Norwood, N.C. – April 4
When Boyd Martin handed over the reins of his new mount Shamwari 4 this weekend in the CIC*** at The Fork International Horse Trials to Phillip Dutton while he recovers from a broken leg, he had simple instructions. “Just jump around and don’t fall off!”
Dutton's taken those instructions to heart and started off the weekend right, putting in the best dressage test of the division (45.9) to take over the lead heading into tomorrow’s show jumping.
“He’s a cool horse,” said Dutton, who only rode the 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Star Regent XX—Donnice, Der Clou) once on Thursday before the competition. “He’s got plenty of gears there, so whatever you want to ask for, he’ll do. It took me a little bit of time to get used to him in the canter, so we had a break in the counter canter. It’s exciting for Boyd. I think it’s going to be a really good horse for him in the future, hopefully this year and for years to come.”
Dutton, 50, West Grove, Pa., gave all the credit to Martin, who acquired the gelding in January and is aiming for a spring four-star if his leg is healed in time.
“He’s very well-trained, so I don’t think there’s much credit to be taken,” said Dutton. “He’s a very quiet horse. I didn’t even ride him this morning. I just took him out there and Boyd said he’d be fine. We were still getting to know each other in the warm up. [U.S. Eventing Chef D’Equipe David O’Connor] has ridden him and overseen things as well, so that was helpful.”
Dutton is also riding Martin’s other mounts, Red Hills CIC*** (Fla.) winner Trading Aces in the advanced test-A division (where they’re in a tie for second after dressage) and his 2012 London Olympic Games mount Otis Barbotiere in the intermediate.
“When we walked the course today, I think the idea would be to come out of this weekend with the horses feeling really good and confident and looking forward to the next few weeks,” said Dutton. “My goal would be to feel that the horses had a great experience this weekend. Obviously everybody likes to get a ribbon and do well, but not too many people remember who wins the horse trials, but everyone remembers who wins the three-day events, that’s the most important.”
Dutton also rode Tom Tierney and Annie Jones’ Fernhill Fugitive in the CIC*** division where they lie in a tie for 19th (51.6).
“That was about his best test,” he said. “He’s a cool little horse and I maybe brought him up a little bit too much last year. He’s starting to get comfortable at this level. I’m leaving him at three-star all this year and hopefully next year he’ll be ready for a four-star.”
Will Faudree rode Jennifer Mosing’s Pawlow into second (46.8). “Ernie” was withdrawn from the Carolina International CIC*** two weeks ago when he didn’t feel right after show jumping, but Faudree felt he was on form today.
“We checked him out and did all the necessary steps to make sure he wasn’t hurt,” he explained. “We actually changed his shoes, we put some frog support pads on and it’s been a big factor. He feels like himself.
“He wanted to go forward,” he continued. “I was real happy with his test. I was playing around with some different [bits,] he can be pretty funny in his mouth, so I played around and rode him in a double at Carolina. The double is great when there is a lot of atmosphere, but when there’s not a whole lot of atmosphere it can be too much. I rode him once this morning in the double and just put him in his snaffle for the test.”
Faudree, 32, Southern Pines, N.C., admitted he threw away a few points, but was happy with his bitting choice. “My halt before the rein back wasn’t square,” he said. “He kind of slipped out behind in the first couple steps of the medium canter circle and I lost a little bit of rhythm, but all in all I was really happy with him.
Faudree has Ernie, an Irish Thoroughbred (Marcuzzi—B.C. Illusion, Levantos) entered at both the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** and the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials CCI**** (England).
“The plan is that if he runs well here I would love to take him to Badminton,” he said. “He’s a horse that’s been a surprise for me. When I first got him, I thought he would max out at intermediate. He’s 15 this year, I think it would be fun to take him to Badminton. If I take him to Badminton, I’m obviously going to be thinking of the rest of the year with the WEG and what not. So if I decide, two trips might not be the best for him.”
Tomorrow’s show jumping kicks off with two divisions of advanced at 8 a.m., followed by the three-star and the two-star divisions.
For complete results, visit EventEntries.com.