Karin Donckers. Photo: Katarzyna Boryna/Strzegom Horse Trials.
Strzegom, 20.05.2017 – If you ever had a busy day, we know exactly what you mean. It was full speed ahead as we had everything from horse inspections to show jumping to cross country planned ahead. That meant it would be horses and riders all over the place.
We woke up this morning to what probably was perfect weather for the horses entering the XC course. Cloudy with a bit of a breeze, yet no more than 14 degrees. A quick change of gear and almost everybody entering the horse inspection where set with boots, hoodies, gloves and winter jackets. Of course; nothing does the trick as the occasional horse blanket around your shoulders so all set for a full day of action.
Speaking of horse inspection, we got off to an early start with horse inspection for both the CIC1* and CIC2*. With only two horses withdrawn and one horse not accepted in both classes it seemed a good indicator that the horses were still in good condition. The breeze hitting the side of the trot up probably added an additional “freshness” to some horses, giving their riders a bit of struggle to hold on. Overall a good morning entering the show jumping for these two classes.
The CIC1* showjumping started almost just after the CIC2* trot up and honestly, it was just a lovely contest. Noora Cederberg/Tilda V – the overnight leader – had one tiny fence down the last line leaving her in 2nd position, closely followed by Julia Elzanowska/Lucky Comeback in 3rd. Julia rode a clear round both in the XC and show jumping but nothing could touch the winner of the day Janet Wiesner on her 16-year-old horse FST Golden Joy. Janet had a great start in the dressage and clear rounds in both XC and Showjumping made her the winner of the day. Janet is just back in the saddle after she gave birth to a marvelous little daughter only seven weeks ago. What an amazing star.
A big congratulation to the Wiesner family to both the new born daughter that of course was with her mother here in Strzegom and to a great win in CIC1*.
CIC2* was almost all about the German riders from start to finish. The only riders who had a chance to beat the Germans riders out of a victory in the showjumping was Jan Kaminski/Senior and Merel Blom/The Quizmaster. Unfortunately Jan got one fence down and Merel two fences, leaving the German team with a complete top three starring Rebecca-Juana Gerken/Scipio S in 3rd , Elmar Lesch/Lanzelot 113 in 2nd, and the unstoppable Kai Rüder in both 1st and 4th place. What a super day for the German team.
After the horse inspections and CIC1* and CIC2*, the XC for the CCI1* started at 9.am. Julia Gillmaier riding Quinton 14 was the overnight leader continue to have super day leaving her still in 1st position after XC. For most riders the XC seemed quite a test so lots of changes in the top ten. Both Sandra Auffarth and Therse Viklund (top 2nd and 3rd) had a bit of a rough day and the new top 2nd Miloslav Prihoda JR/Ferreolus Lat and 3rd Lina Forsberg/Caloj.
Coming in after the lunch break we opened up the FEI Nations Cup, the 1st leg being started here in Strzegom. Honestly, the only thing that was not a surprise was the German riders. Having a mix of new and less experienced horses and riders opened up the competition a great deal and we got same real ups and downs during the day. The course had some fences we knew would prove hard (the line after the second water complex for example) and then there were some other fences that caught both us and riders by surprise (the checkered yellow and black fences on the small hills for example). Quite a few riders had problems with runouts and the time – only one rider, Alexander Bragg, inside the time. Having one rider jumping the wrong fence at the end of the course gave the Netherlands a less fun day as they were up there competing about the top three positions. The XC truly proved itself as being technical and seemed to tear a bit mentally both on horses on riders. Germany is still in the lead with almost 30 points.
1. Germany 2. Sweden 3. Great Britain 4. Netherlands 5. Italy. 6. Poland
Having a look at the individual scores on the FEI Nations Cup, Kai Rüder continues to have a field trip here in Strzegom, being in 1st position followed by three other German riders. Without ruining the fun for show jumping; we dare to predict Germany is going to be very hard to beat.
Last but not least, the CCI3* where Karin Donckers had a great day with two horses in the top ten (1st and 8th). Also in this class, we could see a lot of changes in the top ten, where we had refusals and time penalties changing the scoreboard. The XC continued to be a mentally tough and really demanded of the riders to keep the rhythm, good lines and balance. The CCI3* leaves us with Karin Donckers/Fletcha van’t Verahof in 1st, Merel Blom/Rumor Has it N.O.P in 2nd, and Eveline Bodenmüller/Waldmann in 3rd.
Still in our winter jackets and hoodies, we have had a bit of a cold day but lots of heartwarming rides and lots of great sport as we completed this year’s XC. We have had the opportunity to get to know new team members in the FEI Nations Cup and now we will take a well-deserved break for the evening and get ready for the final day with showjumping.
Strzegom, 19.05.2017 – After two days of dressage we were eager to get the speed up here in Strzegom and this is what we all have been waiting for – it’s cross-country time!
Strzegom continues be sensational sunny, warm and to just make it perfect there has been a bit of a breeze all day that made us all hang on to our hats, scarves and caps. Thankfully, the exhibitors have gotten their trade stands opened so if needing a new hat, shirt, jacket or something for the horse, that is now all taken care of. We also had the great opportunity of inviting in children from the schools in the area, setting the ice cream and soft drink vendors in hyper mode sales. Until now the coffee vendors have been the most busy, quite likely do to the coffee consumption from the press office.
