Allison Springer (USA) and Arthur
It took right up until the last ride of the day for another rider to break into the 30s and come closest to Michael Jung’s leading score at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky.
Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Demeter
The last rider to go on the second day of dressage was crowd favorite Allison Springer with her longtime partner, Arthur. Spectators were quiet enough to hear a pin drop, silently cheering on the pair. A huge cheer erupted when her score of 39.7 was announced.
“It’s always so emotional and wonderful to be here,” said Springer. “I have such a long partnership with this horse, and he’s a tricky ride. This is our seventh appearance [at Rolex]!”
Mark Todd (NZL) and NZB Campino
Earlier in the day, 2015 Pan American Games individual gold medalist Marilyn Little secured a 42.5 on the mare RF Demeter, one of her longtime rides. That was good enough to clinch third going into cross-country tomorrow.
“There were moments of brilliance in the test,” said Little. “[RF Demeter] has been wonderful to work with all week. She wants to be reliable in dressage, and I’d like to carry that relaxation and also a bit of sparkle forward.”
Hannah Sue Burnett (USA) and Harbour Pilot
As everyone knows, you can’t win an event in the dressage phase, but you can lose it. The increasing focus on upping the U.S. dressage game and competing in Europe has helped American riders nail seven of the top 10 placings after this phase.
With a forecast of 100% chance of rain on cross-country day, competitors will be nervously eyeing the sky tomorrow, particularly leader Michael Jung, who has a shot at winning the Grand Slam if he wins here and at Badminton in England next weekend. He won the four-star at Burgley last fall, and needs to win Rolex and Badminton consecutively to take home the extra $350,000 bonus. It has only been done once, in 2003, by Pippa Funnell.
Lauren Kieffer (USA) and Veronica
“I will try to go fast because my mare is in very good form, but it can change tomorrow morning,” said Jung. “It was a long trip, and I’m not just here to have a nice holiday. I’ll try to win! You need a very good feeling in the cross-country warm-up, but sometimes you have to go more slow in the end so you finish with a healthy horse and the season can go on.” Spoken like a true horseman.
Springer was worried about running cross-country last, as the ground can get pretty chewed up in the event of heavy rains. “Fitness will be different this year,” she said. “My horse is 17 now and has had a very light season. He hasn’t done a CCI in a couple years, so I hope he remembers and will go the distance for me. He hasn’t missed any [fitness] gallops this year.”
Jessica Phoenix (CAN) and Pavoratti
For complete scores and ride times, visit www.rk3d3.org.
Top 10 after dressage:
1. Fischerrocana FST / Michael Jung (GER) 34.4
2. Arthur / Allison Springer (USA) 39.7
3. RF Demeter / Marilyn Little (USA) 42.5
4. Fernhill By Night / Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (USA) 43.0
5. Fernhill Fugitive / Phillip Dutton (USA) 43.1
=6. NZB Campino / Mark Todd (NZL) 43.2
=6. Harbour Pilot / Hannah Sue Burnett (USA) 43.2
8. Veronica / Lauren Kieffer (USA) 43.9
9. Shamwari 4 / Boyd Martin (USA) 44.6
10. Pavoratti / Jessica Phoenix (CAN) 44.7
Allie Knowles (USA) and Sound Prospect
Blyth Tait (NZL) and Zanthus III
Boyd Martin (USA) and Blackfoot Mystery
Buck Davidson (USA) and Copper Beach
Doug Payne (USA) and Vandiver
Laine Ashker (USA) and Anthony Patch
Panda Christie (GBR) and Little Leo
Phillip Dutton (USA) and Mighty Nice
Sinead Halpin (USA) and Manoir de Carneville