Will Coleman claimed his second consecutive Cloud 11-Gavilan North LLC Carolina International CCI4*-S win, though aboard a different mount than last year. Coleman piloted Dondante, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, to victory at the 2022 event. “He’s a really big horse, and big ones like that aren’t always the easiest to go quick on around, particularly a course like this, in and out of the woods,” Coleman commented on his 18hh mount. “[We] were in a competitive position and I thought, ‘Nows the time, let’s see what we can do,’ and he rose to the challenge a little bit. At times it felt like he was a little surprised by how quick we were going, to a degree.”
Quick they were—the duo completed the track in 6:25, twelve seconds under the optimum time of 6:37 to finish on a score of 27.4. “I’m not a big watch checker,” said Coleman. “I kind of just know if I’m on the clock or not. You just kind of have a feeling.”
As far as Ian Stark’s 34-effort course, Coleman regarded, “I thought it was brilliant. I think [Ian] has been great for the sport all around the world. He’s made cross-country riding what it should be.” He added, “I think for the horses that are aiming at five-star, or eventually aiming at five-star, they got a real taste of it today without it being a five-star. It was big and sort of challenging, but you had opportunities to recover.”
Overnight leader Tamie Smith ultimately decided to withdraw her 16-year-old German Sport Horse gelding, Mai Baum, ahead of cross-country. “I need to run closer to Badminton,” Smith remarked earlier in the week. “[Mai Baum] is 16 and he doesn’t need to run… my goal is to get to Badminton.”
Doug Payne and his 11-year-old KWPN mare, Starr Witness, maintained their overnight position to finish in second place. The pair stopped the clocks at 5:45, adding just 3.2 penalties to their score to finish on a 31.9. “She was amazing,” said Payne. “She still finished really strong. It’s pretty exciting, because frankly in the past, I wouldn’t have been able to sustain that pace the entire way. I probably could have gone a little faster.”
Doug added that Starr Witness started her career as a show-hunter, so she’s had to build her stamina. “She didn’t do her first event until she was about 7 [years old]. She didn’t have a base fitness, and a lot of the other [horses] did, so it’s taken a bit of time, but she was as good as she’s ever been gallop wise.”
Rounding out the top three was Will Faudree aboard Pfun, who made the move up from being tied in fifth to secure the third place prize. Faudree’s speedy time of 6:32 on the 15-year old Irish Sport Horse gelding pushed them into podium position. “[Pfun] was just amazing,” shared Faudree. “He was fun, with a capital ‘F,’ not just a ‘P.’ He was brilliant.” This marks Faudree and Pfun’s second consecutive third place finish at the Carolina International CCI4*-S.
Based out of Gavilan Farm in Hoffman, NC, Faudree is no stranger to the Carolina Horse Park. “I know this horse park very well,” he commented. Though familiar with the lay of the land, Faudree said of Stark’s course, “It was just such a fun track. I told Ian Stark it was the best track we’ve had here. It was big and bold and challenging. If you rode in positive, they landed from every fence more confident than they left the ground.”
For more information and full results, carolinainternationalcci.com.
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