2016 Red Hills CIC Recap

It was my first time at Red Hills in two years and I must say the event has changed considerably. The venue has improved with dressage and show jumping rings and the course designer has made a much more flowing course. With the topography it’s still hard to good rhythm going throughout the course, but all of my horses managed to go clear around Mike E-S’s cross country course. I decided to take my more “up and coming” greener horses down there to expose them to this sort of competition – I knew there would be plenty of atmosphere, and it was also an FEI recognized CIC event, which qualifies them for a CCI three day event in the future.

Welcome Shadow

Welcome Shadow

In the CIC3* Gloria Callen’s Irish Sport Horse Welcome Shadow was phenomenal. In all three phases she felt world class. She’s gone from strength to strength and is such a tryer and a tough competitor. She came 5th in the 3* which is her best performance ever. It is tempting to run her at Rolex Kentucky, but deep down I’d like to give her more mileage before running her at the four-star level.

Bonito

Bonito , owned by Stephen Blauner and Nancy Hathaway, oozes class and is a new horse to me. He did two intermediates last year and this is the hardest event he’s tackled. He showed greenness but plenty of enthusiasm in all three phases. He gives me that four-star feeling over the jumps, but he’s still a bit wild and I think I need to take a little time before going advanced with him — he’s keen to run, but still has a lot to learn. We got a qualifying score to do a CCI2*, which was our main goal.

SBF Cortez

SBF Cortez

Denise Lahey and Pierre Colin’s awesome homebred SBF Cortez was sensational this weekend. He deserved much more than the score of 48 with a sterling dressage test and he was a blast on cross country but unfortunately stumbled on the first water and buckled over. He showed great heart and jumped his way out of the combination but unfortunately I think he bruised a leg on this fence and pulled up a little tender after cross country. Denise and I decided to pull him out before show jumping as we did not want to risk jumping him and we’ll have the vet look him over back home.

Santos

Santos

I had three horses in the CIC1*. Santos is owned by the Callens and Juvonens and did a rip roaring test to win the dressage in a field of 60 horses; he was bit wild and strong cross country so I rode him a little too cautiously early in the course and picked up a few time penalties, which were ultimately expensive. Even through we could have won the class I’m happy with his show jumping round: this is a tricky phase for Santos and I feel like the help that Rickard Picken has given us has paid off. We finished 3rd in a very strong field.

Tura Lura

Tura Lura

Nancy Hathaway’s and Gloria Callen’s ISH mare Tura Lura did her first CIC international and after I had picked up time faults with Santos, I was determined to put my foot down on the gas pedal and make the time. She responded like a sports car and finished inside the time, adding one unlucky rail on the show jumping. This was by far her best performance since I’ve had her in training, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next with this talented mare.

High Aspirations

High Aspirations

Last but not least is the very impressive Irish Sport Horse, High Aspirations. Mother and daughter Carolyn Blitz and Maretta Sonn own this classy gelding by Brandenburg’s Windstar. Like Santos he’s a bit of a spooky character that has trouble focusing. I really think he has the potential to be a big time four star horse and really has the “wow” factor. I was most pleased with how Aiden show jumped today, he tried his heart out and gave me a clean round over a very big course.

All in all it was a good weekend at Red Hills CIC. It’s a very different sort of cross country course but I think it’s the sort of track we’d better get used to riding as I think the sport is going more this way. Next year I hope the organizing committee can improve the footing as I feel the horses were a bit jarred up after galloping around cross-country yesterday.

LIVE SCORES

VIDEO MONTAGE OF 3* WATER

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