Before throwing ourselves into the cross country we still had a bit of dressage to round up – three classes remained.
Taking up where we left off, we started the morning in Arena B with CCI 1* where we had a Swede in the lead overnight. 20 riders went before the Ground Jury and now we have a new leader for the upcoming XC, Julia Gillmaier (POL) in 1st position after a strong dressage, being chased by Sandra Auffarth (GER) and Swedish Therese Viklund (our overnight leader) coming in 3rd. We can look forward to a very exciting XC.
In arena B CCI 2* dressage had 27 riders starting, a nice variety of seasoned riders on a bit younger horses to younger riders starting with more seasoned horses. Quite a mix! The arena B is a neat little arena that allows close access for spectators and it was nice to see some many coming along to cheer on their favorite rider. We ended the day at Arena B with a national favorite and very experienced rider Pawel Spisak in the lead, closely followed by another rider of great expertise Linda Algotsson in 2nd. Alice Naber-Lozeman came in 3rd and with only a few points separating the top 5 it’s really an open race as we head on for the XC.
In the Main Arena it was all about FEI Nations Cup 3* dressage. 6 teams had lined up for the FEI Nations Cup: Germany, Poland, Sweden, The Netherlands, Great Britain and Italy. Strzegom is the 1st leg out of 9 where the best 7 scores will be counted as the final result.
Overall it ended up being a very close race between the teams. All six countries brought similar level of the teams leaving this class open for surprises and the certainly a few came along. The Arena A itself, being wide and open plus adding some distractions, spooked quite a few horses causing a few “blow outs”. Adding a bit of riders’ nerves might have added to the tension so all in all not as many top results as we expected. With that said, we still had some very nice rides; Germany rarely lets you down and it may not come as a surprise to have them in the lead. Coming in for the XC it’s:
1. Germany 2. Netherlands 3. Great Britain 4. Poland 5. Sweden 6. Italy
On the XC we had two classes starting; first to enter the XC course was the CIC1* and a bit later in the afternoon the CIC2*. Having this amazing weather meant both spectators and riders got superb conditions for the XC.
The courses gave the riders in both 1* and 2* a proper test. Marcin’s courses are known to be technical and the fences come at you quickly. Being a narrow course it’s a challenge to keep, especially the younger and less experienced horses, focused on the task and not having them distracted by all that is going on around them. In both classes, we could see that tension/loss of focus happening especially by the second water complex where the horses had to jump a log into the water followed by two corners directly after the water. That in itself can be tough question without adding the people, other fences, spectators and cameras just opposite the water complex. Some horses got a bit distracted already before jumping into the water resulting in lost balance, rhythm and line. Others ended up in trouble after the first jump into the water as the horses lost speed and didn’t quite get the momentum and balance back. Overall both courses ended up with some very good rides for those who managed to keep their horses in a steady rhythm, focused on the task and keeping a good line towards the fences.
Finishing off the CIC1* we still have the same top three in the lead as after the dressage: Noora Cederberg/Tilda V in 1st, Rebecca-Juana Gerken/Day of Glory 4 2nd, and Janet Wiesner/FST Golden Joy 3rd. The difference between 2nd place and 6th place is fewer than 4 penalties so it’s still very much a fight going into the showjumping.
In CIC2* Kai Rüder seems unstoppable; he has had a flying start so far remaining in the lead with Coin Toss and keeping second ride Charlie Weld in 4th. Merel Blom/The Quizmaster in 2nd and Rebecca-Juana Gerken in 3rd – well done by Rebecca to have two horses in top three in 1* and 2*!
Kai Ruder. Photo: Leszek Wójcik/Strzegom Horse Trials.
After the very intense heatwave during the event in mid-June 2016, we are thrilled to have close to perfect conditions starting off this year’s event.
Sunny weather, app. 25 degrees with a bit of a breeze keeping horses, riders, officials, volunteers and spectators in happy mood. We love it and fingers crossed it will last all week.
Ground Jury members have been doing the XC course walk during the day, together with our own course designer Marcin Konarski. It’s 15 years since it all got started and truly it has grown to something quite extraordinary.
As often with Marcin’s XC courses there are many aspects to consider and focus is key. It doesn’t matter if you are riding a short 1* or a long 3*; both horse and rider will have to be on their toes (or their hooves) because in this state of the art course, the fences turn up fast and there are many twists and turns.
Listening in to the ground jury members during the XC course walk we can honestly say we have a great week ahead of us. As one of the jury members concluded, “It’s a proper test,” and that goes both horse and rider. This XC is strong, solid, technical with lots of corners and demands a full focus from start to finish. A small breather is included but then it’s back to business again for the second half of the courses. The Water complexes are generous with lots of fences coming swiftly at the riders both in and out and will leave no room for hesitation. All in all, a XC that surely has the Konarski design all the way.
The day also included the start of CIC 2* dressage with some 25 riders starting and another app. 45 riders the next day following in the same class. After the first day, we have to take our hats off to the German riders who managed 6 out of the 8 top positions with Kai Rüder both in 1st and 2nd position followed by Jan Kaminski in 3rd.
Finishing off is the first horse inspection for the CI Long 3* and last but not least the DRAW for the FEI NATIONS CUP 1st leg that starts Friday – so exciting and we really look forward to this!
