Lexington, KY - The Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team served notice today at the Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials that their next generation of horses and riders are going to be very competitive on the world stage. Four of the six American starters completed the cross-country in the top 14. Piggy French occupies the top two spots on Lemington Lett Dance and DHI Topper W for Great Britain adding nothing to her dressage mark on either horse to take over the lead from dressage winner Bettina Hoy who finished with 7.6 time penalties.
Led by Tiana Coudray (Ojai, CA) who has returned to the form that saw her win the 2010 Jersey Fresh CCI3* last spring, she rode a determined and calculated round on Ringwood Magister to gallop into fourth place, adding nothing to her dressage score of 49.4.
The flashy 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse has had an inconsistent 2011, and Coudray has been in the U.K. since June - determined to get back on track after an unsuccessful Luhmuhlen CIC3*. She succeeded at Blenheim and delivered on the expectation that she has always had for her striking grey gelding. "The track rode as expected," said Coudray. "I executed my plan. It was perfectly suited for what we needed to do. My horse was amazing."
Veteran stalwart Phillip Dutton (West Grove, PA) is having a changing of the guard within his stable, as some of his seasoned campaigners have been retired. Today, Mighty Nice proved to him and owner Bruce Duchossois how classy he is and at only 7 years old, gives them a lot to look forward to. The recipient of a Land Rover Competition and Training Grant, Dutton was pleased with his round.
"It's a big relief to get the cross-county over with," said Dutton. "'Happy' really just played with the course which is so exciting since he's just a 7-year-old. It was a pretty good day for all the U.S. riders, fingers crossed for tomorrow."
They picked up two time faults around the 10:30 course, and the Irish Sport Horse jumped handily around his first CCI3* with one of the most experienced pilots in the world - they are on a score of 53.3 for 11th place.
One place and 1/10th of a point behind Dutton is Clark Montgomery (Chattahoochee, GA) who added eight time faults to his dressage score and heads into the show jumping in 12th place on 53.4 with Loughan Glen. Owned by his mother Carole, Kathleen Kraft (his mother-in-law) and Holly Becker - Loughan Glen won the CCI3* at Bromont in June. The 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse is an incredibly consistent performer and was awarded a Land Rover Competition and Training Grant to offset some of the cost of his trip to the U.K.
U.S. Team veteran Will Faudree cruised around on Pawlow in a performance that would have restored their confidence. The CCI4* veteran has spent the summer in the UK as well and had lost some of the consistency in their performance. The 12-year-old Thoroughbred cross gelding, owned by Jennifer Mosing was 11th at Blenheim in 2009. They are on a score of 56.1 in 14th place.
Information about Land Rover's partnership with the USEF is available here: http://www.landrover.com/us/en/lr/experience-land-rover/sponsorships-events/equestrian-usef/
Follow the U.S. Eventers in Europe throughout this fall on the USEFNetwork.com here: http://usefnetwork.com/featured/EventersinEurope/
Scores and results are available here: http://www.bdwp.co.uk/ble/
Photo: Tiana Coudray on Ringwood Magister taken earlier this year.