Tag Archives: The Fork

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.

Little Fights to Preserve Winning Title at The Fork FEI CIC 3*

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography.

Tryon, NC USA – April 5, 2018 – Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous sit atop the leaderboard in the FEI CIC 3* division at The Fork at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), receiving 24.2 penalties on the first day of dressage competition during the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) Eventing Test Event. Phillip Dutton (USA) and I’m Sew Ready currently hold second with a 26.4, while Jordan Linstedt (USA) and Revitavet Capato round out the top three on a 26.7.

For the second year in a row, Little and the 2005 Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Lario) claimed the top spot during the first day of dressage at The Fork, as they strive to maintain their winning record at the event since its relocation to TIEC last year, as they head into their second phase on Saturday. While their position is the same now as it was last year, Little acknowledged that her partner is a much different horse.

“I think RF Scandalous is much more mature than she was a year ago. She went in there today and had some of the best canter work she’s ever done. I was really pleased with her changes. She was perfect. She’s a dream!”

After a graceful start for the duo this spring, Little hopes to go at a more consistent pace throughout the month, keeping “Kitty” active and her fitness level intact as The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event approaches later this month. “This is her final competitive run before Kentucky,” said Little. “I was really thrilled with her today, given that she is incredibly fit right now. My plan was to get her as fit as I could by this time, and then be able to back off a little bit in April and fine tune some things, so she’s coming into this event right where I’d like her to be.”

Thirty-six horse-and-rider combinations will contest the track on Saturday, designed by Course Designer Captain Mark Phillips, who is also responsible for course design at the WEG later this year. Little will strategically map her intentions for her run after she walks the course and confirms a plan for the pair.

“Last year we had a mixed bag of success,” she continued. “The Fork was wonderful for us; that was a great event. I came back in the fall for AECs and that didn’t go so well for me, so there are some things that I would like to accomplish out there.”

Little also plans to use The Fork to prepare the mare, owned by Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Michael Manders, for possible WEG contention. “I think it’s a very important prep event for a lot of reasons,” she explained.

“The management and the staff are really allowing the riders to train for WEG here. Not only do we get to keep an eye on things and see where things are going, but everyone has been very sensitive to the horses and the fact that the next time they come in this ring, it will be for that. You saw that today in the amount of time they gave us around the arena before we started the test. I thought that was very kind, and I thought the horses were able to truly settle.”

Eventers from across North America arrived to test the waters at the venue this week, many taking their turn in the George H. Morris Arena on Thursday in anticipation of the prestigious events to come. “Of course, if there are people that couldn’t get here, there are plenty of opportunities to come to the other shows during the summer and I’m sure that we’ll see people taking advantage of that because it’s such a fantastic opportunity for us to have that chance,” concluded Little.

Later in the afternoon, Lynn Symansky of Middleburg, VA and Under Suspection posted the lead in the Advanced-A division with a score of 25.70, while Symansky reigned supreme once more on Donner, claiming the second place position with 28.20 penalties. Boyd Martin of Cochranville, PA and Kyra rounded out the top three on a 28.90.

Will Coleman of The Plains, VA and Obos O’Reilly currently sit in first place in the Advanced-B division on a 24.50, while Lauren Kieffer of Middleburg, VA and Veronica earned a 26.10 to stand in second. Leslie Law of Ocala, FL and The Apprentice follow in third with a score of 27.00.

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

The Fork Returns to TIEC Featuring WEG Eventing Test Event

Mill Spring, NC – March 20, 2018 – Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) is proud to announce the return of The Fork at TIEC, the FEI CIC 3*/2*/1* and Horse Trials presented by Lucky Clays Farm, on April 4-8. The CIC 3* division of The Fork competition will also serve as the Eventing Test Event in preparation for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) in September. General admission and parking are free for all competitions and additional ticketed spectator events will be hosted throughout the week.

