Tryon, NC – April 7, 2019 – Boyd Martin (USA) and Tsetserleg sailed clear through the Cross-Country course to take top honors and conclude CCI 4*-S competition at The Fork at TIEC presented by Lucky Clays Farm at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Martin stopped the timers in 6:47 to finish on a total score of 35.00, improving from a third place rank throughout the week. Felix Vogg (SUI) and Colero earned second place after their clear, 6:54 Cross-Country effort to garner a score of 39.80, while Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (USA) and Fernhill By Night completed the podium on a score of 40.00. Halliday-Sharp also collected fourth place awards aboard Deniro Z, with a final score of 41.70.
Twenty-six pairs tested the track set by Captain Mark Phillips (IRL), hosted on the White Oak Course at TIEC and mimicking the same course used for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG). Martin was happy for some redemption over a particular sailboat obstacle that he admitted was less distracting than in September: “At WEG I got the wrong ride in, plus there was a lot of other stuff around it to distract the horse and that wasn’t there today, so it was a little bit easier to get him over it today,” he explained.
“But still, it was a good feeling getting over it and I got a big, big cheer from the crowd. I could distinctively hear the owner shrieking, Christine Turner, who has been a great supporter and I could hear her cheering on her horse,” said Martin. “It was good to get that behind [me] and come here, and to be honest the horse, Thomas, is a little bit more seasoned now and a little further on. He’s probably learned a little bit more in the last 12 months, so he feels a lot more seasoned now, so he’s a lot easier to ride.
“He’s not so distracted and I’ve learned how to ride him a bit differently and a bit better, too,” Martin continued of the 2007 Trakehner gelding (Windfall x Buddenbrock) owned by Christine Turner. “It was good to have a win because I had a bit of an awkward start to the year – just sort of bouncing around, a bit injured here and there, and missing a few shows, and it was good to win one, but [it’s] also good to always remember that some of the best horses here chose to run a bit slow to prepare for Kentucky, so we still got a little bit of work ahead of us. But he was good and strong in all three phases.”
Martin allowed that he did plan to go a bit quick due to missing some prior events in the year, but didn’t go “flat out.” He continued, I thought [he needed] a good run and a bit of a fitness run, but not to go so fast that you risk an injury or anything like that. He felt very, very strong around the whole track and was quite fit. He jumped really well and I think we’re in good shape.”
The White Oak Course, which hosted CCI 4*-S, CCI 3*-S, CCI 2*-S, Advanced, Intermediate, and Preliminary Divisions for Cross-Country, is one that Martin knows very well. “I like it down there. It’s a really, really good track,” he elaborated. “It’s not as easy to ride as you think just because it’s an old golf course, so there’s all these little humps and lumps and the ground is not quite flat. So sometimes it’s a bit deceiving, especially on the galloping jumps, you think you see a good line and then it changes just a little bit just because the undulation of the ground.
Martin concluded, “It was good coming here just with a handful of horses and here for a few days just to concentrate and zero in on them. I think it’s a great show and a great preparation for Kentucky and a really good show for the young horses to get them ready. Obviously, I love this place. On top of that, I think Captain Mark Phillips is such a great course designer and he really knows how to build a good track. I think he’s building better tracks now than ever.”
Vogg was also aiming for another crack at the White Oak Course after WEG and analyzed that Colero “did a good job, but just needs more preparation for the jumps [on the way to them]. I tried to ride him a little bit differently than I did at WEG and I think the mistake at the water [at WEG] didn’t happen at the water, but I think it happened in the jumps before and I couldn’t prepare him that well. I saw it a bit different and rode him differently today and it worked out pretty well,” he recapped.
Having cruised through a competitive track at TIEC, Vogg is feeling well-prepared for his trip to Kentucky. “There’s always something to fix and some little stuff to do that I’ll try to get done in the next two weeks. It’s never perfect, but I’m pretty sure he’s more ready for Kentucky this year than last year, or maybe than he was for WEG,” Vogg conceded of the self-owned 2008 Westphalian gelding (Captain Fire x Bormio XX). “I think the course [at TIEC] is pretty difficult because it’s so quick between fences and so many things after each other, so I think Kentucky will be easier for Colero.”
