Category Archives: World Equestrian Games

USA Takes Top Three at World Equestrian Games FEI CRI 3* Reining Test Event

Dan Huss and Ms Dreamy. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

TRYON, NC, USA – May 13, 2018 – The all-American podium stood tall after the completion of two days of FEI CRI 3* competition hosted at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), in Tryon, North Carolina, alongside the first installment of the Carolina Classic at TIEC. The week served as the eighth and final Test Event ahead of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 coming to the venue this fall, from September 11-23.

FEI combinations took to the newly constructed Indoor Arena, located at the main entrance of TIEC, to test their skills against some of the discipline’s biggest names from Thursday, May 10-13. The first day of competition saw 22 competitors contest the USEF Selection Trial First Go on Thursday, May 10, before welcoming back 20 of the original entries. Ultimately, Jordan Larson (USA) and Dan Huss (USA) both walked away with the blue ribbon, tying on a composite score of 450.

Huss entered the second round sitting in first place after scoring 224 points aboard Frederick Christen’s Ms Dreamy, a 2010 Quarter Horse mare (Magnum Chic Dream x A Gal With A Gun). Larson improved upon his first-round score of 222.0 to share top honors riding ARC Gunnabeabigstar, a 2011 Quarter Horse stallion (Gunnatrashya x Wimpys Little Chic) owned by HDC Quarter Horses, to an impressive second-round score of 228. The young Cade McCutcheon (USA) followed just behind on a total score of 446 points aboard Custom Made Gun, a 2011 Quarter Horse stallion (Colonels Smoking Gun x Custom Made Dunit) owned by McQuay Stables, after receiving a 222.5 in the first round and a 223.5 in the final competition.

All three riders are hoping to return to represent the United States at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) in September and Huss commented that he’s been waiting for the right horse to come along in order to pursue contention.

“Basically for me, I was just waiting for the right horse,” he explained. “I usually share [Ms Dreamy] with a Non-Pro, but obviously the mare is too old to do the derbies, so Fredrick [Christen] said I could show her at the FEI level. It would mean a lot to me to represent the U.S. I came with the intention of winning here. I’m not a guy that has a big ego, but I wanted to win here and I want to win at the WEG. I have some room to improve yet and I’d have to beat my fellow teammates because they’re tough.”

Huss, of Scottsdale, AZ, complimented the TIEC show organizers for hosting the venue’s first reining event. “I think Tryon did a great job hosting their first reining competition. From what I understand they’re putting stalls in here in the Indoor Arena, so it’ll all be under one roof and I think it’ll be pretty nice.”

Larson, a seasoned WEG competitor based in Valley View, TX, echoed Huss’ sentiments about what a USA-hosted Games means, stating, “It’s awesome to have the WEG return to the US. It’s really cool to be able to represent our country here at home. It was awesome to go to France, but there’s even more pressure I think to represent well here, so we’ve got our work cut out to get ready for the next one and be even better.”

Commenting on his significant improvement in score between the first and second round, Larson had nothing but praise for his mount. “This horse is a good one,” he emphasized. “He’s been really good to me. It seems like he keeps getting better and better and when it counts he’s at his best. In the first round I tried to play it safe and he was kind of messing around with me a little bit, but when I call on him for everything he is great.”

The pressure of the USA team selections definitely weighed heavily on all competitor’s minds, Larson explained, saying, “There’s always a lot of pressure. We have really high expectations of ourselves and because we’re hoping to be on the team to represent the USA, the pressure goes up,” he admitted. “But, that’s what we thrive on, so we have fun doing it.”

Cade McCutcheon, whose 18th birthday is in a few short weeks, is also looking for the chance to represent his country, with his sights set on being the youngest reining competitor to ever compete in the history of the WEG.

The Aubrey, TX native ran the stallion Custom Made Gun, whom his family raised and his grandparents own, to third place after putting in a near perfect round. “It means a lot to come here with the likes of Jordan [Larson], Casey [Deary], my dad [Tom McCutcheon], Shawn [Flarida] – I’ve never had to do that. I’ve always been in the Non-Pro, which isn’t easy, but it’s easier than this. It meant a lot and it was a big honor to just show here, and a bigger honor to be where I’m at.”

Riding beside his father, WEG Gold Medalist Tom McCutcheon this week, the young talent commented, “It’s a cool deal being a third generation reining competitor. Not a lot of people can say that. I just hope I do as well as they did if I make it on the USA Team. It means a lot to me to be able to do this sport with my family. It makes it way more fun, and they have the experience that will help me get through the team and the individual phases.”

Further discussing his family legacy, McCutcheon also noted the incredible accomplishments of his multi-generational equestrian family. Despite being the youngest rider in the FEI CRI 3* this week, McCutcheon commented on the benefit of the experience as he looks towards a bright future.

“Maybe there’s a little more pressure coming from a reining family, but I don’t think very much. My parents don’t put any pressure on me, and it wouldn’t make a difference to them if I marked a 208 or a 220, as long as I’m having fun.”

For more information, visit www.Tryon2018.com.

Larson and Huss Tie for Gold, McCutcheon Bronze at WEG Reining Test Event

Larson and Arc Gunnabeabigstar (Photo by Waltenberry)

Mill Spring, N.C. – In an important step towards being named to the U.S. Reining Squad for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) Tryon 2018, U.S. reining athletes contested the WEG Reining Test Event and USEF Selection Trial this week at the Tryon International Equestrian Center on Thursday, May 10 and Saturday, May 12.

With scores compiled from both evening’s rounds, it was Jordan Larson and Dan Huss leading the way for a gold-medal tie and ending on a combined score of 450.0. Larson (Valley View, Texas) and Arc Gunnabeabigstar, a seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion owned by HDC Quarter Horses USA, LLC, sat fourth after Thursday’s round with a score of 222.0. Huss (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Ms Dreamy, an eight-year-old Quarter Horse mare owned by Christen R. Frederick, won Thursday’s round on a score of 224.0.

Larson was part of the gold-medal U.S. Reining Team for WEG in Normandy, France in 2014 and is excited about the possibility of representing the U.S. again. “It was cool to go to France, but I think it is even more pressure to represent well here. We have our work cut out to get ready. That horse is a good one. [Arc Gunnabeabigstar] has been really good to me and it seems like he just keeps getting better. When it counts, he’s his best. When I ask him for everything, he’s his best.”

“For me, I was just waiting for a nice horse,” laughed Huss. “She is a Magnum daughter out of a Gunner mare. It would mean a lot to me [to represent the U.S. at WEG]. I’m not a guy with a big ego, but I came here to win this and I want to win the WEG. I have some room to improve. I have to beat my fellow teammates, because they are tough.”

A third-generation reiner and on the cusp of his 18th birthday, Cade McCutcheon claimed the bronze medal at the USEF Selection Trial. McCutcheon (Aubrey, Texas) and Custom Made Gun, a seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion owned by Tim and Colleen McQuay, were tied for second after Thursday’s round. The combination held their own in the second round to end on a score of 446.0. Should McCutcheon’s place on the U.S. Reining Team for WEG be finalized, he would become the youngest U.S. athlete to represent reining at the Games.

“It means a lot to come here with the likes of Jordan [Larson] or Casey [Deary], my dad, and Shawn [Flarida],” said McCutcheon. “I’ve always been in the non-pro, which isn’t easy, but it’s a lot easier than this. It is a big honor to get to show here and a bigger honor to be where I am at. It means a lot to be able to do this sport with my family; it makes it way more fun. My parents don’t put any pressure on me. It wouldn’t make a difference to them if I marked a 208 or a 220, as long as I am having fun.”

