William Coleman III riding Obos O’Reilly leads the CCI3* division following cross-country at Bromont. Photos by Cealy Tetley.
Bromont, Quebec – William Coleman III and Phillip Dutton lead the CCI3* and CIC3* divisions, respectively, following the cross-country phase of the 2013 Volvo CCI3* Bromont Three Day Event, The Todd Sandler Challenge, running June 6 to 9 at the Bromont Olympic Horse Park in Bromont, Quebec.
The Olympic equestrian discipline of Three Day Eventing is often referred to as the triathlon of equestrian sport, with the phases of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping taking place over three consecutive days. The cross-country phase is the most thrilling of the three, and weather often plays a role, as it did on a wet cross-country day in Bromont. Intermittent rain over the past two days resulted in challenging conditions for competitors in all four International Equestrian Federation (FEI) sanctioned divisions.
In the CCI3*, William Coleman III of the United States improved on his second place position after the opening phase of dressage to take over the lead following the cross-country. Coleman, of Gordonsville, VA, was a member of the U.S. Olympic Eventing Team at the 2012 London Olympic Games. He piloted the relatively inexperienced Obos O’Reilly through a clear cross-country jumping round, adding eight time penalties to his dressage score for a cumulative score of 58.2 going into Sunday’s final show jumping phase.
“My horse was a little bit green all the way around, but he’s game and gutsy,” said Coleman of his cross-country experience. “His attitude and bravado were such that I did feel he would go around, and I thought he handled it all really well.”
Currently in second place in the CCI3* division is Sarah Cousins of the United States on Tsunami. Cousins was the only competitor in the division to jump clear cross-country and within the optimum time of ten minutes. She adds no penalties to her dressage score of 64.2 going into the final show jumping phase. Out of a starting field of 22 horses and riders, all but four completed the cross-country, 11 of them with no jumping penalties, including all of the riders currently placed in the top eight. Canada’s Kyle Carter, who has had an incredible comeback season with his 2008 Olympic and 2010 World Equestrian Games partner Madison Park, is in third place, hot on the heels of Cousins with 64.4 penalties.
“I definitely felt it was one of the tougher three star courses I’ve seen in the last couple of years,” said Carter, a native of Calgary, AB. “I thought it rode better than it walked, which is a testament to the course designer.”
All of the courses at Bromont were designed by resident course designer, Derek Di Grazia of the United States, who was assisted by Canadian course builder Jay Hambly.
The CIC3* is at the same level of difficulty as the CCI3*, but a shorter course and fewer jumping efforts make it less taxing on the competitors. American Phillip Dutton of West Grove, PA, managed to hang onto the lead he established in the dressage phase of the CIC3* with Team Rebecca’s Ben, in spite of incurring 21.2 time penalties for a total score of 68.1 after cross-country. Dutton, a two-time Olympic team gold medalist for his native Australia, now competes for the U.S.
“It was a quite challenging course as we knew it would be, and the weather added a little bit to that,” said Dutton. “Overall, the footing at the jumps was very good. Ben actually galloped pretty well, and that part I was pleased with. He’s not bred to go really fast, but he doesn’t get strong getting to the jumps, so I could save time on the approach.”
Chasing Dutton into the show jumping phase is fellow American Lauren Kieffer, who is in second place after a clear cross-country round with R. F. Cosima, owned by Jacqueline Mars. Kieffer’s two-day score of 71.5 leaves less than a single rail between herself and Dutton. Just five of the nine entries in the CIC3* completed the cross-country course. All five had clear rounds, though none was within the optimum time of six minutes and 45 seconds.
In the CCI2* division, Erin Sylvester of the United States has taken over first place with Mettraise after a clear round, adding just 2.4 time penalties for a two-day score of 62.4 penalties. Sylvester is also in second place in the CCI1* division with Paddy the Caddy. Behind Sylvester in second place is fellow American Buck Davidson, who had the only time penalty-free round of the day in the CCI2* riding Knight Lion. Davidson is just one show jumping rail behind Sylvester with 66.4 penalties.
“I always feel cautiously good going into cross-country with this mare because she tries very hard,” said Sylvester of Mettraise. “It didn’t end up raining all that hard, but we went at the end of the day and the going had got a bit deep.”
In the CCI1* division, Canadian Waylon Roberts of Port Perry, ON, moved up one placing from his second placed dressage standing after he and his homebred Yarrow enjoyed a clear round with no time penalties to finish the cross-country on their dressage score of 45.7 penalties. Roberts maintains only the narrowest of leads over Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy, who also jumped fault-free to remain on their dressage score of 49.1 penalties. Roberts, a member of Canada’s silver medalist eventing team at the 2007 Pan American Games, is also in sixth place in the CCI1* division with Orion 49.
“Yarrow is just six and this is his second one-star event,” said Roberts, 24. “He felt great right from the start. Being second after dressage, I went out there knowing what I had to do. There were some green moments, but Yarrow answered me really well. I’m very pleased with him. Both of my boys were great today.”
Despite the damp weather, spectators filled the stands around the water jump on cross-country, the complex that always draws the biggest crowd, and often the most dramatic action. Bromont, the only FEI three star sanctioned three day event in Canada, draws North America’s top eventers, who know they can count on high calibre competition in the beautiful setting of Quebec’s Eastern Townships.
The final horse inspection at the Volvo CCI3* Bromont Three Day Event will commence at 8 a.m. on Sunday, following by the third and final phase of show jumping. Scores among the top contenders are close in all four divisions, which will make for an exciting climax to the 2013 Volvo CCI3* Bromont Three Day Event.
Volvo is the title sponsor of the Bromont Three Day Event for the second year. Bromont has also been included for a third year in the PRO Tour Series. The Professional Riders Organization (PRO) is a non-profit group of accomplished event riders dedicated to promoting the sport and advocating safety for horses and riders.
The Volvo CCI3* Bromont Three Day Event, The Todd Sandler Challenge, is made possible in part through a contribution from the Government of Canada. The organizing committee also wishes to thank the Gouvernement du Québec, Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, for their support of this year’s event.
For more information about the Volvo CCI3* Bromont Three Day Event, please visit the bilingual website, www.bromontcci.com. Live scoring will be available throughout the duration of the event.
Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439