Halliday-Sharp held on to her podium position in the aboard Fernhill By Night, the 2003 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Radolin x Argentinus) owned by Deborah Halliday, and finished just behind with Deniro Z in what she was hoping to use as a Kentucky schooling round. “Blackie [Fernhill By Night] was really, really good. He got a little bit sort of tired towards the end, but it would be quite an intense course for him. He hasn’t probably done a course that intense for a while, but I was really pleased. He got a little bit bogged down near where the squirrels were, but he fought for me there, and then he was just feeling like I was running out of push as I got near the end, so I chose the easier route through the water because I thought that was the right decision,” Halliday-Sharp recalled. “He really tried and he’s not a racing snake, so he did the best he could, so I’m pleased with where we ended up.”
“Deniro [Z] had a really great round and I was really, really happy, Halliday-Sharp described of her trip aboard the 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zapatero VDL x French Buffet XX) owned by the Deniro Syndicate & Ocala Horse Properties.”He was just so fast at Carolina, and a little bit wild, and the plan today was to really put the pieces in place 100% with Kentucky in mind.”
Halliday-Sharp was able to hear Martin’s time announced and knew she wasn’t going to be going “quite that fast,” she said. “I sort of went out with a plan and I think executed the plan exactly how I had planned, and I had a super round.”
Though the plan was to go quick with Fernhill By Night and pay more attention to rideability than speed with Deniro Z, their times were within a second of each other in light of Deniro Z’s fitness, Halliday-Sharp revealed. “He was really ridable, and he made it feel easy. I was really thrilled and he finished fresh and never really got out of fourth gear, so it was great! I think I’ve got Deniro [Z] where I want him if I’m really honest.”
Of the course, Halliday-Sharp commented, “I really enjoyed that. It was a good course, it was a good, strong course, intense and basically what we needed before a 5*, so I thought it was perfect. It was a lot stronger than in previous years and I thought that was necessary, so it was good.”
CCI 3*-S competition saw Doug Payne (USA) and Starr Witness claim first-place honors on the week after their Cross-Country ride for a total score of 33.20, while second went to Will Faudree (USA) and Caeleste for their final score of 38.00, and third was awarded to Katie Lichten (USA) and RF Luminati with a week long total of 41.10 points.
In the CCI 2*-S Division, Ryan Wood (AUS) and Ruby placed first with a score of 37.00, followed by Will Faudree (USA) and Mama’s Magic Way in second with 37.70. Ryan Wood (AUS) also took third place with Chusinmyconfession with a score of 39.00.
Clark Montgomery and Caribbean Soul Swoop to Advanced Division Win at The Fork at TIEC presented by Lucky Clays Farm
Clark Montgomery (USA) and Caribbean Soul flew to a win in the Advanced Division after their fast and clear Cross-Country performance in 6:39 to finish on a score of 38.20, while Boyd Martin (USA) and Long Island T collected second-place honors on a score of 45.70. Third went to Felix Vogg (SUI) and Archie Rocks following their Cross-Country round, returning to their Dressage rank on the week to finish on a score of 48.70.
Montgomery attributed his hectic week to a slightly higher Dressage score to kick off the week, saying, “She [Caribbean Soul] was really good all weekend. To be fair to her, I was packing to go home to Kentucky like crazy just a couple days before we got here, and didn’t get to do my normal preparation for the Dressage, so that was probably my fault. She wasn’t misbehaved at all, she just didn’t have a very clean test, with a couple little mistakes, so we didn’t score as low as we’ve been scoring, but I was still really happy with her.”
Much like his rankings throughout the week, the performance of the 2007 Thoroughbred mare (Cimarron Secret x Ogygian), owned by the Caribbean Soul Syndicate, only got better as competition went on, Montgomery detailed. “For the jumping she was great – she was really, really good. And then in Cross-Country she was absolutely phenomenal. I couldn’t ask for her to be better. I mean, her gallop is just the coolest thing I’ve ever felt, for sure. It’s just so easy,” he emphasized. “And honestly, I wasn’t going to go quick on her today and she just loves it. It’s just the speed she operates out of, so I just let her kind of cruise around and she came in that fast. It was wonderful.”
“I thought the course was super,” Montgomery said of the White Oak Course. “I thought it was definitely tough enough and big enough and I thought it was the biggest track she had jumped to date, so I was excited to see how she handled it and I like Mark’s courses a lot. They remind me a lot of the tracks you jump in England, with the bolder, forward distances and bigger fences. The setting down there on the old golf course is just absolutely beautiful around the lake, so I thought it was great!”
