2016 Rio Olympic Power Rankings: Round 5

The final Rolex preps have all concluded, and most of the major contenders are being bubble wrapped for Kentucky. We’ve had Galway Downs, The Fork, Twin Rivers and Belton overseas since Round 4, and the rankings have seem some significant shuffling … after the top place, of course.

Next time we do Power Rankings, Rolex will factor into the calculations. Not only will we likely see a big shake-up, but Rolex is also the first Olympic qualifier of 2016, which will give us quite a few more top pairs to rank. On top of Rolex, Chattahoochee Hills and Fair Hill are both holding CIC3* events that could be influential for the spring CCIs.

When creating these rankings, we used the following criteria:

  • The horse and rider must have already qualified as a pair at one of the 2015 qualifying events.
  • The average penalty score for each phase is added up to determine each horse’s average completion score.
  • Rankings are calculated using FEI scores in the previous calendar year only, from the three-star and four-star levels.
  • The rankings will be rolling, meaning that scores will be dropped from the averages as they pass the one-year date.
  • Only results as a pair are counted.
  • Only pairs who have upcoming entries according to latest entry status updates have been included.

Currently 70 U.S. combinations have achieved at least one Olympic qualifier, although five of those pairs are no longer competing together. Pairs not yet qualified will have additional opportunities in 2016 to qualify at Rolex, Badminton, Jersey Fresh, Saumur, Tattersalls, Bromont and Bramham. We’ll list a few pairs at the end of the rankings who have yet to qualify but could certainly be up for consideration if they qualify this spring.

Note: To be considered for an Olympic team, a horse must have been submitted as an applicant to the FEI by Feb. 19, 2016. This list does not reflect whether horses have been submitted for Olympic consideration.

Rewind to: Round 1Round 2Round 3, Round 4

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

1. Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Luhmühlen CCI4*, 2015 Blenheim CCI3*
  • Average completion score: 41.63
  • Number of FEI 3*/4*runs in past calendar year: 3
  • Last round’s ranking: #1

Clark competed Loughan Glen in the Open Intermediate division of Weston Park two weekends ago, scoring an FEI equivalent of 41.6 and show jumping with two rails before withdrawing from cross country. This past weekend he made his first cross country run of the year at Belton Park CIC3*, scoring a 42.0 in dressage and adding a rail and 7.6 time penalties on cross country.

This horse hasn’t had a rail in an FEI competition since 2014 and hasn’t scored over 40 in dressage since 2013 until now. Despite the slight slip in performance, “Glen” still retains his first place ranking. Clark and Glen are only competing in CIC3* events this spring as they make their bid for Rio. They next head to Chatsworth on May 13-15, the same weekend as Jersey Fresh.

2. Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Rolex CCI4*, 2015 Fair Hill CCI3*
  • Average completion score: 50.56
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 6
  • Last round’s ranking: #4

Fernhill Cubalawn finished in the top 10 percent of the field at The Fork CIC3*, adding only 5.6 time penalties to his dressage score of 44.9. This horse has been extraordinarily consistent over the past year, dropping only one rail in that time and scoring above 40 only once, at his first four-star last spring. Next up, he’ll head back to Rolex, and “Cuba” is a good bet to finish on his dressage score at his second four-star.

3. Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Rolex CCI4*, 2015 Galway Downs CCI3*
  • Average completion score: 51.50
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 5
  • Last round’s ranking: #3

Fernhill Fugutive slipped behind his stablemate after Phillip took his time on cross country at The Fork CIC3*, opting for a more conservative run after the horse had the fastest round at Red Hills to win the CIC3* last month. Still, “Jack” added only 12.4 time penalties to his dressage score of 44.7 at The Fork.

His form this spring has been stellar, and in many ways Fernhill Fugitive has become more consistent than Fernhill Cubalawn, with no rails in the past year and dressage scores that have been steadily falling to flirt with the low 40s. This is another of Phillip’s Rolex trio, where he will have the dubious honor of being the first horse out, which may result in some time penalties across the country if Phillip decides to use his run to feel out the course for his later rides.

4. Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Fair Hill CCI3*
  • Average completion score: 52.03
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 5
  • Last round’s ranking: #5

This horse also finished very well at The Fork CIC3*, placing fourth after adding 6.4 time penalties to his low 40s dressage score. Mighty Nice has consistently been in the low 40s in dressage all year, which betters his two stablemates, but show jumping can sometimes prove to be a weakness. Despite that, “Happy” jumped double clear in his last two three-stars, so continued clear rounds could still earn him a trip to Rio. He will be Phillip’s third horse at Rolex and will head out on course only three from the end.

Lauren Kieffer and Veronica. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lauren Kieffer and Veronica. Photo by Jenni Autry.

