As if on cue, about 10 minutes before the First Horse Inspection for marathon CCI3* division here at the Blenheim Palace Horse Trials was due to begin, sure enough the heavens opened and all the torrential rain that was up in Scotland for Blair’s cross-country day came back to revisit us.
101 horses were presented before the Ground Jury, and all were accepted, most without any fuss, but three were sent to the holding box first; they were Katie Barber and Apollos Copywright, Paul Sims and Calador, and Kate Chadderton and VS Mccuan Civil Liberty. Kate must either be feeling like the luckiest girl in the world or the most hard put-upon depending on whether she’s a glass half-full or empty sort of person after scraping in off the wait-list today at literally the very last minute, and now this. Let’s hope her nerves can take the pressure!
Three horses were asked to trot twice — Kevin McNab’s Dustman, Emily Philp’s Camembert and Patricia Ryan’s Dunrath Eclipse. Alex Peternell’s two horses were probably the naughtiest behaved on the jog strip, whinnying to each other, mini rearing, refusing to stand still and showing us some nice passage and airs above the ground!
Most riders and grooms tried to leave the horse’s rugs and rainsheets on until the very last minute, and due to the appalling conditions we weren’t treated to any amazing fashions, but props to Emily Beshear especially, Clark Montgomery, Lauren Kieffer in red, and Lissa Green.
Well done to the Ground Jury, organising comittee and especially volunteers helping ferry riders in and out of the jog strip as quickly as possible in such miserable conditions and completing such an enormous number of competitors in what must be record time.
The dressage starts early tomorrow with Nicky Roncoroni doing the test ride for the CCI3* on Watts Burn at 8:10 a.m. GB time and Pippa Funnell kicking off the competition proper at 8:30 a.m. on Mirage D’Elle. We have four U.S. riders to look forward to tomorrow: Liz Halliday-Sharp on Fernhill By Night at 11:45 a.m., Lauren Kieffer and Veronica at 14:30, Jennifer McFall and High Times at 16:07, and William Coleman and Obos O’Reilly at 16:37.
Stay tuned for pictures of the CCI3* cross country course, and we’ll put the rest of our trot up pictures on the Eventing Nation Facebook page and do make sure to keep checking Shannon Brinkman’s facebook page also — we’re lucky enough to have her here this weekend and her photos really are something pretty special. We’ll be featuring a few every day on Eventing Nation but keep your eyes out for more.
The forecast is for overnight rain and then a nice day tomorrow before more rain overnight again. Hoping everyone at Blenheim dries out, especially poor California native Jen McFall who looked completely out of sorts, and High Times who looked rather nonplussed by all the water falling from the sky but was very good-natured nonetheless! Looking forward to a busy day tomorrow, this division is completely stacked with talent, very, very exciting. Go the USA at Blenheim!