$500 Craigslist Mare Galloway Sunrise Leading USEA American Eventing Championships

Sep 2, 2021 - 3:05 PM

Lexington, Ky.—Sept. 2

Fylicia Barr’s story is the one that many young riders daydream might happen to them: As a young teenager, she bought Galloway Sunrise for $500 off Craigslist as an unbroken baby and trained her, from halter-breaking  to the top of her sport, as they grew up together.

Barr made her dream of competing at a five-star event a reality in April when she and the now-13-year-old American Warmblood mare (Duty Officer—Coco Chanel) finished the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. They returned to the Kentucky Horse Park this weekend for the USEA American Eventing Championships and now are leading the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final.

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Fylicia Barr and Galloway Sunrise. Lindsay Berreth Photos

The pair leaped from sixth place to the top of the leaderboard today after an exciting day of cross-country.

“It’s thrilling,” Barr said. “To know that I brought a horse from nothing all the way up to the top level is one thing, but to be able to be competitive? It’s just incredible for me to feel like all my training and time and energy is really paying off in a big way. And to have a horse at the top of the leaderboard that I know so much—I mean, we grew up together. I know this horse just as well as I know myself, and she knows me.”

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Buck Davidson and Carlevo jumped into second place.

Derek di Grazia’s advanced course caused a fair bit of trouble. Dressage leader Boyd Martin took a tumble off the 2019 AEC advanced champion Long Island T at fence 20, the coffin, but he was up and rode his other horse On Cue later in the division.

Second-placed Allie Knowles fell from Business Class at fence 9, the Frog Pond, but she also rode her other two horses later in the division. None of the 39 starters made the optimum time of 6 minutes, 24 seconds.

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Buck Davidson and Jak My Style moved from 17th place after dressage into third.

“I wanted to come back again,” Barr said. “She was incredible in Kentucky. That was a huge highlight for me. But I wanted to come back into this ring and get her back in this atmosphere, so we could come back next spring and be really competitive in the five-star. She’s just an incredible horse, and all of the pieces are finally starting to come together. Heading out on cross-country, I knew I had a chance to be at the top if I could be fast, and that’s where she shines. She knows me; I know her. I felt really comfortable with the course, and I thought I could put my foot down a little bit more, having that comfort, knowing exactly what she’s going to do.”

Barr, 26, said she always dreamed of competing at the Kentucky Horse Park, but the road was a long one.

“She was an unbroke, pretty feral 2-year-old—like wasn’t even halter-broke at the time,” she recalled of buying “Sunny.” “It’s been a really, really long journey. Obviously as a kid, my dream was always to go advanced with her, and now she’s here and it’s always been kind of a little bit of that ‘dream come true’ moment. But it’s taken a long time to sort it out.”

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Boyd Martin fell from his dressage leader Long Island T but moved into fourth place with On Cue (pictured).

The advanced division show jumps tomorrow starting at 7:30 p.m., and there will be lots of atmosphere to contend with, but Barr feels confident.

“This spring, we tried to change a few things, and it started paying off,” she said. “I’ve been show jumping with Lillian Heard most recently, and she seems to really understand her. She was laughing that Sunny is a lot like her [LCC] Barnaby horse, so it was nice to have that inside scoop on everything she had done with Barnaby to get him to the level, too. I’m feeling pretty confident going in. The show jumping is her weakest phase, but we’ve been doing our homework.”

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Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver.
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Allie Knowles and Ms. Poppins.
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Matt Flynn and Wizzerd.
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Karl Slezak and Fernhill Wishes.
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Maya Black and Miks Master C.
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Sydney Conley Elliott and QC Diamantaire.

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