Cristallo and Spooner Continue to Shine in USEF Selection Trial for US Show Jumping Team
RELEASE: March 5, 2010
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Joanie Morris
Randi Muster/Mustphoto, Inc. (Richard Spooner and Cristallo)
– The test of endurance which serves as the USEF Selection Trials for the US Show Jumping Team for the Alltech 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games continued with the fourth round of jumping in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Twenty-six American horses jumped in the penultimate Trial and clear rounds continued to prove very valuable. There were four clear rounds and three that added only time faults. California’s Richard Spooner led the pack after three Trials with Cristallo and the pair put in another fantastic effort to remain on top of the USEF Selection Trials Rankings after four rounds.
“I’m proud of my horse,” said Spooner. “He’s been great in all the trials, he helped me out at the last jump – I thought I would have had it down.”
Cristallo had other ideas. Show Jumping Syndications’ lovely 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding, continued his careful ways and put in a phenomenal effort. Spooner’s masterful round over the first dozen fences paid off when Cristallo tried a little harder at the final jump. Fresh and happy, Cristallo seemed unfazed by the busy jumping schedule – he has only had one rail and two time faults over four rounds.
Trial #4 proved to be a test of technical skills and bravery as course designer, Guilherme Jorge’s track provided a change from the test of scope in Trial #3. Spooner and Cristallo were able to balance adding strides in some of the lines with super tight turns and they jumped a fault-free round, just inside the time allowed. Spooner picked up time faults in the two previous rounds, sacrificing a second on the clock in order to maintain his rideability.
“It’s difficult for a course designer to design three courses and then do something new,” said Spooner. “He changed it up, it wasn’t as big but the time was tighter which draws out faults. My plan was to have one time fault today, I was concerned I was going to have two or three but I had visions of one time
Only faults, not placings count for the Trials standings and Spooner had the third fastest round of the class – which was won by local rider Todd Minikus and Pavoratti – their time of 80.09 seconds was unbeatable. Minikus had four down in Wednesday’s trial which meant that he sits tied for 14th in the Trials standings.
Fellow California rider, Nicole Shahinian-Simpson put in another stylish effort on Tristan to remain just behind Spooner with nine faults in the Trials. She added one time fault today on Ilan Ferder’s 10-year-old KWPN gelding whose education continues to compound. Tristan seems to thrive in the atmosphere of the big venue.
“He’s a very smart horse,” said Shahinian-Simpson. “He’s willing and able and he’s come into his own. Every time you go through the gate and have a nice round and get that under their belt, they grow as well.”
Shahinian-Simpson was also successful in the USEF Selection Trials for the 2008 Olympic Games (her husband Will rode on the Gold medal-winning team) – and Shahinan-Simpson’s steely mental tenacity has served her well throughout the process. Five rounds over 12 days is a test of jumping, focus and horsemanship.
“I try to stay focused and very much take one round at a time,” said Shahinian-Simpson. “Every day is a new day with horses – I try to take one round at a time… and hopefully get lucky and get through one more class.”
Shahinian-Simpson was actually runner-up in the class as well, but with her other mount Kilkenny Rindo who jumped a textbook clear round. Kilkenny Rindo is tied for 11th in the Trials standings, but he has continued to improve throughout each round.
Rounding out the top three in the Trials standings is Hillary Dobbs with 11 faults. Dobbs celebrates her 22nd birthday next week and her partnership with Quincy B has spanned a good portion of her career.
“I feel very good about the way my horse has been jumping,” said Dobbs about the 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding.
The Sussex, NJ rider, who just finished up at Harvard University had two time faults today but it was a great recovery from the two rails she had on Wednesday.
“He wanted to jump clear on the grass,” said Dobbs. “I was too conservative the other day.”
Dobbs’ forward style resurfaced with the return to the International Arena and she put in a signature round with her beloved Quincy B.
“He jumped his heart out,” said Dobbs. “We are so comfortable with each other. We’ve been together since Junior Jumpers. I’m very proud of him.”
Dobbs echoed Shahinian-Simpson’s sentiment about the metal rigors of five Trials.
“I think I have a good perspective on these five rounds. I just take it one round at a time and there is one big round left,” she said. “I’m trying really hard to stay focused.”
The quest for a spot on the USEF Long List continues when the fifth and final USEF Selection Trials takes place on Sunday March 7, 2010 at 1 pm as part of the $150,000 CN Open Grand Prix, tonight is the $75,000 FEI Nations Cup presented by CN, a highlight of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Both classes are available for live viewing at: www.universalsports.com.
At the conclusion of the Trials, per the USEF Selection Procedures nine horse/rider combinations will be named to the USEF Long List based on their final overall placing from the USEF Selection Trials for Jumping. There are also up to six places on the long list available at the recommendation of the USEF selectors. Lauren Hough/Quick Study, Laura Kraut/Cedric and McLain Ward/Sapphire have already been named to the USEF Long List. A total of 15 horse/rider combinations will be named on Monday, March 8, 2010.ENDS
For complete standings and all the information, please visit: http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/breedsDisciplines/discipline/alljumping/sjSelectionTrials.aspx and http://www.clubequestrian.com/coverage/weg_jumping_trial.aspx.