To give you a taste of what’s ahead, here are some facts for the week:
261 horses/entries from 18 countries. 6 XC courses from CI-short 1* to CI-long 3* and Nations Cup jumping a total of 140 fences, all being sponsored by some 30 sponsors/partners and hopefully plenty of spectators.
Ingrid Klimke (GER) and Horseware Hale Bob OLD. (FEI/Jon Stroud)
Influential cross country day sees Michael Jung (GER) and Sam move up to second ahead of Andrew Nicholson (NZL) and Nereo with just 0.8 between the top three
German Olympic rider Ingrid Klimke rode an exhilarating cross country round on Horseware Hale Bob at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, fourth leg of the FEI Classics™, and holds a slim 0.4 penalty lead over defending champions Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam who were outstanding to finish on their dressage score at the end of a thrilling day’s 4* competition.
“I walked the course with Andrew [Nicholson] and I watched Michi [Jung] and I hoped to do as well as them. It was a difficult course – there certainly wasn’t time to wave to the crowd – but Bobby was so full of himself and was pure pleasure to ride.” — Ingrid Klimke (GER)
Brilliant Kiwi rider Andrew Nicholson, who was last on course on Nereo, brought the day to a nail-biting climax and is now in third place, just 0.8 behind Klimke.
New course-designer Eric Winter’s track proved as influential as anticipated. Dressage leader Christopher Burton (AUS) on Graf Liberty had a surprising refusal at the third log element of the Hildon Water Pond (fence 15) and third-placed Irishman Jonty Evans (Cooley Rorkes Drift) was going brilliantly when he had a disappointing run-out at the second corner at fence 21.
“Sport’s all about confidence and I’m going to try and take some confidence from it. We made one little mistake, which was my fault, but we’re going home to reboot and aim for the Europeans.” — Jonty Evans (IRL)
Fourth-placed Belgian rider Karin Donckers (Fletcha Van ‘T Verahof) and eighth-placed Bettina Hoy from Germany (Designer 10) both retired after refusals and, under the new FEI rule, Sam Griffiths (AUS), 11th on Paulank Brockagh was awarded 50 penalties for missing a flag.
There were 32 clear rounds and 49 finishers from the 81 starters. Only two were inside the time of 11 minutes 34 seconds: Jung and New Zealander Tim Price, who has leapt 30 places to fourth on Xavier Faer. Sir Mark Todd (NZL) has two horses inside the top 10, NZB Campino, fifth, and Leonidas, ninth.
‘You couldn’t be casual and lollop along. Perhaps it’s my age, but I don’t think I’ve ever concentrated so hard!’ — Andrew Nicholson (NZL)
The home crowd had little to cheer about after the dressage, but strong clears by British first-timers Ros Canter (Allstar B) and farrier Alexander Bragg (Zagreb) have moved them up significantly to sixth and eighth places; Oliver Townend shot up from 47th to sixth on ODT Ghareeb and Gemma Tattersall from 67th to 12th on the ex-racehorse Arctic Soul.
The jumping phase promises to be an absolute thriller with 0.8 of a penalty separating three greats in the sport.
Michael Jung (GER) and FischerRocana FST. (FEI/Rebecca Berry)
Even dual Olympic champion Michael Jung admitted cross country day at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, third leg of the FEI Classics™, was a tough one with Derek di Grazia’s track posing a serious challenge. However, the German maestro is yet again in pole position on FischerRocana FST, despite finishing four seconds (1.6 time penalties) over the optimum time of 11 minutes 17 seconds and surviving a precarious moment when the brave little mare made an enormous leap into the lake.
Jung, currently third in the FEI Classics™ having led the series last year, has a fence in hand to win a record third successive Kentucky on the same horse. His nearest challenger is Frenchman Maxime Livio, current leader of the FEI Classics™ after his win in Pau, who rode a masterful round to finish exactly on the optimum time on Qalao Des Mers to rise from eighth place after dressage to second.
“Today was not our best ride, but we have a true partnership and kept fighting,” said Jung. “FischerRocana looks very well after the finish – she is a tough girl!”
The leaderboard has changed dramatically and a brilliant, committed ride by the sole British representative, Zara Tindall on High Kingdom, has propelled her from 16th to third place. A determined Matthew Brown, previously 19th after dressage, has leapt to fourth place on Super Socks BCF and is the highest placed American rider.
Demonstrating the openness of the competition, Erin Sylvester (USA), who was only 51st after dressage, is now 13th on Mettraise after finishing bang on the optimum time.
There were 26 clear rounds from the 42 finishers and six within the optimum time. Dressage leaders Clark Montgomery (USA) and Loughan Glen lost their chance of retaining their position with a disappointing refusal at a skinny brush at fence 18a.
Three other riders in contention after dressage also disappeared off the leaderboard: both Kim Severson (USA), third on Cooley Cross Border, and Jessica Phoenix (CAN), fifth on Bentley’s Best, retired after run-outs at corners and Elizabeth Halliday-Sharp (USA), fourth, parted company from Fernhill By Night at the Normandy Bank.
The jumping finale, which starts at 1pm local time, is sure to be a tense affair as the magnificent Michael Jung bids to make history – again.
The only place to catch the action-packed competition is the USEF Network live stream. Wall-to-wall coverage of each phase will be available on computers, tablets, phones, and smart TV devices. As always, the broadcast will include multiple camera angles, live athlete interviews, and analysis from professional sports commentator John Kyle with varying guest hosts.
