Canadian National Eventing Team members Rebecca Howard, Hawley Bennett-Awad Jessica Phoenix and Diana Burnett all finished in the top 10 in the CIC 3* division at The Fork International Horse Trials, held April 6–8 in Norwood, NC, USA.
Rebecca Howard of Salmon Arm, BC, and her 2010 World Equestrian Games partner Riddle Master, Blithe Hill Farm’s 11-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding, took second place in the hotly contested division which featured 60 of the top North American horse/rider combinations.
A score of 45.60 put Howard and Riddle Master in eighth place after dressage. A fault-free ride over the cross country course designed by Captain Mark Phillips, followed by a clean show jumping effort moved the pair moved up the leaderboard to finish second place. They were one of only two entries in the division to finish on their dressage score.
“I was thrilled with Riddle Master,” said Howard, who will make her next stop with Riddle Master at the CIC 3* at Jersey Fresh in Allentown, NJ. “He is stronger, more confident and established in all three phases this year.”
Hawley Bennett-Awad of Langley, BC rode her 2010 World Equestrian Games mount Gin & Juice, a 12-year-old Thoroughbred mare owned by Bennett and Linda Paine, to a sixth place finish, adding only 7.20 cross country time penalties to their dressage score of 48.90 to finish with 56.10.
“I was very happy with Gin & Juice’s dressage test. She was very relaxed in the ring,” said Bennett-Awad. “She completed the cross country like a pro and was nice and fresh for the jumping on Sunday. Honestly, I could not have asked for a more fantastic weekend.”
Cannington, ON native Jessica Phoenix and her own Exponential, a 14-year-old Canadian Thoroughbred gelding, were the second combination to finish on their dressage score in the three star division. The pair moved up from 36th place to ninth overall on a score of 61.20. Rounding out the top 10 was Diana Burnett of Blackstock, ON and Shigatzi, her own nine-year-old Canadian Thoroughbred gelding. Burnett added 1.20 cross country time and four show jumping penalties to her dressage score of 57.90 to finish with 63.10.
Selena O’Hanlon of Kingston, ON, riding her 2010 World Games partner Colombo, a 7-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, owned by Elaine and Michael Davies, had a final score of 71.70.1 for 17th overall.
Other Canadians completing the CIC3* The Fork included Shandiss Wewiora and Rockfield Grant Juan (21st), Bennett-Awad and 5 O’clock Somewhere (24th), Peter Barry and Kilrodan Abbott (28th), Danica Moore and Utah B (31st) and Tessa Beckett and Sound Prospect (34th).
Phillip Dutton, of the United States, claimed the CIC 3* win aboard Mystery Whisper.
In the CIC 2* division O’Hanlon rode Foxwood High, her 2011 Pan American Games team silver medal mount, to a fourth place finish. With John Rumble’s nine-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding, O’Hanlon added four show jumping penalties to her dressage score of 57.80 to finish with 61.80.
“Foxwood High was a little distracted going into the dressage ring, however he used it in a positive way and it added some pizzazz to a very obedient test,” said O’Hanlon, who plans to do the CCI 2* division at the CCI3* Bromont International Three-Day Event in June. “I always look forward to cross country at the Fork. It’s a lovely galloping course. Foxwood High has a great gallop so the time was easy to make. He felt great on Sunday and we jumped very well with just one rail and no time. I’m so happy with his progress and so are his wonderful owners John and Judy Rumble.”
Kelli Temple, who currently resides in Round Hill, VA, rode her own Veelion, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding to sixth place. The pair added 5.20 cross country time and four show jumping penalties to their dressage score of 56.90 for a final score of 66.10.
Also competing in the CIC 2* was Rachel McDonough and Irish Rhythm (14th) and Katherine Martineau and H.M. As Spirits Go (16th).
Karen O’Connor of the US and Mandiba won the CIC 2* on a score of 48.90.
The Fork International Horse Trials is an important preparatory competition for riders vying for a spot to compete at the London Games in July and preparing for the upcoming major CCI three day events this spring including the CCI 4* Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event April 26-29 in Lexington, KY; the CCI/CIC 3* Jersey Fresh Three Day Event May 10-13 in Allentown, NJ; and the CCI/CIC 3* Bromont Three Day Event June 7–10 in Bromont, QC.