Christopher Burton and Holstein Park Leilani, who were in third place overnight, set a blistering fast pace as the only pair to come home clear and inside the time on cross country at Aachen, taking the provisional lead with just Ingrid Klimke and Sandra Auffarth left to ride. After Ingrid and Tabasco TSF had two runouts on course — the first at 8b at the Rolex Compex and the second at 21a at the Corner Hedges — it came down to Sandra, who led after both the dressage and show jumping in a dominating weekend. She entered the main stadium clear so far with just four jumping efforts to go and the Aachen CICO3* win seemingly in the bag. The German crowd cheered her all the way home, but she just wasn’t fast enough, and four time penalties cost her the win by .2 faults. Christopher Burton and Holstein Park Leilani are your Aachen CICO3* winners, with Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo in second, and Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam FBW in third.
When I walked fences 22 through 25 this morning, I reported that the footing was already slippery before a single horse set foot on course. And as we quickly discovered, the rest of the course — which walked very well yesterday — had deteriorated to soft in some spots and slop in others after a steady rain fell overnight. While I can’t blame the footing for all the problems riders experienced on course, I can definitely point to it as a major factor. Nineteen riders came home clear, but all had time penalties with the exception of Christopher Burton and Holstein Park Leilani. As Will Faudree put it when I talked to him after his ride, cross country day at Aachen can be summed up in one simple word: carnage. Twelve riders had runouts at 8b, and Team USA was not immune from problems at this fence. The Treble Hedge Combination at 10cd also caused problems, with three pairs — including Clark Montgomery and Universe — having runouts here. As Will said, this was a four-star course packed into seven minutes, and it left no room for error.
To put it simply, today was not Team USA’s day. Marilyn Little fell from RF Smoke on the Water after a glance off at 8b — both are fine — and Will Faudree and Pawlow had a runout at the same fence, which started their string of bad luck on course. Will and Ernie later had another glance off at the Corner Hedges at 21a before Will nursed him home. Ernie jumped beautifully over fence 25, the last on course, but stumbled on the landing, falling on his right shoulder and pinning Will’s right leg underneath him as they both slid through the wet grass. It was extremely dramatic and terrifying to watch — I was standing right by the fence when it happened — but I’m relieved to report both Will and Ernie are fine after their fall. Clark Montgomery and Universe had two runouts at 10c in the Treble Hedge Combination. Tiana Coudray and Ringwood Magister were our only pair to complete the course without a jump penalty, coming home with 14.8 time penalties to finish 10th. I’ll be back shortly with much more on Team USA. Go Aachen.