Tag Archives: cross country

Beautiful Day Kick Starts Strzegom Horse Trials 2017

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.

If you cannot make it, don’t worry! You can join Strzegom Horse Trials live via our web site: http://www.strzegomhorsetrials.pl/pl/galeria/strzegom-tv.html.

Contact:
www.strzegomhorsetrials.pl
press@strzegomhorsetrials.pl

Ingrid Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob Snatch Lead after Badminton Cross Country

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.

By Kate Green

Press contacts:

At FEI:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

At Badminton:

Julian Seaman
Head of Media
J.Seaman2@sky.com
+44 7831 515736

Michael Jung Takes Over Kentucky Lead after Cross Country

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.

Press contacts:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Marty Baumann
Press Chief
info@classic-communications.com
508-698-6810 x 10

Dressage at #RK3DE – Watch Day 1 On Demand on USEF Network

Photo credit: RedBayStock.com.

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.

Sinead Halpin and Manoir de Carneville (Mike McNally)

“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 >

© 2017 US Equestrian Federation

Clifford Shows His Class on Adelaide Cross Country

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.

Happy horse

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.”

Skinny

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.

Don’t miss a hoofbeat! Watch it all LIVE on www.feitv.org.

See full results: www.australian3de.com.au/results.

Social media: #FEIClassics #Eventing #TwoHearts

See FEI Classics™ hub: www.fei.org/fei/events/fei-classics.

By Anna Sharpley

Australian International 3 Day Event Media Contact:

Katherine Maitland
Marketing and Public Relations Manager
katherine@lightbulbmedia.com.au
+61 407 721 004

FEI Media Contact:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Michael Jung Holds Cross Country Lead at Pau

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.

There’s live action on FEI TV (cross country and jumping) at www.feitv.org and live results on www.worldsporttiming.com.

Full results: www.event-pau.fr

Use hashtags #FEIClassics #Eventing

See FEI Classics™ hub: www.fei.org/fei/events/fei-classics.

By Kate Green

Les 4 Etoiles de Pau Media Contact:

Véronique Triffaux
servicedepresse@centaure-production.fr
T +33 (0)5 59 92 94 25
M +33 (0)6 80 03 18 44

FEI Media Contact:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Burton Rules Supreme at Burghley

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.

Follow the finale with live results on www.burghley-horse.co.uk and video action on www.burghley.tv.

Use hashtags #FEIClassics #Eventing

By Kate Green

Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials Media Contact:

Carole Pendle
Press Officer
Carole.pendle@caa.com
+44 7768 462601

FEI Media Contact:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Competition Continues at USEA American Eventing Championships

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photos ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography.

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.”

Preliminary Horse

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.

Boyd Martin and Barry
Boyd Martin and Barry

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.

Preliminary Amateur

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.

Novice Horse

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

Aussies in Front after Spectacular Olympic Eventing Cross-Country Challenge

Christopher Burton and Santano ll. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 8 August 2016 – Australia, Eventing team gold medallists in Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000, heads both the team and individual standings in Olympic Eventing after a day of cross-country thrills, spills and surprises at the Rio 2016 Olympic Equestrian Venue in Deodoro, topping the teams on 150.3 and with Christopher Burton in pole position in the individual rankings with Santano II. But their neighbours from New Zealand are stalking them closely going into Tuesday’s final showjumping phase, just 4.5 penalties adrift, with the French in hot pursuit in overnight bronze a further 6.2 off the pace.

Germany, London 2012 team gold medalists and leaders after dressage, dropped to fourth on 172.8, while Britain’s William Fox-Pitt plummeted from pole position on the individual leaderboard to 22nd after a runout at the final element of the Ski Jump at fence 20 on a course that all the riders agreed was an enormous test. The statistics tell the tale of a tough day at the office, with eight of the 13 teams reduced to just three team-members, and USA and Russia no longer in contention after retirements and eliminations.

Only Brazil, France and Great Britain will have full four-member sides as Tuesday’s action begins, provided all goes well in the early-morning horse inspection.

Influential

It was clear from the outset that the 33-fence track would prove hugely influential, and with three of the first eight riders biting the dirt it more than lived up to expectations.

