There is a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard after day one of dressage in the inaugural CCI4*-S at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS Equestrian. Twenty pairs took their turn in the Rolex arena this morning in front of judges Mark Weissbecker and Helen Brettell, with Tamra Smith and Danito securing the early lead on their score of a 28.1. Shortly after, Doug Payne and Starr Witness matched Smith’s score, and nearing the end of the division, Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Moonshine also said checkmate, as they claimed the same score of a 28.1.
Smith is the EquiRatings projected winner in the CCI4*-L with Danito, Ruth Bley’s 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Dancier x Wie Musik), but she left the arena feeling like she could have done better. “I’m disappointed because I expected to always produce a very good test and that’s probably one of his lesser tests,” she explained. “He’s been a little bit extra this week – I mean, it snowed yesterday! But he’s still a professional, he still goes in and does all the movements. I had some bobbles. He feels really fresh with the cold air, but he’s such a good mover and everything.”
Payne on the other hand will take the score of 28.1, saying that Starr Witness (Chello III x Carmen) “was absolutely great, and she put in one of her best tests to date.” Payne, who calls Laurie H. Mc Ree, Catherine Winter, and his own 10-year-old KWPN mare “Ginja,” said that she “is still pretty new to the whole situation. She did get the opportunity to go to the Pan American Games in 2019, but that was probably two years after she started eventing, so I still feel like we’re just getting there – where she’s just really aware of what’s happening, so sometimes that’s a challenge because she can be a bit green about things. But she’s a super genuine horse, crazy talented, obviously athletically, and in the barn, personality, she’s just always looking for another biscuit, she’s hungry as anything – big momma needs to eat,” he laughed.
This is the first time Starr Witness has been in the Rolex arena, but Payne has been practicing at jumper shows at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in their large arenas, which he feels is a big advantage.
Last to match the score of a 28.1 was Halliday-Sharp and The Monster Partnership’s 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Cobra x Kilpatrick Duchess) Cooley Moonshine. “This is a huge amount of atmosphere for a young horse, and he can be a little bit hot, he’s a very blood horse, but he tries really hard. I was thrilled with his trot work, he got a little tense in the walk and the canter, and that’s a work in progress, but he tried really hard for me and he’s going to be a proper superstar I think.” Halliday-Sharp has had the horse since he was 5 years old, so she knows him well, and is looking forward to the challenge on Saturday across Derek di Grazia’s CCI4*-S cross-country test.
Leslie Law and QC First Class, Beatrice Rey-Herme’s 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Fuerstenball OLD x Laguna) were the only other pair to break into the 20s with a 28.5.
Luke 140, the syndicate-owned 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Landos x Omega VI) ridden by Boyd Martin round out the top five with a 31.1.
The CCI4*-S division will reconvene on Friday at 7:45 a.m. with 25 horses left to go, but this afternoon, all eyes will be watching the CCI5*-L division, kicking off at 12:23 p.m. with New Zealand rider Jonelle Price and The Grape Syndicate’s Grappa Nera.
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The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is proud to announce the selected Young Rider athletes for the Emerging Athletes U21 Program (EA21) national camp, now that the EA21 regional clinics have concluded. Twelve riders were accepted into each of the five regional EA21 clinics, taught by USEA Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) instructors, and now riders have been selected from the regional clinics to participate in the EA21 national camp this winter.
The second Young Horse Show Series (YHS) Regional Championship took place on Sunday, October 1st at Haras Hacienda in Magnolia, Texas. Formerly known as the USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) Championships, this year’s qualifiers were run by the YHS, a program established to provide U.S. breeders the opportunity to show off their young stock, as well as connect them to owners, riders, and trainers looking for U.S. bred sport horses in the hunter, jumper, dressage, and now eventing, disciplines.
Have you made plans to attend the 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, from Dec. 7-10? If so, you’ll want to add the Show Jumping Building Seminar to your list of activities.
Registration for the 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention is now open! Join the USEA in St. Louis, Missouri, this Dec. 7-10 for a weekend of mingling with fellow enthusiastic eventers to partake in discussions about the future of the sport. This year’s event will include a keynote address by Dr. Temple Grandin, a world-renowned scientist and author, a celebration of champions at the Annual Awards Dinner, and more! The city of St. Louis also has so many opportunities to sight-see and explore.