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Richland Park
Richland, MI, USA
by Amber Heintzberger
Michelle Mueller and Amistad
Selena O'Hanlon of Elgin, ON and Elaine and Michael Davies' 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding Colombo finished seventh in the CIC*** at the Richland Park Horse Trials and Adequan USEA Gold Cup event in Richland, MI on August 23-36. O'Hanlon, who also finished seventh in her first CCI 3* at Jersey Fresh this spring, scored a 51.9 in dressage, then added 17.2 time faults on cross-country and eight jumping faults in stadium to finish with a score of 77.1. Due to inclement weather before and during the event, the footing was wet and heavy so many competitors racked up time faults on Saturday morning. Competitors were all complimentary of the organizers' efforts to keep the show going.

Diana Burnett, Blackstock, ON finished 12th on Manny with 104.4 faults and 16th on Sagacious King with 112.1. Vanessa Fenwick and Magic Carpet finished eighteenth with 189.3 faults, but Fenwick should take home a special award for her tactful remount when she fell off in the water jump but landed on the "back" of the frog jump. Never getting a drop of water on her, she had the clarity of mind to hang on to the reins and encouraged Magic Carpet to walk back over to the jump, where she remounted and then jumped the fence and continued on course.

Three-star winner Courageous Comet and Becky Holder, Mendota Heights, MN started the event with a phenomenal lead over the rest of the field after a relaxed and accurate dressage test to score 35.9 in the CIC***. Practice seems to have made perfect and Holder and Comet, hot off a win at the Gold Cup event at Maui Jim, kept themselves right at the top of the standings, also securing their place at the top of the Adequan USEA Gold Cup leader board as the Gold Cup season nears its end.

Karen O'Connor and Upstage scored 42.8 in dressage and finished the event with a total of 54, having added time on cross-country and dropped one rail in stadium jumping over the course designed by Richard Jeffries. O'Connor also won the Advanced horse trials riding Hugh Knows and finished second on Mandiba, with Clark Montgomery and Up Spirit in third.

Allison Springer of Upperville, VA and Arthur finished third in the three-star on a total score of 65.9, then Springer went on to win the CIC** riding the grey gelding Destination Known, who she calls "Burger" around the barn. Sally McKechnie and Newmarket finished third in the two-star, followed by Gwen Lehari of Uxbridge, ON riding Daniel, who moved up from a tie for twelfth after dressage
Becky Holder and Courageous Comet
Michele Mueller, Port Perry, ON finished second in the two-star after dressage leader Darren Chiacchia on Tragumna racked up time faults on cross-country and dropped out of the lead. Mueller's 3/4 Thoroughbred/ 1/4 Belgian cross Amistad and maintained took the lead after cross-country, but two rails down in the final phase cost her the win; she still went home with second place, which was doing well in this competitive division. Mueller has had a fantastic few years with Amistad, winning nearly every event she has entered in the past year.  She plans to compete next at the CCI** in Bromont, QC this fall, where she won the CIC* last year.

"He can put in a really good dressage test but he spooked at a photographer hiding in the corn field in the middle of my test," said Mueller. It was very hot when we rode - my clothes were sticking to me and it was hard to keep my leg on because both he and I got tired. I was soaked top to bottom after my ride." She continued, "The footing held up well on the cross-country course. "There were a few deep areas but they looked after it well. It was a nice course. Amistad took a few liberties taking long spots at the jumps but we only had 3.2 time. He covers a lot of ground and I don't have to push to open him up - off he goes!"

Meghan Bailie, Port Perry, ON and her lovely six-year-old chestnut Irish gelding Stryker finished on their already impressive dressage score of 33.3, going double clear on both cross-country and stadium. Friday was Bailie's nineteenth birthday, and she said that she could not have wished for a better present.

"He was really good," she said. "The course here was really well built, and by the time we went cross-country the footing was okay, so we could keep the pace. I'm going to take him to the one-star at Bromont next; he's only six, so we'll go from there."

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