By Kathleen Landwehr, US Equestrian Communications Department
Lexington, Va. – A strong field of combinations gathered at the Virginia Horse Center from October 29-31 to compete for two USEF CCI2*-L Eventing National Championship titles. Caroline Martin and Galwaybay Blake claimed the overall title in the USEF CCI2*-L Eventing National Championship and the Richard Collins Trophy. Megan Loughnane and Flamenco Ping were the top finishers in the USEF CCI2*-L Junior/Young Rider Eventing National Championship for the Harry T. Peters Trophy.
USEF CCI2*-L Eventing National Championship
Defending National Champion Martin had an impressive weekend in the USEF CCI2*-L Eventing National Championship, claiming the top two spots in the division with Galwaybay Blake and HSH Did It Anyway.
“I’m really proud of both horses equally,” said Martin. “[Galwaybay Blake] won the USEA Young Event Horse Five-Year-Old Championship with me at Morven Park last year. This year, my goal was to do a CCI2*-L with him, so Virginia seemed like a really good one because I love the terrain and I think it is a good baseline fitness place to introduce them to the level.”
Martin returned home on Monday from the FEI WBFSH Eventing World Breeding Championship for Young Horses in France, but quickly became reacquainted with her mounts leading into the national championship. She said that it showed the quality of her horses and her team, including Kelley Hutchison, Casey McKissock, and Hannah Koehler, that she was able to pick up right where she left off.
Martin rode Galwaybay Blake, her 2015 Irish Sport Horse gelding, to a 25.5 and HSH Did It Anyway, her 2015 Holsteiner gelding, to a 27.3 in the dressage phase. She had clear cross-country rounds with Galwaybay Blake making the optimum time and HSH Did It Anyway adding only 2.4 time penalties to his dressage score.
“My goal was not to push them too much on cross-country. My big thing is I have their future in mind, so I want to build their confidence,” explained Martin. “The horses were feeling fresh for the final day of competition on Sunday. “They had plenty of scope and plenty of energy left. They felt like they could go and do the whole weekend all over again.”
Both horses jumped double-clear in the jumping phase for Martin, with Galwaybay Blake winning the National Champion title on his dressage score of 25.5 and HSH Did it Anyway earning the Reserve National Champion title on a final score of 29.7.
USEF CCI2*-L Junior/Young Rider Eventing National Championship
Loughnane and Flamenco Ping had a solid weekend on their way to clinching the USEF CCI2*-L Junior/Young Rider Eventing National Championship title. Loughnane (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) and her 2011 Selle Français gelding scored 35.1 in the dressage phase to begin the competition. The pair jumped well in the cross-country phase, adding 9.2 time penalties to their score. Loughnane and Flamenco Ping delivered a double-clear jumping round to earn the National Championship title with a final score of 44.3.
“I had a super fun weekend,” said Loughnane. “Flamenco Ping put in three really solid rounds, and I’m super proud of him! I never expected we would be National Champion when we showed up this weekend, so it was a huge honor for us and really the icing on the cake of a great weekend.”
Alexis Poe and Tell ‘M Nothin took home the Reserve National Champion title. Poe (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) and Ava Anderson’s 2012 Thoroughbred gelding scored 34.9 in the dressage phase, tallied 9.6 time penalties on cross-country, and were double-clear in the jumping phase to finish on a final score of 44.5.