Founded by Jim and Bernadette Cogdell, The Fork Horse Trials began 17 years ago in Norwood, NC and moved to TIEC last year to elevate the level of competition and enhance the spectator experience. As one of the most prestigious Eventing competitions on the North American calendar, The Fork is back at the Tryon venue. Alongside the FEI CIC 3*/2*/1* competition, Advanced, Intermediate, Preliminary, Modified, and Training divisions will also be hosted.

The Fork at TIEC offers an unprecedented chance for spectators to preview top competitors in their final tune-up before the prominent Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI 4* in Lexington, KY, as well as a preview of the thrilling competition to come to TIEC in September for the WEG. For some riders, The Fork at TIEC will serve as a qualifier for the WEG.

Spectators can also enjoy an impressive lineup of social events throughout the week including a Ladies Champagne Luncheon, Comedy Club Night, Lakeside Lunch with prime viewing of the cross-country course, “What the FORK” Party, and Sunday brunch.

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

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous Lead from Start to Finish in FEI CIC 3* at The Fork

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photos ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography.

Mill Spring, NC – April 9, 2017 – Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous crossed the finish line of the FEI CIC 3* at The Fork at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) presented by Lucky Clays Farm with a fierce determination as they attempted to maintain their competition-long lead. The duo paced through the inaugural use of the track to conclude their weekend with a score of 47.70, after adding six time faults in their final phase. Doug Payne (USA) and Vandiver moved up from fourth to second after finishing as the only pair to go double clear cross-country and end with score of 50.80, while Kim Severson (USA) and Cooley Cross Border rounded out the top three with a score of 51.70.

Little and RF Scandalous, a 2005 Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Lario) owned by Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Phoebe & Michael Manders dominated the competition throughout the week and triumphed with a forward and smart cross-country trip around the course, co-designed by Captain Mark Phillips and Tremaine Cooper.

“I want to thank Mark Bellissimo and his team, as well as Jim and Bernadette Cogdell, for starting this event so long ago, that has such a tradition and has been brought here to this incredible venue. That is special today, but even more special is knowing where it’s going in the future,” commented Little. “It was a pleasure for all of us to be galloping around on what will be the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 course, and one day will be very hallowed ground.”

RF Scandalous and Little were nearly foot perfect the entire competition, piecing together three fantastic phases, and exemplifying their preparation and training during the winter season. While the course rode fantastic throughout the day, as all 17 combinations contesting the FEI CIC 3* completed the track, Little felt that the difficulty of the questions asked was spot on for their needs moving forward into their season.

“It was a lovely run from start to finish. We had a beautiful few days after some incredible rains and it only speaks to the venue and to the course that it was able to take those rains and give us the gallop and terrain we had today,” she noted. “This was my first run of the year and she gave me a great ride out there today. I was thrilled with her.”

While most of the combinations competing throughout the week are heading to Lexington, KY in just a few short weeks, Little is still working through her plans with RF Scandalous and where they will come out to compete next.

“I will go back and talk to her owners after this and the team behind her; Jacqueline Mars has been in the sport far longer than I have and she watches closely. We’ll go back and have a meeting of the minds and figure out what will work best for her,” she noted. “While she is twelve, she’s only a few years into this sport and today she gave me the feeling of a confirmed horse. She was very confident at the fences and I let her go and she started flying. I think that spoke well to her fitness for the first run and I think Luhmühlen is definitely on the table. She strikes me as a horse that’s ready for a 4* and this was a great kick-off to what is hopefully a fantastic season.”

Doug Payne, who piloted Vandiver, a 2004 American Trakehner gelding (Windfall x Mystic Replica XX) owned by Debi Crawley, inched up the leaderboard throughout the week to ultimately finish behind Little.

Doug Payne and Vandiver

“I have to thank Debi Crawley, she often times is not able to be here, but she was today. She bred Quinn and has had him from the start. Debi has been absolutely great,” said Payne, taking a moment to appreciate Vandiver’s owner. “I’ve just been trying to be smoother and smoother. I want to be more efficient with the lines taken and out there in general. I’m very lucky to have such a talented horse because he has an exceptional gallop.”

“Honestly, he just cruised around and I’m enjoying it while we have the opportunity,” he concluded. Payne also finished in first and second place in the George H. Morris Arena in the $15,000 Jumper Classic during Tryon Spring III, hosted just before the start of cross country on the White Oak property.

