Boyd Martin told me yesterday he intended to go for it on Ian Stark’s CIC3* cross country course at Richland Park, and he definitely stuck to that plan, coming home clear with one of the fastest trips of the day to clinch the win with Trading Aces. Oscar has campaigned at the Advanced level for about a year now, and Boyd said it’s time to start treating him like less of a green horse and more like a seasoned campaigner. The horse looked very solid today all around the course where I saw him — especially through the toughest combination on course at fences 19AB and 20 — and this is exactly the trip Boyd needed in preparation for the Boekelo CCI3* later this fall in the Netherlands. I’ll be catching up with Boyd later this afternoon to hear how he thought the course rode.
Michael Pollard and Mensa were one of the last pairs on course and had a chance to catch Boyd and Oscar if they came home without time penalties. I saw Michael over fence four and through the second water, and he was absolutely flying trying to steal the win from Boyd. He put in a fantastic clear round and came home with 4.8 time penalties to finish in second place, which bodes very well for how Mensa will handle the CCI4* course at Pau in October. Will Faudree and Andromaque tied Boyd and Oscar for the fastest trip of the day, jumping clear with 3.2 time penalties to finish in third place. Missie absolutely made mincemeat of the Keyhole Combination at fences 19AB and 20 and was barely breathing when she galloped by me toward the end of the course. Will and Missie are also heading to Pau in October.
The best story line of the weekend has to be Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights, who jumped clean around the horse’s first CIC3* course and came home with with 6.8 time penalties — one of the fastest trips of the day — to finish in fourth place. Colleen and CR took the direct route at the Keyhole Combination at fences 19AB and 20, and he didn’t even blink at the solid corner at fence 20, an element that caught out numerous seasoned three-star campaigners throughout the day. If there was any doubt before, I think it’s safe to say that this 7-year-old homebred is absolutely the real deal, and Colleen has to be over the moon about how well he performed this weekend. I already have an interview lined up with Colleen this afternoon to chat about her stellar weekend with CR, so stay tuned for that.
In all, we saw 28 clear jumping rounds in the CIC3* division, though no one made the time. Six riders had refusals at either 19a or 20 in the Keyhole Combination, while numerous riders circled between 19b and 20 to ride a straight line to 20. The riders who successfully took the direct route consistently rode a very forward line with lots of leg to ensure their horses had enough steam for the very big corner at fence 20. I stayed at this part of the course for quite awhile trying to get a video of a horse and rider combination successfully taking the direct route, and Caitlin Silliman and Remington XXV finally showed exactly how it should be done, as you’ll see in the video below. The first water at 7ABC also caused trouble, as Diana Burnett and Shigatzi retired there after multiple stops and Sharon White and Wundermaske picked up two stops there before continuing on to complete the course.
Buck Davidson fell from Santa’s Keeper this morning in the Open Intermediate division and withdrew Cool N’Cavalier — who was slated to be first on course in the CIC3* — about 15 minutes before the start. He later withdrew his remaining three mounts — which is a huge blow considering he was sitting in fourth place with Petite Flower — and we’re sending our best wishes that whatever injury is plaguing him isn’t anything serious. I texted him for a status update earlier today and will let you all know just as soon as I’ve heard how he’s doing. Kim Severson and Fernhill Fearless and Diana Burnett and Diamond Cut III withdrew this morning before cross country started, leaving 39 pairs left to contest the CIC3* course. Corinna Garcia and Runabout Riley were the only pair to be eliminated after one too many stops.
The Biggest Movers Awards go to Michael Pollard and Ballingowan Pizazz, who moved up from 30th place after dressage to finish in sixth place, and Peter Barry and Kilrodan Abbott, who moved up from 32nd place to eighth place. I ran into Peter yesterday while he was dutifully walking the Keyhole Combination, and he had a beautiful direct trip through there today, with Eddie looking like he was having the time of his life as always. Michael also gets a big shoutout for finishing his weekend with two horses in the top six of a very competitive CIC3* division. I’m typing this up from a nearby Panera due to no wifi access at the grounds, and I’m about to head back now to interview some of the CIC3* riders. Stay tuned for much more from Richland!