Don’t miss the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover broadcast on NBC Sunday, May 7, at 1:30 p.m. ET. Check your local listings for channel numbers in your area.
“It Inspires You to Be Better”: Athletes Share Memories of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event
Leah Lang-Gluscic Leah Lang-Gluscic completed her first Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2016 aboard A.P. Prime.
“Rolex is a spectacle, in the best way possible. You think you’re going to get there and it’s going to be this long week of waiting. But with A.P. in particular, I had such a huge fan base for him that I was occupied every single second of the entire week. It’s nice, because you don’t have time to sit and worry about how big and long the cross-country is or about how your horse might be wild in dressage. So it’s unique in that there really is something for the riders to be doing almost every minute of the competition. Personally, for me, I love that.”
Sinead Halpin Halpin finished third in her first Rolex Kentucky event in 2011 with Manoir de Carneville, earning the pair the Rolex/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship.
“I’ve been there a thousand times to watch, but I’ve ridden there three times. I think every time I have gone it’s been a little different. It’s truly the pinnacle of the sport, and one of the things that three-day eventing does is it wraps so many emotions and so many experiences into one weekend, right? Rolex is like that times 100.”
Elisa Wallace Wallace first attended Rolex Kentucky as a spectator in 2008 and returned in 2014 to give a training demonstration with her mustangs. She rode there for the first time in 2015 with Simply Priceless, with whom she also finished sixth last year.
“There’s nothing that compares with going to your first Rolex. You have this weird thing of, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re here, and I don’t really believe that I’m here!’ It’s a surreal feeling. That stuck with me throughout the whole thing; I kind of felt outside my body.”
Jimmy Wofford Olympic medalist Wofford won the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in 1981 with Carawich and again in 1986 on The Optimist when the event was a long-format competition. He’s also coached many riders there and regularly serves as a commentator.
“I went around the course probably 10 times. It was always a challenge. First of all, it was a challenge for everybody because it was a classic format. I never rode in the modern short format. And of course, I especially remember ’81 and ’86. The first Rolex sponsorship was in 1981; before that it had been the Kentucky Three-Day Event, even though it already took four days to put it on back in 1981. So I have the first Rolex watch that was ever won there.”
Kim Severson U.S. Olympic medalist Kim Severson won Rolex Kentucky three times with Winsome Adante, who was owned by Linda Wachtmeister’s Plain Dealing Farm. This year she’s competing at Rolex with The Cross Syndicate’s Cooley Cross Border.
“For the years that I was with Linda [Wachtmeister], they still had the tie pinneys for your number. It was always a thing that we did: Linda tied my number for me before I went on course. That was always a special thing because it was our thing.”
Doug Payne Payne first tackled Rolex Kentucky in 2012 with Running Order, then owned by Stone Hill Farm. This year, he returns with his 2016 mount Vandiver, a horse he co-owns with Debi Crowley and Jessica Payne.
“The first time going down the chute into the arena there for dressage was probably my most memorable moment. Of course, you can’t beat having a cross-country round and all that, but that’s what’s etched in my mind: the first time going down the chute and stepping onto that stage.”
Dorothy Crowell Lexington native Crowell and Kentucky-bred Molokai were hometown heroes when they won the first Rolex/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship in 1998, the first year the event was run as a four-star. The pair finished second overall that year at a time when Rolex Kentucky was still a long-format competition.
“My main memory, the one I go to anytime I think of Rolex, would be of the first four-star in 1998. It was Molokai’s final three-day event after a pretty amazing career, and it was in our hometown. It was the only competition where every stride he took, people were cheering – the whole 14-minute course, from when we left the box. On the gallop stretches there were only a few people, and sometimes, as when we were going through the Head of the Lake, there seemed to be thousands of them.”
Lauren Kieffer and Vermiculus Dressage Test
Check out Lauren Kieffer and her Anglo-Arabian Vermiculus performing their dressage test to lead the Rolex/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship after Day 1. Watch Now >
Hazel Shannon (AUS) and Clifford. (Julie Wilson/FEI)
Lausanne (SUI), 5 November 2016 – Hazel Shannon (AUS) felt the benefit of a Thoroughbred when she rode Wendy Ward’s Clifford to add just 0.4 of a time penalty to take the lead in the cross country phase of the FEI Classics™ at the Australian International 3 Day Event in Adelaide (AUS).
It was the second best cross country run of the day and the chestnut gelding looked like it was making easy work of the cross country course and looked fresh over the line.
“I could not have asked any more of him,” said Shannon. “By the time I got to the end of the course, he did not feel like he had just completed a four-star. He felt as if he could have gone again. Whatever you point Clifford at he will do his best to get over it.”
Shannon and Clifford, who is named after the grandfather of the owner Wendy Ward, now have the lead of the FEI Classics™ in Adelaide by just 2.50 penalties – all eyes are now on the jumping phase.
“He is a careful jumper. We will just go in tomorrow and do our best and whatever happens happens,” concluded Shannon.
Will Enzinger and Wenlock Aquifer, leaders after the dressage phase, were first out on cross country, and made the course look easy coming home with a surprising 3.2 time penalties to slip to second place.
“He was just on song,” said a delighted Enzinger. “Everything I asked him to do he did. I was a bit surprised to get time penalties, but there were a couple of times I just balanced a little bit to make sure I got the line and that’s the price you pay. He is a happy horse and still fresh and I could not be happier.”
