Mosser soars to victory at Foxhall Cup CCI***

At the end of the press conference after cross-country day, Bonnie Mosser had smiled shyly and said, "My horse is pretty good at that stuff tomorrow. I think we can do well." Do well they did, as Jenga soared over the challenging show jumping course to come home with no jumping and no time faults-a flawless trip that eventually moved her from 3rd to 1st, and garnered her a check of nearly $28,500.At the end of the press conference after cross-country day, Bonnie Mosser had smiled shyly and said, "My horse is pretty good at that stuff tomorrow. I think we can do well." Do well they did, as Jenga soared over the challenging show jumping course to come home with no jumping and no time faults-a flawless trip that eventually moved her from 3rd to 1st, and garnered her a check of nearly $28,500.

Story originally posted by: Heather Bailey

At the end of the press conference after cross-country day, Bonnie Mosser had smiled shyly and said, "My horse is pretty good at that stuff tomorrow. I think we can do well." Do well they did, as Jenga soared over the challenging show jumping course to come home with no jumping and no time faults-a flawless trip that eventually moved her from 3rd to 1st, and garnered her a check of nearly $28,500.

Sunday at Foxhall started with one of the most nerve-wracking moments for any three-day competitor – the final veterinary jog. Though the general consensus was that the horses had handled the heat quite well, and that many of the footing concerns of previous years had been addressed, the efforts of Saturday did take their toll.

Jan Thompson had a brilliant double-clear cross-country ride on the diminutive Task Force, but he was clearly sore in the jog, as was David O’Connor’s mount Kildare. Stephen Bradley’s Pickle Road, Kyle Carter’s Scotia Goldrush, and Leigh Ann DeAngelis’ Delta Deuce were not brought forward for the third inspection, and Dianne Roffe, who suffered a crashing fall on Mackinac was unable to present either of her horses.

Richard Lamb’s show jumping course was an interesting combination of large spread fences and airy upright verticals, including a tricky narrow with no ground line. Clean rounds were hard to come by, with most faults being spread among the large oxer at 3, a double of Swedish oxers as 5AB, an airy green oxer under the grandstands at 8, and that narrow vertical at 9. The combinations required very forward riding, and interestingly the 12 horses out of 64 who jumped clear also made the time.

Forty horses jumped in the morning, with only 9 clear rounds. When the top 25 came out in the afternoon for their turn, the pressure was intense as only 3 rails separated the top 25. New FEI rules have made rails slightly less costly, now 4 penalty points instead of 5, but with each second over time now being equal to 1 time penalty, you had to go quick as well as clean.

The first top pair to go clean was Connought and Julie Burns, clearly the hometown favorite now that she’s engaged to Foxhall owner Jim Richards. The clean round would eventually move them from 16th to 9th. Clean rounds were so scarce, that keeping your score to one rail could still move you up. Welton Gold and Julie Burns, Bruce Mandeville and Rose Tremiere, John Williams and Sloopy, Phillip Dutton and I’m So Brite, and Karen O’Connor on Travis all moved into or up in the top ten with one rail.

The first rider to really throw down the gauntlet was Washington State’s Amy Tryon and her youngster Woodstock. The dark bay gelding had been 10th after dressage, then smoked around the cross-country to double-clear to move in to 4th. He then jumped a flawless show jumping, daring the top three to top him.

Mosser and Jenga were lying in third after their flawless cross-country, and it seemed to take nothing out of him as he flew over the fences, jumping with such verve that he nearly unseated Mosser at 5b. With her double-clear sewn up, all she could do was wait.

Next in the ring was the veteran Bruce Davidson, on his new ride Welton Tangle. After winning the dressage, they had already slid back slightly in the standings due to 3.2 time penalties on cross-country. Luck wasn’t with them today either, as the bay gelding just breathed on the narrow vertical and the rail toppled, dropping them into third behind Mosser and Tryon.

Last in the ring was overnight leader Heidi White and Northern Spy. Her cross-country day had been the ride of a lifetime, and she hoped to keep the dream alive. But Northern Spy seemed just a bit tired and less brilliant today, and took four rails to drop to 7th. The victory was Mosser’s, and her face was a mixture of shock and joy as she realized she had won.

"I knew my horse was a good show jumper, and he felt confident in the warm-up" said Mosser. "He’s good off the ground and very obedient, so I had a plan again and we pulled it off. But that’s him – he’s there for you on the third day as long as I ride decently.

"Except when I nearly fell off at 5b-he jumped me out of the tack," she finished with a laugh.

Mosser said her plan going in to the final day was to win, and that included a limited warm-up to preserve her mount’s energy. She had purchased the English Thoroughbred gelding in 2000 from Peter Green, who had imported him from England. He had competed at preliminary horse trials, and coach Phillip Dutton had recommended she bring him out at that level to "see what he was at prelim."

"I liked how he felt jumping off the ground," remembered Mosser. "But he was a bit difficult at narrows and did a few cheeky things. He was so green and wobbly."

By the fall he was ready to compete in the Radnor CCI**, and in the spring of 2001 he finished 2nd at the CDCTA CCI**. By the fall of 2001 he was going well at the advanced level, and she took him to the Fair Hill CCI***. However, the horse had a pasture injury in the final month leading up to the competition and she was unable to complete her fitness work the way she wanted. As a result, she went slowly cross-country, and took a lot of long routes to finish 20th.

"After doing that, I knew I wanted to come here in the spring and go fast, and go all the straight ways," she said.

Tryon and Woodstock traveled a long way to compete at Foxhall. The firefighter from Redmond, Washington worked double shifts all through the winter to have the time off to compete back east this spring. She made her yearly trek east in February, to compete in horse trials leading up to the big three-days.

"This should help pay my gas money," joked Tryon of her $16,500 check. "I’ve run out of volunteers to drive east with me, maybe this will help."

Though Tryon is thrilled with her horse’s performance, she didn’t come expecting to finish so close to the top on the 8-year-old. "My horse is young and inexperienced-this is his first three star, and only his third run around an advanced track. But, I was worried more about how he would react to the spectators, and flags, and atmosphere more than the jumps.

"He always tries though, and is very brave. I just wanted to have a confidence-building weekend, and finish with a better horse than I started with," she finished.

Tryon can hardly rest on her laurels though-her next two weeks will be a daunting schedule of driving to Lexington, Kentucky to compete her Pan American games horse Poggio II at the Rolex Kentucky CCI****, and then hopping a plan to compete My Beau at the Badminton CCI**** in England.

"My goal is to stay in a motel room some night in the next two weeks, rather than my horse trailer," she said with a laugh.

Though Davidson felt a little unlucky to have that rail down, he was extremely pleased with his horse’s performance this weekend.

"He only touched one rail out there, and it came down," he said. "I have nothing but nice things to say about this horse. A month ago I got him because he wasn’t going, so I’m happy."

Foxhall Photo Gallery Show Jumping!
Foxhall Photo Gallery Final!

To see a report on cross-country day, click here.

To see a report on dressage day, click here.