Full results for the WEG Reining Test Event and USEF Selection Trial can be found here.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

TIEC Hosts Carolina Classic and World Equestrian Games Reining Test Event, May 8-13, 2018

The Carolina Classic at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) marks the first ever reining competition held at the venue, and the event is also serving as the selection trials for Team USA. All competitions will be held at the Indoor Arena, and all Carolina Classic competition is free and open for the public to attend. Concessions and vendors are available on hand.

The show’s expanded schedule also includes the Carolina Classic Open and Non-Pro Derbies and Atlantic Breeders Incentive Derby along with a double slate of National Reining Horse Association ancillary classes, American Quarter Horse Association classes and USA Reining classes.

Please visit www.tryon.com or call (828)-863-1000 for more information.

US Equestrian Names Short List for FEI World Equestrian Games U.S. Dressage Team

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian has named the Short List for the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) Tryon 2018 The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team. The Short List will compete in designated Observation Events throughout the summer.

The following horse-and-athlete combinations have been named to the Short List (in alphabetical order):

Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) with Patricia Stempel’s 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding Danilo

Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.) with her and Curt Maes’s 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Verdades

Ashley Holzer (New York, N.Y.) with Diane Fellows’s 11-year-old Hanoverian mare Havanna 145

Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (Haymarket, Va.) with her and Mary Anne McPhail’s 14-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Lonoir

Adrienne Lyle (Ketchum, Idaho) with Betsy Juliano’s 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion Salvino

Kasey Perry-Glass (Wellington, Fla.) with Diane Perry’s 15-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Goerklintgaards Dublet

Steffen Peters (San Diego, Calif.) with Four Winds Farm’s 11-year-old Rheinlander mare Rosamunde and Four Winds Farm’s 10-year-old KWPN gelding Suppenkasper

Sabine Schut-Kery (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) with Alice Womble’s 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion Sanceo

Combinations will be required to compete in a minimum of two Observation Events. The Observation Event schedule, as well as the complete Selection Procedures, for the 2018 WEG The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team can be found here.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018 Test Events Conclude

Chester Weber and team during the Cones phase. ©Sue Stickle Photography & ©TIEC.

TRYON, NC, USA – April 23, 2018 – Chester Weber (USA) maintained his hold on the lead through the Cones phase of FEI CAI 2* Four-in-Hand competition as part of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) Dressage, Driving, and Para-Dressage Test Events at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), guiding his team to victory after blazing cleanly through the Richard Nicoll (USA)-designed course. The all-American podium remained unchanged from day two: Weber landed on 159.38 points after three days, while Misdee Wrigley-Miller (USA) maintained second place after driving Bravour, Beau, Bolino D, and Calipso to a score of 173.34 on a clean run, and James Fairclough (USA) finished in third with Bento V, Citens, Dapper and Zenden on a final penalty score of 180.21.

Weber spoke highly of his day-three team, consisting of Amadeus, Asjemenou, Gouveneur, and Ultra, and explained that he added Gouvenuer into the team after testing potential WEG contender, Reno, in his place for the Marathon phase. “I drove the Dressage team again, which was my plan from the beginning and they were really nice,” he said. “I have a sort of inexperienced seven-year-old in the group [Gouvenuer], and I wanted to know what I had in him for a Cones leader and he actually did really well. I was really pleased with him.”

As he predicted, the Cones course had the essence of designer Nicoll and suited Weber’s driving style, but remained a true precision test for competing combinations.

“I thought the course was really nice. Richard [Nicoll] always tries to have a little bit of flow to the course, which was good and I thought it was fair in that way. We measure the course typically with a GPS watch, and there’s some margin of error there. When I measured it was 840 meters and they were saying it was more like a 750 – it was pretty obvious to me we were going to have to go really, really fast. I worked on trying to figure out how to get the time as good as I could, but it was still a big challenge.”

Speaking to the emotional connection he feels to Team USA and what representing the States in the fall would mean, Weber reflected on the shared history of his and teammate Fairclough’s careers, and said, “It means a lot to me to represent the United States. Ever since I was a young guy starting Driving, I always wanted to have a blazer with a [USA] patch on it and drive on the U.S. team. I think for all of the U.S. Four in-Hand team medals, Jimmy and I have been part of those teams. I think we hope to come here in the fall and try and secure a team medal for the U.S. It would mean a lot to me.”

Wrigley-Miller maintained her podium spot with a speedy round through the Cones phase and complimented the noticeable improvement in harmony for her team. “The team is really starting to gel and come together to work as a team and that was really what I noticed. They were all balanced together. I could really drive more forward, they felt great in my hands, and the obstacles drove so well,” she emphasized. “I just feel like we’ve been a work in progress and we made huge strides yesterday. I was really pleased with our Marathon, but I went back and watched the videos and thought, ‘I can go faster!’ So, I think the horses and I have good timing going forward.”

Wrigley-Miller was eager to contest the Marathon course and had good things to report: “From what I’ve heard, there will not be a lot of change in the obstacles – I think they’re beautifully built, and Richard [Nicoll] does such a great job of flagging them. He asks the right questions of horses and drivers. I think it’s going to be really great.”

While she made adjustments to the team between Dressage and Marathon, her horses remained as consistent as their results, and she used the same pairings for the final two days of competition.

“It was a good course,” she said of the final phase. “It was what I’ve come to expect from Richard – that you drive the lines. It’s Dressage training in Cones. The horses have to be supple and flexible and move forward with nice curves – it was a nice course. It had its little pieces that made us drivers think!”

For Fairclough, this week’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 Test Event was his first chance to drive obstacles and Cones since Live Oak International a month ago, and described how the weather at home had really thrown a kink in his ability to train, but had not dampened his competitiveness at TIEC.

“I didn’t spend the winter in Florida, so I went down for Live Oak International three weeks before, and Dressage was okay this week. I was pleased with the horses. It’s a long way to September before the FEI World Equestrian Games. For the Marathon yesterday, I hadn’t driven a hazard since I was at Live Oak because I went back home and had 13 days out of 27 with snow, so I wasn’t able to train that or Cones. Marathon was very nice. The horses were plenty fit, and I was happy with that. Cones today surprised me – I thought I’d be able to keep the pace up a little bit more, but I lost a lot of time at 10, 11, and 12. The footing has a [different feel] than grass, so it was difficult to make that time,” he added.

Like Weber and Wrigley-Miller, Fairclough is pleased with his experience at the venue, he said. “I think the facility is fantastic. It’s a work in progress, but it’s really nice when you get to do a Marathon on a golf course. I guess we got to use some of the hazards that will be used [in September], and the course was technical – tight if you wanted that option in a couple of them. I think the terrain may surprise some Europeans, but the valley where the obstacles are is very nice.”

Fairclough also hopes to return in the fall and emphasized the honor of representing Team USA. He said, “It’s wonderful to represent team USA and to have the Games here. The few times that we [Weber and I] have had the national anthem played for us, there’s nothing better. But, to be an ambassador for our country is really an honor. It’s a real thrill no matter what, when you do it.”

Perry-Glass Victorious in FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix Special

The FEI Grand Prix podium remained unchanged from Friday’s lineup, as the FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix Special presented by Adequan®, saw Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) dance with partner Goerklintgaards Dublet to an impressive score of 75.830%, taking the victory ahead of Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Horizon who finished in second on a score of 71.660%. Belinda Trussell (CAN) rode her own Tattoo 15 to third place honors with a score of 69.319%.

