What's Happenin'

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Archive for September, 2011

Wellington Classic Dressage Set to Host World Dressage Masters Through 2013

September 20, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Wellington, FL- September 20, 2011 – As the only North American leg of the prestigious World Dressage Masters CDI5* circuit, the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach CDI5* presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach will take place January 26 – 29, 2012. Wellington Classic Dressage will once again bring this world-class dressage spectacle to the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in West Palm Beach, FL, close to the nearby Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington.

Wellington Classic Dressage has secured exclusive rights to host the renowned World Dressage Masters Palm Beach through 2013, making this premier dressage event an integral part of the Wellington area’s action-packed winter equestrian offerings. Spectators will have the chance to view some of the most impressive dressage exhibitions in the world, while also relaxing in the fun, social atmosphere that characterizes this event.

The Axel Johnson Group will again sponsor the entire World Dressage Masters circuit, which spans several nations and invites the globe’s top dressage Horse/Athlete combinations to compete against one another. Last year, the World Dressage Masters circuit included CDI5* competitions in Munich, Germany and Falsterbo, Sweden. These elite CDI5* events were also held at Hickstead in Great Britain as well as in Palm Beach. Launched in 2008, the World Dressage Masters awards over €100,000 in prize money per show to its famed participants.

Tinne Vilhelmsson Silfven, Steffen Peters, and Tina Konyot, triumphant last year at World Dressage Masters Palm Beach. Photo Credit: Susan J. Stickle

In addition to bringing the World Dressage Masters back to Palm Beach, Wellington Classic Dressage also produces a full array of exciting dressage events throughout the year. The Wellington Classic Autumn Challenge takes place in October, while the Holiday Challenge occurs in December, and then the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge I kicks off high season Jan 7-8 , 2012. Following the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach CDI5* presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach in late January, Wellington Classic Dressage will also present the following International Dressage competitions: the Wellington Classic Spring Challenge CDI3* in February, Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge II CDIW in March, and their Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge III national show in April. For more information and a full calendar of Wellington Classic Dressage events, please visit www.wellingtonclassicdressage.com or call 561-227-1570.

The International Polo Club Palm Beach is South Florida’s premier polo club, attracting thousands of fans each week during the winter polo season. The 2012 season officially kicks off January 8 in Wellington, FL. For more information, please visit www.internationalpoloclub.com or call 561-282-5334.

WELLINGTON CLASSIC DRESSAGE FAST FACTS:

What:

Wellington Classic Dressage hosts a variety of dressage events throughout the year in the Wellington, FL area. From the Fall and Spring Challenges to the prestigious World Dressage Masters CDI5*, the dressage shows and competitions presented by Wellington Classic Dressage are must-see displays of this challenging sport. The World Dressage Masters CDI5* Palm Beach, one of the richest international dressage shows, is presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach.

 

When:

Wellington Classic Dressage presents events throughout the year, with over 17 weeks of competition in Palm Beach. Highlight events for 2011-2012 include:

October 23, 2011: Wellington Classic Autumn Challenge

December 10-11, 2011: Wellington Classic Holiday Challenge

January 6-8, 2012: Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge I

January 26-29, 2012: Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge CDI3*

January 26-29, 2012: World Dressage Masters CDI5* Palm Beach

February 9-12, 2012: Wellington Classic Spring Challenge CDI3*

March 8-11, 2012: Wellington Classic Challenge II CDIW

April 21-22, 2012: Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge III

July 21-22, 2012: Wellington Classic Dressage in Tropics I & II

September 15-16, 2012: Wellington Classic Fall Challenge I & II

For a full calendar, please visit www.wellingtonclassicdressage.com.

Where:

These events take place at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in West Palm Beach, FL, just minutes from the heart of horse country inWellington. The address is 7500 Forest Hill Boulevard (Okeeheelee Park South),West Palm Beach, FL 33414.

Contact:

Noreen O’Sullivan

Managing Partner
nosullivan@wellingtonclassicdressage.com
(561) 227-1570
John Flanagan
Sponsorship Coordinator
jflanagan@wellingtonclassicdressage.com
(561) 714-9058

Article courtesy of Phelps Media Group

Weltino’s Magic Sweeps USEF National Intermediaire I Dressage Championships

September 12, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Gladstone, NJ – The top three placings in the Intermediaire I National Dressage Championship never changed throughout the week at the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm Dressage Festival of Championship and Steffen Peters dominated with Weltino’s Magic finishing on a three day average of 78.661%.

Riding for Jen Hlavacek, Peters owned the Dick and Jane Brown Arena this morning, and to music by Seven and Five, he showed off the 9-year-old Westphalian gelding’s strengths and was rewarded with a freestyle score of 81.250%. This was the only score over 80 in this division all weekend.

“It is fairly new,” said Peters about his Freestyle. “I’ve only done three freestyles with Magic. The music is by a group called Seven and Five, it’s not too dramatic but it’s not too much like elevator music. It was fun, there are some days where it is a little more work with Magic, but today it was fun.”

Weltino’s Magic was started by Peters’ wife Shannon, who rode him to reserve championship honors in the 2008 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships as a 6-year-old. He is a strong horse and Peters knows that managing that strength is a major part of his job.

Steffen Peters and Weltino's Magic. Photo: SusanJStickle.com

“He’s a powerful horse and he can be once and a while a little strong,” said Peters. “I have to be careful that I break things up a little bit (in the freestyle)… The changes have become straighter that is why I did them down the center line and the trot work is stronger than the canter work which is why I put it at the end.”

Chasing Weltino’s Magic all weekend is a giant chestnut gelding named Paragon. Owned, raised, and ridden by Heather Blitz (Wellington, FL), the elegant 8-year-old Danish Warmblood put on his third impressive performance and scored 77.300% for his freestyle to the music from Cirque de Soliel’s Ka.

“It’s from a performance called Ka – when I saw that performance I thought of my horse,” said Blitz. “I think my horse evokes emotion in people. I thought I couldn’t find a more perfect thing. It had to flow but not be too in your face. I think it makes a lot of teary eyes in the crowd and mine too, its really fun to ride.”

Their Freestyle pushed their three-day average to 75.100%.

Rounding out the top three in the championship is local rider Cesar Parra who rode Michael & Sarah Davis’ Grandioso to another consistent effort, scoring 72.700% in the freestyle which gave them a three day average of 73.368%.

