It has been a big year for John and Judy Rumble’s Foxwood High, who will be honoured this evening at the United States Eventing Association’s Year-End Awards Ceremony as 2017 Advanced Horse of the Year. It’s a well deserved accolade following the best season of his international career, which concluded with Selena O’Hanlon becoming the first Canadian in history to win the prestigious Fair Hill International CCI3*. Will it be enough for him to scoop the #ERHOTY17 award too?
In his five runs during the 2017 international season, ‘Woody’ finished outside the top 10 just once. His dressage scores dropped by 10 penalties from his first run of the season at The Fork to his final run at Fair Hill, where the 14 year old scored in the 30s for the first time in his career. He improved his dressage score with each outing starting at Kentucky and concluding at Fair Hill. Woody also has the third highest ‘clear inside the time’ rate (80%) of all 12 of our #ERHOTY17 nominees.
Woody started the season with an 8th place finish at The Fork CIC3*, which served as his final prep run before making his fourth career start at Kentucky CCI4*. He scored 49.8 in dressage at Kentucky, which narrowly missed his CCI4* personal best of 49.5 from the 2014 World Equestrian Games. A clear cross country round with 10.8 time penalties and two rails down in show jumping was enough for him to finish 11th at Kentucky.
Show jumping has always been Woody’s most challenging phase and cost him the win in his next run at Great Meadow CICO3*. Two rails down added to his 46.9 dressage score saw him slip to 9th place going into cross country, which is where this horse really shines. Woody cruised around as one of three horses to make the optimum time (9.4% of the field) which boosted him to finish 5th.
Selena went into their next international run at Plantation Field saying she wanted to win, and they sat in a strong position after dressage on 41.8, which just narrowly missed their personal best. Show jumping once again played spoiler, with one rail down dropping them to 4th place. On the final day, Woody again proved his prowess on the cross country, storming around as one of only five horses to make the optimum time (15.9% of the field) and finish 3rd on 45.8.
After missing out on two wins in 2017 due to show jumping rails, Selena doubled down in her efforts to improve Woody’s performance over the coloured poles. She continued diligently training with Jonathon Millar, son of Canadian show jumping champion Ian Millar, and went into their final run of the season at Fair Hill International CCI3* once again wanting to take the win.
Woody started out strong, scoring in the 30s for the first time to lead after dressage on a career personal best of 39.4. Adding 1.6 time penalties on cross country slipped them to second place, but Selena delivered under pressure in show jumping, and she jumped clear with 3.0 time penalties. With the overnight leader having multiple rails down, Woody won America’s premier CCI3* on 44.0, his career best finishing score across all levels.
It was the first time in history the Canadian National Anthem has been played on the final day of Fair Hill, which serves as the US National Three-Star Championships. Woody’s owner, Canadian Olympian John Rumble, nearly burst with pride at the prize giving! Woody has the honour of being the first Canadian horse to ever be nominated for EquiRatings Horse of the Year. Will he have your vote when the polls open?
Listen to the #ERHOTY2017 episode of the Horseware Eventing Podcast to hear how we finalized the list of 12 nominees. Keep checking back to the EquiRatings blog for analysis articles on all 12: fischerRocana FST, Nereo, Arctic Soul, Horseware Hale Bob, Ballaghmor Class, Bulana, Hunter Valley II, Donner, Cekatinka, Calle 44, Ivar Gooden and Foxwood High.