Perry-Glass and the 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (Diamond Hit x Ferro) owned by Diane Perry put in a more relaxed effort without losing the energy of Friday’s winning ride. “My test, I felt, was a lot more thought out. After the Grand Prix, I was just really challenging myself to go in there and focus on what we do in the warm-up and get it in the show ring. That was my highlight. He’s so talented as it is, that he does everything really well, but I think the passage tour was really good, as well as his changes.”

Regarding “Dublet’s” reaction to the arena after a weekend of acclimation, she continued, “He’s still a spring chicken in there – he didn’t lose any motivation or any kind of spark. He was actually more relaxed, but with energy. That’s what all of his pre-show training was for, getting his mind really good, the aqua-tread, and all the work we do outside the arena. I feel like it’s really translated to his stamina and how he holds his energy.”

The pair is just coming back into competition after an eight-month break, and while the late start to competition schedule had Perry-Glass feeling uncertain before, she said the payoff was worth it, for both her horse and herself.

“With any athlete, I think you kind of need time to wind down to re-adjust and get your head right. I think for the last three years we’ve just been going and it was a well-needed break for us, for me too, and it just helps him come back stronger. Yeah, we’re starting our shows a little bit later than everyone else, but I think that he’s showing that he can be right up there with the others and I’m happy we did it. At some points we were questioning whether it was the right thing to do, to wait so long, but for us it really worked.”

Lyle and Elizabeth Juliano’s 2003 Oldenburg mare (Hot Line x Don Schufro) proved their consistency with another second-place finish and for Lyle, Horizon’s consistency is especially encouraging to see. She elaborated, “I was thrilled with her and how reliable she’s getting. To have a clean test in the third Special she’s ever done in her life – one of them being a national show and with her first CDI not even two months ago, for her to come into a new venue and prove that she can put in clean and consistent performances in this environment is a big deal for her. I’m very proud of her.”

Lyle also had Harmony’s Duval, another young horse, break into Grand Prix competition, and noted that she’s thrilled to see a long-term relationship with “Duval” truly succeed. “I’m really happy with him. I’ve had him since before he was saddle broke and we’ve done everything from Training level on up with him, so it was a really fun weekend all around to have such great rides on Horizon and then be able to finally get Duval into the Grand Prix ring after years and years of work,” she said.

Trussell and her own “Tattoo,” a 2003 Westfalen gelding (Tuareg x Ramiro’s Son), also remained consistent to place third on a score of 69.319% despite a bobble in one of the gelding’s usual highlight movements, she explained.

“I think the biggest change I see for him [since Florida] is that he’s getting a lot stronger in his passage work; he’s such an exuberant mover and to be able to access that and put it in the right direction [is improving]. I think that this show I had the best passage work that I’ve had yet in the ring itself. His highlight is his changes and today we had a mistake in the twos, which is not good, because I need those points, but those are also becoming more reliable and consistent, so that feels great.”

As an experienced competitor at FEI World Equestrian Games™, including appearances in Jerez, Spain, Lexington, KY, and most recently in Normandy, France, Trussell described her excitement for the Games to return to North America. “This venue was just fabulous to come here for the Test Event and to experience it and be a part of this. It was such a great stepping stone for us in preparation for WEG,” she said. “It’s so nice, as a North American athlete, to have this event in North America because we almost always have to go to Europe. It’s not so far, the horses don’t have to get on an airplane, for family it’s easier to come, and to have this quality of venue in North America is huge. I am so grateful for this facility, grateful for the United States to put this together and it’s wonderful,” she concluded.

The atmosphere was exuberant at the in-gate, especially for the large support wearing red, white and blue – the American entourage was in full force and both Lyle and Perry-Glass expressed gratitude for the strength of the USA contingent.

“We have an incredible support staff from all of USEF,” said Lyle. “They’re absolutely amazing and take care of any question you may have. You can call them in the middle of the night and they’re here to help you! It really helps to have such great backing, then beyond that, we have an incredible camaraderie between us as teammates,” she continued. “Laura [Graves] is here watching and cheering on, and we’re all really good friends. We say that all the time, but it’s not just for show – we all are really good friends. It’s really exciting to see everyone be so successful. It only elevates your own riding and your own training when you can be around people like that, and I feel very blessed that we are that way.”

Perry-Glass agreed. “You look down the ranking list, and even people that are not on the ranking list or that are on the B squad, it’s amazing to see that you’re so close to them.” She also noted the importance of this strong team unit as a team sport.

“There’s only one class that’s individual. Growing up in team sports, you have to have that camaraderie and be to be a team player. I think it elevates everyone’s sportsmanship and I think it makes you perform better. Plus, you can lean on them when you have questions or concerns or ideas, and especially in stressful situations.”

FEI CPEDI 3* Freestyles Wrap Up Weekend

In the CPEDI 3* Grade I Freestyle Test, Roxanne Trunnell (USA) and Kate Shoemaker’s Dolton stayed perfect to finish first with a 73.278%, while Laurietta Oakleaf (USA) rode her own Niekele Fan Busenitz to second receiving a score of 69.311%, and Winona Hartvikson (CAN) and Ultimo, a 2001 gelding (Invasor III x Teodoro) owned by herself and Jane Macdonald, earned third place honors with a 68.556%.

Trunnell, who represented the United States at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games™, as well as at the 2016 Paralympic Games, piloted a newer mount, and the pair was awarded overall champions of the show after three successful rides for the USA.

The Grade II Freestyle saw Jason Surnoski (CAN) and Phoenix score a 66.878% overtake fellow Canadian Sharon Buffitt and her own Elektra II, who scored 66.233%.

“I was very pleased with Phoenix,” commented Surnoski. “He did everything I asked for and I was just enjoying it. We’ve been working on trying to get him more up in his frame because he tends to kind of come down on me, so all week we’ve been trying to do that. I found that in this test in particular he kept it. I just enjoyed the ride.”

Surnoski began competing in the FEI CPEDIs two years ago, but has only had this particular ride for six months. “He’s a funny character, He loves attention and he loves his treats – the more treats he gets, the more he begs – and he just enjoys his job. It’s my first CPEDI with him and he’s nineteen, so he passed everything I could ask of him. Now it’s onward and upward.”

“It’s been a very difficult transition because he has a lot of movement when he’s going properly, and I’ve ridden many horses that don’t have that particular movement. This guy has a lot when he’s going well. So, even today I had a little bit of difficulty controlling it with my body, but I think I did a good job considering I bumped up my percentage each test,” added Surnoski.

Having declared for WEG, Surnoski will travel to Ottawa next month to contest another FEI CPEDI competition. With a strong desire to make the team at the forefront of his mind, he concluded, “I love that WEG will be here because it’s close to home. I’m from Toronto, so it’s like a fourteen-hour drive, depending on traffic, so it’s doable, and I’m hoping I can qualify and be here for it!”

The Grade III Freestyle saw a change in top placing, as Lauren Barwick (CAN) and her own Engelbrecht, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vivaldi x Rimini 41) rode to blue and a score of 72.233%. The Grade IV Freestyle once again awarded Angela Peavy (USA) the victory, earning a score of 72.892% aboard Rebecca Reno’s 2008 Oldenburg mare (Doruto x Don Larino) Royal Dark Chocolate. Grade V Freestyle rider Katie Jackson (USA) rode her new 2003 Oldenburg gelding (De Niro x Welt Hit II) mount Diesel to a score of 70.608%, achieving their third first place honor.

For more information, visit www.Tryon2018.com and www.fei.org/tryon-2018.

Second Day of Official Test Event Features Team, Freestyle and Marathon Competition

Rebecca Hart and Fortune. ©Sue Stickle Photography & ©TIEC.

