Norwood, N.C. – After Allison Springer allowed her long-time partner some time away from competition in 2013, Arthur has returned to his familiar stomping grounds – at the top of the leaderboard. The pair set the bar on day one (of two days of dressage competition) at The Fork International CIC*** and Adequan USEA Gold Cup/PRO Tour Series with a combined score of 47.1.
Springer rode a correct and professional test and the pair pulled off the best score despite a small bobble on the final centerline. Arthur appeared to want to keep on cantering around the ring, but Springer tactfully settled him, showing the finesse she has with a notably sensitive horse.
"Arthur feels better than ever," said Springer of Upperville, Va. "There's lots of stuff he did really well today, but we also made some big mistakes. I feel that the best scores are yet to come tomorrow."
The 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse Gelding had stellar finishes at Rolex and Burghley in 2012 but took 2013 off. In 2014 he appears to be on track for a strong showing again at The Fork and Rolex Kentucky CCI****, with a twelfth-place finish at the Carolina International CIC*** in March, a second-place finish in the Advanced Division at Pine Top Spring HT, and a win in the Intermediate Division at the Pine Top Winter HT.
Following closely behind Springer and Arthur, tied on a 48.9, are Holly Payne on Robert and Beth Groblewski’s Thoroughbred gelding Santino and Jennifer Brannigan riding Nina Gardner’s Cambalda.
Cambalda’s extensions in particular seemed to stand out in the crowd. Nina Gardner seemed ecstatic with her horse’s performance. Cambalda is among a bevy of horses owned by Gardner that are being competed at the The Fork International Horse Trials and CIC.
Katherine Groesbeck currently holds the fourth spot aboard Oz the Tin man with a 51.6 followed closely by Buck Davidson. Davidson rode the first of his two CIC*** horses, Petite Flower, to a score of 52.2. While the ride started on a good note, the mare seemed to lose focus midway through the test.
Davidson will have a second chance tomorrow afternoon aboard Ballynoecastle RM. However, he is not the only one with multiple rides including the current leader Allison Springer. She will have a chance to beat her own score on Arthur when she rides Copycat Chloe on Friday morning.
Rounding out the first day of action were Jon Holling riding Zatopek B with a score of 52.8, Will Faudree riding DHI Colour Candy to a 53.4, and Lindsey Oaks riding Enchantez to a 60.6. With the majority of the division on tap for tomorrow, there will likely be greater separation in the standings.
The course looks wonderful and by all accounts (riders, officials, and trainers), the footing is in good shape. Several riders have even commented that the weather is cooperating more this year than at any time in their recent memory.
Eight horses completed the dressage portion of The Fork International CIC*** and Adequan USEA Gold Cup/PRO Tour Series on Thursday. The majority of the field, 39 pairs, are scheduled for the Dressage phase on Friday.
About the Adequan USEA Gold Cup and PRO Tour Series
Qualifying for the 2014 Adequan USEA Gold Cup began last fall with the Plantation Field CIC*** (PA) and the Woodside CIC*** (CA) and features 11 qualifying competitions throughout the United States at the Advanced Horse Trials and CIC3* levels. The final will take place at the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships September 2014 in Tyler, Texas. Riders who complete a qualifier earn the chance to vie for $40,000 in prize money in the Adequan Advanced Division and the title of Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion.
The Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series is made possible through the support of its many sponsors:Adequan; Standlee Forage Nunn Finer; SmartPak Equine; Nutrena; Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency, Point Two;Dubarry; and FITS.
The PRO Tour Series consists of 13 premier destination events in the United States and Canada in 2013/2014 featuring the best riders and most entertainment. Riders and Horses are awarded points on the PRO Tour Rider Leader Board and PRO Tour Horse Leader Board. Riders can also earn points on the PRO Tour Series at the Intermediate or two-star level for the Multi Radiance Intermediate Challenge. The 2014 Multi Radiance Challenge Leader Board Champion will win a Multi Radiance MR4 ACTIVET Portable Laser System.
The Professional Riders Organization would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of the 2014 PRO Tour Series: Martin Collins USA, The Official Footing of PRO; Multi Radiance Medical, The Official Laser Therapy of PRO & Sponsor of the Multi Radiance Medical Intermediate Challenge ; Tex Sutton, the Official US Equine Air Carrier of PRO; SSG Riding Gloves; Finish Line Horse Products; Midlantic Ltd.; and Mythic Landing Events.