Woods Baughman Enjoys Sweet Comeback at the USEF 4*-L Eventing National Championship

Monday, November 15, 2021
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The final day of The Dutta Corp Tryon International Three-Day Event at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC) saw the new national champion crowned at the CCI 4*-L level Sunday after a thrilling Show Jumping competition. Woods Baughman (USA) claimed the Dutta Corp/USEF 4*-L Eventing National Championship with C’est La Vie 135 on a score of 29.4, enjoying a sweet comeback after overcoming a broken back and improving from a third place finish in 2020. Sweetening the victory even more was finishing just ahead of his coach, Sharon White (USA) aboard Claus 63, her own 2012 Holsteiner gelding (Catoo x Levisto), who wrapped up their weekend on a score of 36.7 for reserve after adding .8 penalties for time to their total. Will Coleman (USA) and Chin Tonic HS had one rail down to finish third, scoring an even 38 points with the 2012 Holsteiner gelding (Chin Champ x Quinar) owned by Hyperion Stud LLC.

Baughman was the only CCI 4*-L rider to pilot his mount to a double-clear over the Cross-Country course set by Captain Mark Phillips (GBR), solidifying his lead heading into Show Jumping competition in Tryon Stadium. The goal was to keep the 2008 Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I x Aarking xx) owned in partnership with James Baughman Jr. and Kim Baughman calm and relaxed, Baughman reported, but also himself:

Photo - Woods Baughman and C’est La Vie 135 (©Shannon Brinkman Photography)

A Nice Change

“On Cross-Country yesterday, he was such a machine. I wasn’t sure about the time at the end, so I just dropped the reins. I let him do his thing, and we ended up well inside the time. Overnight, I was just keeping him as relaxed as possible, so he didn’t get all tight, especially with it being so cold this morning.” Though worried about his horse’s energy after flying around the track on Saturday, it was evident that C’est La Vie 135 was full of run after his win, Baughman noted. “He had so much energy left today that I was still holding him back in the Show Jumping. I felt pretty confident going in. I actually lost control a little bit in the victory gallop, but it’s all good!

“I wasn’t doing so well this morning,” Baughman admitted of his own trouble relaxing before the final phase. “Mia was making fun of me at breakfast because my hand was shaking so bad while I was just trying to drink coffee! He is so genuine and he jumps so well, though, that by the time I was done warming up, I was quite relaxed. I just had faith in my horse and let him do his thing.”

Baughman, as part of his national championship win, was awarded a free international flight with The Dutta Corp., allowing him to compete internationally wherever he chooses. That decision will have to wait, Baughman revealed. “I just realized a couple of weeks ago that that was a possibility. I don’t know which event I want to go to, but I definitely want to get over there [to Europe] as soon as possible. Maybe in the fall. We’ll see.” In the meantime, “it feels really good to have won. Especially because the year didn’t start so well, to have it end with this is a really nice change.”

Will Coleman
Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS (Shannon Brinkman)

An Exciting Future

For Coleman, the weekend was an important test of Chin Tonic’s abilities as an advanced mount, in only his third start at the level and his first CCI 4*-L attempt. “We’ve been carefully producing the horse since he was just a baby, and this was a very proud weekend for us.”

“Chin” had one rail down in the Tryon Stadium to finish in third place, but Coleman said he can’t be disappointed with the result. “He handled the whole weekend with class and showed everyone how exciting his future could be if we just keep doing the right things by him. I’m just really proud of him and proud of everybody in my program, and I think that we can be very happy with this result. We’re a bit bummed to have a rail, but it happens. I think he did what he could do for me right now.”

A Time to Dig Deep

For White, who coaches Baughman, it was a fulfilling weekend with Claus 63 and she saw her mount’s capabilities shining through after his first long-format competition:

“He’s a super show jumper. Sometimes he’s a little too brave.” After contesting Cross-Country, White had to work to get back in sync with him, but said he “really was good to listen to me in the warm-up and loosened up well. I just did some low wide jumps to get us back and working together. And then, he was a real competitor in the ring. I was really thrilled with that, because you never know.”

The same was true for Claus after Cross-Country, where White realized that “he’s going to dig deep” when called upon, she recapped. “I was curious to see how he felt and how he ended up, you know, how he felt in his body and whatnot. Horses will tell you how much they are competitors, and how much they put into it. And he definitely told me he’s going to dig deep.”

View full results from the Dutta Corp Tryon International Three-Day Event here

On-demand replay of live streaming is available through the USEF Network.