TRYON, NC, USA – April 21, 2018 – Day two of FEI CPEDI 3* competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) Test Event for Para-Dressage, Dressage, and Driving hosted at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), saw Rebecca Hart (USA) easily best the FEI CPEDI 3* Grade III Team Test to Music, scoring a 71.569% to take home top honors aboard Rowan O’Riley’s Fortune. Lauren Barwick (CAN) achieved second place in the Grade III test aboard her own Engelbrecht, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vivaldi x Rimini 41), while Eleanor Brimmer (USA) and her own Argentinia, a 2002 Hanoverian mare (Acorado I x Frappant) claimed third with a score of 65.539%.

The 2010 Oldenburg gelding (Fidertanz 2 x Don Romantic) is a new mount for Hart and he is new to the world of Para-Dressage too. After only being partnered for a month seemed to be no hindrance for the pair’s performance, as they rode to a comfortable lead in the Team Test – as did Team USA. Hart explained that the duo was a perfect match even from the first ride thanks in part to the gelding’s easy-going, friendly disposition.

“He is just awesome. He’s the happiest soul I’ve ever met. He’s a total lap dog with just kind of an in-your-pocket personality, and a joy to be around. He’s quite green when it comes to showing and he just took all of this in stride,” she said of the exciting atmosphere at TIEC. “I didn’t quite know what his reaction to all this would be, and he was like, ‘It’s cool, it’s 30 degrees and wind is blowing – we’re fine!’ He was so great today.”

Their quick transition into competition did not show in their test, and Hart explained that it’s hard to believe her young mount is still adjusting to Para-Dressage. She commented, “There’s always that learning curve with a new Para-Dressage horse. Even from the very first ride that I sat on him, I was able to get on and he said ‘Yep, this is fine, I can do that for you. Your legs don’t work? No problem. I’m not 100 percent sure what you mean, but I’ll try for you,'” she said of the gelding’s initial response to her. “That first ride is really what drew me to him since we weren’t really looking for a second horse, but he just fell in our laps. He did all that I asked – I usually do start and stop [on a first ride]. He did all the laterals right from the beginning and he was like, ‘Yep, I’ve got you.'”

Both of Hart’s current mounts are new and both are possible contenders for WEG, depending on the selectors’ decision, said Hart. “I’ve only had El Corona Texel for six months now and Moolah we’ve had for one month. My main goal with them is they have the same job, just different sandboxes, and wherever we go they come out and work on consistency and fluidity of the tests, and just gaining exposure for them in a lot of different situations. If we’re so blessed as to look like we’re having both make the team, we would have them [the selectors] pick who they think would be most beneficial. It would really come down to the selectors in that case.”

Roxanne Trunnell (USA) once again took top honors in Grade I, executing a strong test aboard Dolton, a 2012 Hanoverian gelding (Danone I x Londonderry) owned by Kate Shoemaker, to earn a 74.345%. Grade II also saw a return champion in Sharon Buffitt aboard her own Elektra II, a 2005 Oldenburg mare (Radjah Z x Rastar), this time receiving a score of 65.758%. In Grade IV, Angela Peavy (USA) rose to the occasion and rode to a 71.875% aboard Rebecca Reno’s Royal Dark Chocolate, a 2008 Oldenburg mare (Royal Doruto x Don Larino), while Katie Jackson (USA) and her own Diesel, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding (De Niro x Welt Hit II), once again dominated Grade V competition, earning a score of 68.760%.

In the Team competition, the USA took the title with winning members Katie Jackson, Rebecca Hart, Kate Shoemaker, and Roxanne Trunnell, placing ahead of Team Canada in second.

FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix Freestyle Awards Blue Ribbon to USA’s Karen Lipp

After coming off of a successful winter circuit consisting of several top ten CDI placings, Karen Lipp (USA) rode Kathleen Oldford’s Whitney to the win in the FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix Freestyle presented by Adequan® during Saturday’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ Dressage Test Event. Second place was clinched by Geena S. Martin aboard Caroline Roffman’s Bon Chance, a 2005 Hanoverian gelding (Belissimo M x Weltmeyer), scoring a 66.675%, while Abraham Pugh guided Elfenperfekt, a 2006 Trakehner stallion (Peron x Zauberklang) owned by Alice Drayer, received a score of 66.615% and third place.

The partnership between Lipp and the 2005 Hanoverian mare (Whitestar x Grand Cru) has been blossoming for some time, but the pair did not contest the international ring until last fall. “We actually purchased her as a four-year-old and I competed her up through the Young Horse Program, which she did quite well in as a four, five and six-year-old,” said Lipp. “For a period her owner was going to ride her, then decided it wasn’t the right match for her, and instead of selling her she said, ‘you do well together, so go on together.’ So now I’m back riding her, and I showed her in a few CDIs, and then unfortunately when I got home she got injured, so she had a period of time off, but thank God she’s back.”

“I would like to thank Kathleen Oldford, the owner of the horse, for giving me the opportunity to ride her. It’s been a really great journey for many years and I feel really lucky and fortunate to have somebody who owns a nice horse and lets me ride it. It’s kind of a rarity.”

The Atlanta, GA, resident was grateful for the short trip up to Tryon, and credits the venue for its hospitality and welcoming feel for competitors. She elaborated, “It’s the nicest venue. I told some of my friends when I first came up here that it is like Disney World for horses and it’s really amazing. It’s amazing and we’re so fortunate to have it. What I love about it too, is that you can come and keep your horses and stay, and never get in your car and never go anywhere. There are great restaurants and it’s just really great. I love that the local community that come hang out and watch – that’s kind of exciting, too.”

After capturing fifth place in the FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix presented by Adequan® on Friday, Lipp and Whitney’s efforts for the Freestyle were rewarded with a 69.765% from the judging panel and after climbing the ladder to first, Lipp is using the win as a motivator for the future. “I’m just going to keep on working at it and getting better,” she explained. “She’s a hot, fiery horse, so the big thing is getting relaxation. Yesterday I had it a little bit better and today was a little bit harder, but it’s an electric place. She tries really, hard, but she’s just a little bit of a nervous horse, so it’s keeping that balance with her.”

“I think what she’s really good at is the power stuff,” continued Lipp, who rode to an upbeat musical freestyle designed by Canadian Karen Robinson. “The extensions, the passage – I think when I come in she gets a little bit taken back, so at the beginning I felt a little stuck, but as the test went on it got better and better. She has really good changes and I made a mistake tonight that was me. Overall, I think she likes the music and likes the atmosphere, so in that way it’s fun.”

FEI CAI 2* Driving Competition Tests New White Oak Course for Marathon Phase

Twenty-three entries across five divisions were the inaugural challengers of the Richard Nicoll (USA)-designed track at the White Oak course during the day’s Marathon phase, with four in-hand competition pitting nine entries against the clock through the brand new obstacles.

Chester Weber (USA) guided his team of Amadeus, Asjemenou, Reno, and Ultra to the finish with a score of 109.08, landing in the first-place position heading into the Cones phase on a total of 150.20 penalties. Misdee Wrigley-Miller (USA) and team of Bravour 54, Beau, Bolino D, and Calipso 85 hold the second place position after their quick Marathon run, scoring 122.06 to finish with a 162.05 before Cones, while James Fairclough (USA) sits just behind in third after finishing fast and clean on a score of 109.87 for a total of 163.26, guiding Bento V, Citens, Dapper and Zenden.

