Will Coleman Leads Yanmar America CCI4*-S at Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International
Competition got underway on Thursday at the 2023 Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International, presented by Lumbee River EMC. Headlining Thursday’s action were the FEI divisions, which commenced with dressage competition and yielded some personal bests and foundation-laying marks.
Yanmar America CCI4*-S
2022 winning rider Will Coleman returns to Carolina International this year to defend his title won previously with Dondante, this time bringing both his FEI World Championships partner, Off the Record, as well as the rising star Chin Tonic HS to compete in the headlining division. After taking the early lead with The Off the Record Syndicate’s Off the Record (VDL Arkansas – Drumagoland Bay), scoring two 9s from judge at B Andrew Bennie (NZL) to earn a 22.1. This is just a tick off the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding’s previous personal best at the CCI4* level (21.9 – Great Meadow 2020). The pair would end the day in third place overall following dressage.
But it was the rising star’s time to shine, as the 11-year-old Chin Tonic HS (Chin Champ – Wildera), owned by Hyperion Stud LLC, took the ring and laid down a thrilling 19.4 to take the first-phase lead. This score earns the gelding a CCI4* personal best, though he’ll be hard-pressed to beat his existing FEI personal best of 15.7, earned at the CCI3*-S level in 2022 at Stable View. One bobble in the final flying change movement kept the pair from sneaking even lower into the teens, but they’ll be positioned at the top ahead of tomorrow’s show jumping.
“[Chin Tonic HS] is just so incredibly elastic and he has these amazing gaits,” Coleman said. “I think there’s still things to get better at. Obviously I missed one change, but he seems to be maturing in a good way and I’m just going to keep working to try to get a little better.”
Coleman credits his wife, Katie Coleman, his team at home, and dressage coach Ian Woodhead for their help establishing a system that enables him to pursue improvement – something that, in horses, is a never ending process. “Dressage is all about just developing your horse to their physical and mental peak,” he explained. “And, you know, you’re never really done. I’ve got a good program with my wife and my staff and my coaches. I’m just trying to get a little bit better than we’ve been. Working on the flat with Ian Woodhead – it’s been amazing for me and my horses.”
Second in the CCI4*-S division are Liz Halliday-Sharp with Ocala Horse Properties’ and Deborah Palmer’s Miks Master C (Mighty Magic – Qui Luma CBF), who joined her string in the spring of 2022. The pair earned a 20.1 from judges Robert Stevenson and Andrew Bennie, a significant personal best at the CCI4*-S level, improving on his former best mark of 25.6.
“I thought he tried really, really hard,” Halliday-Sharp said. “And he’s a really genuine, lovely horse. He made a big effort today to do the best he could I thought. We’ve spent the whole winter getting him really strong now because he was quite weak and wiggly when I got him last May, and now he just doesn’t really know where to put it.”
With not quite a year of partnership under their belt, Halliday-Sharp said she feels she’s in a good place with the 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding.
“I’ve actually never in my life had a horse that has done a four-star before ever, in my whole career,” Halliday-Sharp elaborated. “Most of mine have been produced myself, which I love doing. But this was sort of an opportunity that just fell into my lap – I think the universe brought him to me. It was definitely different for me taking on a ten-year-old that had done a lot of things. So it’s been a challenge, but in a good way – I’m very lucky, he’s a wonderful horse.”
Show jumping for the Yanmar America CCI4*-S division will proceed at 1:50 p.m. EST on Friday, March 17 at the Twin Gates Derby Farm Field.
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