The U.S. Eventing Team won its second consecutive FEI Nations Cup™ CICO3* at Great Meadow International, presented by Adequan on Sunday. Team Canada took second place and Great Britain was third.
Individually, Team USA captured the top three places. Jennie Brannigan won her second individual title, having won previously in 2015. Second place went to Lynn Symansky, and six-time Olympic veteran Phillip Dutton finished third.
Team USA undoubtedly got a lift from the throngs of fans who turned out for the only North American leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing competition outside Europe.
It was an unforgettable day for Brannigan, winning individually and securing the victory for her teammates. Riding Nina Gardner’s Cambalda, the pair came into the final day in fourth place and catapulted to the top spot incurring only 1.6 time faults for a three-phase score of 49.8 penalties.
“The first time I came it was so exciting because it earned me a spot as a traveling alternate for the Pan Am Games, which was quite special to me,” said Brannigan. “It’s such an honor to get to ride for your country and ‘Ping’ has been an incredible horse in a lot of ways and is wonderful to me. I really appreciate him stepping up to the plate.”
Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie blazed the trail as the first to go for USA, completing the course within the optimum time and finishing on his dressage score of 58.3 penalties.
By the time Symansky left the start box, the Canadian team already had a confirmed team score. The popular local rider was clear over the fences on Donner, owned by The Donner Syndicate, LLC., adding just 1.2 time faults for a final score of 50.1 penalties and second place individually. Symansky entered the GMI as the alternate rider for the U.S. team and was added when Buck Davidson, Jr. withdrew his horse, Copper Beach, prior to the start of the competition.
“It’s such a great cohesive group. Everybody just works together and supports each other. We’re all out here to win and do the best that we can,” said Symansky. “It was awesome. The whole way around I heard people cheering me on, saying ‘come on Lynn you can do it!’ It’s cool to ride at your hometown event. It was an honor.”
Dutton already knew the U.S. had won the Nations Cup prior to going out, but an individual win was on the line. Riding Kristine and John Norton’s I’m Sew Ready, the six-time Olympic veteran finished outside the optimum time adding 5.6 time faults to his cumulative score of 51.6 penalties dropping him to third place.
Team Britain was the first to experience the challenge of the course. Justine Dutton had a fall with Jak My Style, owned by Kathleen Cuka, at the Adquan Beaver Pond. Both rider and horse were ok. Matthew Heath had three refusals at the Beverly Equestrian corner on his own and Hazel Livesey’s One of a Kind. Emily Llewellyn and Emirati Night Sky, owned by Camilla Harries, rode positively around incurring only 8.8 time penalties for a three-phase score of 58.1 penalties. Anchor rider Nicky Roncoroni added 4.4 time faults with Watts Burn, owned by Janey Barclay Roncoroni and Dr. Lorna McWilliam, for a fourth place overall finish score of 53.0.
“We’ve had the most incredible experience and we’ll be coming back again,” said Roncoroni. “For sure we are all desperate to come back again. What an incredible event that you guys have made here.”
Overnight leader, Canada’s Jessica Phoenix was very nearly unseated from Don Good’s Pavarotti at the Jet Linx Launch narrow brush. She quickly recovered to finish clear adding 12.4 time faults for a cumulative score of 56.4 penalties and sixth place.
“I think it was a really exciting weekend for Canada,” said Phoenix. We almost all got personal bests this weekend, which was great for us. It’s fun every day to show up for work.”
Teammate Selena O’Hanlon was one of only three horse and rider combinations to go double clear on Foxwood High, owned by John and Judy Rumble, scoring 54.9 penalties. Waylon Roberts and Kelecyn Cognac, owned by Anthony Connolly, had the quickest trip of the day finishing on a double clear in a time of 6:21 to end with 57.3 penalties. Anchor rider Lisa Marie Fergusson rode her own Honor Me to a clear round with just two time penalties for a final score of 71.5 penalties.
For a complete list of results visit USequestrian.org.