From Jumping to Eventing
Interestingly, the only clear round of the FEI Classics™ cross country phase came from the Warmblood, Rebecca Zamel’s Evergem Perfection, ridden by Victorian professional athlete Andrew Cooper. The effort moved them from seventh to third place on 59.70 penalties.
“He was amazing,” said Cooper. “He had two run outs in the four-star last year, which was down to greenness, but he has had a full year of three-star competition and that experience showed. He never looks fast, but he is so adjustable and I took a few inside lines. He can just land and go. He was purchased as a showjumping horse, so I can only hope he remembers that tomorrow.”
Rohan Luxmoore, third after dressage, had a run out at 14b (Horseland Hollows) on Bells ‘N Whistles. He was in good company as Stuart Tinney with War Hawk, Shane Rose and Glenorchy South Park, and New Zealand’s Andy Daines on Spring Panorama all had a run out at the same skinny fence.
The cause of the problem was a ditch – an obstacle that has been sorting horses out since eventing began. It did not pose a problem as such, but it did take the horse’s eyes off the skinny one stride away.
It was mild and sunny and claimed to be the best weather experienced on cross country day at Adelaide since the event began in 1997. The beautiful parkland was packed with spectators who enjoyed a day of exciting horse sport.
Michael Jung (GER) and FischerRocana FST (Trevor/FEI)
Lausanne (SUI), 15 October, 2016 – Michael Jung (GER) rode two brilliant rounds of Cross Country at Les 4 Etoiles de Pau (FRA), the first leg of the FEI Classics™ 2016/17, to hold the lead on FischerRocana FST and be within a fence of victory on his Dressage leader, the youngster FischerTakinou, now in fifth place with a few time penalties.
France’s Maxime Livio thrilled the large crowd enjoying the warm autumn sunshine by finishing bang on the optimum time of 11 minutes to rise to second place on his Luhmühlen runner-up Qalao des Mers.
Time proved influential on Pierre Michelet’s (FRA) clever Cross Country course and only one other rider finished on a clean sheet. That was the trailblazer Christopher Burton (AUS), who has now risen 22 places to 22nd on TS Jamaimo.
Jung, the 2015/16 FEI Classics™ champion, finished just one second over time on the 11-year-old mare FischerRocana FST, twice a winner of Kentucky and the individual world silver medalist in 2014.
He gave the nine-year-old FischerTakinou, a far less experienced horse, a beautifully sympathetic, unhurried ride for 8.8 time penalties but he is still within a Jumping fence of his leading ride.
“Rocana was wonderful – she is so simple to ride – and Takinou gave me a good feeling for his first time at this level,” commented Jung.
Nicola Wilson (GBR) on One Two Many and Jock Paget (NZL) on Clifton Signature both rode stylish, well-judged rounds are now in third and fourth places respectively and could put pressure on Jung in the final Jumping phase.
Boyd Martin (USA) on the grey Cracker Jack and last year’s winner, Olympic gold and silver medallist Astier Nicolas (FRA), on the CCI4* first-timer Molokai rose to sixth and seventh places with two time penalties apiece, and Tina Cook (GBR) showed all her class aboard her Olympic reserve, Billy the Red, to rise five spots to eighth.
The Dressage runner-up Alexander Bragg had a great round on the big Dutch warmblood Zagreb, following Jung’s lead in taking a neat line out of the final water complex, and he is in ninth place, 0.2 penalties ahead of Australian Olympian Sonja Johnson, a sheep farmer from Perth, who has climbed into the top 10 on the tiny chestnut Thoroughbred Parkiarrup Illicit Liais.
There were two high-profile departures from the leaderboard. Laura Collett (GBR), eighth after Dressage on Palmero 4, had the bad luck to fall two fences from home at the colourful Artists’ Palette upright fence and Tim Price (NZL), 11th on Xavier Faer, was unshipped when getting an awkward jump in over the log at the last water complex (fence 22a).
Kirsty Johnston, ninth after Dressage on Opposition Detective, had an early run-out at fence 4 when the horse took a strong hold over the preceding drop and ran past the corner.
Karin Donckers (BEL), fifth after Dressage on Fletcha van’t Verahof, is now in 16th place after incurring 13.2 time penalties.
The tight time meant there were big gains to be made on the scoreboard. Among those to leap up the order were Camilla Speirs (IRL) on the diminutive Portersize Just A Jiff and Nicola Wilson (GBR) on Annie Clover, up from joint 32nd after Dressage to 11th and 12th, respectively.
Pierre Michelet had makes full use of the compact site at Pau, which takes in the racecourse, and had produced what riders considered a more technical track than last year. It rode well, and there were 35 clear rounds and 39 finishers from the 48 Cross Country starters.
Christopher Burton (AUS) and Nobilis 18 (Trevor Meeks/FEI)
Lausanne (SUI), September 3, 2016 – Christopher Burton (AUS) and Nobilis 18 were pure class at the end of a challenging Cross Country day at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR), final leg of the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016. They had the second fastest time of the day – finishing just 8 seconds over the optimum time of 11 minutes 11 seconds – and now have two fences in hand to win Sunday.
Burton had to wait until nearly the end of the day and admitted to nerves. “Sitting watching in the riders’ tent didn’t help,” he confessed. “But I’m delighted now; the horse gave me a great feel.”
