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Sharon White Climbs the Ranks at Bromont
Bromont, QC, Canada
by Amber Heintzberger
Photo: Anthony Trollope/StockImageServices.com

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Sharon White (USA) and The King's Whisper
It doesn't take a large field of horses to make for an exciting competition, as was proved in the Bromont CCI*** with just six entries in Quebec, Canada today. Overnight leader Boyd Martin (AUS), West Grove, Pennsylvania had a stop on the fourth fence on cross-country riding Anne Hennessey's Benwald, then put in a conservative ride that netted 52.8 time faults and dropped him to the back of the pack. "I felt Benwald wasn't traveling well on the first third of the course - he's only had two advanced starts and he was running flat out," said Martin. "I basically sat up and just nursed him around."

Young Rider Waylon Roberts, Port Perry, Ontario jumped around clear riding Paleface but added 17.6 time faults and dropped from second to third place. Roberts was enthusiastic about having a three-star in Bromont. He competed in his first four-star at Rolex Kentucky this spring but was disappointed when Paleface was spun at the jog on Sunday morning. "This is my horse's last event for a while," he said. "He'll get some time off and then I'd like to complete a four-star. I really enjoyed Rolex and would love to ride there again and finish. It's awfully expensive to go overseas."

Sharon White, 34, Summit Point, West Virginia was clean and closest to the time with 4.8 time faults to take the lead on 71.3 riding Peter and Susan Barry's 10-year-old English mare The King's Spirit. Californian Andrea Baxter of Paso Robles moved into second riding Estrella on 74.9.

White has been riding The King's Spirit, by Rock King out of a Welton mare, since the she was four years old. Peter Barry imported her as a three-year-old but she was too small for him to ride. After he got a foal out of her he sent her to White, who suits the mare's size.

"She's so wonderful, she's like my good friend," she said. "She's so genuine - she goes in a rubber snaffle." The pair did Fair Hill last fall and White said that she felt like she needed another three-star under her belt before trying to move up to a four-star.

"It's awesome to have a three-star here at Bromont," she said. "The course was great, especially for their first time trying a three-star. Derek [diGrazia] got it just right, and the jumps are a work of art. You certainly feel you've done something - it's not just a walk in the park."

Boyd Martin had a bright side to his day in his two-star ride, Galileo VI, who went clean and just outside the time to maintain his lead in the CCI**. Martin's fellow Australian Ryan Wood moved up to second place riding Wynella Wolverine, followed by Michelle Mueller (CAN) on Amistad.

"Galileo gallops well for a Trakehner," said Martin. "My instructions from Phillip [Dutton, Martin's employer] were to go easy for the first third of the course and then ride accordingly. I let him go a bit after that but he got more excited as he went on. I could feel that he's pretty green. He's a good quality horse, and he's got great jumping ability."

Ryan Wood is making his comeback to the FEI levels this weekend after he suffered multiple injuries in a fall at Ocala in Feburary. He was just over from Australia to work for Bruce Davidson and when he and his horse fell he suffered a broken knee, shattered eye socket (he now has a titanium one), broken nose, jaw and palate. He has three steel plates and 25 screws holding him together now, but 25-year-old Wood never lost focus of his goal, and he's just glad to be back in action.

"I'm just as confident as before," he said. "Being at Bruce's is good psychologically because he never dwelled on anything, he just got on with the job and made it happen." Wood and Martin have been friends since childhood and Martin said that it's "surreal to walk around a cross-country course in Canada together."

Nicole Parkin, Hockley Valley, Ontario and Nique Henrie's 7-year-old Lexus had 2.8 time faults but kept the lead in the CCI*. "She ran really well," said Parkin. "I wasn't too bold out of the box so I'd have some horse left. I had a couple of time but I thought better safe than sorry. She didn't look at a thing - she's definitely ready to upgrade to intermediate, so that's exciting."


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