Saturday, May. 25, 2024

I’m Sew Ready Stays Seamless At Carolina International CIC***

Raeford, N.C.—March 20  

To say Phillip Dutton was totally confident heading into the show jumping arena on I’m Sew Ready at the Cloud 11- Gavilan North LLC Carolina International wouldn’t exactly be true.

Dutton has jumped many a CIC*** round on more horses than he can count and had already been around Marc Donovan’s course twice earlier in the day, but rails had been falling throughout the division and he’s had the ride on the gelding for his usual rider, Kristen Bond, for less than a year while she was pregnant.

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Raeford, N.C.—March 20  

To say Phillip Dutton was totally confident heading into the show jumping arena on I’m Sew Ready at the Cloud 11- Gavilan North LLC Carolina International wouldn’t exactly be true.

Dutton has jumped many a CIC*** round on more horses than he can count and had already been around Marc Donovan’s course twice earlier in the day, but rails had been falling throughout the division and he’s had the ride on the gelding for his usual rider, Kristen Bond, for less than a year while she was pregnant.

But “Jackson” pleasantly surprised his rider with a solid clear to hold onto his lead going into tomorrow’s cross-country.

“You can always have a rail down,” said Dutton. “Having said that, he’s actually got a good show jumping record. He’s jumped a lot of clean rounds. You have a feeling of confidence that every time he leaves the ground, he’s trying to clear the jumps. Not to say he can’t touch a pole and it comes down. I wasn’t super confident, but I wasn’t dreading going in there because he does try really hard.”

Fifteen of 50 riders to show jump had double clear rounds over Donovan’s course, which was held on the Carolina Horse Park’s grass derby field. While flat, it did cause a few slips here and there because of overnight rain.

There were several related distances that caught out riders, but Jackson remained rideable throughout his round.

“He’s a little aggressive to the jumps so it’s just a case of getting him there, especially in the related lines, where he doesn’t run past his distance,” Dutton explained. “He jumped well. I thought it was a good track. There was a lot to do and it seemed to be a little bit more congested this year than last year. It felt a bit smaller in the arena. I think there were a few more jumps and that kind of stuff. I’m a fan of Marc’s course design. I think he makes you think and I think it’s good for us.”

While Dutton is not usually one to gush about his rides, he expressed how happy he was to have his two top mounts, Mr. Medicott and Mighty Nice, back in action in the CIC** for their first runs of the season after being sidelined with injuries last year. Not surprisingly, the two geldings were full of energy and easily put in double clears to move up to sixth and third places, respectively.

“Certainly ‘Cave’ [Mr. Medicott], it’s just a privilege to have the horse. To feel how excited he was to be doing it again—it is rewarding,” he said. “So we’ll take it one step at a time and see how he goes tomorrow and how he comes out of it, then onto the Fork [N.C.]. But there’s so much power and what a great feeling it is when he jumps—it’s pretty unique having him.”

Dutton said he got some help from Richard Picken in his warmup with Mighty Nice, or “Happy”, and thought the round went well for a phase that’s often Happy’s nemesis.

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“He sort of makes a bit of a move at the jumps but I’ve got to be trusting enough that when he gets there, he’s going to be clever and careful and not hold him all the way down,” he said. “So I was pleased. This is their first run for quite awhile so they’ll be going around [cross-country] as quiet as I can hold them. I need a big dinner tonight—they’re going to be strong tomorrow!”

As for Jackson, he’ll go quicker since he missed a run due to having a cold last month. “I think I’ll run him around without going too crazy,” said Dutton, West Grove, Pa. “I’ll try to get a good time on him without going 100 percent. He wouldn’t be the fastest horse that I’ve ever ridden—he’s a little bit short-strided. He zeroes in on the jump so he takes you to the jump pretty good. Having said that, he’s probably a bit green at this level still so I’ve got to make sure I use my experience a bit and help him out where he needs help. Generally, he’s not super strong so I can keep coming to the jumps without setting up too much. I expect him to go well.”