“I was really pleased with the course today,” Weber said of the newly constructed layout. “I think Richard Nicoll and the entire team at Tryon here have done a fantastic job. To drive on a track that was formerly a golf course is about like it sounds – it was fantastic. The ground was really nice and consistent and I think the course designer asked quite a few questions. It looks like of the seven obstacles today, we’ll see four or five of them at WEG, and those ones are really the caliber of obstacle necessary and fitting for WEG. I think they used some portable obstacles as they work toward September to fill in some gaps, and I think that was appropriate for today.”

Two of his four horses were just on the national championship team at Live Oak International a month ago, Weber said, so he knew they would go together very well, but this particular combination had never run Marathon together. He added in Reno for Gouveneur, his Dressage right lead, and explained the strategy behind this change:

“The right side I knew really well and then the left wheel horse, I’ve done quite a few shows with and I was really pleased with him today. He’s sort of been in my B group, but he’s looking like he’s trying to come back to Tryon in September. The left lead horse is a really wonderful horse, Ultra, that has lots of experience at championships and things like that. He was an absolute pro out there today. I put in a really nice horse, Reno, who’s sort of my Cross-Country leader that I plan to drive here in September because I wanted to see what he’s like on this track and learn a little bit about him. I took out a seven-year-old horse named Gouveneur that we’re producing kind of behind this group for a career hopefully after Tryon, but to be honest he was steady as a rock and we may even use him tomorrow in the Cones to give him a little more experience.”

Weber reflected on how he’s planning to attack the Cones phase. “I guess my plan always is to drive double clear – clear without any faults and also without any time faults – so that’s kind of my plan. I’ve seen the course a little bit from the side looking on, which is sometimes a little bit deceiving, but Richard Nicoll usually builds a course that has an element of flow, which works well with my style of driving. I like sort of one high tempo instead of a lot of speed changes and things like that. Some drivers really go forward and come back, forward and come back, but I like to maintain one even flowing speed throughout the whole course.”

It’s his first time in Tryon and his first peek at what the WEG will hold, and Weber had glowing reviews to share about the venue. “Without a doubt, the facility is bar none one of the nicest facilities I’ve been to in the world,” he began. “There’s certainly a lot of construction going on. The civil engineer and the building team here are going full speed, it seems like 24 hours a day, and I’m really impressed. But what’s completed already is really nice and super high quality, so I’m really looking forward to September and I feel like a prideful American.”

As for Weber’s plans looking at the next few months before the arrival of WEG in September, he commented on the next stop on their competition tour. “Our next event is at Royal Windsor – that’s the first weekend in May, at Windsor Castle, just outside of London, and after that we’ll likely be in Saumur, then Aachen, and then Beekbergen, and then after Beekbergen the horses will come home to Florida and acclimate a little bit to the heat and humidity, which we could have here in Tryon. We’ll do some acclimation, make sure we’re all polished up, and then we’ll come up here and hopefully we get something done!”

For more information, visit www.Tryon2018.com and www.fei.org/tryon-2018.

Dressage, Para-Dressage and Driving Test Events Boast Positive Response on First Day

Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet. Photo Credit ©Sue Stickle Photography & ©TIEC.

TRYON, NC, USA – April 20, 2018 – The FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) Test Events for Dressage, Driving, and Para-Dressage disciplines began at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), and commenced with a victory for Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) aboard Diane Perry’s 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (Diamond Hit x Ferro), Goerklintgaards Dublet, who bested the FEI CDI 3* competition presented by Adequan®. Perry-Glass and “Dublet” earned a score of 73.935% from the judging panel, as they head into Sunday’s FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3* in top form. Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Elizabeth Juliano’s 2003 Oldenburg mare Horizon (Hot Line x Don Schufro), captured second place with a score of 71.957%, while third place honors were awarded to Belinda Trussell (CAN) and her own 2003 Westfalen gelding, Tattoo 15 (Tuareg x Ramiro’s Son), receiving a 70.043%.

Perry-Glass is a first-time competitor at the venue, which will host FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 competition from September 11-23, 2018, and said she was thrilled when she first drove on property. “It’s amazing. I think this place is world-class and will be especially when it’s all done for the FEI World Equestrian Games™. I love it here. They’ve done a great job with all the stabling, the arena, and the atmosphere, so I’m excited for them to have the WEG here.”

Although the Tryon Stadium will host Para-Dressage CPEDI and the Dressage phase of the Eventing CCI come September and not Dressage competition, Perry-Glass complimented the overall venue atmosphere. “To ride in that arena [Tryon Stadium] is very inviting, and especially when it’s going to be full. It’s going to be really nice.” Dressage will be hosted in the main stadium at the venue, which will seat 20,000 spectators and will be assembled this summer, positioned adjacently to the existing Tryon Stadium.

In their second outing after an eight-month break from competition, Perry-Glass was pleased with her 2016 Olympic Bronze Medal mount. She elaborated, “He already feels better than he has ever felt. It’s just really fine-tuning the small things and getting his nerves out of the arena and focusing on me a little bit more, and the connection. Other than that he’s just a spectacular horse, so I feel very lucky to be on him. We’re hopefully shooting for a spot on the European selection squad, and then we’ll go from there and see what shows we can do in Europe.”

When reflecting on her test, Perry-Glass joked that “everything’s positive because he’s amazing,” but that some elements of their ride in particular pleased her. She commented, “His pirouettes have gotten really solid. I love those and they’re fun to ride. His changes are always really nice to ride. His piaffe passage is also great, and it’s really correct and good.”

“What I would like to nitpick on myself is just being able to ride each corner and focus on each corner. It’s so meticulous, but it’s so important, and that’s where his points are going to start coming up because he can do every movement. He’s trained and knows what he’s doing. It’s just preparing him for it and I think that’s where I have to get on myself for that.”

With experience representing the United States internationally, Perry-Glass emphasized the importance of hosting the FEI World Equestrian Games™ on home turf.

“It’s always a benefit to be on your home turf. I did the FEI World Cup™ Final in Omaha, NE, and just having that support from your own country and the majority of the crowd being American is important, especially for our really amazing squad that we have coming up. I think it’s going to be pretty spectacular.”

Para-Dressage Athletes Dominate on Day One of FEI CPEDI 3* Competition

The Para-Dressage Test Event showcased athletes from Canada and the United States in the main Tryon Stadium for the first time this season to familiarize with the ring that many will be competing in this September at the WEG. Victory in the Grade I Individual Test went to Roxanne Trunnell (USA) and Kate Shoemaker’s 2012 Hanoverian gelding Dolton (Danone I x Londonderry), receiving a score of 73.155%. The Grade II Individual Test was championed by Sharon Buffitt (CAN) aboard her own Elektra II, a 2005 Oldenburg mare (Radjah Z x Rastar), after riding to a score of 66.716%. Rebecca Hart (USA) rode Rowan O’Riley’s 2010 Oldenburg gelding (Fidertanz 2 x Don Romantic), Fortune, to the blue in the Grade III Individual Test, receiving a 70.147%.

Grade IV saw Kate Shoemaker (USA) secure first place in the Individual Test on her own 2009 Hanoverian stallion Solitaer, riding to a score of 71.341%.

“I really liked how consistent he was throughout the test,” commented Shoemaker. “It was an error-free test – there was never a moment that I thought, ‘Oh gosh, that wasn’t okay,’ so it’s really good to have that kind of consistency throughout the test. He stayed with me the whole time and it produced a really good result in the end.”

Shoemaker is looking to earn her spot on the U.S. Para-Dressage Team with the stallion (Sandro Hit x De Niro), and said, “I think everybody’s goal right now is to try and make the team, so we’re just going to keep pushing towards that and hope that we continue to have a good show this weekend and show the selectors that we’ve earned our spot to be there.”

