Fifty-one horses competed in the dressage phase of the Advanced division at the 2010 Land Rover/USEA American Championships. Allison Springer and Arthur were one of the first rides of the day, scoring an impressive 35.7 to lead the Advanced dressage division by nearly six points. Linda Zang gave the pair a 79.0% while Loris Henry rewarded them with a 73.33%. Allison and Arthur were one of the first rides of the day but their score was never challenged despite the stiff competition.
“I felt like there were a few pilot errors that I made that just shouldn't have happened,” Allison explained. “We had an early change on the second serpentine. I've had some stuff to work on. I still need to improve his walk some more, but he was very relaxed and very good today.”
Phillip Dutton earned the second, fourth, fifth, eleventh, and thirty-first spots aboard his slew of Advanced horses. Ann Jones’ The Foreman was Phillip’s top placing ride tying for second with a 41.5. Woodburn scored a 42.3 for fourth, while Connaught rounded out the top five by tying with Karen O’Connor and Mandiba with a 42.8.
“I was thrilled with Connaught,” said Phillip. “Because he probably hasn't had my attention as much as the others. It's a tribute to the sport in a way because he really does love it, and when he gets out here he does better. With Woodburn I was actually a bit disappointed, not in him but in myself. I had him better going in the warm-up, but the test requires the horse to be really in front of your leg. You do a lot of trot, walk, and trot again. To get him really big and forward, it takes him a little bit longer than you get a chance to do in the test. I think if I keep going at the test more there will be big improvement.”
Becky Holder and Courageous Comet put in one of their trademark dressage test to tie with Phillip Dutton for second. “I was very, very pleased with Comet today,” said Becky. “It seems funny but one of the things we accomplished today is we did the entire test without spooking against the boards. Even when he's been in the leads, like at Rolex and the Olympics, we had several movements where he kicked dirt on the boards or spooked at the railings, and I've been working really hard with my dressage coach to come up with a new plan for introducing him to the arena.”
Becky continued to talk about tomorrow’s cross-course. “They've certainly asked a lot of questions about the skinnies and holding a line down the rail. They're doing a lot of work on the footing so I'm hopeful they're going to be able to get it to the point that we can go out there and be get a positive run to prepare for the WEG. That's so important to get that last run in for a lot of the horses. One of the most remarkable things was yesterday I was out walking the course and I passed David O'Connor, the Canadian Team coach, heading down the hill on the aggravator. That is not a glamorous job...And then when I got to the back loop of the course, he was returning back where he came from and tag-teamed with Mark Phillips and Mark got into the aggravator and headed out. So I think it's a collaborative effort and everybody wants to see the right conditions for the horses.”
The Advanced division will be the first division tomorrow on Ritch Temple’s cross-country course.
It was tough competition in the Intermediate division today with the entire division only separated by a mere 21 points, basically one bobble on cross-country. Clark Montgomery, who is based at Chattahoochee Hills Farm, earned the top spot with an even 27 riding Holly Becker and Kathryn Kraft’s Loughan Glen. Becky Holder is only .2 behind with Faye Woolf’s Call Me Ollie. Marcea Funk and Michelle Taylor’s Pancho Villa sit in third with the score of 29.0.
Intermediate cross-country begins tomorrow with the first horse on course at 11:43.
Lynne Partridge and her own El Cid are back to defend their Preliminary Amateur Championship Title. The pair won the division in 2009 and are off to a good start this year by earning the top score in dressage today, a 26.3. Alison Wilaby and Memphis II aren’t far behind with a 29.6 while Beth Weisberger and R. Hocus Pocus earned a 34.6 and the third place spot.
The Preliminary Horse division boasts many top riders as entrants in this year’s AEC. Jonathan Holling riding Connie Holling’s Downtown Harrison scored a 23.7 – the lowest dressage mark of the competition. Doug Payne and Crown Talisman are sitting on a 24.3 while Kadi Eykamp and Double Rivers Really Cool are in third with a 27.0.
AEC veteran, Elinor MacPhail, returned to the competition with her own Parador Mail who she is now sitting in first with in the Preliminary Junior/Young Rider division. Elinor won the Preliminary Junior/Young Rider division at last year’s AEC aboard Woodstock II. Local Georgian, Felicia Bradley is only .2 behind Elinor riding Garryndruig Albie. Elizabeth Aboody is also only .2 off of second with Legend VII.
