Mill Spring, N.C. – The 2022 eventing season came to a close on Sunday with the final day of The Dutta Corp. Tryon International Three-Day Event, and new national champions emerged in the CCI4*-L and young rider team and individual divisions.
The Dutta Corp. USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championship
The top three entries were separated by less than a single rail at the start of Sunday’s show jumping phase. Overnight leader Dan Kreitl (Muncie, Ind.) riding Kay Dixon’s 2013 Westphalian gelding, Carmango, gained some breathing room as third-placed Liz Halliday-Sharp (Lexington, Ky.) with Deniro Z, a 2008 KWPN gelding owned by Ocala Horse Properties, LLC, had a rail down at the final fence along with two time penalties. Second-placed Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) and Azure, Caroline, Anne, and Michael Moran’s 2012 Irish Sport Horse mare, had two rails and two time penalties.
Kreitl and Carmango entered the show jumping arena with two rails in hand, and they used both of them, along with 0.8 time penalties. Their total score of 40.0 was just enough to keep them 0.6 points ahead of Halliday-Sharp to take the win in their CCI4*-L debut.
“In the dressage, I was really happy with ‘Fritz,’” said Kreitl. “He had a good steady test, and I was happy with him there. And then on cross-country, this was our first [CCI4*-L] for the horse and me both, and it was definitely challenging enough. Took some scrappy riding. I was super proud of the horse. He gave 110% and I pushed him hard, and I was curious how the 9-year-old was going to feel today. Show jumping has never been our strongest phase, but he had a lot of jump. I was thrilled with his fitness and how he recovered today.”
As part of the prize for winning the CCI4*-L National Championship, Kreitl wins a ticket to transport a horse to Europe and back courtesy of The Dutta Corp. His destination remains to be determined.
“I’ve been in the lead coming into show jumping numerous times at other events, and usually don’t end up winning,” said Kreitl. “I haven’t considered where I would go, because I was like, ‘Let’s take this one step and get it done first.’ I’m super excited, though, and definitely can’t wait to take advantage of that awesome opportunity to go overseas.”
Halliday-Sharp finished as Reserve National Champion with Deniro Z, and with some ups and downs in the horse’s recent career, she was happy to have a successful outing with him at Tryon.
“I’m thrilled to have Deniro here. He’s had a challenging 18 months,” said Halliday-Sharp. “This was our first long format in about that time, and he just tried really hard for me this weekend. I looked after him a little bit. I couldn’t have asked for more from him, and I’m obviously gutted to have the last rail. I just took a little pull before the last fence and I think he thought I said ‘stop,’ because it was at the ingate. Suddenly what was going to be a little too deep was really no power at all, which is a real bummer, but he really fought for me this weekend, so I’m thrilled with him.”
Dutton and his up-and-coming mount, Azure, rounded out the top three.
“I’m thrilled with Azure, or Sky as we call her,” said Dutton. “Coming into this, it’s the first long-format that we’ve done together, and her first 4* long. I think she’s got a great future and I’m excited to be a part of that.”
USEF Eventing Young Rider Championship presented by USEA
The Area 5/8 combined team of Jordan Riske (Manchester, Mich.) and Redemption Song, Janelle Fleming (Richardson, Texas) and Fly Me Courageous, Samantha Tinney (Dallas, Texas) and Cutty Sark, and Kit Ferguson (Tulsa, Okla.) and Cillbhrid Tom took home the team champion title in the CCI3*-L division. Area 8’s Riske also earned the individual win.
“She was awesome all weekend. The dressage was probably one of our best tests yet,” said Riske of her 2012 Thoroughbred mare. “She was really accurate to everything. I walked the cross-country and it looked really doable. There were a lot of gallop stretches, so I thought this could be a good course for her. She felt really in-shape and she rode everything exactly how I walked it. Everything went to plan and she was awesome. For show jumping, she was really good. She jumped the crap out of all of the jumps. It was just so good, and I’m so happy with her. She’s been so amazing for me.”