“Having the home field advantage is huge for us – the fact that we get to get our horses in the venue and they get to see this, I think is a significant advantage, so we’re just really excited to be here,” she concluded.

Grade V competitor Katie Jackson (USA) has only been with current mount Diesel, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding (De Niro x Welt Hit II), for eight weeks, but has her eyes set on WEG as well. “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind,” she explained. “We’ve been together with the focus of coming here for the Test Event for only a month and I’ve been riding him for about eight weeks, but Diesel is just a really incredible horse. I think the perfect analogy is from my coach, who said, ‘He fits you like a glove,’ and he really does. From the first day I rode him I asked, ‘Are you sure you’re not hiding another amputee somewhere?’ He understood my aids from the very beginning. He didn’t get nervous, he just said, ‘Okay, let’s do this.’ He’s such a hard worker and what a good boy.”

Jackson is a Clear Cell Sarcoma survivor and has been competing in the Para-Dressage discipline since 2015. Now ranked as number three on the FEI World Individual Grade V Rankings List, the Texas native has been focused on getting her new partner ready for competition.

“Until now, the focus really was getting him here and getting to bring him to his first CPEDI, so a big accomplishment for him today – but from here we’re going to go to Catherine Haddad Staller’s barn in New Jersey to continue training and potentially go to the CPEDI in Ottawa. Of course the goals for all of us right now are WEG and getting back in this arena in September.”

Jackson, who has competed at TIEC before, spoke highly of the facility, stating, “I love this venue. I think I said this last time when I was here, but it has that international feel. It is a really incredible atmosphere with excitement, but not distraction, and I really think that was it. He came in and schooled really well and was able to focus. It’s a really horse-friendly, rider-friendly venue, from the stabling to the warm-up and the arena.”

“There is a huge value to be here,” she explained. “That was one of the reasons we wanted to be able to come this week because the more times down the centerline in an international environment the better, and to be here especially – it gives the horses just a little bit more confidence in what’s going on when they come in September. It’s neat to be able to do this.”

Expressing an exorbitant amount of gratitude for her team and those who have helped make her journey possible, Jackson concluded, “I want to thank Diesel’s previous owner, Rowan O’Riley, for this opportunity and what she’s done for all of us as Para-Equestrians and for the sport as a supporter and for her generosity in making this ownership of Diesel possible. It’s just incredible, and to Catherine Haddad-Staller, my new coach – just for embracing Para-Dressage, stepping in and taking the reins. It’s been a blast. I’m grateful to both of them and to the team that’s formed around me.”

Wrigley-Miller Claims Leader Position in CAI 2* Driving Competition

Following the conclusion of the Dressage phase of FEI CAI 2* competition as part of the venue’s inaugural Driving event, Misdee Wrigley-Miller (USA) holds the lead heading into the Marathon on a score of 39.99. Chester Weber (USA) sits in second with 41.12 points, and third place is controlled by Allison Stroud (USA) after receiving a score of 49.97.

Wrigley-Miller considers herself a newcomer to the sport despite having competed at WEG in 2014, as she more recently added Driving to her lifelong experience in traditional saddle seat competition. She trains with Boyd Exell (AUS), the highest-ranked driver in the FEI World Cup™ Driving Standings, at his home base in Holland throughout the year and has gained valuable experience since 2014.

Coming to TIEC following a strong finish at the Live Oak International CAI 2*, she reflected on adjustments made to her team, composed of horses Bravour 54, Beau, Bolino D, and Calipso 85: “I’ve been playing with my leaders a little bit – I changed one of my leaders and that worked out really well for me. The horse that I drove in the lead at Live Oak wasn’t a confirmed leader and it just showed. With his inexperience, he didn’t really understand his job. I swapped him out with a horse that knew his job and he saved me a few times today,” she explained.

For the first Driving competition ever held at the venue, Wrigley-Miller said she was very impressed with the facility and looks forward to testing the Marathon track. “It’s looking like it’s going to be amazing. Number one, the barn facilities are the best I’ve ever seen at a show facility – the safety of the barns – it’s all top, top class,” she commented. “There’s no question that the venue is just absolutely gorgeous. We were going along by the creek today and it’s going to be very soothing tomorrow to hear the creek – it’ll be like a zen fountain!”

Wrigley-Miller has a busy schedule ahead of her this summer, as she plans to balance both her passion for Driving, as well as her love for competing Saddlebreds. She explained, “I’m headed to Europe from here and the horses will travel over to our base in Holland with Boyd Exell in his yard, and we’ll do Windsor to start. We’re not sure what’s after that because I’m the crazy woman that does two disciplines and my Saddlebred trainer has actually requested that I come back to the United States and do some Saddlebred shows. I’m just going to have to take a deep breath, but it might work out really well. I’ll come back to the States for a couple of weeks and do some shows and then we’ll ship everyone over here and wait for the decision of the selectors.”

Wrigley-Miller credits the expert advice of her mentor, Exell, for her increasing confidence in her abilities as a driver. She explained, “He has made me such a better horse person, overall, because he is a brilliant horseman. There is a reason he gets the results he gets. It’s because he studies horses. He knows horses. He’s the most horse-friendly trainer I’ve ever seen in my life and you never say ‘it was the horse’s fault’ – it’s never the horse’s fault. You gave the horse bad information. That’s the kind of horseman he is. His technical knowledge is so amazing that it’s no wonder he’s developed a great system on carriages.”

“He’s an engineer by training, so he’s just made such a difference. When I first started training with him I told him it was like learning how to drink water from the fire hose. Every day, even five minutes before I went in the arena today, he gave me another tool for my toolbox,” she concluded.

For more information, visit www.Tryon2018.com and www.fei.org/tryon-2018.

Dutton and Z Claim Top Honors at The Fork FEI CIC 3*

Phillip Dutton and Z. ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography.

Vaulting Previews Tryon 2018 Venue with CVI 3* Competition and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 Vaulting Test Event

Tryon, NC USA – April 8, 2018 – The final phase of the FEI CIC 3* proved no match for Phillip Dutton (USA) and Z, as the pair maintained their lead following the cross-country phase to finish competition in top form at The Fork at TIEC Presented by Lucky Clays Farm and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) Eventing Test Event at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). The winning pair finished on a score of 28, ahead of Kim Severson (USA) aboard Cooley Cross Border who secured a final score of 32.10, followed by Sharon White (USA), piloting Cooley On Show, to collect third place after the three phases and finishing on a 32.90.

“You never quite know how tight the time is going to be,” said Dutton of the show-jumping course. “It’s an advantage going at the end and realizing the lines you have to take to shave the time. My guy is not at his best if I open him up too much toward the jump, so I had to cut the turns, shorten him at the jumps, and rock him back just a bit. Everybody said they were worried that I wasn’t going to make the time, but here we are.”

Dutton competed two other horses throughout the weekend in the FEI CIC 3* division, but it was the 2008 Zangersheide gelding (Asca x Bellabouche) owned by T. Tierney, S. Roosevelt, S. Lacy, A. Jones, and C. Moran who ultimately ended the competition in the winner’s circle. “Coming here is great experience for him,” Dutton explained. “He’s an up-and-coming horse and I’m trying to help him understand what to do in every phase, as that’s my job to educate him. The cool part of it for me is seeing him produced. Getting to this level and then hopefully the next level, and being confident and having enough skills that he’s going to be able to succeed.”

Second place finisher Kim Severson, of Charlottesville, VA, went into the show jumping phase just trailing the top four, but rocketed to second place standing after a clean round on Cooley Cross Border.