“It was great that worked out. It’s amazing that we have a facility that can accommodate both. I can’t thank the staff enough. They were very flexible and helped us with all of the scheduling,” he added.

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border, a 2007 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Diamond Roller x Osilvis) owned by The Cross Syndicate, concluded their weekend in third place, after a strong showing on their way to the Rolex Three Day Event CCI 4* in Lexington, KY in April.

“Cross was fantastic. I mean a lot of the people who know us, know our situation has not always been smooth sailing, but I think we’ve done a lot of good work the past few years and given him enough time to go the right way,” said Severson. “He got better and better this weekend. We had a large jump into the water and he fought for it the rest of the way around the course. I’m just thrilled with him.”

Jim and Bernadette Cogdell, organizers of The Fork event for many years at their property in Norwood, NC, were on hand to discuss the week’s events and comment on the transition from their beautiful farm only a few hours to the east of TIEC, to the growing facility.

“The journey of The Fork began in 2002 and the journey has been a lot of good fun. There’s been a lot of laughs and tears. We’ve become close with a lot of good people,” said Jim Cogdell. “When I started aging out of age at 75, the stress level of running the event was great. We asked if we could relocate our event for a few years and just try something that is coming down the road and what I see as a great vision for the sport.”

“What we see here today is only one-tenth of what we’re going to see at this great place over the next five to six years,” he added. “With the FEI World Equestrian Games™ coming to North Carolina, we’re a part of that journey and I kind of like that as the legacy that Bernadette, myself, and The Fork would like to leave.”

Both Jim and Bernadette Cogdell have been instrumental in the growth and presence of the sport of eventing on the East Coast, as well as in the state of North Carolina.

“I personally am so happy with how the weekend went. I think always, when you’re at a new facility, there’s always going to be questions and I thought from start to finish it couldn’t have been more perfect,” said Bernadette Cogdell. “I know everyone worked to pull this off and I think it turned out fantastic.”

Logistically, the event took months of planning in order to make the transition as seamless as possible, while also adding a new sense of venue flare. A strong team behind the scenes focused on the preparation for the event since word broke that the move was officially set for 2017.

“It was a real joy to have this event here. Since the time that Jim called us, we started working with our team, on a vision of the extension of the course and multiple courses for a number of cross-country experiences,” said Sharon Decker, COO of Tryon Equestrian Partners, Carolinas’ Operation. “It was a great chance to push us on the timeline of development, and we like that around here. It only challenges us and I was thrilled to hear the comments from the riders regarding the course and how well it rode.”

Mark Bellissimo, Managing Partner of the Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP), felt that the week of competition exemplified the grit and determination of event riders, while also providing them with a new facility to hone their skills and grow their sport.

“I would first like to thank Jim and Bernadette for having faith in us to take, what was your child, and have the confidence that we could provide a good experience. Thank you for the opportunity to host this event. To the riders, the competition was great today,” said Bellissimo.

The Advanced and FEI CIC 3* runs were the first footsteps on what will be developed as the eventual track for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018and Bellissimo commented on his excitement for the future and what is expected for the continued expansion of the course.

“It’s always nerve-wracking with a new event, especially when you’re dealing with footing, horses, and safety, and this is one of the most dangerous sports out there. For us, we try to pride ourselves on footing in all of our facilities and this is new ground for us, literally and figuratively,” Bellissimo explained. “I think that this course is a great testament to Mark Phillips and Tremaine Cooper. We have a great team of people here and I’m very encouraged by what we saw here today.”

“This is a passion project for my family and partners. The course you saw today will only continue to evolve. That’s only one-third of our footprint, as that was only six holes of the 18-hole golf course. There’s a lot more property that you didn’t see today that you will, since this will utilize all 18-holes of the golf course to be converted into one of the most unique cross-country destinations in the world. I’m hopeful that this is the first of many different competitions to be hosted here,” he concluded.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night, a 2003 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Radolin x Argentinus) owned by Deborah Halliday, secured their weeklong lead with an efficient and flowing cross-country trip in the Advanced-A division. The pair finished their competition on a score of 34.30, after picking up 8.40 time penalties on cross-country. Will Coleman and OBOS O’Reilly finished in second with a score of 37.20, while Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti took home third on a 44.40.