Boyd Martin moved into second position behind Dutton in the CIC*** with Master Frisky when second placed Lainey Ashker and Anthony Patch dropped three rails to fall to 18th place.

Master Frisky, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Master Imp—Frisky Legs, Coopers Hill) owned by Stephen Blauner, finished as runner up in the CCI*** at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International (Md.) last fall and he’s headed to his first Rolex Kentucky CCI**** if all goes to plan.

“He’s a good horse and he’s a very, very nice mover and nice cross-country horse and the show jumping’s always improving,” said Martin, who admitted he was a bit nervous coming to the Carolina International because of his streak of bad luck at the event.

“I’m always nervous coming here because I’ve broken my legs two times, two years in a row,” he said. “The first year was on a scooter on the way home from the party and the next year at a corner. So my wife’s a bit nervous about me being here this weekend. I’m going to take it easy at the party and Stonehenge corners!”

But, “It’s fantastic—every year it’s getting better and better. The live streams are a big deal this year I think. [The rain we had] should soften up the turf and give all the horses a good run and hopefully prepare them well for where they’re headed for their spring three day events.” 

Little Keeps Her Leads

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous held onto their lead in the CIC** after a double clear show jumping round while Ryan Wood and Powell moved up from fifth after dressage (44.4) to second place after another faultless stadium round.

Little had to switch gears midday as the CIC* ran cross-country today during the CIC** show jumping. But that didn’t stop her from dominating both divisions.

Little summed up the day as challenging, especially considering the elevated atmosphere of the show jumping arena compared to previous years.

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“I thought there was a lot of atmosphere,” she said. “Marc [Donovan] did a very good job on the course; there were rails everywhere. It was certainly a lot for the horses to look at, and obviously having the [VIP] tent right there and all the people that are there, adds quite a bit. But it’s a wonderful preparation for the spring CCIs that people are aiming towards. There have been a lot of young riders in the mix, so it’s a really great way to raise the game for them as well and get them thinking about what’s coming—in more of a pressurized environment.”

The top three in the CIC* after dressage—Little on RF West Indie, Doug Payne on Lysander and Little on RF Overdressed—held onto their respective placings with faultless cross-country rounds.

And despite Little’s busy schedule, she knowingly set aside time for RF West Indie to warm up, making all the difference for their smooth trip.

“The way you leave her at home is the way you’re going to find her at the show, and that can be a blessing and a curse,” explained Little, of Frederick, Md. “Because if you’re in a rush, with a lot of horses, you have to make sure you give her all the time that she needs because the way that you leave—she’s going to come out that way. I think she thought she was going to go cross-country today because at the last event it went dressage and then cross-country, and she came out very nervous today. In the warmup area she was a bit of a twitter, and then to see her put in such a solid performance in the ring was a really great thing.”

Little purchased Indie while horse-hunting in Germany four years ago. “So I know her very, very well,” she said. “She’s really a Thoroughbred to ride cross-country; she’s really a big galloper, she has a huge stride. She’s just dropped down to the one-star; she’s at the two-star. She made the time very very easily. That’s wonderful to see—for them to be able to move up and down and have a really confident round like she did today. She’s brilliant to ride.”

The water complex—11ABCD—on the CIC* cross-country course saw the most faults and the only rider falls. Little weighed in on why.

“I did my first advanced here and I remember walking in like, ‘I really have to figure this out,’ ” she said. “They’re coming from the field on a big stride from a lot of single fences, and then all of the sudden they’re both in the woods and they’re in the water. That brush [11A] coming in invited a nice jump but it did put them on the back foot a little.”

She noted that the striding of the line was a bit awkward—although it walked in five even strides, many horses took a half-stride to 11B, an upward bank and then scrambled through the one-stride to the down-bank.

Cross-country starts tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. with the intermediate divisions, followed by the CIC** at 10:30 a.m. and the CIC*** at 12:40 p.m.

Watch a live stream of the CIC*** competition all weekend on USEF Network.

Scores are available on EventEntries.com.

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