Sam Griffiths got the Australians off to the perfect start, however, when cruising home with the lovely Irish mare, Paulank Brockagh, with only 6.8 time penalties to add to his dressage score, and when Burton and his super-talented nine-year-old, Santano ll, produced one of just three zero scores on the day then things were looking even better. That was reinforced by another great run from Stuart Tinney and Pluto Mio who put just 2.8 time penalties on the board, so even though Shane Rose was eliminated late on the track with CP Qualified they still went out in front at the end of the day.

With New Zealand pathfinder Tim Price out of the picture after a slip-up on the flat, the remaining Kiwis had no choice but to keep it together and they succeeded brilliantly, the legendary Sir Mark Todd (Leonidas ll), Clarke Johnstone (Balmoral Sensation) and Tim Price’s wife, Jonelle Price (Faerie Dianimo) each collecting just time faults to leave them on a scoreline of 154.80.

Meanwhile, Astier Nicolas (Piaf de B’Neville) set up the French with a fault-free run so they could drop the 50.40 collected by Karim Laghouag (Entebbe) who ran into trouble at the first of the two angled brush fences at 12.  Team-mate Thibaut Valette (Qing du Briot) also faulted at this one but came home with a relatively modest 24.4 penalties to add, while Mathieu Lemoine (Bart L), individually third after dressage, took a careful tour of the track, and the final team tally of 161.00 was good enough for overnight third.

Successive

The German dream of a third successive team title took a hammering despite a brilliant clear from defending team and individual Olympic champion Michael Jung (Sam) when Julia Krajewski (Samourai du Thot) was eliminated, so mistakes from Sandra Auffarth (Opgun Louvo) and Ingrid Klimke (Bob) had to be taken into account to drop the team from first to fourth.

But Jung (40.9 penalties) is stalking individual leader, Burton (37.6), very closely and with less than a single fence advantage the 34-year-old Australian will be under extreme pressure Tuesday. Frenchman Nicolas is just 1.1 penalty points further behind in third, while Kiwi Todd (46.0) just shades America’s Philip Dutton (Mighty Nice) on 46.8 and Boyd Martin (Blackfoot Mystery), 50.9 in fifth and sixth. Burton said his horse is “very inexperienced” so he took some longer options on the course, “but the horse is so fast. I couldn’t believe it… he is a rocket!”

Sensationally, Brazil’s Carlos Parro has rocketed up all the way from 33rd place after dressage to hold equal-seventh spot with New Zealand’s Clarke Johnston (Balmoral Sensation). Riding Summon up the Blood, and on a day when so many of the major stars of the sport failed to find the key to the course set by Frenchman Pierre Michelet, the 37-year-old Brazilian, 236th in the world rankings, will be taking on the very best in the battle for Olympic glory. And his team is lying fifth ahead of The Netherlands in sixth as the new day begins.

Unfolded

As the competition unfolded, riders quickly learned from those who went before them, but tackling the many complex questions on the course still proved a difficult task. The reality was that only a speedy run on the direct routes would be fully rewarded, but that meant risking a glance-off or stop if the skinny combination obstacles in particular didn’t come up right. In all there were 15 eliminations and two retirements while 38 of the 65 starters collected fence penalties.

Of the top 18 riders going into Tuesday’s showjumping phase, the first three all completed without adding anything to their dressage score and the remainder picked up only time penalties. In all, 27 horse-and-rider combinations had clear jumping rounds and this group included some very special horses like the 10-year-old gelding, The Duke of Cavan, who carried Japan’s Oiwa Yoshiaki through the extremely challenging double of brush corners at fence six on the direct route to slot into 17th spot, and the super-honest 13-year-old Ranco who wasn’t going to be rushed but who did himself and his Chilean rider, Carlos Lobos Munoz, justice as he carefully negotiated the entire track to finish 30th.

All four of the British contingent collected both fence and time penalties to slot into eighth place and Fox-Pitt was clearly disappointed at his own result. “I had a very good round; it was just annoying that I went off at that third element (of the Ski Jump). It was my fault entirely. I went too quickly I think… and there was no way I could turn him. He didn’t do anything wrong. Watching those first few horses, you could see the course was asking questions all the way, and a lot of them weren’t coming up with the answers,” he added.