“He felt great. He was amazing today. He felt as good as I could have ever wanted him too. I think because the course had so many big tables and the undulation, I just tried to think ahead to Rolex and let him gallop on,” said Halliday-Sharp. “I tried to not get in his way too much and work on the flow.”

The pair, who is also aiming at a start at the Rolex Three-Day Event CCI 4* in Lexington, KY, came into the competition looking for a confidence-boosting round that would give Fernhill By Night, a strong galloping effort, to make sure his fitness level is where it should be before heading into the biggest competition of their season.

“I thought it was a very fair course. It rode as we walked it, which was good. I thought it rode fair. I think it gave us the confidence we needed. I went quick enough without going mad and wanted to go give him a good gallop. He felt very fit and he felt confident and happy within himself, which is what we were here to do. I’m pleased with it.”

Jessica Phoenix and Bentley’s Best, a 2007 Trakehner gelding (Hirtentanz x Eichendorff) owned by Don Good, also secured victory in the Advanced-B division on a final score of 44.40. Boyd Martin and Tseterleg earned second place with a 47.30, while Jordan Linstedt and Revitavet Capato finished in third on a score of 49.70.

Jessica Phoenix and Bentley’s Best were the third pair between the Advanced and FEI CIC 3* divisions to maintain their lead throughout the duration of the horse trials.

“Honestly, Bentley’s Best had one of his best weekends ever here. I was so proud of everything that he did. In all three phases he felt really confident and playful in his jump, almost as if it was getting a bit easy for him at this level, which is really exciting,” explained Phoenix.

As another combination using The Fork to prepare for their Rolex Three Day Event CCI 4* debut, Phoenix is feeling good about the duo’s progress this weekend and felt that the competition set them up perfectly looking towards the end of April.

“He was incredible from the start flags to the finish and it’s not often that you can say that. I was really proud of everything that he did out there. He felt like it was just a blast and very fun,” she elaborated. “It’s awesome to feel like you’ve put together all three phases really well. This has to be one of the toughest sports in the world and to have all three phases come together for you in one weekend is pretty remarkable.”

To learn more about Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.

Little and RF Scandalous Remain Leaders Heading into FEI CIC 3* Cross-Country at The Fork

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photos ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography.

Mill Spring, NC – April 8, 2017 – Marilyn Little (USA) held onto her lead in the FEI CIC 3* at The Fork at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) presented by Lucky Clays Farm aboard RF Scandalous, adding nothing to their dressage score of 41.70. The pair will head into cross-country only two points ahead of Kim Severson (USA) and Cooley Cross Border, who currently sit in second on a 43.70. Sara Kozumplik Murphy (USA) and Ruben D’Ysieux moved up two positions, finishing in third after show jumping with a score of 50.60.

Little and RF Scandalous, a 2005 Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Lario) owned by Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Phoebe & Michael Manders, performed a stellar stadium round, which was smooth and accurate, exemplifying the mare’s scope and carefulness. The pair stayed well away from all of the rails, and will head into cross-country as the last pair on course, with the CIC 3* and Advanced divisions running in reverse order of go.

“I was really pleased with her. As I’ve said, we’ve been working a lot on the show jumping throughout the winter. It was great to see her come in relaxed to the warm-up area and in the ring,” commented Little.

As a seasoned grand prix show jumper, Little has a breadth of experience jumping in large atmospheres and feels that her knowledge as helped the mare gain confidence in the stadium phase.

“She knows exactly what to expect now. That was one of the problems when we first started working with her. She’s such a careful horse that she didn’t really know what to expect next,” she explained. “She does better when she knows what’s coming so that she can be relaxed in her program. That’s when you get the best out of her. She feels very confident.”