The 10-year-old Westphalian wasn’t at his very best today, but he was still impressive enough to finish fifth in the freestyle but third in the overall standings.

“It started to develop at the end of the winter,” said Parra of his freestyle which combines Latin music, Santana and 80’s disco. “I always want to do a freestyle that tells a story, this tells a story of my background… I had a tough time trying to put it all together today for sure… I was having a very hard time in the canter work… I think it’s like anything some good days and some not very good days.”

Three intense days of competition meant that some of these horses were not as strong on the third day as they were when the competition started, but the quality of the horses at this level in the U.S. is exceptional.

This was further demonstrated by the third place finish in the Freestyle by Marisa Festerling on Big Tyme.  The 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood is also a graduate of the USEF Young Horse Championships and proved a model of consistency all week at his second Collecting Gaits Farm/ USEF Festival of Champions.

They scored 73.300% on Sunday with their Beatles themed ride to push their three day total to 71.258%.

“It’s exciting of course,” said Festerling. “It’s been a long time, starting as a young horse. At the end of the freestyle it didn’t seem real at first – I don’t think it has sunk in yet. It’s a culmination of all the years. We’ve been working a long, long time, so it’s been great.”

Festerling was referring of course, not only to the Championship, but also to the fact that the this year this competition served as the USEF Selection Trial for the U.S. Dressage Team for the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in October. According to the USEF Selection Procedures, the top four ranked horse/rider combinations form these Trials are named to the U.S. Dressage Team.

As Technical Advisor Anne Gribbons said:

“This is a dream team, it just couldn’t get better. We have never been better off looking at a big competition than we are right now. They are ready and they will do well.”

A stalwart on the U.S. Team since 1996, Peters has won Olympic and World Championship medals, but this is his first Pan American Games appearance.

“My priority in 90% of this whole adventure is the team medal and that is what I am so excited about,” said Peters.

For Blitz, this is her very first chance to represent her country and she is happy to share that opportunity with a horse that she has known since the day he was born.

“I’m very excited…  I’m going down there with a very positive attitude but not over-confident.”

Parra rode for his native Colombia at the Pan American Games in 2003, finishing fourth in Santo Domingo.  A newly minted American citizen, Parra is looking forward to riding under a different flag.

“For me I think it’s exciting,” said Parra. “I feel very good…  I ride a very strong test I believe I am a very strong competitor. When I took the pledge to represent America , I put pressure on myself to represent my country.”

These four horses and the first two substitutes will return to New Jersey on October second to begin their Pre-Games training.

For Video on Demand from throughout the competition please visit:http://usefnetwork.com/featured/2011FOC 

Coudray Leads the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team at Fidelity Blenheim International Horse Trials

September 12, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Lexington, KY – With three riders in the top 10, the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team had everything to play for in the show jumping on the final day of the 2011 Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials in Woodstock, U.K.

And Tiana Coudray played the game the best for the U.S. throughout the week, adding nothing to her dressage score of 49.4 to finish second on Jaital, Inc.’s, Ringwood Magister, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding.

“Today it was pretty much textbook,” said Coudray after the show jumping.

Photo ©Stock Image Services

The California native has had a rough spring. After falling at their first CCI4* at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Bridgestone in April, they then struggled at the Lumuhlen CIC3*, but Coudray made the decision to stick it out in England over the summer and regain the form that saw her win the Jersey Fresh CCI3* with her flashy grey in 2010.

She found it at Blenheim.

“I am so, so pleased,” said Coudray. “It’s extra special because things have been so tough for quite a while. I was a pretty good way to finish off the season.”

Clark Montgomery received a Land Rover Competition and Training Grant to fund his trip with Loughan Glen from Georgia to Blenheim. He capitalized on the opportunity and he finished fifth in a star-studded field. He added only eight time penalties to his dressage score on the 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned by Holly Becker, Kathleen Kraft and Carole Montgomery.

“I am thrilled to death with Glen’s performance today,” said Clark. “I can’t say it was one of my smoothest show jumping rounds but it was the hardest I have ever felt him try for me. An enormous thanks has to go to Land Rover and to the USEF for this opportunity that has undoubtedly furthered our education and our careers.”

Will Faudree (Hoffman, NC) received a Land Rover Grant as well and he has been in England all summer preparing Jennifer Mosing’s Pawlow for the Blenheim CCI. He worked hard for a double-clear round in the show jumping today and jumped from 14th after the cross-country to eighth.

Olympic veteran Phillip Dutton (West Grove, PA) was unlucky to have the middle rail of the triple combination down on Bruce Duchossois’ Mighty Nice. But at only 7 years old, he is looking forward to a bright future with the Irish Sport rose who received a Land Rover Competition and Training Grant to go to Blenheim.

Information about Land Rover’s partnership with the USEF is available here: http://www.landrover.com/us/en/lr/experience-land-rover/sponsorships-events/equestrian-usef/

Follow the U.S. Eventers in Europe throughout this fall on the USEFNetwork.com here:http://usefnetwork.com/featured/EventersinEurope/

Scores and results are available here: http://www.bdwp.co.uk/ble/

Peters Maintains His Lead in the Intermediaire I National Dressage Championship; Leibler Cruises to National Young Rider Dressage Championship; and Cyprus Wins Inaugural National Pony Rider Championship at 2011 Collecting Gaits/USEF Dressage Championships

September 11, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Gladstone, NJ – The third day of the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions meant the second day of the USEF Intermediaire I National Dressage Championship. The results remained unchanged as Steffen Peters won his third class in a row taking the top spot in the Intermediaire I test on Weltino’s Magic with a score of 76.421%.

He fought back from a couple of mistakes early on and overcame a couple of misunderstandings to duplicate his win in yesterday’s Prix St. Georges.

“It wasn’t quite as easy,” said Peters. “There were a couple of misunderstandings. When I asked for the left half-pass he thought extended trot. In the two-tempis one of the changes felt short behind. Where I think we won it was with really good pirouettes and the walk.”

Peters explained that when things aren’t going to plan in the test, he tries not to let it distract him from the task at hand.

“He’s a pretty straightforward horse,” said Peters. “If I don’t screw up, he doesn’t screw up.”