All three Preliminary divisions go on cross-country tomorrow beginning with the Horse division at 2:03, Amateur at 4:23, and Junior/Young Rider at 4:49.
The Training Horse division had the honor of being the first division to show jump in the competition. Robin Walker riding Anne-Marie Rasch’s Florenz finished their competition by adding nothing to their dressage score of 26.6. The pair did not have any rails in hand entering today’s show jumping round, but the Oldenburg mare didn’t bat an eye and left the poles safely in their cups.
Jennifer Brannigan riding her own Indie moved up from third place to finish the day in second with a clean round. Indie had a couple of hard rubs, but luckily the cups were deep for the pair today.
“I'm really happy,” Jennie said after completing her round. “I just bought him probably two months ago. I haven't been eventing him really long; he's five and really green. I love his attitude, and he reminds me, his personality is like Cooper. I didn't think I would have another horse that I would bond with like that ever again. Cooper was just really sweet and always in your pocket. [Indie] is just like that and he is happy to be at the show and easy-going. I was pondering to myself, I need this horse. When you sit on him you know within five seconds. I knew from the second I saw him that I loved him. [The course] was hard for a baby! I was nervous to go Training! It was tough and he's so green. But he's naturally talented and it worked out.”
Erika Treis Petersen made her long drive down from Michigan worth it with a third place finish with Crimson Tide. The pair started the weekend tied for ninth but two double clear rounds moved them up in the placings.
It was a day off for the Training Amateur and Junior divisions but they will continue their competition tomorrow with show jumping beginning at 8:30.
The Novice Amateur and Junior divisions took to the cross-country course this morning and the course was very influential in the placings. In Novice Amateur, Anne Wilson and Axel moved up from third to first place with a double clear round after the overnight leader, Madeleine Wickwire and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not added 3.6 time penalties to their dressage score and second placed rider Annie Desmond had an unfortunate stop. D.C. McBroom and Owl Hollow Farm’s Ground Force moved into the second place spot on their dressage score of 31.0 while Kathy Hall and Sullivan also have a 31.0, but were further from optimum time so are sitting in third.
Sarah C. Murphy and Flagmount’s Irish Riverstone moved up one spot to take over the lead in the Novice Junior division. Caitlyn Carpenter and Joyous Occasion were two seconds over optimum time but still moved up from third to second while Alexa Easton and Tiger Lily added .4 penalties to their fifth placed dressage score to now sit in third.
The Novice Horse division had a break from competition today, but all three Novice divisions will show jump tomorrow.
One hundred and twenty-nine Beginner Novice riders tackled the Championship cross-country course today. Lisa Edinger and Milky Way are the current leaders in the Beginner Novice Amateur division, but Carroll Ann Bowers riding Sportsfield Cocktail and Tanya Thomas and The Duke are hot on their tails. The Beginner Novice Junior division has the honor of being the largest division of the competition with 65 entries. Ashley Guidry is sitting atop all of those pairs riding her own Mercedes. Kaylen Moon and Marcia Moon’s Scusami maintained their second place position while Catherine Schumak and Dreamin’ Up A Thunderstorm rounded up the top three. The Beginner Novice Horse riders were the last cross-country division of the day and all three dressage leaders put in double clear rounds to maintain their placings. Heidi Wardle riding Guy DeCorte’s Tulla Gold currently sit in first with a 28.6, Heather Jans and Rickoshea are in second while Sydney Conley Elliott and Lee and Donna Phillips’ Saffario earned the third spot.
The Beginner Novice riders will culminate their weekend in the show jump arena tomorrow.
The AEC would not be possible without our wonderful USEA sponsors: Land Rover, Nutrena, Bit Of Britain, Merial, Adequan, Charles Owen, Broadstone, VTO Saddlery, Shai Steiner, Omega Alpha, Centaur Fencing, Antares, Saratoga Horse Works, The Chronicle of The Horse, Spalding Labs, SSG Gloves, Auburn Labs, Succeed, FITS, Point-Two, Back On Track, Fleeceworks, Finish Line, Dubarry, Equithrive, Flair, Mackinnon Ice Horse, SmartPak Equine, Stackouse Saddlery, and Equinature.
Photos: Adele Baker & Lukipela, Becky Holder and Courageous Comet, Leslie Law & Zenith, Lynn Symansky & Rave Review, Debbie Connell & Thumbelina, Courtney Cooper and Nevaeh
Photo Credit: Leslie Threlkeld, Emily Daily and Leslie Mintz.