Heading into the final phase of cross-country, Little will look to pilot RF Scandalous to a strong and confident round ahead of their summer plans for the season.

“I’ve walked the course twice now and it’s just gorgeous. I think it’s going to be difficult to make the time,” she noted. “I think one of things that I’ve been trying to pay attention to is not just where the jumps are, but what is the best route through the terrain.”

While this is the duo’s first FEI run of the season together, Little commented that while she will look to give RF Scandalous a solid run, she will also focus her ride on perfecting the more difficult questions asked on course.

“This is her first run so I won’t start off too quickly. We’ll see how she’s handling it and where her adrenaline is,” said Little. “I think once I get across the bridge, I may start to pick it up a bit more and see where I can make it up. I want to take care of her out there and have a nice confident round. This event will determine where our season goes from here.”

Kylie Lyman and Lup the Loop Take Top Honors in FEI CIC 2*

Kylie Lyman (USA) and Lup the Loop rode to victory in the FEI CIC 2* after finishing on a 58.70 after the completion of all three phases. Will Zuschlag (USA) and RF Southern Command rode to second place with a 61.80, while Erika Nesler (USA) and Right Above It collected third place with a score of 62.70.

Kylie Lyman and Lup The Loop

Lyman and Lup the Loop are coming off of an extensive European tour in 2016, which helped the pair gain valuable international experience, which they have been able to translate into their season so far in 2017.

“I was originally entered in the CIC 3* and we had a little blip at Carolina last week when my stirrup broke,” explained Lyman. “Today was really difficult even though it was a CIC 2*. I think he came away from this having learned something. We both had to work for it. Even though he has a lot of 3* mileage at this point, it was not easy, so I was happy with the result.”

The pair performed a lovely, even dressage test and then finished their weekend efforts with an efficient and clean cross-country run. Lyman was quick to comment that she felt the weekend not only served as a solid building point for the pair, but continued to emphasize that the pair was able to work in a different environment, which was beneficial to both herself and Lup the Loop.

“I’m really happy with him. For me and my style of cross-country riding, it wasn’t the most natural because I like to kick on and go. The terrain made that a bit more difficult and it was a great experience for both of us, learning how to be patient and working with the terrain a bit more than we have before,” she commented. “Things came up quickly and he was adjustable and rideable, which is something that we’ve been working on.”

After their win this weekend, Lyman will give Loopy a break before working backwards from a schedule created to aim the pair towards the FEI CCI 3* at Fair Hill in October. “He’s done a lot last season and this spring so I think he’s earned a little bit of quiet time to do our homework. It seems like a long way away, but it will be here quickly,” she concluded.

Valerie Vizcarrondo and Favian Rise to Occasion in FEI CIC 1*

Valerie Vizcarrondo (USA) and Favian, a 2008 Oldenburg gelding (French Kiss x Relevant) owned by Valerie Vizcarrondo, rode to victory in a competitive FEI CIC 1* division, finishing their weekend with a final score of 45.90. Rachel Wilks (USA) and Great Expectations claimed second place, finishing just behind Vizcarrondo on a 46.00, while Boyd Martin (USA) and On Cue took third with a 48.00.

Vizcarrondo and Favian began their competition with a strong dressage score of 41.90 to sit in second place before the stadium phase. Vizcarrondo worked hard in the off season on their flat and show jumping, which paid off in a big way during the competition.

“He’s a relatively new horse for me and he’s very cool. It took me a bit to get him figured out and start to feel like he’s really mine,” she said. “He has a huge stride and he’s still not very strong so it turned out to be a bit tricky. We put him into dressage and show jumping boot camp this winter and to feel like you’re transitioning that to competition was a question mark for us, but he handled it amazingly.”

As the pair is still forging a relationship, Vizcarrondo was pleased with their overall performance and noted that their win solidified the potential of the budding partnership.

“He handled the atmosphere great this week. He was happy to scorch around the cross-country today. It felt really good,” she said. “He set right out with his big ears and they were pricked forward out of the box right away. It was great to see.”

