Severson Victorious at Blenheim
American Kim Severson and The Cross Syndicate’s Cooley Cross Border emerged from a field of 84 starters to win the SsangYong Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials CCI*** in mid-September in England. The pair got off to a strong start, placing third after dressage with a score of 37.8. They maintained their position after cross country by putting in a double-clear round. Then a double-clear show-jumping round moved Severson and the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding into first place. Four U.S. horse-and-rider pairs finished in the top 25.
“I feel a lot younger than I did when I got here, thinking that I won it 16 years ago,” said Severson, referring to her 2001 victory with Winsome Adante. “This win made the whole summer worthwhile and all the traveling back and forth worth it.”
U.S. Jumpers Earn Silver
The Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team of Lauren Hough, Laura Kraut, Beezie Madden and McLain Ward earned the silver medal at the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final at CSIO***** Barcelona in late September. The U.S. squad finished on four faults behind the Netherlands.
“Last year third, this year second. It was tremendous,” said U.S. Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “Beezie is on a young horse, a new combination, and it is fabulous. Same thing with Laura—that is a relatively
new combination. And the other two [Hough and Ward]: perfection. We knew we were coming with a good team. There is no question about that. We had four veteran riders out there, but the combinations themselves were relatively new, and we really couldn’t be happier.”
First to go for the U.S. contingent, Hough and Ohlala paved the way with a clear trip after a long wait due to technical issues with the stadium lights. “I’ve actually never had that happen before,” said Hough of the competition delay. “I had to get the horse ready twice, and it was a lot of sitting around. I had to stay focused without letting that nervous energy bunch up too much. But [Ohlala] was absolutely perfect. I’m thrilled, I’m absolutely thrilled.”
Anchors Ward and HH Azur also put in a clear and fast trip to secure the silver medal. “It felt like Rio all over again,” said Ward. “In that situation, you fight to be the best you can be on the day—that is my job, particularly as anchor, to be able to handle that. I knew that the time was going to be the factor, so I tried to think about that on my round, and Azur performed beautifully. She felt really good. She felt brilliant the other day, brilliant today, maybe even better.”
Robinson, Langmeier Win USEF Talent Search
It seems it was only a matter of time until Halie Robinson and McKayla Langmeier won a USEF Talent Search Final. Both riders had performed well in previous years’ competitions. Each had been reserve champion and had other solid finishes, but the top spot had remained elusive. Then persistence—combined with a good bit of skill in the saddle—paid off this year.
Riding Elvenstar’s Caracas 89, Robinson won the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals West, Sept 24. Leading after the first three phases, she was one of the top four riders asked to compete over a shortened course on her own horse and the horses of the other finalists. “Our winner was clear and away the winner,” said USET Talent Search judge Andre Dignelli. “She rode beautifully throughout all phases: accurate and she has a beautiful style.”
Langmeier, aboard her veteran partner Skyfall, owned by Linda Langmeier, clinched the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals East, Oct. 8, in Gladstone, New Jersey. “It’s nice to finally win after being so close in the past,” she said. Langmeier earned the top spot on the podium with a cumulative score of 331 in the fourth phase. Taylor St. Jacques, who took an early lead in the competition with Heritage Farm, Inc.’ s Charisma, finished second on a score of 326.
Boyd Tops WCHR Pro Finals
In a battle of the best, Liza Boyd won the $5,000 World Championship Hunter Rider Professional Finals, Oct. 6, at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Upper Marlboro,
Maryland. The event featured the country’s top six professional hunter riders competing in three rounds. For the first two rounds each rode a borrowed horse that had been donated for the class. Then they rode a horse of their own for the final handy round.
Boyd earned an average score of 90 in the first round, which put her in second place, and an average score of 90.50 in the second round. In the final round she rode her veteran mount O’Ryan, owned by Stella Styslinger, to finish at the top of the leaderboard.
“We had to go for it in the handy,” said Boyd. “Everyone was amazing in the handy. I was actually probably the most nervous on O’Ryan—which I thought was going to be the opposite going into it—but I think Tori [Colvin] really put the pressure on us going first and doing those really, really hard turns.”
Hunt Tosh and Betsee Parker’s Gotham took the reserve championship title after an outstanding handy round.
Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border
Lauren Hough and Ohlala had a double-clear round.
McKayla Langmeier and Skyfall
Halie Robinson and Caracas 89
Liza Boyd and O’Ryan