible through the support of its many loyal sponsors: Adequan, Standlee Forage, Nunn Finer, Nutrena, Merck, Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency, and FITS.

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