More than 500 horses across 30 divisions competed at the Virginia CCI/CIC and Horse Trials at the Virginia Horse Center. The event offered Beginner Novice – Intermediate national levels, and CCI*, CIC2* and CCI2* international divisions as well as the Area II Championships and an Adult Team Challenge.
Rio Olympics individual bronze medalist Phillip Dutton piloted both the Revelation Group’s Fernhill Revelation and David Garrett’s Corazon to double-clear rounds on cross country to finish in first and second place in the CIC2* out of 38 starters. The two horses were second and fifth after dressage, added no penalties in show jumping to move up to first and third and produced two of only nine fault-free cross country rounds.
“This is Fernhill Revelation’s first FEI competition in the U.S. since importing him from Ireland, so we are thrilled for his owners to take home the win this weekend,” Dutton said. “He already has a lot of experience at the three-star level with his previous rider Fraser Duffy, and we’re looking forward to bringing him out at that level in the spring. He has an incredible amount of talent and is definitely a horse for the future.”
Hannah Sue Burnett and Cooley Dream jumped clear in show jumping but added four time penalties on cross country to drop from second to a third place finish overall. Boyd Martin and Kyra finished on their dressage score of 43.5 to move up from 11th place to fourth overall. Mara DePuy and Congo Brazzaville C, leaders after dressage, added one rail in show jumping and four time penalties on cross country for a fifth place finish.
Sydney Solomon and Early Review C, owned and bred by Laurie Cameron, led the Area II Intermediate Championship from start to finish, adding only 9.6 cross country time penalties for a final score of 50.9. Sydney, 19, is a working student for Dutton and says she finds herself constantly improving under his watchful eye.
“Early Review C is a fiery little thing. She can definitely get hot and excited easily but she really wants to do it. She’s willing and honest,” Solomon said. “Show jumping was amazing; she did not touch a rail. Sometimes we have trouble making the stride when she gets spooky [on cross country] but today she was forward and good the whole time.”
Early Review C, also known as “Coco” is a graduate of the USEA Young Event Horse Program. She competed at the East Coast Championships as a 4- and 5-year-old with Lillian Heard and won the Safe Harbor Award two years in a row, which is given to the most amateur friendly and rideable horse in at the championships. Sydney has been riding Coco for the last year and is hoping to compete her at the Bromont CCI2* next year.
Tracey Bienemann and Geoni finished second in the Intermediate Championship, adding 23 penalties in show jumping but completing cross country yesterday fault free.
Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg were the ultimate winners of the Open Intermediate division. Placed second after yesterday’s show jumping on 30.8, they produced one of only three double-clear cross country rounds to move into the top spot. Martin also finished third on Santos after finishing only one second over optimum time on cross country for a final score of 45.1.
Jennie Brannigan and As Cool As Ice moved up from third after dressage and show jumping to finish second in Open Intermediate on a 38.4, adding 3.2 penalties on cross country.
In the inaugural CCI2* division, Lindsay Kelley and Cooley Cruise Control took over the lead position after a double clear cross country round. Jessica Phoenix and the dressage winner Humble GS picked up 20 penalties on cross country to fall out of contention. Cameron and the 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Cooley Cruise Control Syndicate were second after dressage on 51.8 and produced a stellar double-clear yesterday to move up. The “proper show jumper” went on to have another faultless round yesterday in the show jumping for the win in this inaugural division.
“It’s always been my challenge on the flat, but he put in the best test he’s ever put in before,” Cameron said. “He was a machine. He’s figured out what cross country is and was fresh going into it and he got on course and just grew up. He was a baby for a long time and now he’s looking for the flags. It’s his first CCI2*. Early on we were always thinking about the time, but (yesterday) he ate it up. He really grew up.”
Will Coleman helped Cameron find the horse but said the gelding is not her typical type of ride. She’s used to forward horses that pull her to the fences, but she likes that Cooley Cruise Control is fancy and rideable. “We had to teach him to gallop. He’s finally learned to gallop and that has made it all the better. We’ve been competing since February and every event is a little better. This one he came ready to show what he’s got.”
Boyd Martin and his homebred Ray Price, an 8-year-old Thoroughbred/Warmblood owned by Windurra USA and Amy Lindgren, dropped a single rail to finish second.
Woods Baughman and his and James Baughman’s 9-year-old Thoroughbred Montesquieu made a steady climb up the leaderboard, placing 13th after dressage, moving up to sixth after a double clear cross country round and finishing third overall with just one rail down in the final phase.
Kim Severson and Ellie Brown’s Ringfort Fighting Chance led CCI*-A from start to finish, adding nothing to their dressage score of 40.6 to top the 39-horse division in the 11-year-old Irish Thoroughbred’s first FEI appearance.
Martin was second again in the one-star, this time with Barry, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred owned by Martin and Windurra USA, finishing on their dressage score of 43.0. Plain Dealing Farm’s 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse MTF Cooley Classic was piloted to third place by Lucia Strini, adding only two time penalties for a final score of 43.8.
Cornelia Dorr and the elegant chestnut Louis M likewise led the CCI*-B division from the start. Dorr, 18, and her 11-year-old Rheinlander gelding scored 40.2 in dressage and added only four penalties in show jumping to finish with the only final score in the 40s out of 20 talented juniors and young riders in the class.
Charlotte Collier and Parker Collier’s 10-year-old Holsteiner Clifford M moved up from sixth after dressage to finish second on 50.5. Will Zuschlag and his 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding RF Southern Command added only time penalties in show jumping to finish third overall on 51.0.
Lauren Chumley took a commanding lead of the Beginner Novice Championship division with the striking buckskin German Riding Pony Nikolas after posting an incredible 17.3 in dressage. A double clear on cross country held their position, and after jumping to another clear round in the show jumping, they finished the competition with10 points to spare over second-placed Lauren Perry and Prince William G.
Chumley is a full time dressage trainer in New Jersey but says eventing is her hobby and she finds it is good for her and the dressage horses to do something different.
“First of all they get fitter. You can only get so much fitness doing 20 meter circles in the dressage arena. I like to get them out of the ring. It’s like cross training for any athlete. It’s good for their brains,” Chumley said.
“Six days of dressage is a lot. We do dressage four or five days a week for 30 to 35 minutes, have one hack day and jump once a week. Some of my horses don’t have the brains for jumping but Nikolas and Avatar’s Jazz Man do.”
Nikolas and Avatar’s Jazz Man, both owned by Melissa Dowling, are actually top dressage horses who event “as a hobby.” Nikolas is well traveled for a 5-year-old, Chumley says, and will head to the dressage finals in Kentucky in two weeks to compete at Second Level. Avatar’s Jazz Man, 14, is a Grand Prix dressage pony who has been eventing for several years and is currently tenth after dressage and cross country in the Training Championship at VHT.
Nikolas is wrapping up his first year of eventing, which included a third place finish at the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover. Chumley says he has a lot of potential as a dressage horse but he is also brave and jumping is very natural for him.
“I would love to keep eventing them both. It’s fun and good for them.”