Soggy But Spine-Tingling: Steady Rain Doesn't Deter Riders at S.P. II
Rolex-bound riders prepping for Rolex and other international events got a wake-up call in the form of Tremaine Cooper’s stout cross-country offerings at last weekend’s Southern Pines Horse Trials II at the Carolina Horse Park.
Susan Beebee, of Vass, riding her 12-year-old thoroughbred gelding Prowler, registered the only double-clear cross-country round of the two advanced divisions.
Beebee, 41, pulled two rails in stadium to finish second in advanced division B with a final score of 48.00. Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch were runaway winners of the division with a score of 38.10.
In advanced division A, Sinead Halpin and Manoir de Carneville held their cross-country lead and posted one of only five double-clear advanced stadium rounds to win on their score of 38.10. Kelly Sult and her 19-year-old thoroughbred gelding Hollywood also had a fault-free stadium round and finished second on a score of 41.30.
Southern Pines II kicked off the 2011 PRO Tour Event Series, which is held at the advanced and three-star levels at designated events throughout the United States. Riders who are members of PRO (Professional Riders Organization) compete for prize money at each event with a long-range goal of being atop the series leaderboard at year’s end.
The PRO Tour Event Series picks up next weekend at The Fork CIC * * * in Norwood.
With patron tents, more than 20 vendor booths and closed circuit TVs monitoring the cross-country action, Southern Pines II more than pulled off its goal of creating an atmosphere akin to an international event.
The steady rainfall on cross-country day hampered attendance only slightly, and Cooper’s spectator-friendly course afforded several vantage points where up to a third of the cross-country fences could be taken in.
A number of riders joked that the rain prevented them from seeing a distance “three strides out,” but allowed that it helped soften the footing.
The number of riders competing in all three phases (246) was down considerably from last year but can likely be attributed to the concurrent running of the Poplar Place Horse Trials in Hamilton, Ga.
Two incidents marred an otherwise thrilling day of cross-country. In the intermediate rider division, Arden Wildasin’s veteran campaigner Mandar was pulled up after fence 17 with an injury to his left hind leg. The 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding was transported back to the barn where it was discovered he had fractured his pastern. He was euthanized.
In the advanced division B, Boyd Martin and Last Monarch had a scary fall at a formidable oxer early on the course. Last Monarch got to his feet and was able to walk back to the barn area; he was later found to have two knee chips that may require surgery. Martin was taken to Moore Regional Hospital for a precautionary examination and released.
Martin bounced back to ride his remaining nine mounts the next day, winning the open intermediate division with Cold Harbor (owned by Dana and Manny Diemer, of Raeford) and a division of open training with Summer Breeze W.
Lizzie Snow, of Southern Pines, also won a division of open training with Gotta Believe, owned by Holly Matt.
Beebee, who walked away with $300 courtesy of PRO for her ride on Prowler, won a division of open preliminary with her dazzling Dutch gelding Wolf.
Marc Donovan’s stadium course, which many riders lauded for steady flow and footing that held up to the rain, claimed several victims in both advanced divisions, with rails down throughout the course.
Some speculated the long cross-country effort (nearly seven minutes on course) from the day before may have taken a toll on horses running in their first big event of the season.
Will Faudree, who was forced to scratch Andromaque from the advanced division because of a heel grab, opted to ride Pawlow in the advanced combined test.
Faudree, who is based out of Gavilan Farm in Hoffman, will be taking both horses to Europe for the summer, and plans to compete Pawlow at the Luhmuhlen CCI * * * * June 16-19. Andromaque, or “Missie,” will be geared toward the Burghley Horse Trials in the fall.
At the “Britches and Bling” party held Saturday night, PRO riders raised $4,200 for Operation Homefront, a national group that provides emergency assistance to families of service members. PRO will raise funds for local chapters and the national Operation Homefront program throughout the year.
More like this story
- Rain Doesn't Dampen S.P. Horse Trials II
- Wolf Gets the Whistles, But Prowler Stole Beebee's Heart
- Beebee, Little-Meredith Claim Wins at Five Points Horse Trials
- Finish Lines: Southern Pines II to Feature World-Class Competition, ‘Britches and Bling’ Party
- A Learning Experience for Rolex First-Timers