Temecula, Calif. – Competition for the CCI3* began Friday at the Galway Downs International Event and Horse Trials with the field of 17 performing their dressage tests. Buck Davidson holds the top two places on the leaderboard with The Apprentice and Absolute Liberty with scores of 48.9 and 50.6, respectively. Davidson (Ocala, Fla.) received a USEF Land Rover Competition Grant to bring Sharon Will’s Absolute Liberty to the West Coast for her first CCI3* since 2011. He and the 10-year-old Oldenburg mare performed a lovely, relaxed test to sit in second place.
“She’s had 18 months off and hasn’t done much to get here. I know there’s way more in there and I’m really excited about that,” explained Davidson. “I’m just really happy to have her back.
The pair brought home Team Gold and Individual Bronze medals from the 2011 Pan American Games. They had a good prep run for the Galway Downs CCI3* at the Plantation Field Horse Trials, where they finished fifth in the Advanced A division.
“There are a lot of skinnies and corners out there,” he said of Ian Stark’s challenging cross country course. “You have to be very accurate.”
Allison Springer (Upperville, Va.) was also awarded a USEF Land Rover Competition Grant to travel across the country with Copycat Chloe. The 11-year-old Trakehner/Thoroughbred mare owned by Copycat Chloe Syndicate has struggled with tension during the dressage phase in the past but Springer rode a flowing, accurate test to receive a score of 55.0. The pair heads into Saturday’s cross country phase in sixth place.
Cross country for the CCI3* at 1:45pm PT. Davidson and Absolute Liberty will leave the start box at 2:18pm PT, followed by Springer and Copycat Chloe shortly after at 2:30pm PT.
By Kathleen Landwehr
Learn more about the Galway Downs International Event and Horse Trial here.
Follow the 2013 Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team here.