Raeford, NC — “I couldn’t have asked him to be better,” said Tamie Smith of her 16-year-old German Sport Horse gelding, Mai Baum, after the pair soared to the top of the CCI4*-S leaderboard at the 2022 Carolina International. Second to last to go out of 30 horse and rider combinations, Smith and “Lexus” put in a beautiful test that earned them a score of 20.7, giving them a nearly 7-point lead ahead of the second place pair, Will Coleman and Dondante (27.4).
Based out of KingsWay Farm in Temecula, California, this is Smith’s first visit to the Carolina International at the Carolina Horse Park in Raeford, North Carolina. “So far, everybody is awesome, the venue is beautiful, and I’m looking forward to seeing what cross-country looks like,” Smith commented as she headed out to walk the course.
Regardless of her early lead, Smith said that she doesn’t plan to run cross-country on Lexus. “I need to run closer to Badminton,” explained Smith. “[Lexus] is 16 and he doesn’t need to run. It’s tempting, by all means, but my goal is to get to Badminton.” Smith added that she will run her other horses on cross-country.
Coleman, who is the reigning champion of the Carolina International CCI4*-S, sits in a comfortable second place ahead of stadium jumping. “I was really pleased with [Dondante],” Coleman commented on his 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding’s dressage performance. “I’ve quietly been feeling more and more confident about him in the first phase. He seems more established and a little stronger.” Coleman added, “The big ones always seem to take a little longer,” pointing to Dondante’s 18hh build.
With Smith’s plans to withdraw after stadium, Coleman could take over the top position, contingent on he and Dondante keeping the jumps up. “We’ve got to leave all these colored poles up tomorrow and then we’ll see what [cross-country] brings.”
Rounding out the top three is Doug Payne aboard Starr Witness with a score of 28.7. The pair held the lead going into the half-point lunch break, and were bumped down just two spots after the remaining 14 rides. “She was very, very good,” said Payne of the 11-year-old KWPN mare. “It was by far the best test that she’s had to date.” He added that he feels confident going into stadium jumping tomorrow. “Generally, she’s very good. You can always have the odd rail, but she’s super careful.”
CCI4*-S competition at the Carolina International will resume Friday, March 25, at 12:00 p.m. with the stadium jumping phase.
For more information, carolinainternationalcci.com.
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