Jenny Caras and Fernhill Fortitude (Libby Law Photography)
West Yorkshire, England – Rising star Jenny Caras put her Karen Stives Endowment Fund for High Performance Eventing Grant to good use at the Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials, the sole stop for the inaugural Karen Stives European Developing Tour. Caras had an admirable performance in her overseas debut, riding Fernhill Fortitude to a ninth-place finish in the Bishop Burton College Under 25 CCI3* division. Two fellow U.S. combinations also had strong performances at Bramham with Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen finishing second in the Event Rider Masters CIC3* division and Katherine Coleman and Longwood finishing just outside the top 20 in the Equi-Trek CCI3* division.
Under the guidance of USEF Eventing Developing Rider Coach Leslie Law, 20-year-old Caras (Cartersville, Ga.) began the competition with a personal-best dressage score from the Ground Jury of PollyAnn Huntington (AUS), Christina Klingspor (SWE), and Les Smith (GBR) on her own Fernhill Fortitude. She and the 2004 Irish Sport Horse gelding produced a fluid, workmanlike test to sit in sixth place on a score of 48.9. The pair boldly tackled Ian Stark’s lengthy and challenging cross-country track, collecting 7.6 time penalties. Caras and Fernhill Fortitude had a 12-fault round over Di Boddy’s massive show jumping course, which allowed no double-clear rounds in the Bishop Burton College Under 25 CCI3* division, to finish in ninth place on a score of 68.5.
“It was a really big course and there were a ton of people there,” Caras said of the stage set for the show jumping phase. “We had the first down, which was my fault, and we got a bit unlucky in the triple and had two rails down there. It was a good shot in, but he didn’t seem to read it quite right. He felt like he was jumping great after yesterday, so I was really pleased with him.”
Caras handled her European debut milestone with great poise. Looking at the overall experience, Caras said, “It was a really good experience to be over here and competing against the best of the best. I am thankful that I had the opportunity.”
The two other U.S. representatives laid down solid efforts at Bramham. In the Event Rider Masters CIC3* division, Montgomery (Tetbury, England) scored a 36.5 on his dressage test with Loughan Glen, Jessica Montgomery, Kathryn Kraft, and Holly & William Becker’s 2003 Irish Sport Horse gelding. On Saturday, the pair had a four-fault show jumping round and a double-clear cross-country round to finish second on a score of 40.5 in a star-studded field. In the Equi-Trek CCI3* division, Katherine Coleman (Wiltshire, England) and Longwood, her own 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding, had a respectable dressage test to score 53.9. The pair climbed 28 places on cross-country day on the strength of a double-clear round, and had a 12-fault show jumping round on Sunday to finish in 23rd place.
By Kathleen Landwehr