The American combinations are off to a strong start at Les Étoiles de Pau CCI4* with solid performances in the dressage phase. USEF Land Rover Competition Grant Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda lead the way in ninth place after having a lovely test which earned them a score of 42.6.
Brannigan (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Nina Gardner's Cambalda had a beautiful test in front of the Ground Jury of Joachim Dimmek (GER), Eric Lieby (FRA), and Les Smith (GBR). She and the 2002 Irish Thoroughbred Cross gelding had a smooth, fluid test with excellent trot and canter work. Their performance put them in the top 10 of a star-studded field, and they are ready to tackle tomorrow’s cross-country course.
“I was thrilled with ‘Ping’ today. This was his best effort yet at this level,” Brannigan said delightedly. “I was so thrilled he was close to 70% after his trot work since that is usually the weakest point of his test. His canter work is usually what brings my score and I was thrilled to see a nine on a change. To be honest, it was very cool to sit inside the top 10 after dressage in such a strong field but I know this isn’t a dressage show and I need to have my head screwed on straight tomorrow. I plan to fight for this.”
Katie Ruppel (Anthony, Fla.) and her own Houdini began their overseas debut with a nice test which earned them a score of 49.3. Aside from bobbles in the halt in the middle of the test and during the final counter canter, the pair had a great effort with good trot work and smooth flying lead changes. Ruppel and the 2004 Thoroughbred gelding are in 23rd place following the first phase.
Lillian Heard (Poolesville, Md.) and her own Share Option had an obedient test their dressage test on Thursday afternoon. The 2002 Thoroughbred Cross gelding struggled with tension in the busy atmosphere in the beginning of the test, but improved with Heard’s guidance. The pair had markedly better canter work than the initial trot work helping to improve their score, giving them a score of 53.5 and putting them in 34th place.
Barbara Crabo (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and her own Eveready had a respectable performance in their European debut. She and the 1999 Swedish Warmblood gelding had a decent start to their test but a rough first flying lead change hurt their score. However, the pair recovered and finished well to receive a score of 54.2 to put them in 38th place.
Michael Jung (GER) holds the top two places on the leaderboard, sitting in the lead with Halunke FBW on a score of 34.5 and in second place with fischerRocana FST on a score of 35.4. Emily King (GBR) and Brookleigh are in third place with a score of 38.3.
Heard and Share Option will be the pathfinders for the U.S. on Saturday’s cross-country phase, heading out on course at 2:32 p.m. CEST. Brannigan and Cambalda will start at 4:00 p.m. CEST, followed by Ruppel and Houdini at 4:20 p.m. CEST and Crabo and Eveready at 4:40 p.m. CEST.
Find out more about Les Étoiles de Pau CCI4*, view results, and watch live on FEI TV.
“Horses are so humbling,” says Valerie Vizcarrondo Pride with a wry laugh.
We are speaking a few days after the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event. She is on her way to go cross-country schooling with her beautiful black horse Favian, before tackling the CCI4*-L at Jersey Fresh.
Her week wasn’t supposed to pan out like this. She and Favian should have been resting on their laurels after completing their first CCI5* at Kentucky. However, they fell on the cross-country, and ticking that five-star box will have to wait for another day. Luckily, they are unharmed, Favian has already “cruised around some easy stuff” on an earlier cross-country schooling outing, and Vizcarrondo Pride is determined to start righting the ship at Jersey Fresh.
The 18th annual Jersey Fresh International (JFI) gets underway this afternoon at the Horse Park of New Jersey in Allentown, N.J. The CCI4*-L is the final selection trial for the Olympic Games in Tokyo later this summer so all eyes will be on the stacked field.
This year’s Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5*-L was on April 21-25 and was the first five-star event to take place in the U.S. since 2019. The entry list had the best riders in the world, previous Kentucky champions, Olympic hopefuls, and horses who have been eventing in the U.S. since they were 4 years old.
US Equestrian is seeking applications of employment for their Director of Eventing Sport Management & Administration position.