There isn’t a new name on the top of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event leaderboard at the lunch break of day two, but it isn’t for lack of trying by Christopher Burton and Nobilis 18 who scored a 27.9 to claim the second spot at the lunch break.
“It was a really cute thing at the end that the crowd was saying “oh” when he went into second place,” said Burton after his test aboard Sue Lawson, Carolyn Townsend, and Burton’s own 13-year-old Hanoverian Gelding (Nobre XX x Lilli). “I thought that was sweet.”
So is it enviable to be sitting behind Michael Jung? “No! I have been doing it my whole life,” continued Burton. “It isn’t enviable at all. There is a long way to go yet, this is just the dressage. We always love watching [Jung] ride on the flat.”
Burton explained that there were just a few bobbles in his test – crooked into one of the flying changes and stepping back in the halt which prevented Nobilis from matching his personal best score of 20.1. “I am very happy with him. He really stayed with me and let me ride him. There are always things that can be better however with horses there are always things that can be easily worse so I am happy.”
Burton’s only trip to Kentucky came in 2010 to compete at the World Equestrian Games, so why did he decide to return eight years later? “Some very supportive owners allowed us to come. It has been on our bucket list so we thought we would give Nobilis a try.”
“I found Derek di Grazia, who I don’t know very well, and I congratulated him,” continued Burton. “I have been telling my Australian friends and people back home that this is the best event in the world no question. The course is beautiful.”
The other two names in the top five are Lauren Kieffer and Oliver Townend. Riding, Jacqueline Mars’ Vermiculus, an 11-year-old Anglo-Arabian gelding (Sazeram x Wake Me Gently), Kieffer scored a 31.2 for equal third.
“Hopefully this a trend for him – that he pulls it out when it matters,” said Kieffer. “He was great in there. He was actually a bit cheeky in the warm-up. I was just pony trotting around trying to get him in gear, but then he goes in there and puts his head down and does his job so I am really happy with him.”
Kieffer doesn’t even think this is the best Vermiculus can do. “I think just as he gets stronger – he isn’t even 11 yet – his trot work will just get bigger and better. Right now it is just learning the tricks and the trade at these big events.”
Both of Kieffer’s mounts this weekend (she goes this afternoon with Landmark’s Monte Carlo) are U.S. bred horses who she has started. “I am super lucky that both horses I have here I have had forever. I broke them and everything else so I have had them from the start. It does make it really special when you have had them their whole lives.”
Townend is just behind Kieffer and Boyd Martin on a 31.1 riding his first horse, MHS King Joules, a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Ghareeb x Gowran Lady) owned by Tom Joule.
Dressage resumes at 1:00 PM with Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Click here for full scores.
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The USEA Event College is in Session
The USEA Event College was created by the USEA and the Professional Horseman’s Council to generate awareness of the sport of eventing. The Event College aims to educate spectators, interested parties and the general public on the goals and function of each phase (dressage, cross-country and show jumping) and the complexity and value of the sport. The Event College also aims to educate young riders, adult amateurs, and all those interested in the sport on horsemanship and different skill sets needed to be involved with eventing. High-profile eventing experts will act as “professors” and host casual, interactive dialogue with “students” of the Event College. Anyone interested in the sport of eventing can be a student, and “tuition” is free!
Miss any of the videos? Catch up with them here:
In the early 2000s I took a group of students to watch the USEF Medal Finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. In this particular year, judges George Morris and Kip Rosenthal also designed the course, which seemed deceptively simple on paper but proved to be quite challenging throughout the competition.
The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation has awarded the 2020 Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant to Mia Farley, a current member of the United States Equestrian Federation (US Equestrian) Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 Program.
Have you ever wanted to look through the judge’s eyes and see what they see during the conformation portion of a USEA Young or Future Event Horse competition? Now is your chance! Using only a photo and information on age and breed, legendary horseman and prior FEH/YEH Championship judge Chris Ryan is sharing his insights into young horse conformation in our Conformation Critique article series.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) Board of Governors voted last night to mirror the dates decided by US Equestrian (USEF) for suspending recognizing competitions and educational activities. The USEA will extend its suspension of recognizing events under its direct jurisdiction through May 3, 2020. The suspension extends also to USEA recognized educational activities, Young Event Horse, Future Event Horse, and New Event Horse competitions.