Experienced antipodean riders dominated an exciting day and now fill seven of the top 10 places. Last year’s runners-up Tim Price (NZL) and Ringwood Sky Boy are in second place again, with the third fastest round of the day (6 time penalties), and five-time winner Andrew Nicholson (NZL) is lying third on the 16-year-old Nereo, collecting 12 time penalties.
“Nereo doesn’t really like it at Burghley, because he’s a long-striding horse and finds the undulations difficult, but he always does the job,” said Nicholson. “I’ve got a soft spot for him. I’ve taken him all round the world and he always comes up with the goods.”
Jonelle Price (NZL), now in fourth place, was quickest of all, only 4 seconds over time on Classic Moet, but was cross with herself for having to take a muddled line through the fence dressings at the Dairy Farm (fence 14). However her performance was, in reality, brilliant, for time penalties in double figures were the order of the day even before the heavy rain started to fall around lunchtime.
Bettina Hoy (GER), the Dressage runner-up on Designer 10, admitted to feeling “intimidated” and set off tentatively, but the further she went the more polished she looked and she finished strongly with 19.2 time penalties to take fifth place at this stage.
Hoy said: “It was tough and I was a bit ‘backwards’ to start with and had to give myself a good talking-to, but what a horse! I’m so pleased. I don’t have many horses nowadays so I think I am able to have a good relationship with them and they help me out.”
Sir Mark Todd (NZL) has risen four places to sixth with NZB Campino, having feared that the German-bred 14-year-old would not like the undulating ground. Todd and Nicholson were two of the best riders through the water complex at the Trout Hatchery (20, 21), both opting for a bold four strides instead of five to on the curve from the corner to the third element, a skinny in the second pond.
Caroline Powell (NZL) has dropped three places to seventh on Onwards and Upwards with 21.6 time penalties, but France’s Cedric Lyard and Cadeau du Roi, a classy Thoroughbred galloper, have moved up from 14th to eighth and Australia’s Bill Levett has risen three places to ninth on Improvise.
British number one Oliver Townend, fifth after Dressage on MHS King Joules, was last out on course and was going well until he missed his line at the Trout Hatchery. Townend then retired after a run-out at the third element of the Discovery Valley (27), but he is now the best-placed of the home side in 10th place on his first ride, Samuel Thomas.
Blyth Tait (NZL), riding at Burghley for the first time in five years, pronounced himself “rapt” with the former hunter Bear Necessity V. They dropped two places to 11th after negotiating a couple of unplanned long routes, but Tait joked modestly: “If Andrew Nicholson gets 12 time penalties, then 24 is very good for me!”
Olympic reserve Kristina Cook (GBR) was at her very best on Star Witness, despite the horse pulling off a shoe, and is in 12th place, a rise of 32 places after Dressage. They had a nervous moment when the horse tripped in the water at the Trout Hatchery and had to jump the big brush corner out of trot, but Cook never lost her conviction.
“Burghley is always enormous and scary and you have to pick your horse,” said Cook, who works as assistant to her racehorse trainer brother Nick Gifford. “Star Witness is amazing; he’s a Thoroughbred with a pony attitude, and he makes me look fast, which I love.”
Cook described the course as “big and testing” but said the organisers had done “a fantastic job” on the going which other riders reported to have held up well, despite an afternoon of torrential rain.
Andrew Hoy (AUS), who had been in sixth place after Dressage on The Blue Frontier, took a ducking in the Trout Hatchery, but he is in 15th place after a good ride on Rutherglen. Sam Griffiths (AUS), eighth after Dressage on Happy Times, made a valiant effort to continue after a stirrup broke, but was unfortunately forced to pull up.
Fellow Australians Shane Rose, Sonja Johnson and Paul Tapner didn’t have the best of days either. Rose pulled up Shanghai Joe at the Road to Rio double in the main arena (28, 29) and incurred 11 penalties for breaking a frangible device at the Cross Rails (25); Johnson fell from Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison at the Rolex corner (15), and Tapner was taken to hospital for a precautionary check-up after a fall with Up In the Air at the rails at Herbert’s Hollow (22).
Forty riders completed with 28 clear rounds; Holly Payne-Caravella (USA) is best of the 16 Burghley first-timers in 17th place on Never Outfoxed.
Although Christopher Burton is the clear leader going into Sunday’s Jumping phase, and looks set to become the first Australian to win Burghley for 10 years, the cash prizes in the FEI Classics™ are till up for grabs with Tim Price and Mark Todd, in particular, looking to make gains, and riders placed sixth to 10th all within a rail of each other.
Mill Spring, NC – September 1, 2016 – The highly anticipated first day of cross-country competition commenced at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), as riders at the 2016 Nutrena® USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover (AEC) took to the course designed by Captain Mark Phillips at the Beginner Novice, Novice, Training and Preliminary levels. Competition in the dressage arenas also heated up as the Merial Open Intermediate division, the largest division hosted at the venue this week, began with the first phase, while the Adequan® Advanced Gold Cup Finals division will kick off Friday morning.
