The Plains, Virginia - Lauren Kieffer and Jennie Brannigan lead their respective divisions after the Show Jumping phase of the Land Rover Great Meadow International presented by Adequan®.
Kieffer took the lead after riding clean on Meadowbrooks Scarlett for a two-phase score of 43.3 in the final preparation trial for the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team prior to this summer's Pan American Games in Toronto. Phillip Dutton had been leading on Fernhill Cubalawn, but a fall late on course moved Kieffer up from second and into the lead. Brannigan maintained her lead in the CIC3* with a clean jumping round for a two-phase score of 39.8 on Cambalda.
The starting time was moved up 90 minutes in an attempt to complete the competition before the start of forecasted rainstorms. The move proved to be genius as, other than a few sprinkles, it held off for both competitions with heavy winds and rain starting about 20 minutes after the jumping was finished.
"It was definitely a good call and I applaud the organizers and officials," said Brannigan. "They clearly know what they are doing and it worked out perfectly."
The 20 horses in the CIC went first, riding in inverse order of standing after Dressage. Twelve rode with no penalties over the 12-jump course, that included one double and one triple, designed by Richard Jeffery.
Just prior to Brannigan's ride, Buck Davidson turned in a clean ride on Ballynoecastle RM to keep the pressure on Brannigan with his two-phase score of 40.8. Knowing that she needed a clean round to hold her lead, Brannigan did just that with Cambalda, the 13-year-old Irish Thoroughbred cross she rode to victory in The Dutta Corp/USEF National Three-Star Eventing Championship last October at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International.
"Clearly I'm happy with where we are and we'll see how tomorrow goes," Brannigan said. "This is probably the best turf in the country and I'm really looking forward to riding cross country tomorrow. As someone who is a fan of racing I have to say that it is really an honor to ride here."
Davidson and Ballynoecastle RM remain in second place and Lynn Symansky moved into third place after a clean round on Donner for a two-phase score of 42.8. "I thought that Richard did a fabulous job with the course," Davidson said. "He managed to give us places to go in a small ring and he really made the ring feel a lot bigger than it is."
Following the CIC, the 13 horses in the Pan Am prep trial competed over the same course and eight successfully completed it with no penalties. The field included four horses from Mexico and one from Brazil in addition to the U.S. Pan Am team of Dutton, Kieffer, Marilyn Little and Boyd Martin, as well as team alternates Will Faudree and Matthew Brown.
Kieffer turned in a clean round on Meadowbrooks Scarlett to keep the pressure on Dutton who was heading for a clean round on Fernhill Cubalawn when the horse stumbled and fell coming out of a triple bar at fence 8. "He came into the fence well and jumped it well but stumbled after he landed," said the two-time Olympic Gold Medalist. "We're both all right; it's just one of those freak things."
"It's a little hard to believe that Phillip's not sitting here with us," Kieffer said at the press conference following the competition. "It's just one of those fluke things. I'm really happy with how my horse rode. The course was great and I'm looking forward to tomorrow." With Dutton's fall, Boyd Martin moved into second place with a clean round on Pancho Villa and a two-phase score of 43.9.
The Land Rover Great Meadow International presented by Adequan® concludes Sunday with the Cross Country Phase set to begin at 9:30 a.m. The Awards Ceremony is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. followed by a ground-breaking ceremony launching the construction of a new world-class, all-weather arena with an adjoining unique water complex.
For those unable to attend this weekend's event, The Land Rover Great Meadow International presented by Adequan® is being broadcast live on the USEF Network Presented by SmartPak at USEFNetwork.com.