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Jessica Phoenix Control Advanced A and B Divisions before Final Phase

Liz Halliday-Sharp (USA) and Fernhill By Night, a 2003 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Radolin x Argentinus) owned by Deborah Halliday, continue to lead the Advanced-A division, as they look towards cross-country on a score of 25.90. The duo left all of the rails in the cups during their show jumping round to stay on their spectacular dressage score. Jessica Phoenix (CAN) and Pavarotti sit in second place with a 29.20, while Allison Springer (USA) and Arthur round out the top three on a 30.80.

“He tried really hard today. He wasn’t quite awake in the warm-up, but he tried really hard in the ring. He’s a great jumper, as long as I don’t make any mistakes, he’s pretty cool,” she said. “He’s a sensitive flower so you have to look after him a little bit. I would be someone who is prone to time faults with him because I do look after him a bit too much, so I was pleased with our round.”

The pair, who continually excels on the flat and in the show jumping phases, will look to tackle a difficult Advanced track set on the White Oak complex, which will be used for the first time.

“Definitely the main plan is to get a clear round. It’s no secret that Blackie can be a bit difficult on cross-country and despite his record, I think this may be the best he’s ever been going,” she commented. “We gave him a good school before coming here. We were at Will Faudree’s place, which was fantastic and he’s been running up the hills. He’s feeling fantastic so I want to give him a confident and positive round.”

Jessica Phoenix (CAN) and Bentley’s Best, a 2007 Trakehner gelding (Hirtentanz x Eichendorff) owned by Don Good, currently sit atop the scoreboard in the Advanced-B division on a 35.60. The duo incurred a single time fault during their stadium round, which was added to their dressage score of 34.60. Emily Beshear (USA) and Silver Night Lady are in second with a 40.80, while Jordan Linstedt (USA) and Revitavet Capato hold third with a 42.50.

“I’m really thankful that I entered this event. I think that getting them into this atmosphere and this venue, having to walk through into that big ring, is really good for the horses,” said Phoenix. “Being able to do dressage and show jumping in this venue is a great setup for Rolex.”

Phoenix will be looking for a solid effort from Bentley’s Best during the cross-country phase. The pair is heading to the Rolex Three Day Event CCI 4* in Lexington, KY after this event, and Phoenix feels that the course will help them in their final preparations.

“The course looks amazing. I think they’ve done an incredible job. It looks perfect. I’m really looking forward to getting out there tomorrow,” she commented. “It’s an interesting course with the roping and the terrain. It really feels like a major games event. The terrain and technical questions will be a good test and good prep before Rolex.”

For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center, please visit www.tryon.com.

Cambalda Conquers The Fork CIC3* Once Again

The Fork has always been a lucky location Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda and this year the streak continued with the pair earning a win in the CIC3* with a picture perfect cross-country round.

“Between me and the people I am friends with, we all seem to do well at this event,” said Brannigan. “They are all really good riders and those are the ones that usually do well [at The Fork].”

“[Cambalda] galloped and didn’t try to run out on any corners, so I was happy about,” said Brannigan. “He was on today; he was on for everything. He wanted to fight for the flags, and that was a really nice feeling because he doesn’t always feel like that.”

Brannigan and Nina Gardner’s 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding have been partners for 7 years and in all that time they have had only two events with cross-country jump penalties below the four-star level.

“You think about the horse you’ve had through ups and downs and ins and outs, and you think about all the horses that people have had, and I just think to myself ‘gosh I still have this horse.’ He is still kicking along which is great. At the end of the day at the four-star level we have had a lot of weird stuff happen, but I don’t think you are going to find a horse that is this consistent at the three-star level.”

“He is a player and he shows up in all three phases pretty much all the time, so hopefully we can put some demons to rest at Rolex. He is a good friend, and I have got to give it to him.”

Buck Davidson and Carl and Cassandra Segal’s Ballynoecastle RM also held onto his overnight position by posting a double clear round.

“I was really happy with him,” said Davidson. “He did it really easily, and he was very good – I was slowing down after the mound, I could have been 30 seconds under if I wanted to. He is really peaking at the right time and I feel like I have the best Reggie I have ever had going into Kentucky, so fingers crossed that it all stays together.”