Steffen Peters and Weltino's Magic. Photo ©SusanJStickle.com

The Intermediaire I Championship also serves as the USEF Selection Trials for the 2011 Pan American Games, and Peters, despite being an Olympic and World Championship veteran and medalist, has never ridden on a Pan American Team. He and Jen Hlavacek’s 9-year-old Westphalian gelding have been winning at a record pace not only on the West Coast but they also swept the small tour in Aachen this summer. Peters has been nearly invincible with this horse and with Ravel in the Grand Prix and lead a dressage resurrection in the United States.

His quest for improvement is never-ending.

“You can never rest on the scores you had the day before,” said Peters. “It’s much easier to be the underdog.”

The Prix St. Georges counts for 40%, the Intermediaire I counts for 45% and the Freestyle on Sunday counts for 15% of the championship total.

Heather Blitz was close to tears at the end of her test, because despite the fact that Paragon has been winning at nearly every turn, this test was one of the highlights of their lives together. They scored 74.684% in an effort that spoke volumes about the strength of their partnership.

“I did go for it more today,” said Blitz. “I could, because yesterday he told me he was ready. He did absolutely everything for me, he was very honest. We were completely on the same page today.”

Blitz was there when Paragon was born, and standing 18 hands now, he was a big foal eight years ago. She says that their relationship since day one helps them in the ring.

“I know everything about him,” said Blitz about her 8-year-old Danish Warmblood.

Rounding out the top three was the defending Championship from 2010. Cesar Parra (Whitehouse Station, NJ) rode Grandioso, owned by Sarah and Michael Davis. The 10-year-old Westphalian had a couple of mistakes today that Parra believes were because of improvements they are making to the overall quality of the work.

Grandioso broke to trot during the flying changes.

“We are doing some minor adjustments to get him a little longer in the neck for eights,” said Parra. “He thought I was giving a half halt to trot.”

Grandioso was the 2007 6-year-old Champion at the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships and was then third in 2009 at the Developing Horse Championships, formerly ridden by Jason Canton. Parra represented Colombia in 2003 at the Pan American Games where he finished fourth individually, he is looking forward to the opportunity to represent the United States after becoming a citizen in 2010.

Isabelle Leibler and Watson 108 Hang on to Win the USEF National Young Rider Dressage Championship

Isabelle Leibler was the only rider to pull off two scores over 70% in the Young Rider Championship and by doing so she claimed the top spot just like she did at the 2011 Adequan/FEI Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC) in July.  There they helped their team to Team Bronze, but swept the Individual medals.

Isabelle Leibler and Watson 108. Photo ©SusanJJStickle.com

The 16-year-old from Greenwich, CT, rode with poise and determination and Watson 108 delivered for her over both days. They scored 70.158% in Saturday’s Young Rider Team Test to ensure that their two-day average was over 70, at 70.211%

Leibler had a hugely successful pony career, and spent a significant amount of time competing them in Europe last year as well as being fortunate to find Watson while she was there. She struggled to find her groove with the 14-year-old Westphalian gelding, but this summer they have hit their stride.

“It’s pretty unreal to have a summer like this,” said Leibler. “I’ve had him for a year and we’ve had a lot of confidence issues between the two of us. For the first seasone there was something missing, we didn’t click. But the whole team helped us find our stride and I’m really thankful that it came together at the right moment.”

Leibler would like to return to NAJYRC in 2012, but she is going to let Watson define his role in life.

“Watson’s really good at his job and he loves it,” said Leibler. “He’s a small tour horse… he’s definitely going to stay at this level.”

Brandi Roenick (Scottsdale, AZ) wasn’t going to let Leibler get away easily – she gave her a serious run for her money, winning the Young Rider Individual on a score of 71.579% to finish the two-day effort on 69.790%. Pretty Lady has returned from an injury in 2008 and after rebuilding their partnership – today it all came back together.

“Lady and I have had a struggle getting back into the arena since 2008,” said Roenick. “Today I felt the horse and rider combination from back in 2008. It feels really great to have my horse back and connect with her.”

Pretty Lady and Roenick have come up through the ranks together, they won Team and Individual Gold at the Junior Championships at NAJYRC in 2008 and Team Gold and Individual Silver in 2011. Roenick is 16 and she got the 14-year-old Dutch mare as a 10th birthday present.

“She was a 5-year-old redhead and I saw her and said, ‘That’s my partner.’

Katie Lynne Foster (Hazelhurst, WI) and Sacramento moved up to third overall after a third-place effort in the Young Rider Team Test. They are also NAJYRC veterans, but they excelled at Gladstone, and the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood has been a very dependable horse for his 19-year-old rider.

“I was really happy with my ride today,” said Foster. “Yesterday I made some mistakes… and today I was determined to nail my pirouettes and keeping our trot quality where it needed to be.”

Foster, 20, does a lot of training on her own in Wisconsin. She is a Junior at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Allison Cyprus Wins First USEF National Pony Rider Championship on Maple Lane Kero

Maple Leaf Kero made Allison Cyprus’ trip from Texas worth every mile by sweeping the inaugural USEF National Pony Rider Championship. An 8-year-old Welsh Cob, Maple Leaf Kero was obedient and forward, and scored 64.632% on Saturday to break open a close competition from Friday.

Allison Cyprus and Maple Leaf Kero. Photo: SusanJStickle.com

“It was really exciting,” said Cyprus of riding in the first Championship. “‘Peaches’ was really good today, I just wanted to cry.”

The emotion in the ring was evident to the spectators and Cyprus felt the sense of occasion of riding at the USET Foundation Headquarters.

“I was extremely nervous yesterday,” she said. “But after I went I wanted to go in the ring again. But I was nervous again this morning.”

Cyprus rides at Yellow Rose Dressage in Montgomery, TX, with Nancy Hinz.

“(Nancy) told me to go out there and have fun and breath,” said Cyprus.

Cyprus got Peaches, who is a Cremello, as a Christmas present in 2009 and they have come up to the FEI level together.

Barbara ‘Bebe’ Davis was disappointed with Bohdjan’s performance today but she is looking very much forward to returning to the Championship in 2012 with her Dutch Sport Pony. They scored 57.632% today; Bohdjan was never settled in the atmosphere. Davis put the disappointment behind her and enjoyed the opportunity.