CCI3*-L Individual Results
Gold: Jordan Riske and Redemption Song
Silver: Janelle Fleming and Fly Me Courageous
Bronze: Samantha Tinney and Cutty Sark
CCI3*-L Team Results
Gold: Area 5/8
Silver: Area 1/2/6
The combined team from Areas 2, 8, and 6 won the team title in the CCI2*-L. The team consisted of Meg Pellegrini (Wayne, Pa.) and Global Naxos, Sissy Sugarman (Encinitas, Calif.) and Carmani, Audrey Ogan (Fall Creek, Ore.) and Revitavet Always Cooley, and Mya Poulos (Barrington Hills, Ill.) and Cornfire. Pellegrini was also the individual champion for the division.
Pellegrini and Global Naxos have been a partnership for about a year, and every outing together is a learning experience.
“We weren’t really looking, and this horse just kind of fell into my lap and it’s such a blessing that he did,” said Pellegrini. “He’s an incredible horse and he’s a bit quirky, which I’ve had to learn how to handle, but that seems to be my type, so I don’t have a problem with it. My coach, Lillian Heard, was the one who sourced him, and she’s helped me tremendously the past year as he’s gone through a lot of changes in his body and mind and going from Aiken to Pennsylvania was a big change as well. Throughout that, she’s kept it seamless for me and I’m very thankful for her and all of her help.
“I’ve never ridden a horse like him before,” she said. “He’s just such a powerhouse, and any time we can come to an event like this and practice what we’ve been putting down is pretty special. Every single phase, he tried his guts out—in the rain, in the wet outside on the cross-country. It was all a little bit exciting for him, and he puts his best foot forward and I’m incredibly proud.”
The team format at the YRC is a unique experience for many eventing athletes and one that serves as a building block for those with championship team aspirations.
“All three of us are from the West Coast [originally],” said Sugarman. “Meg and I have known each other since we were little, going novice and training level. So it’s fun to reunite and get to be on a team. It’s really cool that I get to meet other young riders who have the same goals and are striving toward the same things.”
“It’s so much fun to be around other young riders,” said Pellegrini. “All year long, we’re competing against professionals, and it’s sort of nice to just be able to come together. Even being in the barn together, everyone’s having a good time. It’s never high-pressure. It’s so lovely, and I think the horses appreciate it, too. It’s a bit of a different atmosphere and all of it’s going to be good for our futures, and hopefully a lot of us will get to go on to bigger and better things, and having this experience now is going to shape that for us.”
CCI2*-L Individual Results
Gold: Meg Pellegrini and Global Naxos
Silver: Alexis Larson and PL Diamond’s Inspiration
Bronze: Cassandre Leblanc and Riffel
CCI2*-L Team Results
Gold: Area 2/4/6
Bronze: Area 7/8
The team championship title in the CCI1*-L competition went to the combined Area 2/7 team of Lizzie Hoff (Gig Harbor, Wash.) and HSH Limited Edition, Meg Pellegrini (Wayne, Pa.) and Cassilio G, and Noah Stanlaske (McMurray, Pa.) and Chesterland. Hoff was the start-to-finish leader in the division and took individual gold home to Area 7.
“He really exceeded my expectations,” Hoff said of Caroline Martin’s 2015 Irish Sport Horse gelding. “I was so happy with him. He’s young and he’s green, and I don’t know him particularly well, so I didn’t really know how he would be in a bigger atmosphere, and he just was spectacular the whole time.”
Coming into Tryon, Hoff saw the experience as a learning opportunity for her new mount, but the team experience proved worthwhile beyond that.
“It was fun for me because we don’t have a lot of opportunities in Area 7 to do things like this,” she said. “I got to meet new people and it’s fun, even getting out of my comfort zone.”
Pellegrini, who placed second individually in addition to the team win, agreed.
“We’re on a little bit of a scramble team, so we didn’t know each other too well coming into it,” she said. “So for us to be able to come together and do well makes it a little bit more special.”
CCI1*-L Individual Results
Gold: Lizzie Hoff and HSH Limited Edition
Silver: Meg Pellegrini and Cassilio G
Bronze: Isabella Novak and Dreamliner
CCI1*-L Team Results
Gold: Area 2/7
Silver: Area 8/5
Watch The Dutta Corp. Tryon USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championship and USEF Eventing Young Rider Championship presented by USEA on demand on USEF Network.