Karl Slezak of Tottenham, ON, and his own Hot Bobo took the win in the CCI 3*-L competition during the Tryon International Eventing Competition held from Nov. 10-13 in Mill Spring, North Carolina.
In a field of 40 combinations, Slezak entered the multi-day competition with a broken hand but that didn’t seem to stop him from earning his spot at the top of the leaderboard. Riding the nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse/Thoroughbred mare, Slezak started off scoring 31.8 penalty points in the dressage phase and tying for 5th place.
The pair’s climb began on the following day during the cross-country phase, where a clear round and no time penalties moved them all the way up to first. And with that big confidence boost, they executed a clear show jumping round, ending with no further penalty points and securing the win.
“Before I even got here, I broke my hand, so I didn’t have a great start,” Slezak said, grateful for his horse to balance out his impairment. “Once I got here, she settled in really well, I was excited. She was a little spooky on dressage day, so it wasn’t quite the test I was hoping for, but we kind of worked our way back up.”
The pair were one of only seven contenders to come in under the elapsed time in the cross-country phase, and he was proud of her speed and accuracy. “She (Hot Bobo) was on fire, she’s a little on the small side, and I have had to baby her a little bit over the years,” Slezak added.
Hot Bobo was purchased by Slezak five years ago when she was four years old, as a sales horse from the Monart Sale in Ireland. “She was a bit too spooky for people when they would cross-country school her, so I never sold her. From the get-go, I just loved her, she’s been amazing,” he added. “Anybody who knows me thinks it’s ridiculous how much I love her.”
The 40-year is excited about the promising mare. “I hope to aim her at the Pan Am Games next year, she’s phenomenal jumped and doesn’t feel like there’s a limit yet,” said Slezak.
One other important event that took place at the Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC) during the three days was the USEF Eventing Young Rider Championships presented by the United States Eventing Association (USEA), offering CCI1*-L, 2*-L and 3*-L levels.
Cassandre Leblanc of Beaumont, QC, and her own Riffel, sired by Mountain Boy XX, finished in third place in the CCI YR 2*-L. Riding the 17-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Leblanc opened the competition with a score of 33.6 in the dressage phase for fourth place. The pair would then have a clear cross-country round and an elapsed time of 7:09, moving into first. In the final phase of show jumping, the duo incurred eight penalties with rails down at fence four and seven, to finish with a final score of 41.6 for the bronze medal.
The team of Leblanc, Caitlyn Sutherland of Foothills, AB (11th; 59.2) and Mégane Sauvé from Saint-Paul, QC (12th; 69.0), finished in second place with a score of 169.8 points in the CCI 2*-L Division. In the CCIJ1*-L Team Competition, the Ontario/Quebec squad of Saffron Klotz / Ballingowan Clarity, Emma McHugh / Lincoln Park, and Victoria Downey / Executive Power took the bronze medal.
For full results of The Dutta Corp. Tryon International Three-Day Event and USEF Eventing Young Rider Championship presented by USEA, please click here.