“I knew it would be small,” said Davis of the division. “But I was surprised at the fans out to watch our 8 a.m. rides. It was a good experience definitely. It was fun, I really enjoyed it. I am hoping the ponies will grow for next year. It was fun, these are beautiful grounds.”

Complete LIVE coverage with commentary is available here: http://usefnetwork.com/featured/2011FOC 

For Video on Demand from throughout the competition please visit: http://usefnetwork.com/featured/2011FOC.    

To attend in person, please visit http://www.uset.org for directions to the venue. 

Coudray Leads the Way for the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team at the Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials

September 11, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Lexington, KY – The Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team served notice today at the Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials that their next generation of horses and riders are going to be very competitive on the world stage. Four of the six American starters completed the cross-country in the top 14. Piggy French occupies the top two spots on Lemington Lett Dance and DHI Topper W for Great Britain adding nothing to her dressage mark on either horse to take over the lead from dressage winner Bettina Hoy who finished with 7.6 time penalties.

Led by Tiana Coudray  (Ojai, CA) who has returned to the form that saw her win the 2010 Jersey Fresh CCI3* last spring, she rode a determined and calculated round on Ringwood Magister to gallop into fourth place, adding nothing to her dressage score of 49.4.

The flashy 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse has had an inconsistent 2011, and Coudray has been in the U.K. since June – determined to get back on track after an unsuccessful Luhmuhlen CIC3*. She succeeded at Blenheim and delivered on the expectation that she has always had for her striking grey gelding.

“The track rode as expected,” said Coudray. “I executed my plan. It was perfectly suited for what we needed to do. My horse was amazing.”

Veteran stalwart Phillip Dutton (West Grove, PA) is having a changing of the guard within his stable, as some of his seasoned campaigners have been retired. Today, Mighty Nice proved to him and owner Bruce Duchossois how classy he is and at only 7 years old, gives them a lot to look forward to. The recipient of a Land Rover Competition and Training Grant, Dutton was pleased with his round.

“It’s a big relief to get the cross-county over with,” said Dutton. “‘Happy’ really just played with the course which is so exciting since he’s just a 7-year-old. It was a pretty good day for all the U.S. riders, fingers crossed for tomorrow.”

They picked up two time faults around the 10:30 course, and the Irish Sport Horse jumped handily around his first CCI3* with one of the most experienced pilots in the world – they are on a score of 53.3 for 11th place.

One place and 1/10th of a point behind Dutton is Clark Montgomery (Chattahoochee, GA) who added eight time faults to his dressage score and heads into the show jumping in 12th place on 53.4 with Loughan Glen. Owned by his mother Carole, Kathleen Kraft (his mother-in-law) and Holly Becker – Loughan Glen won the CCI3* at Bromont in June. The 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse is an incredibly consistent performer and was awarded a Land Rover Competition and Training Grant to offset some of the cost of his trip to the U.K.

U.S. Team veteran Will Faudree cruised around on Pawlow in a performance that would have restored their confidence. The CCI4* veteran has spent the summer in the UK as well and had lost some of the consistency in their performance. The 12-year-old Thoroughbred cross gelding, owned by Jennifer Mosing was 11th at Blenheim in 2009. They are on a score of 56.1 in 14th place.

Information about Land Rover’s partnership with the USEF is available here: http://www.landrover.com/us/en/lr/experience-land-rover/sponsorships-events/equestrian-usef/

Follow the U.S. Eventers in Europe throughout this fall on the USEFNetwork.com here:http://usefnetwork.com/featured/EventersinEurope/

Steffen Peters Sweeps the Prix St. Georges and the Grand Prix Special at the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Champions

September 10, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Gladstone, NJ – Steffen Peters (San Diego, CA) dominated the day at the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Champions winning both the Prix St. Georges and the Grand Prix Special with Weltino’s Magic and Ravel respectively. A veteran superstar for the U.S. Dressage Team over the last 10 years, Peters proved that not only is Ravel on top form, but that Weltino’s Magic’s winning streak is still going strong.

“That’s a first,” said Peters of scoring an 80% and a 79% on his two horses.

With selection for the 2011 Pan American Games on the line, there was everything to play for in the Intermediaire I National Dressage Championship and Peters dominated the Prix St. Georges test which serves as the first leg of this three-part Championship.  He rode Jen Hlavacek’s Weltino’s Magic to a record score in this specific Championship scoring 79.789% for a huge win.

Steffen Peters and Weltino's Magic. Photo ©SusanJStickle.com

“I was happy in Aachen,” said Peters. “It was his first time in a really big stadium and in his earlier days he could be a bit spooky… I thought he would be able to handle this arena and he did. He was soft in the bridle, he’s not always the most supple, but today he was.”

Weltino’s Magic put in an excellent test and Peters was impressed with how much the horse, which his wife Shannon rode at the beginning of his career, has matured. He was the 2008 Reserve Champion in the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship with Shannon and she believed in him from the beginning.

“I have to give Shannon 75% of the credit,” said Peters. “She started him and I didn’t really believe in him, but she was very patient. My very generous wife turned over the reins when he was going well.”

Heather Blitz (Wellington, FL) on her 8-year-old Danish Warmblood Paragon has been highly regarded and scoring well all season. They didn’t disappoint in the Dick and Jane Brown Arena in Gladstone and scored 74.737% for their accurate and polished performance.

“I do have a lot of confidence in my horse,” said Blitz. “He has a very honest personality and I always know what I am going to get when I get in the ring.”

Blitz said she has been schooling many of the Grand Prix movements this year which Paragon has been handling with ease.

The defending champion from 2010 brought a new horse to the competition in 2011 and scored 74.526% which meant Cesar Parra and Grandioso took third place in the first leg of this Championship.

Parra, who became a U.S . citizen last year, won a Silver medal in 1999 at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg riding for his native Colombia and is looking forward to the opportunity to ride for the United States.

Owned by Sarah and Michael Davis, the 10-year-old Westphalian looks like a superstar in the making.  He was the 2007 6-year-old Champion at the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships and was then third in 2009 at the Developing Horse Championships, formerly ridden by Jason Canton.

“I’m just excited to be here,” said Parra. “I’m very happy, this is a wonderful competition and I love competition, especially when the competition is strong.”

Parra (Whitehouse, NJ) is looking forward to possibility of a third Pan American Games performance. He was also fourth Individually in Santo Domingo in 2003.

