April 6—Norwood, N.C.
A month ago, Phillip Dutton held a healthy lead after dressage aboard Mystery Whisper in the Red Hills CIC*** (Fla.), but at The Fork, he had to be content sharing first place with Will Faudree and Pawlow as he heads into cross-country in the three-star.
The riders tied on 39.6 ahead of Michael Pollard on Jude’s Law (41.1).
Dutton’s early morning test at The Fork in the cold drizzle didn’t garner quite the score of his previous record-breaker at Red Hills (27.9), but Dutton had no complaints.
“I was pleased with it. There wasn’t too much wrong with it. Not to say I can’t improve,” he said. “He’s a pretty cool horse to work with. He knows when to click into gear.”
Watch Dutton's ride.
Faudree expected “Ernie” would be energetic as the first horse down centerline at 8 a.m. in the cooler temperatures. But the 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Marcuzzi—B.C. Illusion, Levantos) was feeling a little too relaxed.
“I had to borrow Buck Davidson’s whip for a few minutes,” he said. “I got him hot off my leg in the warm-up, and then in the test he stayed very forward. He’ll drop behind me sometimes, but he stayed right out in front of me, and I was able to really ride forward transitions. I was very happy with his test.”
Faudree also had a good ride with Andromaque at the end of the day, slotting into fifth (43.5).
Faudree competes Ernie sparingly, but when he does go cross-country, he goes for speed.
“He’s happy to not go quickly. So I like to make him think there’s one way of going, and it’s flat out,” he said. “It’s a real privilege to come ride around a track where they’ve put so much thought into the footing.”
Dutton said he wasn’t planning to put the pedal down on cross-country. “I’ll go a bit easy on [Mystery Whisper]. He went pretty quickly at Red Hills. I want to get him so he’s good and rideable.” Dutton mentioned that the first water would be a test with a big drop and a corner coming up quickly afterwards. “They’re all big jumps. You’ve got to set out so your horse understands,” he said.
In advanced, test A, Will Coleman came out on top with Ideal Contini. He took over the ride on Plain Dealing Farm’s 9-year-old German Warmblood (Contini—Hauptstutbuch Riviera Wonder) last year in July.
“It’s his second advanced. He’s a pretty green horse,” said Coleman. “It was a horse for Lucia Strini, but it wasn’t a great match for her.”
Jan Byyny lies tied for second place in the advanced on Why Not (28.1) with Pollard on Schoensgreen Hanni.
Allison Springer holds the lead in the advanced, test B, division with Arthur (22.7) over Becky Holder on Courageous Comet (23.7).
Cross-country begins bright and early with the CIC** division at 8:30 a.m.
For full results, visit EventEntries.com.