Friday, May. 24, 2024

Sherri Dolan Smokes The Competition At The Southern Pines CDE

She makes her trip south worthwhile with a big win.

Sherri Dolan picked up the pace to lead from start to finish in the advanced single pony division at the Southern Pines CDE, April 11-13 in Southern Pines, N.C.

Dolan drove Smoke, a black Modern Shetland pony, into the lead right away with a dressage score of 53.12, several points ahead of Samantha Orem and her Haflinger, Admiral John and well ahead of Meghan Benge driving Miranda Cadwell’s Welsh Cross, Rupert.
PUBLISHED

ADVERTISEMENT

She makes her trip south worthwhile with a big win.

Sherri Dolan picked up the pace to lead from start to finish in the advanced single pony division at the Southern Pines CDE, April 11-13 in Southern Pines, N.C.

Dolan drove Smoke, a black Modern Shetland pony, into the lead right away with a dressage score of 53.12, several points ahead of Samantha Orem and her Haflinger, Admiral John and well ahead of Meghan Benge driving Miranda Cadwell’s Welsh Cross, Rupert.

Dolan then squeaked out a marathon win by just fractions of a point over Orem. “I really liked the hazards; because you had a lot of options, you could take long routes or short routes,” said Dolan.

Mother Nature added a little test of her own, when she chose to add some excitement to the marathon in the form of rain and some surrounding thunder and lightning. “I could blame my bad moments on the rain, but I don’t think I will,” said Dolan. “We got caught in a little hail—it was bouncing off his butt in the walk section, and it down-poured in section E.”

She and Smoke finished the weekend with the best cones score of the advanced divisions, with just one ball down. “It’s the first time I’ve made the advanced-level time,” Dolan said. “It was a fast course; you really had to move. I think I cantered at least half of it. There were a lot of spots where you’d run and then
slow down for the tight serpentines, then run. He did great; he went on when I wanted him to and slowed down when I wanted him to. He’s getting used to the crowds and the flags which tend to spook him.”

Orem’s second-placed finish was disrupted when the stitching on her pony’s breast collar gave way and she was forced to retire just before crossing the cones phase finish line.

ADVERTISEMENT

Dolan, of Milford, N.J., has spent much of the winter in Aiken, S.C., training with Lisa Singer. A scientist and product manager for a German company, Dolan can work from home, or wherever she might be, but she said every spare moment is spent working with her pony.

The falling rain had a bit more of an effect on Bill Peacock. Because Peacock wears eyeglasses, he claimed having only 50 percent visibility in the first obstacle. But “we knew the course well and he really responded. I was just tickled to death with him,” said Peacock.

Despite the challenges, Peacock drove Beau, a Friesian-Holsteiner cross he co-owns with Proud Meadows Farm, to the top of the advanced single horse division.

Peacock, of Belleville, Texas, gives most of the credit to Beau. “He’s a wonderful horse, and all I have to do is get myself right and he’ll do the rest. That was the best marathon I’ve had, period.”

Peacock almost gave his win away in cones. He had two balls in hand over Robin Groves, who won the marathon, but knocked down six. Luckily for him, Groves hit four balls and also incurred time penalties, so Peacock was able to hold his place.

Leslie Berndl looked poised to win the division after topping the dressage with a score of 39.04, but unfortunately she couldn’t capitalize on her 7-point lead over Peacock. A superstitious person might blame her marathon troubles on her competitor number, 13.

Berndl incurred 30 penalties in obstacle 3—20 for a corrected course and 10 when her groom slipped off the back of the carriage. In spite of her obvious disappointment, Berndl persevered and managed to win the cones and finish fourth overall.

ADVERTISEMENT

Berndl drives Koopman’s Lightning Rod, “Roger” to his friends, a 16-hand Hackney gelding owned by Ann McClure of Arroyo Grande, Calif. Berndl brought Roger East to test herself in head-to-head competition with some of the top drivers in the country, all focused on being chosen to compete for the U.S. team at the World Singles Championship, to be held in Poland Aug. 28-31. The duo competed at Sunshine State and Live Oak in Florida in March before heading to North Carolina.

Kate Shields drove to the best dressage score of the competition and then went on to win the preliminary single horse division with a new horse.

Hastening Cardoon, a Welsh Cob-Thoroughbred cross, impressed the judges, Shelly Temple and Sue
Smithson, who awarded Shields with a score of 33.67.

Katie Whaley took top honors in the advanced pair pony class, driving Tux and Spats, her two black Welsh ponies. At this point, Whaley is indecisive about whether she wants to drive a pair or four-in-hand in her quest to land a place on the 2009 World Championships team, but she acknowledged that a pair is half as much work as a four.

Her ponies may be small, but they are fast, and normally Whaley takes the longer outside routes in the obstacles. This time she walked the obstacles with Miranda Cadwell, current World Pair Pony champion, and asked her advice. With that input, Whaley decided to try the tighter, inside routes.

“It sort of surprised me,” said Whaley when she saw that she had won each of the six obstacles. Cadwell and Whaley drove almost identical routes, but Cadwell had a new, young pony in her pair and wasn’t quite as fast as usual.

Ann L. Pringle

Categories:

ADVERTISEMENT

EXPLORE MORE

Follow us on

Sections

Copyright © 2024 The Chronicle of the Horse