Peters and Ravel Break 80% in the Grand Prix National Dressage Championship

Peters and Ravel did it again in the Grand Prix Special, which is the second leg of the 2011 Grand Prix National Dressage Championship, breaking their own record and scoring over 80% for the first time ever in the Grand Prix Special. Their score of 80.083% gave them a commanding lead over Tina Konyot and Calecto V who scored 73.417%.

Steffen Peters and Ravel. Photo ©SusanJStickle.com.

Peters (San Diego, CA) and Ravel have been the top dressage combination in the U.S. since they burst onto the scene in 2008. They have picked up major victories both in the U.S. and abroad including sweeping the 2009 FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Las Vegas and the CHIO Aachen in Germany. They won two Individual Bronze medals at last year’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games but this Grand Prix Special score is one for the 13-year-old Dutch gelding’s personal record books.

“He was a tiny bit behind me yesterday in the Grand Prix and today in the warm up too,” said Peters. “I had to wake him up a little bit more than usual and he said ‘OK, I better pay attention.’ He carried that through from the first step into the arena to the last halt. He was so in front of me… he was absolutely super.”

Ravel, owned by Akiko Yamazaki and Four Winds Farm, has been consistently brilliant, so the improvements to push the 80% mark have not been technical changes but more fitness work – much of which is done on the treadmill at the walk.

“I have noticed a little more definition in his hindquarters,” said Peters after describing his treadmill routine. “That little bit of extra fitness is the reason that he’s scratched the 80% mark or gone over.”

Konyot and her 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood were the 2010 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF National Grand Prix Champions but settled for second in the Grand Prix Special. Konyot struggled in the rainy conditions yesterday but found today a much better day.

“I love my horse so much,” said Konyot. “He was very, very good. The passage was very even, there have been problems in the past but I think that is behind us. I haven’t ridden the Grand Prix Special this year… it felt comfortable and smooth. There is a weakness in the extended trot, but that’s my weakness not his.”

Lauren Sammis had to wait for the scores to be verified to ensure she was the sole owner of the third position in the Grand Prix Special with Sagacious HF. Owned by Hyperion Farm, the 12-year-old Dutch gelding put in a terrific effort and Sammis couldn’t have been more pleased especially considering that Sagacious HF endured a major sinus surgery this summer.

He has only been back in work for eight weeks, and Sammis took responsibility for the glitch in the one-time changes.

“I’m not quite where I’d like to be,” said Sammis. “He didn’t make one mistake today, clearly it was rider error.”

The Grand Prix counts for 45% of the championship, the Grand Prix Special 30% and the Freestyle 25%.

Competition continues tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. with the USEF Junior National Dressage Championships.

Complete LIVE coverage with commentary is available here:http://usefnetwork.com/featured/2011FOC.

Watch Peters and Ravel break 80% in the Grand Prix National Dressage Championship on Video on Demand at http://usefnetwork.com/featured/2011FOC.    

 To attend in person, please visit http://www.uset.org for directions to the venue. 

Peters Overcomes Elements to Add Another Win to Ravel’s Resume at the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions

September 09, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Gladstone, NJ – Rain greeted the competitors on the first day of the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions but the quality of the competition shone through. The Grand Prix National Championship headlined the day, and the rain was at its heaviest during the class. Due to the conditions, the Prix St. Georges – which was scheduled for this afternoon – has been postponed until Friday, which will push the Intermediaire I Championship back one day.

Steffen Peters rode Ravel like it was 70 and sunny (which it probably was at their San Diego base) and between the raindrops put in the effort that the fans were expecting from the 2008 National Champions, the 2009 FEI World Cup Dressage Champions, the 2009 CHIO Aachen Champions and most recently, the Individual Bronze medalists from the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Peters rode according to the conditions.

Steffen Peters and Ravel. Photo ©SusanJStickle.com

“I rode a little more conservatively,” said Peters. “I went for a clean test and it worked out great. He’s such a trooper.”

The 13-year-old Dutch gelding owned by Four Winds Farm and Akiko Yamazaki made his first competitive appearance in Gladstone and rose to the historical atmosphere. They scored 77.660% in a valiant, yet somewhat soggy test. The footing in the Dick and Jane Brown Arena was redone in 2010 and held up admirably in the conditions. The New Jersey area has been plagued by flooding and incredible amounts of rain between Hurricane Irene and the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.

“I really trusted the decision that they made,” said Peters. “It was safe, not slippery. I think the horses felt a little stuck. But they weren’t slipping at all. The main concern is safety and the decision to call it safe was very good.”

Peters plans to give Ravel a well-deserved break after Festival. He has Weltino’s Magic in the Intermediaire I Championship vying for a spot on the Pan American Games Team, but Ravel will have some time off and prepare for the World Dressage Masters in Florida in January. He then has his sights on the FEI World Cup Final and then the 2012 Olympic Games next summer in London.

The 2010 Grand Prix National Champion will not be able to repeat their sweep of all three Grand Prix classes in 2011, Tina Konyot and Calecto V had to settle for second in the Grand Prix, in the first round of the 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood’s title defense.

“He was wonderful,” said Konyot. “I had a little rider error. I should have had rubber reins. I had a very, very difficult time holding the reins. He was very, very good – there were some mistakes in the changes. But I was happy with the piaffe/passage tours and pirouettes. I was a bit more conservative in my riding.”

Konyot (Palm City, FL) and Calecto V were on the fourth-placed team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games with Peters and Ravel, it was Konyot’s first team appearance. Her plans for next year include a possible bid for a FEI World Cup Final spot and then everyone’s attention will be on the Olympic Games.

“Next year is an important year for all of us,” said Konyot. “We need to get out there and compete against the best.”

Like Peters, Shawna Harding has a horse in the mix for the Pan American Games, but first, she rode Come On III to a third-place finish on a score of 67.872% in the Grand Prix.

This is Harding’s second consecutive Grand Prix National Championship at Gladstone and she is proud of how much her horse has grown up in a year.

“I’m really happy,” said Harding. “We had a much better ride than last year. We had mistakes in the changes and then he tripped before the ones but then he got them, the footing did wear him down but they are doing the best they can with the circumstances.”

Roffman Rises to the Occasion with Beemer in Brentina Cup

The Young Adult Brentina Cup National Championship led off the competition and riders from the age of 20-28 set the stage for a great four days of dressage. As it turned out, they had the best weather of the day.