Clear

French pathfinder Astier Nicolas was just third to go with Piaf de B’Neville and returned clear within the time. “It was such a good feeling. I realised the pressure – I had to do well for my team-mates, and that’s a huge feeling. I didn’t expect to have such stress and joy for the team competition. It’s a very demanding course and there’s never a place to drop your reins and let him breathe,” he said after moving up from 11th to third place.

Michael Jung’s clear promoted him to silver medal spot, but he said he didn’t have an easy time before he set off on his cross-country run. “The warm-up was difficult on Sam’s nerves. The loudspeakers, horses galloping by, the cheering spectators. He was already sweaty in the stables. He was overly motivated in the beginning but nevertheless wonderful. He gave me a good feeling and was still fresh at the finish line and staying inside the time was easier than I expected,” he explained.

Mark Todd said, “I had instructions from the team to stay safe and clear. Fence six had me worried but it was mostly a perfect round. The horse (Leonidas ll) was brilliant all the way through. I was told to take one long route and briefly thought, ‘do I disregard the order?’ But then I thought I should better behave myself!”

Exceeded

Individual leader, Christopher Burton, said that finding himself in gold medal spot going into the final day “has far exceeded my expectations!” He’s not getting too carried away, however. “My horse is good at dressage and I was told to take one long route and it worked out, so I’m just going to enjoy today and for tomorrow? Whatever….”

Course designer, Pierre Michelet, felt he had provided plenty of different options for the riders to get themselves around the track. “You could change your mind and take a different route if you needed it,” he said, “but I was surprised there were a lot of run-outs and dramatic things happening!”

Sir Mark Todd summed it all up. “I want to thank Pierre for building this course because if he hadn’t then we (New Zealand) wouldn’t be in silver medal position tonight! The course offered alternatives to everyone; it was perfectly jumpable but if you wanted to made a medal position then you had to go direct and fast.”

The next hurdle to cross is the final horse inspection at 08.00 Tuesday morning before the medal-deciding showjumping phase of Eventing which will begin at 10.00.

Quotes:

Mark Todd (NZL), talking about negotiating the “frog” fence at the end of the Fisherman’s Lake complex: “It was a relief to get over that one. The fences are coming quick and fast… two hedges and then the frog – that is hard at 570 metres a minute. There is no room for error.”

Sam Griffiths (AUS): “It was a tough course and I was lucky to be on such a good horse. I am over the moon. What a star. To go straight overall you must be a gold medal rider.”

Tim Price (NZL), talking about his fall on the flat on the way to fence 24 with Ringwood Sky Boy: “You walk the course so many times, you make so many plans and then you go out and fall over! But that is the nature of the game. I had planned the long route (at 23/24) from the beginning and on the first turn it happened. I am so gutted. My horse is absolutely fine.”

Boyd Martin (USA): “I’m so grateful I was on an old racehorse from Kentucky (Blackfoot Mystery)!  He kept fighting the whole way home. It’s one of those courses where you can’t ease up for one second. You’ve got to jump, get through one fence then think about the next.

“I’m relieved. My biggest fear was letting everyone down, especially the group that bought him, my team-mates, and my country. The biggest thing that motivates me is to not fail. I have to say, I thought I was fit but I’m not (laughs). I ride events week after week after week and I’ve never been gassed (short of breath) after cross country, which goes to show how hard I had to work to get him around!”

Astier Nicolas (FRA): “I feel very proud this evening being in third place amongst riders like these! If I ride until Mark’s age I still have 33 years to go! We have three relatively young talents on our team, and it’s great for us all to be here.”

Results here

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Equestrian in the Olympics

Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912. Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Jumping.

The equestrian events in Rio will be staged in the Deodoro Olympic Park, the second largest Olympic cluster, alongside basketball, BMX, canoe slalom, fencing, hockey, modern pentathlon, mountain biking, rugby sevens and shooting.