Severson’s run on cross-country impacted the duo’s score slightly, but proved to help their standings after moving back to second place following their show jumping round, a position they held following the first phase of dressage. “He was good yesterday,” she noted of the Cross Syndicate owned 2007 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Diamond Roller x Whos Diaz). “He started out jumping pretty high and I was a little careful because I just wanted to make sure that I gave him a good ride. After the water he really picked up and got faster. I didn’t give him the greatest ride into that first set of corners. That stride going in makes that two really long, but he fought for it and he was really good. Down there on cross-country, he’s so much fun. You can just gallop and he’ll do it if he can do it. He’s such a nice horse.”

Sharon White and Cooley On Show, her own 2007 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Ricardo Z x Jogantina) saw a positive shift in their overall placement, as they climbed up the ranks from eleventh to third by the end of the weekend. White, of Summit Point, WV, had nothing but praise for her competitive mount.

“He’s a fabulous horse and he’s strong in all phases,” commented White. “He’s definitely getting better. He loves the sport and he loves competing, so he’s definitely a good competitor no matter what. My job was to not get in the way and let him be who he wants to be. He really enjoys all three phases. His dressage is getting stronger; cross-country is fun with him. He’s got such a big stride and a lot of scope.”

“With the show jumping, I thought it was really interesting that the time was so tight and scores were tight. That was a bit of a challenge and we just wanted to see if we could do it.”

The week served as a WEG Test Event and riders caught a glimpse of what is to come this September. Dutton, who has competed successfully at six WEGs, is eyeing a spot on the United States Eventing Team in five short months. He concluded, “I certainly think that there’s a home field advantage having the Games here, and for us to be here and know the venue and get comfortable with it. There are some disadvantages with having the Games at home, with distractions and what else, so we might as well make the most of being able to get use out of this venue ahead of time and feel comfortable when the team gets here for September.”

The Advanced-A Division saw Lynn Symansky of Middleburg, VA and Under Suspection return to the top position as the weekend came to a close, jumping out of second place to finish on a score of 37.50, while Leslie Law of Ocala, FL achieved second place aboard Voltaire de Tre, scoring 38.60. Symansky also rounded out third place honors with 44.60 aboard Donner.

Lauren Kieffer of Middleburg, VA and Veronica stole the Advanced-B Division, finishing their final show jumping phase on a score of 36.90. Leslie Law and The Apprentice earned second place honors after finishing with 47 penalties, and third place was awarded to Boyd Martin of Cochranville, PA with Steady Eddie on 47.10.

Vaulting Previews Tryon 2018 Venue with CVI 3* Competition and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 Vaulting Test Event

Emma Seely, Chef d’Equipe for USA Vaulting, said she was pleased with the way the Test Event for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 unfolded. “We absolutely enjoyed [our time]. We’re happy to be here and it’s always good to have a feel for the lay of the land, so to speak. I’m happy to see all the improvements with the arenas and what future improvements are coming. It’s very exciting for us,” she said, elaborating on her favorite aspects of the facility. “We like the barns – that feels good for the horses – and we like the footing. It’s always good to have a sense of how it’s going to be, but we realize it’s going to continue to evolve, but it’s been really great to be here.”

Vaulting will take place during the second week of competition during the WEG at TIEC and is expected to draw the top Vaulting athletes from around the world to Western North Carolina. Seely, who will oversee the management and coaching for Team USA during the event, is excited to have the major championship on U.S. turf for only the second time in the event’s history.

“Essentially, as Chef d’Equipe, I’m kind of the team manager,” Seely explained. “For the spring, and through the selection trials through July, I’m just going to observe and see what they’re doing, how they’re doing, and what their game plans are, so that when we get the team selections I’ll have a sense of their processes and be able to support them in being the best they can be.”

Team bonding is a priority for Seely, who is already looking forward to team preparations ahead of the event. She commented, “In general, the community is small enough that they do already know each other, but I really do want to bring them together so that they support each other and so that we come in as a strong family unit, just ready to power through.”

CVI 3* Results

Squad: Canada’s “Beauty and the Beast” Squad were awarded top marks for their unchallenged performance aboard Habakkuk, with lunger Karin Schmidt on a total score of 6.872.

Individual Female: Top honors went to Mary McCormick (USA) aboard Paris, with lunger Christian Ramos, finishing on a score of 7.468. Stephanie Dore (AUS) aboard Vision and with lunger Jane Delano Kopperl were awarded second place with a 6.424 final score, while Jeanine Van Der Sluijs (CAN) aboard Charles the Great followed just behind on 6.400 with Karin Schmidt on the lunge. Alejandra Orozco Viscaino (MEX), together with Vision and lunger Jane Delano Kopperl, earned a total of 5.743 to finish fourth.

McCormick commented that her experiences at TIEC have helped her feel prepared for the WEG to come, stating, “In 2010 it was essential for me that Kentucky felt like home turf and that we’d been there before, so that when we showed up to the venue and there was all the frenzy going on with preparations for the WEG, we knew exactly where all the wash racks were, and just knew what to expect. So being here, I feel a lot more prepared going forward, even knowing where the laundromat is and knowing the stabling and knowing that my horse, Paris, has been in this arena and likes it – it’s really motivating going forward,” she said.

From Tryon, McCormick will travel six days to California and will spend time competing and performing. If selected for Team USA in September, McCormick will come back to the Tryon region as early as she can; she said. “I’m totally confident after today. I got a qualifying score for a certificate of capability, which takes the pressure off going forward, and the whole experience has been really fun and relaxed for us, so I can build on that and remember that feeling going forward.”

Please visit www.Tryon2018.com or follow @Tryon2018 on social media for more information.

Dutton Dominates Day Three of FEI CIC 3* at The Fork

Phillip Dutton and Z. ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography.

Tryon, NC USA – April 7, 2018 – Phillip Dutton (USA) and Z made easy work of the cross-country phase to overtake the lead heading into show jumping at The Fork, presented by Lucky Clays Farm at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in the FEI CIC 3* division, serving as the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Eventing Test Event, and the pair sit on a score of 28. Jordán Linstedt (USA) and Revitavet Capato added 3.20 penalties onto their score to improve their rank to second place on a 29.9. Dutton also guided mounts I’m Sew Ready and Fernhill Cubalawn around the Captain Mark Phillips (GBR) designed course to secure third and fourth place rankings with scores of 30 and 31.5, respectively.

Dutton and the 2008 Zangersheide gelding (Asca x Bellabouche) owned by T. Tierney, S. Roosevelt, S. Lacy, A. Jones, and C. Moran, crossed through the timers in 6 minutes and 17 seconds, just a mere second over the optimum time. “The goal was to step things up a bit from what I’ve been doing as far as speed goes,” said Dutton. “I thought the course in general rode well. It’s golf course terrain, so you’re working all of the time with your lines and the different elements of up and down.”

FEI CIC 3* competitors commented on the potential hints on course as to what September is expected to bring on the track. “I think that it showed today with even a straightforward course that the time is hard to make, and that’s going to only be the first seven minutes,” noted Dutton, who is currently ranked fourth on the FEI World Eventing Athlete Rankings. “The horse needs to be fit and rideable. You want to ride through this terrain and not have to always be shortening up, so you want a nice, balanced, rideable horse. It’s going to be a good test.”

Dutton described his first place mount as competitive with uncommon athleticism, and one that he has fun piloting around the cross-country phase. “I’ve always known he was a freak!” exclaimed Dutton. “He just loves to jump. He’s only getting better and better. It’s kind of fun to be a part of his (hopefully) long career.”

