While Hugh Lochore’s cross-country course caught some horse-and-rider combinations by surprise, Nicki Henley and Mara Dean put in a flawless jumping trip today, Saturday, March 5, to maintain their lead in the Red Hills International CIC***-W.
“This was not an easy course for him because of all the twists and turns,” said Dean, Round Hill, Va. “He’s a bit of a strong horse, but he was by far the best he could be in this situation. I could easily say that’s one of my best rides on him. He was looking for the flags and was really genuine and somewhat adjustable, for him!”
Nicki Henley sustained a serious tendon injury at the 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil. Dean was told the Irish Thoroughbred gelding would never jump again, and she hoped he would at least come back as a dressage horse. However, Nicki kept improving.
“It’s really emotional now. I feel like I have my horse again,” said Dean. “Now that he’s come back from his little break, he’s a better horse. More mature. He’s never going to be easy to ride, but he’s definitely a little easier than he was!”
Phillip Dutton and Truluck kept their second-placed position (58.0) after a clean jumping effort. Will Coleman and Nevada Bay (60.6) moved up five places into third with the fastest trip of the day, only incurring 6.4 time penalties. Bonnie Mosser and Merloch slipped into fourth (67.4), and Allison Springer and Arthur kept their fifth-placed position (74.0).
Three riders were eliminated on the cross-country, and two other pairs withdrew. Ten combinations are expected to present at the jog tomorrow morning.
St. Barths Keeps Command In CIC**
Hannah Sue Burnett likes to go last on cross-country. It played in her favor today, as she and St. Barths will head into show jumping in the lead in the CIC** with 58.8 penalties.
“I was kind of trying to just stay on the path I was going to take,” said Burnett, The Plains, Va. “It wasn’t riding as planned for a lot of people. I was a bit nervous, and that walk up to the warm-up didn’t help!”
The CIC** cross country was delayed by several holds on course, but the organizers kept the event running smoothly, and Burnett and “Nike” zipped around the track with relative ease.
“He’s definitely getting kind of cocky on course,” said Burnett with a laugh. “After I had a little word with him, he was fine. At first the crowds did slow him down a little, which is not normal for him, but he hasn’t been in this kind of a closed course before. I was excited he really went to work as we went along.”
Buck Davidson and Absolutely Liberty, who were second after the dressage, retired after several run-outs. Phillip Dutton and Wild Tiger also had a stop on course. Nine horses in total were elminated during the cross-country, with several problems occurring at fence 13ab, a ditch and bank to a large angled log.
After the dust settled, Michael Pollard and Jos Calfun moved from sixth to second with 61.4, and Dutton and Lioness slipped into third (71.9). Pollard’s other two-star horse, Dazzling Dekorum is fourth (73.0), with young rider Jacob Fletcher and Falcon Splash in fifth (76.5).
Red Hills Tidbits
- Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch lead the advanced division after a clean cross-country trip.
- Will Coleman has three horses in the top five in the CIC*: All The Buzz (first), Vancouver (fourth) and Drummer’s Call (fifth).
- Tara Ziegler and Buckingham Place lead the field in the non-World Cup qualifying CIC*** division.