Martin was pleased with the Cross-Country ride put in by Long Island T, the 2006 Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding (Ludwig Von Bayern x Heraldik XX) owned by The Long Island T Syndicate, but noted that “he’s definitely a little bit too keen and is a strong, feisty wild man” on course. “He still jumped really well, and gave me a good ride. I think he’ll be better suited for Kentucky because it’s a longer and more flowing course, where you can get him to fall asleep a little bit more between fences.
“He’s very strong in the Dressage and Jumping and he’s very game on Cross-Country, but he just gets really strong and a little bit out of control. He’s a hard horse to ride fast,” Martin admitted. “You get baited into wrestling with him and have to steady him up. It could go either way come Kentucky, but you got to be in it to win it.”
Vogg and his own Archie Rocks, a 2008 Thoroughbred gelding (Le Monde x Unbridled Jet), are still getting to know one another but put in a sub-seven-minute Cross-Country ride to regain the podium. Compared to Vogg’s CCI 4*-S mount, Colero, “Archie is really slow,” admitted Vogg, but also “more used to Cross-Country, I think, from racing in his career before.”
“There is still a lot of work to do because we don’t know each other that well and it was our second Cross-Country run, but for that he did it pretty well,” Vogg concluded, “And [despite] yesterday’s [downed rails and time faults]. Both my horses did well today.”
Clark Montgomery and Theodoor landed at the top of the Open Intermediate Division with a score of 32.20, with Lynn Symansky and RF Cool Play in second with a score of 36.30, then Annie Goodwin and Fedarman B in third with a score of 42.80.
Dylan Phillips aboard Fernhill Fierce placed first in the Junior Young Riders Open Preliminary with a score of 34.80. Second place was awarded to Jessica Ebzery and Share Option with a score of 37.60.
In the Open Preliminary Division, Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp landed the blue ribbon with 30.10 points aboard Gorsehill Cooley followed by Kathy Cain, who took second place with Legal Limit on a score of 33.30. Allison Springer and Crystal Crescent Moon took third place with 33.60 points.
The Preliminary Rider Division saw Allison Smith and Gude Affair place first with a score of 35.20. Isabelle Bosley and Night Quality took second place with 36.80 points, and third place went to Campbell Jourdian and Marquet Rise with a score of 45.80.
In the Modified Division, Cornelia Dorr and Prinz S.W. took top honors after finishing on their Dressage score of 25.70, while Ashley Adams and Coronio improved their rank to second to end on a score of 28.40. Sinead Halpin and Stakkato Bronx finished on a score of 28.70 to take home third.
Dominic Schramm and Quadrocana scored first place in the Open Training Division with a score of 20.50. Ema Klugman and Kangaroo Court took second place with 26.20 points, and Ashley Adams took third place aboard Charly with 28.10 points.
In the Training Rider Division, first place went to Payne Murray and Baron with a score of 31.90. Second place went to Emily Shilling and Enchanting Class with 33.00 points, and third place went to Anna Billings and Wexford Cruise with a score of 35.80.
Lena Bruno and Brighid Charity RSH claimed first place in the Novice Rider Division with a score of 28.30. Nell Nicastro and Abecca GS took second place with a score of 30.50. Third place went to Jessica Copland and Silly Wabbit with a score of 31.70.
Dominic Schramm landed another victory for the week, this time in the Open Novice Division aboard Casalto with a score of 24.10. Ashley Adams also added another second place win to her list aboard Princely Perfect with a score of 26.00. Morgan Batton and Sommersby took third place with a score of 26.40.
In the Open Beginner Novice Division, Erin Buckner with Picassi and Aaron Hill with Denali were tied for first place following Dressage, along with Macie Sykes with Delilah’s Boy. Buckner and Hill went on to also tie for first place in the Jumping phase. Ultimately, Buckner and Picassi took first place with 26.40 points. Hill and Denali also scored 26.40, but received second by Cross-Country tie-breaking policies. Sykes and Delilah’s Boy finished in third place with a score of 28.00.
Click here to view all results from The Fork at TIEC presented by Lucky Clays Farm.
Photo credit ©Shannon Brinkman Photography. These photos may only be used once in relation to this press release.
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