Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen claimed the top of a star-studded dressage leaderboard in the Bramham CIC3* Event Riders Masters division. Even with an error when they took a bit of a detour in the walk, their score of 36.5 pushed them well out in front of the pack.
“I’m a bit relieved that we got back down to the mark we know he can get, and it was a mistake-free test aside from me momentarily forgetting where the walk goes!” Clark told EN after his test. “That was my fault. Aside from that, he handled the atmosphere well and didn’t get as tense as he did the last couple times we competed at Chatsworth and Belton. I’m really happy with him.”
Chatsworth in mid-May was the first leg of the inaugural Event Rider Masters series, created with the intent of increasing the sport’s accessibility as well as offering a hearty prize money fund of £350,000. A sum of £50,000 will be doled out at each of the six classes, with an additional £50,000 set aside for the leading riders at the end of the series. Clark and Glen added 8.8 time — pocket change on a course where time is notoriously difficult to make — to a dressage score of 39.5 to finish ninth at that event.
With Olympic selection looming on the near horizon and Bramham and Bromont being the final selection trials, Clark and Glen will be looking to make a compelling closing argument for their inclusion on Team USA.
The CIC3* ERM show jumping and cross country take place tomorrow and run in reverse order of standing, with Clark being the final rider to go at 9:40 a.m. local time (4:40 a.m. EST).
“We’re just trying to take each phase one at a time,” Clark said. “We’ll concentrate on show jumping first tomorrow and think about our technique and jumping clear. My plan is to go quick on cross country, and I would love to stay competitive the whole way to the end of the competition.”
The first rider will leave the cross country start box at 3:22 p.m. local time. We previewed Ian Stark’s plenty stiff cross country course here.
Clark’s impressions: “The course is typical Bramham with forward distances, which is great for Glen because he has a big stride. The coffin is different this year with triple brush on the way out, and it’s steep on the way in and back out. That’s going to take some real riding. There are questions all throughout the whole course from beginning to end.”
Best of luck, Clark and Glen! Other Americans we’re cheering for at Bramham: Jenny Caras and Fernhill Fortitude, who sit sixth in the CCI3* Under 25 division heading into cross country, and Katherine Coleman and Longwood, who are 42nd in the Senior CCI3*. We recapped their day one dressage performances here.
You can watch all the action from Event Rider Masters thanks to the fantastic free live stream on eventridermasters.tv. It’s well worth tuning in for — our favorite moment of the day was a post dressage interview with Clark’s wife Jess. The riders can pick their own music for the ERM tests, and Jess selected “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and “What A Wonderful World” sung by the late Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, a rather voluminous Hawaiian ukulele player.
“He is Glen’s spirit animal,” Jess said. “If you put Glen into human form, he would be a ukulele-playing Hawaiian.”
Another quotable quote from Jess about watching Clark go cross country: “We don’t need a gym membership because my heart races so hard. It takes care of cardio for weeks!”