Norwood, N.C. – April 5
Will Faudree didn’t have the best of luck with Jennifer Mosing’s Pawlow last fall. As they jumped the last obstacle on the cross-country at the Aachen CICO*** (Germany), they fell on the flat, just yards from the finish.
Then in October, “Ernie” underwent his second colic surgery and missed the fall season.
Thankfully, he healed well and they started off 2014 the right way with a win in the CIC** at Pine Top (Ga.), only to have to withdraw after show jumping in the CIC*** at the Carolina International (N.C.) in March when he didn't feel quite right.
But Ernie was feeling like his old self in the CIC*** show jumping today according to Faudree, jumping a double-clear round to take over the top spot when dressage leader Phillip Dutton went off course with Shamwari 4 and was eliminated.
“He was a lot of fun to ride today, even in the warm up,” said Faudree. “Right from the first jump I cantered down to the oxer and Ernie just jumps over the top of the standards! He was feeling good.”
Faudree, 32, Southern Pines, N.C., enjoyed the challenge of course designer Chris Barnard’s track.
“It was a good course,” he said. “I don’t get to jump a whole lot of his courses, and I always find his courses very interesting. I find a lot of the jumps are past the apex of the turn, so you have to keep riding all the way through the turns so that you have them straight. It was a good challenge.”
Although Ernie’s colic surgery went well, it was new territory for Faudree, who admitted he’s never had to bring a horse back from it.
“He had his first surgery in 2007 and that was nephrosplenic entrapment,” he explained. “The surgery he had October, they had to decompress his cecum. I felt a big difference in his recovery time after this surgery and I think it’s credit to his age and the amount of muscle strength he has in his abs.”
The 15-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding received laser treatment at the incision site and healed quickly. He was back in walking work by December and flatwork in January.
Faudree is looking forward to Tremaine Cooper’s cross-country course tomorrow, which features some new changes, including a mound to a skinny angled brush at fence 21.
“He’s a very experienced horse,” he said. “I know him so well and we have a great partnership together. There’s a lot to do out there. It keeps coming at you and there’s big tables and a lot of accuracy questions. I’m going to trust that I’ve done my homework at home and he’s an experienced horse and go out and answer all the questions.”
Allison Springer slotted into second place on her veteran four-star partner Arthur with a clear round.
The 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Brandenburg’s Windstar took last year off from competing due to an injury incurred after the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials CCI**** (England) in 2012 and Springer used the time to work on his strength and correctness on the flat once he was recovered.
He’s come out strong this season and she’s aiming for another Rolex Kentucky CCI**** appearance.
“It’s just been such a wonderful year,” she said. “He’s my old friend, I call him my handsome prince. He’s felt so good all year to me. I rode him a lot last year, but this is the best his body has ever looked—his best condition and strength. That year of not having the stress of travel and competition was really helpful. Every time he’s come out this year he’s just been so happy to be back out.”
Springer said she was going to be smart about her run across country tomorrow and requested a small change be made to the three-star track, which the technical delegate and Cooper agreed to.
“I asked them to make a change this morning,” she said. “I asked them to shave [the skinny brush after the mound at fence 21c.] I think this competition has to be the hardest competition of the year to design for because you have to send the horses going to Kentucky or Badminton, not on an easy run, but you want to have to come out of here having to fine tune a couple of things. You don’t want to leave here like a lot of horses did last year, just people and horses deflated [by the new coffin complex in particular.] We want to send the horses to Kentucky feeling like a million bucks and there are a number of first time CCI*** horses that need to qualify. I think the hedge was a four-star question. They were happy to do it.”
Making The Right Decision
Phillip Dutton and Mr. Medicott moved to the top spot in the advanced test-A division after dressage leaders Emily Beshear and Here’s To You added three time faults to drop to fourth place.
But Mr. Medicott’s stablemate, Bruce Duchossois’ Mighty Nice, who’s sitting in second place, will likely move into the top position as Dutton is expecting to withdraw the leader due to the firm ground.
“It’s a nice track,” said Dutton. “Unfortunately the ground’s a bit hard so I won’t be running him. I’m pretty pleased with the way he’s been going cross-country and I’d rather take him back and gallop him in Pennsylvania.”
Dutton, 50, West Grove, Pa., still got a good show jumping practice in though as he prepares to take Mr. Medicott to Rolex.
“I think he jumped quite well,” he said. “He was quite settled. It takes awhile to get a partnership going, but I think we’re slowly but surely getting a partnership together.”
Dutton’s plan for Mighty Nice, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse, is an easy, confidence-building run in his last competition before Rolex.
“He hasn’t done much because he’s coming off an injury last year, so he’s only run once at Southern Pines [N.C.,]” he said. “[He’s just going to] get a good, confident run so that he comes out tomorrow feeling really good about himself and that he can tackle any course. It will be just trying to give him a good experience at every jump.”
Figuring Each Other Out
Although they had one rail in show jumping, Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon still have the lead with a score of 47.3 in the CIC**.
Beshear and the 8-year-old Trakehner mare are still feeling each other out after recently partnering up at Poplar Place (Ga.) in January of this year. “I think that’s just part of getting to know her,” said Beshear. “I was just saying to my husband that this is only the second time I’ve show jumped her in a ring, and it was quite a ring and quite a substantial course.”
The gray mare gave Beshear quite the difficult ride when it came to keeping her attention on the task at hand. “When she went in the ring I thought we were okay,” Beshear continued. “She jumped the first fence really well, and just never looked towards fence two. I ended up adding a stride there and as soon as she landed she spooked and then went around the corner and spooked at the trees, at that point I just wanted to get over the jumps.”
Even though Beshear had a rail today, she knows that the mare has the ability to do her job well. “She’s very honest and very brave,” she said. “If she gets to the jump and is between the flags, she will get to the other side.”
Jennie Brannigan knew that her new partner Henry would not have a problem with the show jumping phase. The pair put in a clean round to overtake second with a score of 48.6.
“I know I’m sitting on one of the best jumping horses I could be sitting on so I just took a deep breath,” said Brannigan.
The 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding is owned by Sharn Wordley, who represented New Zealand at the 2008 Beijing Olympics on their show jumping team.
Maturing With Confidence
Katie Frei and Houdini kept their lead in the advanced test B with their clear round, but it wasn’t always this easy for Houdini to keep his cool.
Frei purchased the 10-year-old chestnut Thoroughbred off the racetrack when he was a 3-year-old. “He was a little difficult when he was younger,” said Frei. “I kept working on him and he worked out to be a pretty good horse for me.”
The gelding has proven to Frei this weekend that he is indeed coming into his own and isn’t the same rambunctious youngster he once was. “All of my rides have been super early in the morning, and he’s not a great morning horse because he’s very fresh,” continued Frei. “It tells me that he’s maturing a lot. That he can come out first thing in the morning and be settled, be confident and I’m really proud of him for that.”
While Frei knows that Houdini has all the ability in the world to win this weekend, she’s focusing on giving him a confident run tomorrow. “He’s a spooky, nervous horse; he tries really hard, but he sometimes can’t help himself,” said Frei. “He has all the ability, he just needs the confidence and to know that all will be okay.”
Cross-country action starts tomorrow at 9 a.m. with the advanced divisions, followed by the CIC*** and the CIC**.
For complete results, visit EventEntries.com.
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