|Karen O’Connor and Mandiba at the 2010 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Photo: Leslie Potter|
An East Coast contingent of horses and riders secured the top three positions in the HSBC FEI World Cup™ today, with no rail or time penalties by Karen O’Connor to keep the number one spot. Buck Davidson put on the pressure by also jumping a clear round, which moved him into second place, while Dutton dropped four rails to move him to third place.
Kalispell-based rider Jil Walton, also an Olympian, finished in 10th place with her horse My Sedona.
But there was no time to rest — the three top riders depart Glacier Park International Airport tomorrow at 6 a.m., along with 18 horses on a charter flight back home.
“It’s going to be a long night and an early morning,” said O’Connor, a three-time Olympic competitor. “But today went great. I rode him a bit this morning after the trot up and riding twice on the show jumping day seems to help. I am really delighted with the result.”
O’Connor was also pleased that the horse she rode in the two-star division, Quintus 54, which is owned by Rebecca Broussard, secured a second place finish, also jumping a clear round today to move up from third. “It was nice to finish so well for Becky,” she said.
Davidson, an international competitor who was ranked #2 in the US last year, who earlier in the week had seen a grizzly bear in Glacier National Park, was happy to have secured a second place finish with My Boy Bobby, after a difficult start in the opening day of dressage had him trailing in sixth place.
“I had a great time here in Kalispell,” he said. “I am happy for Karen that she won — not real happy to be second. But my horse was great and I had to work my way up. He did very well in the cross-country and is a fantastic show jumper. I came here to have a good, hard work out and I am going home with a sound horse.”
Dutton, an Olympian and fierce competitor, did not mince words. “I am disappointed in today. On the flip side, it shows me what I have to work on. I put a lot of effort into Truluck in dressage and not a lot in show jumping. I am determined to get him jumping well by the next time I bring him out.”
All of the riders were complimentary of the show jumping course set by England’s Richard Jeffery. “This was a course that rewards good jumpers,” said O’Connor. “Clear rounds were hard to find today at every level.”
While thoughts turned to preparation for the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky this fall, talk turned to the possibility of European riders coming here to compete in the future.
“Rebecca Farm has such a wonderful amphitheater where crowds can watch,” said Dutton. “I could foresee European riders coming here too. It has endless possibilities for future events.”
For a 360-degree aerial panoramic from Rebecca Farm shot by remote controlled helicopter on Saturday, click here.
A run through video of the cross-country course with the remote controlled helicopter was shot by GravityShots