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Caroline Martin and QC Diablo Hit Win 2020 USEF CCI2*-L Eventing National Championship

USEF CCI2*-L Eventing National Championship

Caroline Martin & QC Diablo Hit. Photo by Brant Gamma Photos

Caroline Martin of Miami, Fla., captured four championship titles during her weekend at the Virginia Horse Trials in Lexington, Va., and capped her impressive weekend piloting her own QC Diablo Hit to the top of the 2020 USEF CCI2*-L Eventing National Championship. Starting in seventh place after dressage, the pair jumped two faultless rounds to finish on their initial score of 33.8 and were presented the Richard Collins Trophy for their win.

“He gets a little nervous in dressage, but that’s all right,” said Martin of the 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding. “Cross-country is a blast. It’s the easiest thing for him. In show jumping, I’m so proud of him. He jumped his heart out. This is the best thing for him, winning this show, because this is going to boost his ego so much. He’s such a tricky horse, so this is the best outcome for him. I think he’ll be my next Advanced horse.”

Carol Stephens had originally sent Diablo to Martin to sell. Martin broke her shoulder the day he arrived and her first ride on him was with just one working arm, but she fell in love. Diablo made it clear early on that he was a one-person horse, and he and Martin bonded.

“He’s such a funny horse,” said Martin. “You can’t put any other riders on him. Even if I’m gone, he goes lunging. He doesn’t like other people.”

Martin produced Diablo to Preliminary and sold him, but he soon came back when the buyer changed their mind. “I called Carol and said ‘I think it’s meant to be,’” she said. “I’ll take the horse back, let me produce him, I’ll own him and keep you updated about how he is. So, I own him now, and he’s been nothing but a pleasure to ride. I knew he was legit since day one.”

Hannah Sue Burnett of Kennett Square, Pa., and Christa Schmidt’s Carsonstown, an 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, led the division for most of the weekend, but a single rail in the final phase dropped them into second, finishing as the CCI2*-L Reserve Champions on a three-phase score of 36.3.

USEF CCI2*-L Junior/Young Rider Championship

Charlotte Stillfried and Palma D. Photo by Brant Gamma Photos

Charlotte Stillfried of Saint Stephens Church, Va., and Palma D won the 2020 USEF CCI2*-L Junior/Young Rider Eventing National Championship on a score of 46.2. Stillfried’s mom, Agnes, picked out the now 8-year-old Westphalian mare in Germany recalling, “They pulled her out of a very small barn and she had an amazing appearance.”

This is the first CCI2*-L of Stillfried and Palma D’s partnership. They finished fourth in the CCI2*-S at Maryland Horse Trials this past July. “It’s been pretty cool to bring her along,” Stillfried said. “I had a lot of help—Skyeler Icke Voss from Morningside and Patrick Tigchelaar is my dressage coach.”

Stillfried and Palma D led the CCI2*-L Junior/Young Rider Championship from start to finish and were presented with the Harry T. Peters Trophy for their win. “She’s amazing in the dressage,” said Stillfried. “Show jumping has always been a little bit of a challenge, but she’s also the best cross-country horse I’ve ever sat on. We have a pretty strong partnership…[This week] has been nothing short of amazing.”

Finishing second in the USEF CCI2*-L Junior/Young Rider Eventing National Championship was Annabelle Kress of Villanova, Pa., and Canny Calypso.

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