5. Lauren Kieffer and Veronica

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Bramham CCI3*, 2015 Blenheim CCI3*
  • Average completion score: 52.28
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 5
  • Last round’s ranking: #8

Veronica gets a big bump in the rankings this week largely due to a very quick run in The Fork CIC3*, adding 1.2 time penalties to her 42.1 from dressage. Veronica is the best horse in dressage of Lauren’s string, only scoring over 45 once in the past year, and she hasn’t had a rail in the past 12 at the FEI level.

Despite not running as fast across the country every time out, Lauren has proven that she can get “Troll” close to the optimum time when it matters. Lauren will be taking Veronica for their third consecutive crack at Rolex Kentucky next week.

6. Lauren Kieffer and Meadowbrook’s Scarlett

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Jersey Fresh CCI3*, 2015 Galway Downs CCI3*
  • Average Completion Score: 53.70
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* Runs in past calendar year: 4
  • Last round’s ranking: #7

This is another horse who improved her ranking by going back to quick runs across the country. A high 40s dressage score saw only 3.2 time penalties added to it to help these two to a top 10 finish at The Fork CIC3*. Meadowbrook’s Scarlett hasn’t quite returned to her 2015 form on the flat, with her scores closer to 50 than 30s this year. Her show jumping has improved in consistency though, as “Scarlett” has yet to have a rail at an FEI event this year. This mare will be bypassing Kentucky for the Jersey Fresh CCI3*.

7. Will Coleman and OBOS O’Reilly

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Rolex CCI4*, 2015 Blenheim CCI3*
  • Average completion score: 53.87
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 3
  • Last round’s ranking: #6

OBOS O’Reilly bypassed The Fork all together and has yet to compete at the three-star or Advanced level this year. He is next entered at Rolex.

8. Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Bromont CCI3*, 2015 Boekelo CCIO3*
  • Average completion score: 59.50
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 7
  • Last round’s ranking: #12

Matt is another who chose to take “Flaxen” directly to Rolex from Carolina instead of running at The Fork.

9. Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Jersey Fresh CCI3*
  • Average completion score: 59.87
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 7
  • Last round’s ranking: #9

Ballynoe Castle RM had a bit of a tough weekend in The Fork CIC3*, accumulating a rail in show jumping and a stop on cross country at the coffin at fence 16 before retiring. This horse was scratched from Rolex to make room for Buck’s other horses, and Buck has hinted we will likely see “Reggie” at Jersey Fresh or Bromont next.

10. Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Bromont CCI3*, 2015 Blenheim CCI3*
  • Average completion score: 60.04
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 5
  • Last round’s ranking: #14

This mare competed in the Advanced at The Fork, where she added a rail, plus a stop and cross country time penalties to her dressage score. The Advanced scores don’t factor into our rankings, and based on FEI results, “Delta” still climbed up due to the results of other combinations. They’ll face a big test in Kentucky for the mare’s first CCI4* after an uncharacteristically rough spring.

Boyd Martin and Master Frisky. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Boyd Martin and Master Frisky. Photo by Jenni Autry.

11. Boyd Martin and Master Frisky

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Rolex CCI4*
  • Average completion score: 60.35
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 2
  • Last round’s ranking: #11

Master Frisky finished second to his stablemate Blackfoot Mystery in his Advanced division at The Fork, adding only cross country time penalties to his dressage score. “Mikey” will be headed overseas for the first time to contest Badminton in early May thanks to a USEF Land Rover Competition Grant.

12. Buck Davidson and Copper Beach

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Tattersalls CCI3*, 2015 Boekelo CCIO3*
  • Average completion score: 60.42
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 5
  • Last round’s ranking: #16

This horse was another who competed in the Advanced at The Fork, where a slower cross country run and a rail moved him down to 10th place in his division. “Sean” is one of Buck’s trio headed to Rolex to make his CCI4* debut.

13. Kurt Martin and DeLux Z

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Rebecca Farm CCI3*, 2015 Fair Hill CCI3*
  • Average completion score: 61.64
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 8
  • Last round’s ranking: Unranked

DeLux Z made a big leap from unranked to ranked this week with a super performance in the CIC3* at The Fork. This pair added only one rail and 3.6 time penalties to a high 40s dressage score. Kurt and “Lux” will make their four-star debut at Rolex.

14. Marilyn Little and RF Demeter

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Bromont CCI3*
  • Average completion score: 62.14
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 5
  • Last round’s ranking: #13

Marilyn Little brought this mare out for the first time at Rocking Horse Spring, winning the Open Intermediate-A division by adding only a few time penalties to their dressage score of 25.2. They had another run in the Open Intermediate at Ocala this past weekend, finishing third with a similar performance in all three phases. We’ll next see Marilyn and “Demi” at Rolex.

Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights. Photo by Jenni Autry.

15. Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Rolex CCI4*, 2015 Burghley CCI4*
  • Average completion score: 62.39
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 7
  • Last round’s ranking: Unranked

Covert Rights and Colleen have been rocketing up the ranks all year and have finally burst into the top 20 in this round. They certainly made their mark at The Fork, finishing on their mid-40s dressage score to place third in the CIC3*. Most impressive is yet another double clear show jumping round, indicating that they seem to have figured out that phase. Look for “CR” to be competitive at Rolex.