Caroline Roffman and Beemer. Photo ©SusanJStickle.com

Caroline Roffman set the mark on Beemer, they scored 65.179% for their test which gave them the lead over Heather Beachem and Windsong and Olivia Lagoy-Weltz on Rifallino.

Roffman (Wellington, FL) has been on a National Championship Tour this summer, she just returned from the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship, and has had to become adaptable as she has only had a few days to be reacquainted with Lars Petersen and Global Dressage Sale’s 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding.

“My horse really put his best foot forward in the trot work,” said Roffman, who also won the 2010 FEI Rising Star Award. “I was happy with the piaffe and passage. The canter tour got a little messy which was totally my doing. The mistakes were all mine, so I am happy with him.”

Roffman is looking to break out with a win after finishing second twice in the 2011 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships and a third Reserve Championship in the Developing Horse Championships presented by the Dutta Corp. and Performance Sales International.

“I was in Chicago for 10 days,” said Roffman. “I’ve ridden him about five days in two and a half weeks. It’s a little hard to transition from young horses – it’s a different ride, a totally different thing.”

Roffman is one of the most consistent riders in her age group in the country but a National Championship at Gladstone has eluded her. She is contesting the Brentina Cup for the first time – she just turned 23.

“He’s a great horse and I’m lucky to have him,” said Roffman. “He’s a sales horse and he’s shown in the Grand Prix in open CDIs. I honestly didn’t think I would get to ride him here, but he didn’t sell.”

Beemer has been catching the attention of the judges since he was a Young Horse – eight years ago he was the USEF 5-Year-Old National Young Horse Champion.

Beachman (Alpharetta, GA) only began riding dressage three years ago when at 19, she made an unusual switch from the hunter world.  She is a working student for Karen Lipp and rode at Gladstone in 2010 in the Young Rider division. With her mount, the 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding Windsong, she is making the transition to the Grand Prix and they scored 63.897% for their efforts.

“This is mine and my horse’s first year at Grand Prix,” said Beachman. “‘Puff'” is a match made in heaven.”

Rounding out the top three is Lagoy-Weltz on Rifallino. This pair has trained together up to the Grand Prix, and the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood has been learning Grand Prix for less than year. At 27, Lagoy-Weltz (Versailles, KY) is in her last year of eligibility for this Championship.

“I feel lucky to be able to do it this year,” said Lagoy-Weltz. “It’s an excellent way for young riders to transition – I didn’t do Young Riders so this is my first time doing something like this… It is a really good program. My horse learned all the Grand Prix in one year, so we’re still learning and this is a group of people in basically the same situation.”

Competition continues on Friday at 8:00 a.m. and complete coverage and LIVE VIDEO FEED on Friday are available here: http://usefnetwork.com/featured/2011FOC.

To attend in person, please visit http:www.uset.org for directions to the venue. 

-Joanie Morris for USEF

Land Rover Grant Recipients Headline Six Americans at the Fidelity Blenheim Place Horse Trials

September 07, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Lexington, KY – The next round of Land Rover Competition and Training Grant Recipients will test their eventing skills at the 2011 Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials in Woodstock, England September 8-11. 2010 winner William Fox-Pitt (on Parklane Hawk) are fresh from their win at last week’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, will have two chances to win the CCI3*, but the U.S. is coming well-armed with an arsenal of horses and riders.

Phillip Dutton (West Grove, PA) will lead the effort as the most experienced rider in the group. The four-time Olympian (and two-time Olympic Gold medalist while representing Australia) will ride Bruce Duchossois’ Mighty Nice in the horse’s first CCI3*. A recipient of a 2011 Land Rover Competition and Training Grant, Dutton was second at the Blenheim CCI3* in 2003 on Nova Top. Mighty Nice is a 7-year-old Irish Sport gelding who was third at the Bromont International CCI2* in June.

“I’m excited to bring Mighty Nice to Blenheim,” said Dutton. “I believe he is a horse with a big future and I think Blenheim will be a great stepping stone for him.”

Loughan Glen and Clark Montgomery (Photo: www.stockimageservices.com)

Clark Montgomery (Chattahoochee, GA) is a former Young Rider champion and he too is a 2011 Land Rover Competition and Training Grant Recipient. He will ride Kathleen Kraft, Carole Montgomery and Holly Becker’s winning machine Loughan Glen. With the 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Montgomery won the CCI2* last fall at the Fair Hill International, earning National Championship honors in the process,  he has won four Horse Trials so far in 2011 and the Bromont International CCI3*. Most recently he won his final preparation at the Millbrook Horse Trials in August.

Like Montgomery, Will Faudree grew up in Texas, but left the west behind to pursue his eventing career. He rode on the 2003 Gold medal-winning Pan American Games team and represent the U.S. in Aachen, Germany at the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games. He will return with Jennifer Mosing’s CCI4* veteran, Pawlow, to his second Blenheim International CCI3* and they will be looking to improve on their 11th place finish from 2009. The 12-year-old Thoroughbred cross has been in the U.K prepping all summer which included a 22nd place finish at the Luhmuhlen CCI4* after a win at the CIC3* at the Jersey Fresh Three-Day event in May.

Aimee Chambers (a Californian native) and Jules Stiller (a Vermont expatriate) are now both based in the UK and Chambers will ride the 11-year-old KWPN After Eight at their second Blenheim CCI3*, they jumped a clear cross country round in 2010 adding only time penalties. Stiller also competed last year – on the horse she rode last weekend at Burghley, Chapel Amble, and Carolinus. She has had a busy year with the 10-year-old Westphailan Enjoy Me – her mount for the 2011 CCI3*, most recently they were 11th in a very competitive CIC3* at Hartpury.

Tiana Coudray (Ojai, CA) is looking to return to the form that she had last year with Jaital, Inc.’s 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse Ringwood Magister. They won the 2010 Jersey Fresh CCI3* and Coudray is determined to stay in the UK until she and her flashy grey get back to their winning ways. They were 15th in the Barbury CIC2* in July.

Dressage begins on Thursday and continues on Friday, a CIC3* for 8 and 9-year-olds. Cross country will run all day on Saturday and the show jumping finale will conclude on Sunday.

