There’s a new leader holding the top spot after the final day of dressage in the CCI4*-S at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS equestrian. The remaining 24 CCI4*-S competitors competed in front of judges Peter Gray and Bea di Grazia. The 11-year-old KWPN mare, Starr Witness (Chello III VDL x Carmen) owned by Doug Payne, Catherine Winter, and Laurie McRee scored an impressive 23.2 to take the lead going into tomorrow’s cross-country.
“We spent a lot of time last year doing flatwork and jumping a bit and I think that’s paying off now. She’s getting stronger and more confident. She’s a pleasure to ride and I’m very lucky to have her,” said Payne after his test.
“I thought it was phenomenal,” added Payne’s mother, Marilyn Payne who is an Olympic level dressage judge. “I was delighted with the horse. That’s the best, most consistent I’ve ever seen her go – and she can get better, which is really exciting.”
Starr Witness and Payne represented the U.S. at the 2019 Pan American Games and helped the U.S. team secure team gold. The pair also competed in the CCI4*-S last year at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day event and placed fifth. They recently finished second in the CCI4*-S at Carolina International and second in the Advanced division at The Fork at TIEC.
Colleen Loach and Peter Barry's 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Vermont (Van Helsing x Hauptstutbuch Hollywood) put in a lovely test to score a 24.5 which puts them in second place going into cross-country. There were no other pairs that scored lower than a 25.7 so yesterday’s leaders Liz Halliday-Sharp and the 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Cooley Quicksilver (Womanizer x Kylemore Crystal) owned by The Monster Partnership sit in third going into tomorrow’s cross-country.
Tomorrow will be influential as there is less than a one-tenth of a point difference in the dressage scores between the pairs sitting in fourth, fifth, and sixth. The 10-year-old Brandenburg mare FE Coldplay, owned by Clayton Fredericks, Hugh Wrigley, and Diana Crawford, is ranked fourth following dressage on Friday morning after scoring a 26.7. Cooley Moonshine (Cobra x Kilpatrick Duchess) a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by The Monster Partnership is settled into fifth place with a score of 26.8 and Cooley Be Cool (Heritage Fortunus x HHS Carlota) a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by The Monster Partnership scored a 26.9 to sit in sixth.
Cross-country for the CCI4*-S at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event will kick off on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. EST.
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Amanda Walker wasn’t sure what she’d gotten herself into when she went to try Runaway Romeo as a potential sales project in 2018. The gelding was a bit bigger than Walker was looking for and was quite pushy coming out of the stall. When she got on, it didn’t get much better.
For seasoned and novice riders alike, it is always good to revisit the basics. Serving as the foundation for any eventer, the positions used on the cross-country course differ from those in the dressage or show jumping ring. The USEA tuned into five-time Olympian, three-time World Equestrian Games rider, two Pan-American Games rider, and USEA ECP certified coach Karen O'Connor as she walked coaches and students at the USEA ECP Symposium through the basic positions for effective cross-country riding.
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With the recent wrap-up of the 2023 Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) Symposium in Ocala, Florida, USEA Podcast Host Nicole Brown chats with ECP Faculty Members Jennifer Howlett Rousseau and Robin Walker about all things related to the ECP. From the USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels to the benefits of pursuing certification, selecting the best coach for you, recapping this year's Symposium, and more - this week's USEA podcast is the perfect educational tool for coaches and riders alike!