16. Boyd Martin and Blackfoot Mystery

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Fair Hill CCI3*
  • Average completion score: 62.43
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 3
  • Last round’s ranking: #17

Blackfoot Mystery put in a stellar performance at The Fork, winning an Advanced division with an emphatic double clear round in the show jumping. That phase will continue to be his biggest question mark for “Big Red” moving forward, and a double clear round at his first four-star would go a long way to putting that worry to rest.

Holly Payne-Caravella and Santino. Photo courtesy of Rare Air Photography.

Holly Payne-Caravella and Santino. Photo courtesy of Rare Air Photography.

17. Holly Payne and Santino

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Jersey Fresh CCI3*, 2015 Fair Hill CCI3*
  • Average completion score: 62.46
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 5
  • Last round’s ranking: Unranked

Santino is a horse that has flown a bit under the radar but consistently scores well enough to make it into our top 20 this round. This pair took their time across the country in the Advanced at The Fork, but the ability to move quickly across the country combined with competitive flat scores makes them a competitive combination. “Sonny” will be tackling his first four-star at Kentucky.

18. Boyd Martin and Welcome Shadow

  • Qualifiers: Fair Hill CCI3*
  • Average completion score: 62.60
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 3
  • Last round’s ranking: #18

Welcome Shadow bypassed The Fork, and Boyd confirmed to EN that she will compete in the Jersey Fresh CCI3*. She is next entered in the CIC3* at Fair Hill this weekend.

19. Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Boekelo CCIO3*
  • Average completion score: 63.52
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 5
  • Last round’s ranking: #20

Lauren and Landmark’s Monte Carlo had their first faux pas on cross country in almost a year when she took a tumble at The Fork, but a solid Intermediate run around Ocala and an otherwise consistent cross country record has earned this gray a shot at his first four-star next week. “Patrick” is also cross-entered at Jersey Fresh CCI3*.

20. Lynn Symansky and Donner

  • Qualifiers: 2015 Rolex CCI4*, 2015 Burghley CCI4*
  • Average completion score: 63.05
  • Number of FEI 3*/4* runs in past calendar year: 6
  • Last round’s ranking: #19

Donner had the chance to finish well up the order at The Fork CIC3* after a mid-40s dressage and double clear show jumping round, but Lynn opted to pace herself on the cross country after putting in a swift run previously at Carolina to finish third. After considering a hop over the pod to go to Badminton, Lynn has decided instead to keep “The Flying Deer” on U.S. soil for another go at Rolex.

Maya Black and Doesn't Play Fair. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Maya Black and Doesn’t Play Fair. Photo by Jenni Autry.

THE FORK RECAP

Maya Black and Doesn’t Play Fair are rocketing up the ranks after their last two competitions and will easily continue that trajectory if they keep up with these performances. Veronica, Covert Rights, Mighty Nice and Fernhill Cubalawn rounded out the top five at The Fork CIC3*, with Meadowbrook’s Scarlett finishing in seventh for good measure.

Phillip Dutton and Indian Mill, Will Faudree and Pfun, and Kim Severson and Fernhill Fearless all finished in the top 10 in the CIC3* at The Fork and could become serious team contenders if they obtain Olympic qualification this spring. Fernhill Fearless is entered at Rolex, while Indian Mill and Pfun will aim for their qualification at Jersey Fresh CCI3*.

In the Advanced-A, Boyd Martin took the top two placings with Blackfoot Mystery and Master Frisky, while Doug Payne and Vandiver finished in fourth. Katie Ruppel and Houdini, winners of Advanced B, proved they could be contenders if they gain Olympic qualification at Rolex.

Sydney Conley Elliot and Cisko A. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Sydney Conley Elliot and Cisko A. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Combinations currently ranked outside the top 20
(their next competition is listed in parentheses)

  • Jennie Brannigan and Catalina (Fair Hill Advanced)
  • Maya Black and Doesn’t Play Fair (Rolex CCI4*)
  • Sydney Conley-Elliott and Cisko A (Rolex CCI4*)
  • Liz Halliday-Sharp and HHS Cooley (Rolex CCI4*)
  • Allie Knowles and Sound Prospect (Rolex CCI4*)
  • Caroline Martin and Quantum Solace (Rolex CCI4*)
  • Doug Payne and Vandiver (Rolex CCI4*)
Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Contenders not yet qualified
 (their next competition is listed in parentheses)

  • Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot (Rolex CCI4*)
  • Tiana Coudray and Ringwood Magister (Rolex CCI4*)
  • Will Faudree and Pfun (Fair Hill CIC3*)
  • Sinead Halpin and Manoir de Carneville (Rolex CCI4*)
  • Mackenna Shea and Landioso (Rolex CCI4*)
  • Allison Springer and Arthur (Rolex CCI4*)

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