Merial Open Intermediate
Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous (Carry Gold x Richardia) owned by Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, Phoebe Manders and Michael Manders, returned to competition in fine form at TIEC taking a commanding lead in the competitive Merial Open Intermediate division on a score of 22.3. The pair, who won an individual and team gold medal at the Pan American Games in Toronto in 2015, found their stride in the dressage phase of competition, besting Clayton Fredericks, who holds third and second place aboard FEI Money Made (Conteur x Statbuch 1 Arcadia) and FE Bowman (Balloon x Con Corde) with a 27.0 and 28.2, respectively.
Little and Scandalous, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare, put together a fabulous test that was relaxed and smooth, earning them nearly a five point lead ahead of the competitive class, which featured 54 entries. The pair has quickly become one of the top combinations in the United States and their test proved that they’re back on their game after a few months away from competition.
“It’s a pleasure to ride Scandalous in any major dressage test. She’s a real dancer and she was beautifully focused and smooth today. This is only her second weekend back competing in eventing since early June. She had a bit of a break of Boekelo last year,” said Little. “She’s been back in work since March and we had the privilege of competing at the July jumper shows early this summer.”
TIEC is a familiar destination for Little, who is only one of two riders competing this week who have also contested FEI CSI show jumping competition at the venue. Little has competed in numerous “Saturday Night Lights” Grand Prix classes, earning top finishes in the show jumping discipline, with high hopes for a strong performance this week.
“When I look out into that ring, I see ‘Saturday Night Lights’. It’s very interesting to see the same venue through the eyes of two different disciplines. I’ll be back here for the 5* in October, but Mark [Bellissimo] was kind enough to take me on a tour this past summer, which really got me chomping at the bit for this week,” she explained. “There’s nobody like Mark to bring a dream to fruition and for an event in its first year, my goodness. I think there is a lot more to come here.
“There are only a few places in the world that could host an event like this. Hopefully in the future we will see something like this in Wellington where eventing will take more of a hold. It’s very exciting for horse sport in general. It’s not just about promoting one discipline. You really have to promote horses together. This is a place that does that and it’s an asset for our country and for the sport around the world.”
Looking forward to Friday’s competition, Little feels that RF Scandalous has the skill to contest the difficult track, but also feels that cross-country will change the standings around quite a bit.
“We’ve brought her back slowly with her return to competition, but that was only because of the time of the year. We worked on her show jumping and got her a bit more confirmed since she has only been in this sport for two years,” she commented. “I think the course suits her quite well. She’s very handy to ride, but she’s very smart and looks for the flags, which I think will be important, especially at the beginning of the course.”
The Preliminary Horse division saw a shakeup of the leaderboard as Boyd Martin and Barry, a 7-year-old gelding owned by Windurra USA, took over the lead after the second phase of competition, heading into show jumping Friday with a 26.0.
“It was an amazing cross-country course. The course really opened up to be galloping and open towards the end. The first part of the track tested accuracy and control and then the horse’s stamina,” commented Martin.
Martin and Barry added nothing to their dressage score of 26.0, which they earned Wednesday, while Martin also piloted Contessa into the top ten after a speedy trip around the course.
“I think that the cross-country will be a very influential phase here at the AECs, which is good. Here, at Tryon, they’ve built a pretty stiff cross-country course. It’s very interesting for the Intermediate and Advanced divisions because if you try to go slowly around the course you’ll get around, but you’ll pick up quite a bit of time penalties,” he explained. “You’ve got to be quick and take a chance out there to win.”
The division will head into show jumping Friday at 8:00 a.m., as Martin will look to keep a tight grasp on the lead ahead of Ryan Wood aboard Sarah Hughes’ Shannondale Percy, a 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse by Shannondale Sarco, who currently are in second place with a 29.1 and Maya Black aboard her own 6-year-old Thoroughbred, Mowgli (Our New Recruit x Night Siren), who sit in third place on a 29.2 after cross-country.
Professional’s Choice Training Amateur
Anna Kristin Paysinger and her own 8-year-old Oldenburg mare, Luistana (Linton x Espersica), continued to hold their lead in the Professional’s Choice Training Amateur division after finishing a double clear trip around the cross-country track and will look to take top honors in the division after their completion of show jumping Friday. The duo will move forward to show jumping still secure on their dressage score of 25.0.
The pair has led both phases of the division to this point in the competition and Paysinger was proud of their confidence around the tough track. She noted, “I thought my mare was really brave throughout the course. I was fretting the most about jump six, but she jumped it fine and didn’t seem to notice all of the people at all and went right into the water after that.”
Encountering a hold on course, Paysinger discussed her mentality shift after she was cleared to continue around the track. The horse and rider combination who initiated the hold were able to walk off course on their own, but Paysinger was tasked with to refocusing Luistana to prepare for the remainder of their run.
“I think my mare thought that she was done and decided that she wanted to head back to the barn,” she explained. “Before we started back I asked if it was okay to trot around and canter a bit and they were nice enough to let me jump the novice jump to let me get back into rhythm. I thought we both handled the situation really well and I’m very proud of her.”
The duo will conclude their week of competition after show jumping Friday while Patricia Hildalgo and her own Sapphire Storm (Orchard Park x Sailor’s Gold) are currently placed within striking distance on a 26.4, while Natascha Erschen and her own Emerald Lion, a 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse by Keltic Lion, secured third place with a double clear effort and a score of 26.8.