-Joanie Morris for USEF

William Fox-Pitt Wins Record Sixth Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials; American Boyd Martin Defies the Odds With Neville Bardos

September 04, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Lexington, KY – There are incredible stories and then there is the story of the 2011 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. Not only did William Fox-Pitt ride Parklane Hawk to a record sixth win of his career, but a little American horse named Neville Bardos defied every possible odd to finish seventh in the world’s toughest four-star.

Fox-Pitt and the New Zealand Thoroughbred added one time fault in the show jumping to his dressage score in an otherwise flawless effort over the four days of competition. His dressage score of 39.7 was good enough for second place after the first phase but when overnight leader Simone Dietermann fell off Free Easy NRW on the cross country, Fox-Pitt inherited a lead he then defended with style.

But the story of the competition continued to be a scrappy little failed racehorse from Australia. Neville Bardos fulfilled Boyd Martin’s dream of competing at Burghley and with his tenacity and bravery put a nightmare of a summer behind his family. A barn fire ripped through Martin’s barn in May, and Neville Bardos was trapped in the fire the longest of those horses that survived. They lost six horses in the blaze and Neville Bardos was pulled out of the flames by Martin and Phillip Dutton. He then recovered miraculously after inhaling a massive amounts smoke and burning his throat and lungs.

This nightmare was followed closely by the loss of both Martin’s father in a biking accident in Australia and then his wife Silva’s father to illness in the following weeks – Martin hit rock bottom.

Boyd Martin and Neville Bardos. Photo www.stockimageservices.com.

Neville Bardos didn’t know what to do except improve. He defied everyone’s expectations and Martin circled the date of Burghley on the calendar, thinking maybe – just maybe – Neville could make a miraculous comeback.

It was a longshot goal at first, but they never stopped trying. Neville restored the faith of an entire family with the strength of the entire eventing community behind him.

Martin and Neville Bardos, who is owned by the Neville Bardos Syndicate, received a Land Rover Competition and Training Grant and flew to England to take on the best in the world. He scored 49.7 in the dressage, flew around the cross-country course clear – and under the time – and then moved up to seventh on the strength of a show-jumping round in which he added one rail in very difficult conditions.

“This was a fantastic finish to a tough and grueling Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials,” Martin said. “The heavens opened and the ground got thick and muddy.”

But, he said, “My old mate Neville Bardos bounced out of his stall this morning and looked like a million dollars. He trooped around, jumped a good round. I had a rail in the treble which was completely my fault, I got him there a bit long and open but I’m really satisfied with a top 10 finish.”

Martin called it a test of horsemanship to prepare Neville Bardos “for one of the toughest four stars in only eight weeks. I’m really pleased for the Neville Bardos Syndicate, the owners that trooped over the pond. I was proud to jump their horse around after such a challenging year.”

At this week’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, the rain held off until Sunday – but once it came, the conditions deteriorated. With 10 points separating the top 11 horses going into the show jumping there was a shuffle at the top of the scoreboard. Fox-Pitt held onto his lead over Kiwi legend Andrew Nicholson who jumped an immaculate clear on Nereo to move up from fifth to second on a score of 45.1. Nicholson had been in second on his other horse, Avebury, who dropped three rails to slip to eighth. Mary King moved up from fourth to third after having one rail down on King’s Temptress to finish on 47.4.

Sinead Halpin rode stylishly all week to finish 15th at her first Burghley with Manoir de Carneville. She was the best of the U.S. after the dressage, and rode a smart round on the cross country to finish 12 seconds over the time but added two rails on Sunday in conditions that didn’t suit her 11-year-old Selle Francais.

Owned by Carriag, LLC, Manoir de Carneville wouldn’t be at his best on wet sticky ground. He tried hard, and Halpin rode him aggressively in the beginning. They struggled to find their rhythm early on course but once they settled in their performance improved. They have now chalked up two top 15 finishes at their first two CCI4*s, and look impressive for the future.

“Sinead wore the stars and stripes proudly and in great form,” Martin said. “She put in a polished performance on her horse.”

Colleen Rutledge’s Shiraz caught the eyes of many throughout the week and they moved up from 73rd place after the first phase all the way to 37th based on their excellent jumping. The pair, who were 12th in their first CCI4* at the Rolex Kentucky CCI4* in April, galloped and jumped their way around Burghley in excellent form. They added 9.2 time faults on the cross country and then one rail in the show jumping to solidify their partnership at the sport’s highest level. The pair has had an epic adventure in Europe on their first trip overseas from their Maryland base.

Jules Stiller, a Vermont expatriate who is based in Berkshire, may have had the show-jumping round of the day – soaring over Richard Jeffery’s course with ease. Jules del Vecchio’s Chapel Amble did, however, spend so much time in the air that they collected three time faults. It was Stiller’s second CCI4* with the striking black mare, and she heads to Blenheim CCI3* next week with Enjoy Me with valuable miles on her odometer.

Only two horses finished on their dressage score at the 50th Anniversary of the storied event – a competition where Thoroughbred horses thrived: Jock Paget from New Zealand on Clifton Lush (who moved up from 35th after the dressage to fifth) and Ireland’s Mark Kyle on Step in Time who jumped their way from 78th after the first phase to finish 24th.

The next stop for the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team is next week to the Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials in which 110 horses are entered in the CCI3*.  Five of those (including Stiller) are representing the U.S. Two riders received Land Rover Competition and Training Grants: Phillip Dutton will ride Bruce Duchossios’ Mighty Nice and Clark Montgomery will ride Carole Montgomery, Holly Becker and Kathleen Kraft’s Loughan Glen. Tiana Coudray will be looking for a return to form on Ringwood Magistar after a summer of mixed results in Europe, and Will Faudree rides Jennifer Mosing’s experienced CCI4* horse Pawlow.

U.S. Chef d’Equipe Capt. Mark Phillips said, “European experience is absolutely vital for our riders especially looking to next year and the Olympic Games. It is the second trip for both Boyd and Sinead to Europe and every time they come they learn a lot – and they keep getting better and better.”

