Holling Wins the Gold Cup CIC3* and Advanced Divisions at CHC International

RELEASE: May 18, 2014

The top three CIC3* finishers at CHC International. Left to right: Elisa Wallace, Nilson Moreira da Silva, Jonathan Holling (Leslie Threlkeld/USEA Photo)
The top three CIC3* finishers at CHC International. Left to right: Elisa Wallace, Nilson Moreira da Silva, Jonathan Holling (Leslie Threlkeld/USEA Photo)
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The Adequan USEA Gold Cup and PRO Tour Series CIC3* was an excellent illustration of the phrase “it’s not over until it’s over.” Jonathan Holling, of Ocala, Florida, moved up to win the CIC3* with Proper Timing and then held the lead at Advanced with Zatopek B thanks to solid cross-country rounds with each horse.

Leaving the show jumping arena Friday night after pulling three rails with Proper Timing, Holling was disappointed that he let go of the lead and likely a CIC win, which he wanted badly for Chuck McGrath and Meghan badly for Chuck McGrath and Meghan Richey, owners of the 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Bonus Time Cat x Primly Proper, bred by Earl Brashear).

“They are absolutely incredible. They love that horse more than anything in the world,” Holling said. “He is their baby and I am fortunate that they let me ride him.”

Show jumping is Proper Timing’s toughest phase, and riding under the lights Holling felt like a clear round was unlikely. “He has all the scope in the world, but he is one of those horses that tries too hard and gets himself into trouble because he gets a bit unrideable.”

The penalties dropped the pair to fourth place in the CIC3*. However on Saturday afternoon, Hugh Lochore’s cross-country proved to be extremely influential. Of the ten pairs that left the start box, seven finished and four jumped clear. Overnight leader Jessica Bortner-Harris picked up an unfortunate stop, dropping to fifth, and third place Will Faudree parted ways with DHI Colour Candy at fence 15. Proper Timing was not exactly on pace, but he jumped clear.

“They’ve had a lot of rain so the ground was a bit slick in places,” Holling said. He also pointed out that the division was small, and therefore any problems are more obvious on the leaderboard. However, he came here with the purposes of giving his horses a positive run before Bromont CCI3* in Canada.

“I didn’t go out there and press for anything, but I wanted to go fast enough to give them a good fitness run. It was a really good course and super educational for them.”

Zatopek B (Lando x Scaramouche B, bred by W.C. Van Dam) maintained his lead from the start in the Advanced division and finished only with time penalties. Holling had retired Zatopek on cross-country at Rolex a few weeks ago and was anxious to give the horse a good ride.

“The whole point here was to make sure that Rolex was a one-off,” Holling said. “I wanted to ride all the straight routes and make sure he was on it. And he was—he was amazing. I wasn’t thrilled with what happened at Kentucky, but that’s horses. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. But I know he’s a great horse. Today he couldn’t have gone better.”

Zatopek B is owned by Team Rebecca, LLC. “The Broussards have been amazingly supportive and patient… I couldn’t ask for any better people to be behind me and supporting me than them.”

First Time Success
Nilson Moreira da Silva (BRA) had a permanent smile on his face this weekend while riding Muggle, a ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Obediah x Isn’t She Nice) owned by the Phoenix Syndicate, LLC. They have been partnered for one year, and both horse and rider were competing in their first CIC3* at Chattahoochee Hills.

They began in seventh place after dressage with a 59.4. Despite rails and several time penalties in show jumping, they moved up to sixth place, and a foot-perfect clear round today vaulted them into second to finish.

“The horse impresses me every day. Everything I ask of him, he’s there. I’m really happy right now,” Moreira da Silva said. “I am really proud of the horse and my team, especially Laura Vandervliet. She’s been helping me.”

Moreira da Silva said that in this sport, you have to work hard and improve every day. He is excited to see where they will be in one year. “He’s really special horse for me.”

Bred by Judy Jefferis of Laurel Hill Farm, Muggle started his competitive career with Melissa Stubenberg and is an exciting graduate of the USEA Young Event Horse Series. He won at Serra Valley Farms YEH and was fourth in the East Coast Championships for Five-Year-Olds with Ryan Wood in the irons.

Working Together Every Phase
Third place in the CIC3* and a surprise pay day went to Elisa Wallace, of Jasper, Georgia, and Jill Hopcroft’s Simply Priceless. “Johnny” is a 13-year-old Thoroughbred (Waterford Road x Faux Franc) with some three-star experience already, but this was he and Wallace’s first outing at the level together, and Wallace’s first in seven years. This weekend they earned their qualification for Bromont and have their sights set on Rolex 2014.

“That horse, I love him,” Wallace said. “He’s my all-time favorite cross-country horse. We had one little blip at the corner at fence 15 out of the woods. I couldn’t get quite the right distance, but he has so much heart and just pinged over it. It was one of those moments where you ask for help and get it.”

Wallace made a decision to stud lightly, and had the goal of ignoring the time and just enjoying the course. “The water I was nervous about as it’s pretty imposing, but it felt really good. It’s one of those roller coaster rides where you want to throw your hands up and say ‘wee!’ as you go over it.”

Wallace said Johnny gives her confidence on cross-country, and she is working hard to return the favor to in the other two phases. “He just gets a little electric. I want him to see [the ring] as a relaxation area and not a stressful area,” she said. “Besides the blips he listened and we got good marks elsewhere. He’s a serious horse, it’s just about controlling the stride. It’s helpful out there on cross-country because he eats it up while you sit pretty, but it catches up with you other places.”

Wallace looks forward to getting to know the horse more and showing him that all phases of eventing are fun.

Competitors that completed this event on a numerical score with no more than 20 jump penalties on cross-country are now qualified for the Gold Cup Final taking place at the 2014 Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships, presented by VTO Saddlery, at the Texas Rose Horse Park this September. $40,000  and tons of prizes are ups for grabs in the Advanced division thanks to our generous sponsors, and Holling has already marked the dates on his calendar.

“There is no way I would miss the AEC. Adequan does a great job and put up all that money for that class,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t see how you could miss it. As much we as riders talk about needing the sport to be bigger and prize money, how we could miss going to a good venue with a great designer with big prize money? Having been there last year I can say it’s a really good track, a great venue, good ground, good footing, beautifully designed courses, and it’s big money. I’m going to fill my trailer up [with horses].”

Click here for full results from Chattahoochee Hills and the CHC International.