Ruth Bley and her own Rodrigue Du Granit maintained their lead in the Preliminary Amateur division, mastering the track and only adding .4 time faults to their dressage score of 27.2 to hold top honors heading into show jumping Friday with a 27.6. Nita Sanfilippo piloted her own Alarmabull to second in the standings, collecting an additional 1.6 time penalties for a 30.1. Randa Sorzano and Pleasant Rendezvous secured third, after crossing through the finish with a double clear trip to sit on a 30.5.
The Preliminary Amateur division will conclude Friday, as horse and rider combinations complete the final phase of competition at 10:55 a.m. in the George H. Morris Arena.
Heading out on the course with an inexperienced young horse, Lucia Strini didn’t know what to expect from Plain Dealing Farm’s Cooley Daydream (by Chacoa) in the Novice Horse division. This competition is only the fifth event for the 5-year-old Irish Sport Horse, and the atmosphere here is unlike anything they’ve seen before. The mare rose to the challenge and the pair remain on their dressage score of 24.3 after a double clear finish.
“Whenever she saw the jumps she settled a bit,” Strini explained. “She was really bold and brave. By the time we came into the derby field she was super full of herself. She finished more confident than she started, which is always good.”
Looking toward Friday’s show jumping, Strini feels prepared and believes her experiences Thursday have set them on the path to another clear round. She doesn’t have a rail in hand as the second and third placed pairs are only one point behind. Ashley Phillips and Bayni Slade (Doneraile Court x Klagenfurt) and Dominic Shramm and Cooley Renaissance Man (Eurocommerce Washington x Storm) were tied on a 25.3, but Phillips finished closer to the optimum time, which gave her second place.
Professional’s Choice Master Training Amateur
Sandra Holden and her own Cano Cristales (Conteur x Haupstupbuch Konny) kept a strong hold on their lead in the Professional’s Choice Master Training Amateur division after the cross-country phase, finishing on a score of 21.6. The 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding laid down a confident round with Holden piloting from the irons and the pair head into show jumping Friday with a 1.8 point lead ahead of Ruth Bley and Spartacus D’L’Herbage, a 10-year-old Selle Francais, who are sitting in second on a 23.4. Nanette Schumaker and La Cosa Nostra (by Kevekka), a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, rounded out the top three, adding nothing to their dressage score of 24.6 around cross-country.
The division will conclude Friday in the George H. Morris Arena as competitors will begin their show jumping portion of competition at 3:20 p.m.
Broadstone Master Beginner Novice Amateur
Letha Calvin and her own Look Cody Look rose to the top of the class in the Broadstone Master Beginner Novice Amateur division with a score of 27.5. The division, which featured 40 entries, will head out on the galloping track Friday, and Calvin, looking forward to contesting the course
“I rode two horses today and I felt that I lost both of their right shoulders at the beginning of the year, but in the last month I found them again,” she smiled. “It felt pretty good to have two solid tests today. I’m super proud of both of them.”
Piloting her second mount Quigley O’Higgins to a tenth place finish in the dressage phase, Calvin was thrilled to be back atop the leaderboard, as she won the division in 2010 and returned to AEC this year to prove to herself that she could repeat her past victory.
“I wanted to convince myself that I wasn’t a one-time-wonder. I wanted to prove to myself that I knew how to ride and that I could come back and do well again. The person that I most like to compete with is myself,” she explained. “I want everyone to do well, but I always think about what I can do better than the last time I was in the ring.”
Calvin and Look Cody Look will leave the start Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. and will look to maintain their lead heading into the final phase of show jumping on Saturday. Tracey Tapman and her own Just Dew It earned a 27.8 to finish just behind Calvin, while William Barclay and his own Stormn Hudson KD received a 28.3 for third.
Broadstone Beginner Novice Horse
In the very first division to head out on the cross-country course, Lauren Chumley and Nikolas (Novalis T x Capina Mia) held onto their lead of the Broadstone Beginner Novice Horse division. Melissa Dowling’s eager Westphalian-bred 5-year-old jumped bold and clear without even a second thought. They remain on their dressage score of 27.3.
“He ate up the cross-country. He’s about the bravest thing on the planet,” Chumley said, and added that he’s maybe even too bold throwing in a few bucks in the warm-up. “He’s figured the whole eventing thing out now. He’s a little bit cocky.”
Despite the stellar run Thursday, Chumley is a realist and has no hesitation in sharing their shared weakness: show jumping, and she’s not excluding extreme measures to keep her lead. “I saw Doug Payne on cross-country. He’s in second behind me. I tried to pay him off but it didn’t work,” she joked. “I thought about pushing him off his bike, but Andrea Davidson, my trainer, told me that was probably also a bad, so I didn’t do that. Unfortunately, now, I’m going to have to actually jump the jumps,” she laughed.
Doug Payne and Stephen Blauner’s Mr. Mitchell, a 4-year-old Irish Sport Horse, follow Chumley on a 28.3, so she must jump clear to Friday to finish as the winner of this division. Payne also lacks any cushion in his score as Susan Thomas and Leslie Allen’s Tango are right behind them with 30 penalty points for third place.
To learn more about Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.
About the AEC
The Nutrena® USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Land Rover is the pinnacle of the sport for the national levels. Held annually, this event draws together the best competitors from across the country vying for national titles from the Beginner Novice through the Advanced level. This year’s AEC is being held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, NC from Wednesday, August 31 through Sunday, September 4.
Leslie Mintz & Shelby Allen for USEA/Carly Weilminster for TIEC