Rounding out the top three is Marilyn Little and Demeter who made a big leap up the leaderboard from 16th to finish out the weekend in which show jumping and cross-country time proved very influential.

Course tidbits

  • Only the ‘C’ element of the main water complex caused any trouble despite the worries of many riders. Three riders, Kurt Martin, Timothy Bourke and Holly Payne, had run outs.
  • The sunken road at 11 was pulled off the course after Caroline Martin and Pebbly Maximus had a fall there. They were the fifth rider on course and Brian O’Connor announced the ground jury decided it wasn’t riding well.

Advanced

Lauren Kieffer maintained her lead in both Advanced divisions and took home the blue ribbons with Team Rebecca’s Veronica in the A division and Kylie and Courtney Ramsay’s Czechmate in the B division. Also in the B, Kieffer finished third with Marie Le Menestrel’s Meadowbrook’s Scarlett and fourth with Jacqueline Mars’ Landmark’s Monte Carlo – both homebreds who she has brought up through the USEA Young Event Horse Series.

“All these horses are really, really nice and it is so fun to go out on them every weekend. It is cool to have all these American homebreds doing well. I have grown up with them and they have grown up with me, and they are my kids at this point, so it is pretty exciting to see them going this well. It is cool that all the people who own them have done so for years and are in it for the long haul.”

With four rides in the Advanced and a ride in the CIC2*, Kieffer left the start box five times today, and she said the hardest part of having multiple upper level rides is staying focused on the one she has on course at the time. “I will get out there and think oh on the next one I need to do this, but it is important to only think about the one you are riding at the time. The flip side is you get in such a rhythm, and it helps with making the time.”

In the A division, Lillian Heard and Share Option moved up into second and Phillip Dutton slotted into third with Mighty Nice. While in the B division, Boyd Martin and Pancho Villa slipped between Kieffer’s rides for second.

CIC2*

The CIC2* proved action packed from start to finish with no pairs making time on the course. When Sinead Halpin had an unfortunate fall from her early ride in the CIC2*, Grey Area, at the brush after the mound, she was forced to withdraw Nicole Carolan’s Topgun who was the overnight leader. This then moved Peter Barry and Long Island T into the lead. Barry then missed the double brush after the water jump and was technically eliminated, giving Lillian Heard the lead with Abbie Golden’s Arundel. After a spectacular save in the main water cost the pair precious seconds, Tamra Smith was able to finally secure the win with Alex Ahearn’s Mai Baum.

The final placings saw Heard sandwiched between Smith’s two rides with the Milton Syndicate’s Fleur de Lis in third.

CIC*

Molly Tully and Alexandra Knowles’ Last Call crossed the finish line two seconds over time, but the pair had it in hand and was able to maintain their overnight lead. With this event marking the end of Tully’s lease of “Fergie” it was an exciting finale for the partnership.

Beau Guimond and Filibuster ST held onto the red ribbon while Selena O’Hanlon moved up into third position with Zephyr.

See the final scores here.

About the Adequan USEA Gold Cup and PRO Tour Series

Qualifying for the 2015 Adequan USEA Gold Cup began last fall with the Plantation Field CIC3* (PA) and the Woodside 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 2015 in Tyler, Texas. Riders who complete a qualifier earn the chance to vie for $40,000 in prize money in the Adequan Advanced Division and the title of Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion.

The 2015 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series is made possible through the support of its many loyal sponsors: Adequan, Standlee Forage, Nunn Finer, Nutrena, Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency, Point Two, Dubarry, and FITS.

The PRO Tour Series consists of 13 premier destination events in the United States and Canada, featuring the best riders and most entertainment. Riders and Horses are awarded points on the PRO Tour Rider Leader Board and PRO Tour Horse Leader Board.

The Professional Riders Organization would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of the 2015 PRO Tour Series: KER Optimum Time, Tex Sutton, Triple Crown Nutrition, SSG Riding Gloves, and Midadlantic Ltd.

Leslie Mintz – USEA Staff