Top horses shone in the perfect weather on day one of dressage during the MARS EQUESTRIAN Bromont CCI Three Day Event at the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park in the picturesque rolling hills of Bromont, Quebec.

The CCI2* U25 which was the first section to complete dressage saw Michael Pendleton (USA) move in to the lead on a penalty score of 30.30 riding Boyd Martin and Stephen Blauner’s grey Irish Sport Horse, Carlsburg (Carl).

Speaking about his ride on Carl, Michael said “He’s just such a professional. He was a little bit wild when we got here on Monday, and I could hardly hack him down the hacking path. Then yesterday when I took him in the ring for familiarization, he went straight to business. He knew when I got on him this morning that we were going to the test.”

Michael who rides with Boyd Martin has been selected to be a part of the Bromont Rising Grant program this year had only great things to say about this opportunity “It’s been good to have so much help all week. When Boyd is busy I can be off on my own a little bit, so it’s been nice to have a lesson with each ride and have a strategy. It would be awesome to see more events doing this.”

The Bromont Rising Grant Program includes $3000 Canadian as well as coaching and talks from top riders including Doug Payne, Kerri Milliken, Boyd Martin, Jessica Phoenix and Peter Gray. More details are available at this link.

Elinor O’Neal (USA) on Zick Zack, a chestnut Swedish Warmblood mare who is called Rosie in the barn and owned by Sally Cox finished the day with a penalty score of 27.00 to lead a field of 24 horse and rider combinations in the CCI3*-L.

It has been about seven years since O’ Neal last rode at Bromont. When asked what it is like being back Elinor said “It’s great, I really love this event” and “I think it is a really good test for horses at this level”.

Lauren Kieffer (USA) riding the bay Dutch Warmblood mare Get Gaudi owned by Jacqueline Mars lead the CCI2*-L section. Finishing the day with a penalty score of 28.40 just ahead of Napanee, Ontario’s Sondra Shantz on Unique who finished the day with a score of 29.10.

Following the day of competition Lauren had this to say about her mount and the owner “I’m really happy with Gaudi, she’s a lovely mare that Ms Mars picked out a few years ago at a competition and when Matt Flynn offered her for sale the year after that we jumped on it. We’ve been slow producing her, she’s always been super flashy but she’s such a lanky powerhouse, and quite careful, so I thought there was the risk of her jumping herself into trouble until she got stronger and didn’t want her to develop any baggage. Luckily Ms Mars is very patient with the development of the young ones and she’s really come out this year a real competitor. I’m very excited about her and her future.”

The CCI3*-L U25 section, the final section of the day saw Fort Worth, Texas native, Alyssa Phillips (USA) and Oskar. The bay Holsteiner 10 year old gelding is owned by the rider and Julie Phillips.

Asked about her dressage test today Alyssa said “He was really good. It was probably the best work, overall. He’s really coming up more through his shoulders in the trot work. In the canter work, he’s really sitting down now, which has taken a long time to build his strength up to that [point]. There were a couple bobbles here and there, but to still get the score that he did means we are on the right track. He loves performing; he’s a great boy, and I’m really proud of him. I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”

Local Quebec favourites competing this week to watch:

Colleen Loach (Dunham) – Olympic Team Member and member of the Equestrian Canada National Squad. Loach currently works for fellow Canadian Olympian, Peter Barry, who also owns her current top mount, Qorry Blue d’Argouges.

Brooke Massie (Saint-Lazare) – A student of Colleen Loach is a declared rider and qualified for the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peri and an Equestrian Canada Development Squad listed rider. Brooke will be competing this week in the CCI3* U25 division.

Mélissa Boutin (Sherbrooke) – A declared rider and qualified for the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peri Brooke will be competing this week in the CCI3* division.

Competitors rider dressage in front of a great selection of International judges from the US, Canada, Brazil, India and Hungary.

Dressage resumes Friday morning at 9:00am in ring 2, the MARS Petcare arena, with the current US Equestrian 5* National Champion, Boyd Martin (USA) riding Luke 140 in the CCI3-S section. At 9:30am in ring 1, the MARS EQUESTRIAN arena, first horse and rider combination for the CCI4*-L will be Buck Davidson (USA) and Copper Beach.

Entrance to the event is free for spectators and show jumping on Sunday will be live streamed through our Facebook page at

For those riders who have yet to experience competition at Bromont, you’re in for a treat. Derek Di Grazia of Carmel Valley, California, FEI cross-country course designer at Bromont since 2009, will set a challenging track with the help of Canadian course builder Jay Hambly and his team, utilizing the spectacular hills and natural water features Bromont has to offer. Sue Ockendon, the event organizer, spares no expense to bring in the best officiating from around the world to provide each and every rider a true evaluation of their abilities.

This is the second stop on the USEF/USET Foundation North American Futures Team Challenge. The Team Challenge was announced during the 2018 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention last December as part of U.S. eventing’s strategic plan, spearheaded by Erik Duvander, U.S. Eventing Director of High Performance. The new program looks to create a “culture of competitiveness” and provide a more clearly defined pathway for eventing athletes in the United States.

Ride times and results are available at