Tina Konyot, of Palm City, Fla., and her stallion Calecto V scored 70.63 percent to top a field of 25 in today's Kentucky Cup Grand Prix. The Kentucky Cup a CDI *** is the test event for the dressage World Championships that will be one of the eight competitions at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Belinda Trussell, of Newmarket, Ont., finished second on Anton (70.21%), and Bonny Bonnello, of Calgary, Alb., finished third on Pikardi (68.63%). The winning riders each had high praise for the Kentucky Horse Park, which will be the first U.S. venue ever to host the FEI World Equestrian Games, from Sept. 25 to Oct. 10. "Everything is spectacular here, and everyone involved is working hard to make sure the horses are happy and comfortable-so hard that my horse thinks he wants to be a Kentucky stallion!" said Konyot, 48.
"I love it, and so does my horse," said Bonnello, 59. "He loves the walk from the barn to this arena."
"The footing is perfect, and the distance of the ring from the crowd is perfect too," said Trussell, 38.
The several hundred spectators enjoyed watching the new scoreboard as each test unfolded. After each movement, the scoreboard compares the competing horse's cumulative score to the score, at the same point in the test, posted by the current leader.
Konyot said she decided to compete in the Kentucky Cup because she hopes to ride Calecto V as a member of the U.S. team in September and because her boyfriend, accomplished Canadian racehorse trainer Roger Atfield, has 35 horses running at the Keeneland spring meet here in Lexington. "It was a win-win situation to come here," she said.
Calecto V, a Danish Warmblood, has only been competing at Grand Prix for a year, and Konyot said his score would have been several points higher if not for Calecto's confusion on the final centerline. Here, horses perform a transition from trot to passage, then to piaffe, and yhen back to passage before the final halt. Calecto decided to canter after the piaffe. Konyot said that Calecto has made the same mistake before and is not sure why.
Mary Seefried of Australia, the president of the ground jury, called it "a very expensive final centerline" but described Calecto as "a very promising horse."