Thomson, Ga.—Feb. 24
Loughan Glen completed his first advanced horse trial at Pine Top Farm in 2011, and after several top three-star finishes around the world and a trip to the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, last year, it came full circle this weekend.
“Glen” led the CIC*** from start to finish with Clark Montgomery, adding just a rail to their best-ever three-star dressage score of 32.3. The pair finished more than 13 points ahead of their nearest competitors, Doug Payne and Vandiver (49.6).
The schedule for the three-star was fast and furious today, with 13 pairs completing all three phases. While entries were down from years past, Montgomery, who’s back in the United States after a few years in England, made it a point to come because of Derek Di Grazia’s cross-country courses.
“It’s a good venue, it’s good galloping which I really love. The dressage rings are nice, and you’ve got to be careful in the show jumping because we don’t get to jump on terrain very often in the States, but it’s fun to have that variety to it as well. And you can’t beat the weather,” he said.
“We’re working on all the small things in dressage—getting him more energetic and adjustable, and that’s really paying off. Show jumping he was in his cross-country bit. All last year I jumped him in his eggbutt. I thought I’d try this, and it was almost a bit too much. He still jumped well. I don’t think the rail had anything to do with the bit. I just jumped into the triple bar a little big and didn’t hold off the vertical, and he just barely ticked it. He jumped everything else really well,” he continued.
Glen had a bone chip removed from his knee last fall after returning from Rio where he didn’t complete the cross-country, despite coming into the event in excellent form.
He was back in full work by November, and Montgomery decided to start his season early this year since he hadn’t completed an event since winning the Land Rover Great Meadow International CICO*** (Va.) in July.
Montgomery was feeling confident coming into his first event of the season, the intermediate at Ocala Winter I (Fla.), but the Wednesday before the event he fell while mounting a tricky horse and broke a rib when the horse bucked and his reins broke.
“It was probably a blessing in disguise because I was planning on cross-country schooling, and if it had broken out there, it would have ended a lot worse than just a broken rib,” he said.
He still ran his horses, including Glen, at the event and had a run out on course.
“I should have withdrawn all my horses because I rode every single horse that week. He did have a run out, but it was not his fault. I couldn’t hold the line,” he admitted.
After taking some time to heal, Montgomery and Glen had two good runs at preliminary and intermediate, and the gelding was back on form once again.
He didn’t set out to make time today, but Glen was feeling quite fit, and was one of two horses to make the time in the division.
“Cross-country he was just amazing. He was the horse we know he can be, and he showed he’s feeling really good in his body and has been healthy and is ready to rock and roll,” he said.
“It’s hard to ride him super soft on cross-country. He doesn’t like that ride. He likes a bit more aggressive ride. I wasn’t really keeping an eye on the clock—my plan was just to go at a pace that he felt comfortable in, which was quite quick, and to tick off all the jumps. I came up here because Derek did the cross-country course. There were good enough angles and combinations to really test us I felt. I wanted to make sure he was holding his shoulder straight and picking up all the jumps as well as he could.”
Glen is aiming for the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** in April and will have one more run at the Cloud 11-Gavilan North LLC Carolina International (N.C.) next month.
“I absolutely feel now after these last couple of events that the old Glen is back mentally and physically, so now it’s just making sure you’re doing the right preparation for Kentucky and not so much thinking, ‘am I doing the preparation to get his confidence back,’ because that’s a null and void point at this stage. He’s completely confident and happy, so you switch over to thinking exactly what’s going to get him ready for Kentucky.”
Full results are here.
Want more from Pine Top? We’ll have a full report including more winners in our March 20 issue.