An exciting day of cross-country at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials saw just over half the pairs finishing. Sixty-four horses left the start box of Captain Mark Phillips’ cross-country course and 33 crossed the finish line. Only a single pair – Badminton winners Piggy French and Vanir Kamira – managed to make the time, but it is overnight leaders Pippa Funnell and MGH Grafton Street who stay ahead of the pack. Funnell added 4.0 time penalties with Jonathan and Jane Clark’s 11-year-old Irish gelding to sit on a 26.8 – just .1 ahead of French. Rounding out the top three is Oliver Townend and his 2017 Burghley winner, Ballaghmor Class, who dropped down one placing with 2.0 time penalties.
Lauren Kieffer kept her spot as the best of the U.S. riders but dropped in the overall standings from fourth to 11th with 26.4 time penalties on Vermiculus, Jacqueline Mars’ 12-year-old Anglo Arabian gelding (Sazeram x Wake Me Gently).
“I wasn’t as competitive as I would have liked. I would have liked to have been quicker, but that was the card we were dealt today,” said Kieffer. “I couldn’t ask more from him. He is 12 and just jumped clear around Burghley and hopefully, he will grow from that.”
The fastest U.S. round of the day went to Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan who were making their Burghley debut and only their second five-star start. Annie Eldridge’s 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Master Imp x Ardragh Bash) added 15.6 time penalties to move up from 48th place to 12th. They now sit just 0.6 penalties behind Kieffer and Vermiculus.
On their third visit to Burghley, Andrea Baxter and Indy 500 were determined to put in a clear cross-country round after being eliminated in 2017 and picking up 20 penalties in 2018. This time proved to be the charm for the 14-year-old Thoroughbred mare (Cromwell x Tens of Thousands) as they only added 19.2 time penalties to their overnight score to move from 46th to 13th position.
Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z, the 11-year-old KWPN gelding (Zapatero VDL x Zonne-Trend) owned by the Deniro Syndicate and Ocala Horse Properties, were in an excellent position heading into cross-country, but a few long routes and changes of plan dropped them from seventh to 15th with 34.4 time penalties.
Lillian Heard is another U.S. rider who wished she could have gone faster, but she was thrilled with her round with LCC Barnaby, her own 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding’s (Guy Cavalier x Lady Tanjour) who was making his seventh five-star appearance. They added 28.8 time penalties to move up 34 spots into 20th position.
The U.S. trailblazers, William Coleman and Tight Lines, the Conair Syndicate’s 12-year-old Pur Sang gelding (Turgeon x Merindole), ran into trouble at the Leaf Pit and picked up 20 penalties for a run out at the skinny brush at the third element. They earned another 11 penalties for activating a pin on the back rail of fence 10, the oxer at the top of the Trout Hatchery, and 23.2 time penalties. Their score of 86.6 has them sitting in 28th place.
Chris Talley and Unmarked Bills, a 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Posse x Kelli’s Ransom), sit in 32nd on a score of 99.6. They accrued 11 penalties for knocking down the back rail of the oxer at fence 13 (the Maltings) and 48.0 time penalties.
Hannah Sue Burnett retired Harbour Pilot, Jacqueline Mars’ 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Cruising x Shannon), after a runout at Clarence Court at fence 20.
Three of the U.S. horses fell on course but are all reported to be back in their stables and resting comfortably as are the riders. Doug Payne and Vandiver fell at fence 13, The Maltings; Buck Davidson and Jak My Style fell at fence 16, the second of the white gates at The Lake; and Savannah Fulton and Captain Jack fell at fence 20, the last part of the Clarence Court.
The final horse inspection is set to begin at 9:00 a.m. (4:00 a.m. EST) tomorrow with show jumping to follow.
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For those that compete in a Hylofit USEA Classic Series Three-Day Event, what truly sets the competition apart from a regular horse trials is endurance day, where, in addition to cross-country, riders have the chance to experience the two roads and tracks phases and the steeplechase phase.
“We need to back up and look at the gut,” said Dr. Maureen Kelleher before diving into an explanation of the many different oral joint supplements on the market. “Digestion begins in the mouth. Salivary secretion starts to break things down as the horse chews things up and then swallows, and it ends up in the stomach. We’ve got more digestion occurring in the stomach and the small intestine, and absorption starts to occur in the small intestine and continues in the large intestine.”
The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event (FHI) will host the U.S. Equestrian CCI4*-L and CCI3*-L Fall Eventing Championships along with the USEA Young Event Horse East Coast Championships presented by Dubarry, October 17-20 at the Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area. The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International will award $50,000 in prize money.