Information about Land Rover’s partnership with the USEF is available here: http://www.landrover.com/us/en/lr/experience-land-rover/sponsorships-events/equestrian-usef/

Check out the American rides on the USEFNetwork.com here: http://usefnetwork.com/featured/EventersinEurope/ 

Information about the Rolex Grand Slam is available here:http://www.usef.org/images/eblasts/rolex/grandslamhome.html

Follow the U.S. Eventers in Europe throughout this fall on the USEFNetwork.com here:http://usefnetwork.com/featured/EventersinEurope/   

Article courtesy of Joanie Morris for USEF

Neville Bardos Leads U.S. Eventing Horses on Cross-Country Day in Emotional Effort at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials

September 03, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Lexington, KY – The Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team have two cross-country superstars in their midst as both Boyd Martin on Neville Bardos, and Sinead Halpin on Manoir de Carneville looked poised and confident as they galloped through Burghley Park. These pairs represented an inspiring future American Eventing over a course that was deemed a ‘throwback’ as the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011.

Boyd Martin and Neville Bardos. Photo www.stockimageservices.com.

Clear rounds were difficult to come by over Capt. Mark Phillips boldly designed, old-fashioned feeling track. But Martin and Neville dominated their first Burghley – flying home to an emotional 11th place after the first two phases. They backed up their dressage score of 49.7 with a flawless performance in Neville’s favorite phase. They were one of nine double-clear rounds of the day.”Neville gave me a great round cross country,” said Martin (Cochranville, PA). “He was strong and bold throughout the course which is wonderful at this sort of event… he loves charging at all the big fences. He pulled up with plenty of energy.”

The fact 12-year-old Neville Bardos (owned by the Neville Bardos Syndicate) is alive is incredible, and the fact the Australian Thoroughbred just cruised around the biggest cross-country track in the world is not far short of a miracle.
Three months ago he was fighting for his life in a horrific fire at Martin’s barn at True Prospect Farm. Neville was the last horse Martin was able to rescue from the flames. He lost six horses and Neville Bardos fought for his life at the New Bolton Center.
He prevailed, overcoming the smoke inhalation that had seared his lungs – the prognosis was tepid, morale was low and Martin took it one day at a time. Neville clearly had other ideas.
“It was a moving time riding him around out there,” said Martin. “Initially I wasn’t sure where he would end up after the fire. But he was still alive and he seemed alright so we picked this event to focus on. It was a distraction with the all the terrible things that have happened over the summer – with (wife) Silva’s and my fathers both dying, and the fire.”
It took the sport’s entire community to keep Martin and Neville Bardos on track and make this trip, and Neville’s recovery possible. He was funded by a Land Rover Competition and Training Grant, a new initiative in 2011 to provide the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team the chance to test their skills overseas.
“The American horse lovers have supported me and Neville in so many ways,” said Martin. “From the farriers shoeing him for free to the vets cutting me a break on some of the therapies he needed like the hyperbaric chamber. The Syndicate also went far beyond their duties and obligations to make sure I could make it here, and so did the sponsors – like Land Rover who provided the grant so we could jump on the plane and come over here and compete against the best in the world.”

Halpin (Pottersville, NJ) wasn’t going to be showed too far up by Martin, and Carrig, LLC’s, Manoir de Carneville looked very comfortable jumping around their first Burghley CCI4*. The pair are the current Rolex USEF National CCI4* Champions, a title they scored at the 2011 Rolex Kentucky CCI4* in April. Burghley marks only the second CCI4* for the pair in their meteoric rise to the top of the sport.

They added 4.8 time faults to their dressage score, finishing on 50.8 after the two phases, to slip into 12th place behind Martin.
Halpin received the 2011 Jacqueline Mars Training Grant and has spent most of August in the U.K. this summer working on her game.Great Britain’s eventing wizard, William Fox-Pitt, regained his lead by adding nothing to his dressage score on Parklane Hawk at the 2011 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.  After winning the dressage on Thursday on the lovely New Zealand Thoroughbred, Fox-Pitt had to settle for second behind Simone Deitermann and Free Easy NRW after the dressage, but the German leader parted ways with her horse today setting Fox-Pitt up for a chance at his sixth Burghley victory.

He heads into the show jumping on a score of 39.7. New Zealander Andrew Nicholson stormed around on Avebury to finish on his dressage score of 42.8, meaning Fox-Pitt doesn’t have a rail in hand over Nicholson or 2010 winner Caroline Powell who returned to the top of the leaderboard with Lenamore and is tied with Nicholson. Lenamore, an evergreen 18-year-old, also added nothing to his dressage score.

Fox-Pitt is also ninth with Neuf Des Couers, Nicholson is fifth with Nereo and a third British veteran, Mary King, also has two horses in the top 10. King was first and second at the 2011 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Bridgestone. The winner of that event, King’s Temptress, is fourth at Burghley going into the show jumping on a score of 43.4, within a rail of the lead. If King could pull off a win this weekend, she would add the second part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, meaning that if she won the 2012 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials she would take home the Grand Slam prize of $350,000.

It is extraordinarily close with 10 points separating the top 11 horses.

Colleen Rutledge made her fist Burghley trip worth the miles from Frederick, MD, with Shiraz. They jumped around confidently, just adding 9.2 faults in a superb effort. They go into the show jumping on a score of 72.9.
Jules Stiller, originally from Vermont but now based in Berkshire, looked poised for a great round on Chapel Amble only to run into some trouble at the Trout Hatchery.They had to do a circle to get out and picked up 20 penalties for the change of plans. They also added 14.4 time faults. Like Halpin and Rutledge, this was their second CCI4*.
It was a disappointing day for U.S. rider Michael Pollard as he and Icarus suffered a fall at the last water jump after setting off on a mission. Pollard broke his wrist and Icarus is being evaluated by the U.S. Eventing Team veterinarians. Initial reports indicate no serious injury.Pollard was named to the 2011 Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team with Schoesgreen Hanni and will represent the U.S. at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in October.

Information about Land Rover’s partnership with the USEF is available here: http://www.landrover.com/us/en/lr/experience-land-rover/sponsorships-events/equestrian-usef/

Follow all the action at http://www.burghley-horse.co.uk

Check out the American rides on the USEFNetwork.com here:
http://usefnetwork.com/featured/EventersinEurope/ 

Information about the Rolex Grand Slam is available here:http://www.usef.org/images/eblasts/rolex/grandslamhome.html

Follow the U.S. Eventers in Europe throughout this fall on the USEFNetwork.com here:http://usefnetwork.com/featured/EventersinEurope/    

Article courtesy of Joanie Morris for USEF