The countries represented in Equestrian in Rio are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Palestine, Poland, Peru, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Republic of South Africa, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

They will compete in:

Jumping: 27 countries, 15 teams, 75 horse/rider combinations
Eventing: 24 countries, 13 teams, 65 horse/rider combinations
Dressage: 25 countries, 11 teams, 60 horse/rider combinations

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

Rio 2016:

Anja Krabbe
Venue Media Manager
anja.krabbe@rio2016.com
+55 (21) 97556 1218

FEI:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin Stand Fifth and Six after Cross-Country at Rio Olympic Games

Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Cross-country, the heart of eventing competition, proved to be demanding for the 64 athlete-and-horse combinations who contested Pierre Michelet’s technical course at the Olympic Equestrian Center at Deodoro on Monday. Only three entries finished double-clear, and only 26 crossed the finish without jumping penalties. U.S. veterans Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin rode brilliantly and stand fifth and sixth, respectively, entering Tuesday’s concluding show jumping phase. Dutton and Martin were the only members of the U.S. team to complete the course, dropping the U.S. from contention in the team competition.

Technical and bold, Michelet’s course was packed with angles, skinnies, and corners, and it radically changed the individual and team standings. Australia now leads the team competition with a score of 150.30, followed by New Zealand in second with 154.80, and France in third with 161.

Riding penultimate in the order, Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) and HND Group’s Mighty Nice set out on course focused on taking the most direct route. They survived a suspenseful bobble at fence 6b, a corner brush, and were able to keep on target and finish with only 3.20 time penalties. Dutton moves forward into tomorrow’s show jumping phase with a score of 46.80.

Boyd Martin and Blackfoot Mystery (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Boyd Martin and Blackfoot Mystery (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

“That (fence 6b) actually surprised me a bit,” said Dutton. “He must not have quite understood it, and then I held him in and just got it done, and then I was just trying to catch up for time. He jumped beautifully after that. He’s not the fastest horse; he’s not a Thoroughbred, but he fought really hard right to the very end and came home nicely.”

Leading the charge as first out for the U.S. on cross-country was Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) on the Blackfoot Mystery Syndicate LLC’s Blackfoot Mystery. Cruising out of the start box, Martin produced a fast, clean round, and even after taking the alternate route at two obstacles, picked up just 3.20 time penalties. Adding to his dressage score of 47.70, he finished the day with a score of 50.90.

“This was one of the most physical and demanding courses. It was intense,” Martin said. “He [Blackfoot Mystery] is a racehorse from Kentucky, and he kept fighting the whole way home; he tried his heart out for every jump. He has speed and endurance; I’m so pleased with him.” Regarding tomorrow’s show jumping competition, Martin added, “He’s fit and sound. I think I’ll have plenty of horse for tomorrow.”

Second on course for the U.S was Clark Montgomery (Bryan, Texas), piloting Holly and William Becker, Kathryn Kraft, and Jessica Montgomery’s Loughan Glen. Showing signs of a strong ride out of the start box, Montgomery and Loughan Glen experienced a refusal at fence 4, the first water complex, drifting to the left, something which continued to be problematic throughout the course. Montgomery ultimately retired on course at fence 17b, an open corner that caused trouble for many.

First-time Olympian Lauren Kieffer (Middleburg, Va.) with Team Rebecca LLC’s Veronica set out on course looking fit and keen. Their strong ride came to an abrupt end, however, when a hung leg at fence 24, a gate, produced a fall that eliminated them from competition. “It’s certainly not the outcome I wanted,” said Kieffer. “She (Veronica) was being really good and going the direct route. She hit the gate with her right front, and for a second I thought she would save it. My job first and foremost was to get a clean round, and it’s pretty disappointing that I let the team down. She’s fine; she started jigging on the way to the vet box and acting like her normal self.”

Leading the individual standings after the cross-country phase is Australia’s Christopher Burton riding Santano II on his dressage score of 37.60. In second is Michael Jung of Germany with Sam FBW with 40.9 penalties, and Astier Nicolas riding Piaf De B’Neville, representing France, is third on a score of 42.0.

The eventing competition concludes on Tuesday at the Olympic Equestrian Center at Deodoro with show jumping.

NBCOlympics.com Livestream

Keep up-to-date on equestrian competition at the Rio Olympic Games on the USEFNetwork.com. Coverage includes links to live streams and TV coverage, athlete bios, behind-the-scenes photos, and more.

Classic Communications/USEF Communications Department