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.”

Cassandre Leblanc and Riffel won team silver and individual bronze. (Din Sinclair for Shannon Brinkman Photo)

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.