“He’s point and shoot, and he’s just as good as my other horses. We’ve had one fall in which he over jumped in the water a few years ago, so we’ve learned from that. He’s not a horse that I want to ride aggressively all of the time, since he trusts me and if I say ‘really go,’ he really goes. I just have to make sure I don’t override him.”

As one of Team USA’s most veteran competitors, Dutton, who earned an Individual Bronze medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, plans to run the gelding one more time at Fair Hill International in a combined training outing before heading to the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event at the end of April, where the horse will contest his first FEI CCI 4* event. “He’s on target,” stated Dutton. “I was pleased with the way he settled yesterday because the weakest part is the tension with him, so that was kind of a load off of my mind. We’ll run him next weekend to just get him in the ring one more time, but you never know if you have a four star horse until you run a four star course.”

Dutton’s third place mount, I’m Sew Ready, a 2004 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lupicor x Jarda) owned by Kristine and John Norton, proved just that as he galloped around the cross-country phase with ease. “He can get strong before the fences, but it was a good run for him,” said Dutton, who is based in West Grove, PA and Aiken, SC. “I’ve still got him to go a bit faster; he’s not naturally that fast. This is his last run before Kentucky, so I’m pleased with him.”

The seasoned WEG contender has several strong prospects as potential selections come September, but Dutton hasn’t decided who he thinks will come out on top during the process. “I think that the horses usually work it out for you,” he said. “I will just try to get the best out of all of them and see where it ends up.”

Ending the day’s phase in the second place position, Jordán Linstedt and her own Revitavet Capato, a 2003 Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I x Annabelle), have been to TIEC several times, and Linstedt commented that their experience onsite has been helpful in their success so far.

“This is my third time going around the track. I was here last year in the spring and then again for the [USEA American Eventing Championships]. It was similar and it was helpful to have already gone out and done some of the questions, although it’s always different,” she said. “He felt fantastic from beginning to end. I didn’t go fast on him at Carolina [International] – I think it was the slowest I’d ever gone on him for multiple reasons. Here, I kind of went out pretty quick and he was great.”

Heading into the final day, Linstedt said she’s planning for a smooth ride to match Capato’s movement and commented that show jumping is the pair’s toughest phase. “I guess stadium is kind of my weakest link with him a little bit, so my plan is to go in and jump a good round. I tend to, since he’s such a big-moving horse, either go a bit too forward or a bit too back, so just a really smooth round [is my goal], and hopefully he jumps really well,” she concluded.

Whitney Mahloch Finishes on Top in Advanced A Division aboard Military Mind, while Lauren Kieffer and Veronica Dominate Advanced B

In the Advanced-A Division, Whitney Mahloch of Ocala, FL and Military Mind improved their placing from sixth place to sit in first with a 33.8 heading into the show jumping phase, ahead of Lynn Symansky of Middleburg, VA, who holds both second and third place after two phases aboard Under Suspection and Donner, sitting on penalties of 34.5 and 34.6, respectively.

The Advanced-B Division saw Lauren Kieffer of Middleburg, VA and Veronica jump into first place with a 36.9, ahead of Boyd Martin of Cochranville, PA and Steady Eddie, who finished the day on 39.1 for second place, and just ahead of Erin Sylvester of Cochranville, PA and Paddy the Caddy, who sit in third with a 39.2.

Please visit www.Tryon2018.com or follow @Tryon2018 on social media for more information.

Little Holds Lead Heading into FEI CIC 3* Cross-Country at The Fork

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography.

Tryon, NC USA – April 6, 2018 – Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous were uncatchable on the second day of dressage competition at The Fork at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Eventing Test Event (WEG), remaining in first place position and heading into the cross-country phase with 24.2 penalties. Second place was captured by Kimberly Severson (USA) and Cooley Cross Border on a score of 24.5, while Phillip Dutton (USA) and I’m Sew Ready held a tight grip on the third place position with a 26.4. The FEI CIC 3* competition continues April 7 on the White Oak Course, and concludes on April 8 with show jumping in the George H. Morris Arena.

Little reflected that her strategy for cross-country largely depends on how the 2005 Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Lario) reacts in the warm-up.

“I got to see the course yesterday and there are so many fly fences. I’m sure plenty will make the time, and I’m just not sure this is the event to push her. I’m working on rideability and control and it would be easy for the horses to get going out there because [Captain Mark Phillips] is using so many portables. So, we’ll have to see how she warms up. I just rode her down there and back and she’s been pretty calm, so it’s nice to see that she’s changed a lot in a year. We’ll just see how she feels.”

Little has been recovering from a broken foot injury that occurred last November, but wasted no time getting back in the tack just two weeks post the start of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival, where she went on to compete successfully throughout the course of the circuit. “Initially, when I injured it, they thought I had just broken a lot of bones,” Little explained. “It wasn’t until January that they found there was more damage to the soft tissue. At that point we were getting quite close, so I thought I would try to see if it would heal, and I decided to keep riding and heading in this direction.”

Kimberly Severson of Charlottesville, VA and the Cross Syndicate-owned 2007 Irish Sport Horse gelding, Cooley Cross Border (Diamond Roller x Whos Diaz), snuck into second place after putting in a solid day two dressage test. Severson commented, “He was very good today. I missed both of my flying changes – this has been quite a thing with him and me – but he’s a really good boy and does a good job, and he tries really hard. I am most happy with his rhythm and frame, but we still have little things to fix, like everybody.”

Severson, who has represented the United States at four FEI World Equestrian Games™, commented on the venue in regard to its purposes come September. “I think there’s a lot of room in there [George Morris Arena]. It’s obviously going to feel a little bit smaller with the seating full, but I actually went all the way to the outside and it feels a lot roomier than it has certainly in a number of other WEG locations.”

As she plans a strategy for her run on the cross-country course, Severson also has Kentucky in mind. Much of her goal will be focused on a smooth water ride. She joked, “You mean don’t fall off in the water?! No, I think he’s good. We did two little water schools in the past weeks. He’ll either be really good for it or worse for it, but I actually think he’ll do much better. That’s how I’m going to plan to ride it – the whole thing.”

The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Bronze Medalist Phillip Dutton moved down one spot from second place standing, but will still enter the cross-country phase in the top three rankings, aboard I’m Sew Ready, the 2004 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lupicor x Jarda), owned by Kristine and John Norton.

“I was pleased with my tests, but like Kim said, there’s a lot to improve on,” said Dutton. “I haven’t run them a lot, so it is good to see where your training is at and what you’ve got to work on. The cross-country course I think is nice and not overly taxing, which I like at this time of year. The ground’s a bit firm, but I think they’re holding off watering because of the rain coming and I think that ultimately the footing’s going to be really good.”

Dutton is riding a total of three horses across the FEI CIC 3* track, and noted, “[I’m Sew Ready] wouldn’t be the easiest horse I’ve ever had to ride, but we’re just working on getting him reaching in his neck and not being tight in his back. You have to kind of be patient in the warm-up because he doesn’t give you the greatest feel in the beginning, and a lot of times in the past I’ve reacted to that and tried to fix him too quickly, so a long warm-up is good for him because over time he just loosens up anyway. He’s a very quiet horse, so that’s just kind of him. So, I was pleased with yesterday, and had him more forward than I’ve had him and we started to lose a little bit of power at the trot, but otherwise it was good.”

Like his cohorts, Dutton is here in preparation for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018. “I feel that horses go better once they’ve been to an event at least once,” he said, “and you see this a lot at Championships where a brand new course causes a lot of trouble and rides much better the next year. So I think there’s definitely an advantage to being here, and that’s one of the reasons I sent my entry in!”

Please visit www.Tryon2018.com or follow @Tryon2018 on social media for more information.