Show jumping kicked off this morning at 9:00 am for the CIC3* riders. 27 pairs rode around Chris Barnard’s course in the main arena, and spectators enjoyed the views from the VIP tent as well as the sideline bleachers, which quickly filled up as the sun began to shine.
With only four double-clear rounds, it was clear that riders needed to utilize the most direct lines and shortest routes to their fences, in order to jump inside the adjusted time of 79 seconds. Overnight leaders Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot (Cruising X Shannon) jumped clean with just 2.0 time faults to maintain their lead heading into the cross-country phase later in the day. Overnight reserves, Courtney Cooper and Who’s A Star unfortunately took down two rails, which equates to 8 jumping faults, as well as added 2.0 time faults to their score, removing them from top contention for the time being.
Madeline Backus secured one of those four double-clear rounds aboard her own P.S. Arianna, which began her day’s progression. The pair was placed 18th after dressage, and after jumping double-clear around Barnard’s course, they moved up to 11th, and then succeeded to move up even further, securing the 4th place position after jumping clear and adding just 7.6 time faults on cross-country. The pair ended the weekend on a very respectable score of 69.8.
“William (Harbour Pilot) was great in the arena today - but not so much in the show jumping warm-up. He actually bucked me off and ran away while warming up,” Burnett said while laughing. “One of my good friends caught him and brought him back to me, and I got back on and then he jumped beautifully. Sometimes he needs to be a little crazy and then he’s well behaved. But I’m glad he performed well where it counted.”
“In the cross-country warmup when he’s normally nervous, he was actually standing quietly today, and then cantered around the course nicely, so I was really happy with him. I thought the course was quite tough, especially the first water complex. The distances were difficult there, but the rest of the course rode really nice for me. William is so experienced, and I got to cruise around with him and enjoy it. He jumped fantastic, and I had a blast,” said Burnett.
Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot. USEA Photo.
Jessica Phoenix took down one rail and added 2.0 time faults to her dressage score in the show jumping, but then had a beautiful ride around Mike Etherington-Smith’s CIC3* cross-country course with Don Good’s Trakehner gelding, Bentleys Best (Hirtentanz X Hauptstutbuch Baronesse XIII). The pair looked on their game across the land, and finished the weekend on a 69.6 in third place.
Jessica Phoenix and Bentleys Best at the second water on the CIC3* cross-country course. USEA photo.
“He was just so much fun, Phoenix said about the 10-year-old gelding. “All weekend long was just so much fun, and he feels like a new man this year. He’s strong now and just playing at the level which is so great, and I certainly thought the (cross-country) course rode really tough. Like Hannah (Burnett) was saying, the distances were tough and you had to wait until your horse jumped in and then see what to do next. You had to have plan A, B, C and you had to ride off your instinct.”
Jennie Brannigan slowly moved up the rankings after each jumping phase with Nina Gardner’s Thoroughbred, Cambalda (Balda Beau X Cathy’s Lady). Jumping clear with just a little bit of time added in each jumping phase, the pair ended up taking home second place on a cumulative score of 66.9.
“Ping (Cambalda) is a wonderful horse,” stated Brannigan. “He had some time off, and it’s great knowing that he can still come out and produce after not doing much for a while. I feel lucky that I can still focus on other horses and home, and then have him come out and do this well, this quickly. He felt rusty, but he felt great on cross-country. It was fun to have my good old friend back.”
Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. USEA photo.
The top three riders all commended the Red Hills organizer, Jane Barron and all the staff on the facility, and also how the cross-country footing has improved. They each agreed that the footing was greatly improved this year and that the effort is very much appreciated by all the riders.
The Advanced division just did cross-country today, and will show jump tomorrow afternoon. Overnight leaders Selena O’Hanlon with John and Judy Rumble’s Foxwood High maintained their lead, adding just 2.0 time faults to their dressage score. They head into the final phase on a 32.2 with Whitney Mahloch and Military Mind following close behind on a 34.5. O’Hanlon cannot afford to take any rails down in Chris Barnard’s course tomorrow, and will have to ride efficiently and carefully to not add much time to her score as well.
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The 2017 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Championship features 11 qualifying competitions throughout the United States at the Advanced Horse Trials and CIC3* levels. Qualifying began last fall and continues through August with the final will take place at the USEA American Eventing Championships, August 30 – September 3 at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, 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 2017 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series is made possible through the support of its many loyal sponsors: Adequan, Standlee Forage, Nutrena, Merck Animal Health, Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency and FITS.