Classic Eventing Nation

A Curtain Call for the Ages: Allison Springer and Arthur’s Last Dance

Leslie Threlkeld Photo.

In a moment that was sure to bring the house down from the moment it was announced, Allison Springer and Arthur took the Rolex stage one final time ahead of Arthur’s retirement from competition to contest one final dressage test this afternoon.

It was a packed house full of adoring fans, and Allison and Arthur entered the arena with their typical poise and focus. While we aren’t sure what the test would have scored, it was lovely from the beginning and surely would have been near the top had it been a part of the judged rides.

If it was emotional for those of us watching, it was tenfold for Allison. “I cried every step of the way down that ramp,” she said. “Coming around the turn to the warm-up, I cried a bit. I got it together to have a nice final warm-up, but it was so emotional to go in there and hear everyone cheering.”

As much as this horse means to Allison, it is still special to her that Arthur has touched so many lives throughout his career. “All of the letters I’ve gotten over the years from people who have had difficult horses or who just have had that special bond mean so much. And what a gift to be able to learn from such an amazing animal.”

While Arthur will no longer event, Allison confirmed that he’s received the thumbs up to still dabble in pure dressage or show jumping. Allison is entertaining the idea of competing in Prix St. Georges level dressage with him, and she’s looking forward to enjoying life with her horse. “He’s certainly not ready to retire, and he doesn’t know that his weekend is over. He’s been staring at that cross country all day.”

Allison is quick to thank the village that has supported her and Arthur over the years, including the grooms who have had him in their care as well as her veterinary team that has been with her from day one. “I am just so blessed to have had so many wonderful people supporting us,” she said.

And, for anyone wondering what Allison’s score would have been, she was informed that her test was available to be picked up, so she has told EN that she will let us know when she finds out her score! Not that we are judges, but we thought it looked pretty competitive.

Social media immediately exploded with love for the liver chestnut, with whom Allison has worked to the tune of 38 FEI completions, including a USEF National Championship and an overall second place finish at the Rolex Kentucky CCI4* in 2012, as well as a sixth place finish at Burghley later that year.

Allison Springer’s longtime partner Arthur was retired from the sport of eventing today at #Rolex17 #rk3de

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Arthur’s last dance in the Rolex arena! ❤️ #rk3de

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We here at EN would like to wish Arthur the most blissful of retirements. Enjoy it, friend, you’ve truly earned it. Thank you for the memories.

Montgomery & Loughan Glen Edge Defending Winners in Rolex Dressage Finale

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Our top three remained unchanged from the lunch break following the conclusion of dressage at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen scored 33.6 to lead the way, edging two-time defending winners Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST, who settled for second place on 37.1 as we look ahead to tomorrow’s cross country.

“Glen came out this morning for his pre-ride and was a little bit on the muscle, so I didn’t quite know what I was going to get during the test,” Clark said. “When he came back out for the actual test he felt super and I thought he was going to score well, but you never know quite what you are going to get.”

What Clark and Glen received was the second best four-star score of their career, just narrowly missing their personal best of 33.3 from Badminton in 2014. With Rolex being the first CCI4* of the year, this is the first time horses and riders have tackled the new 2017 FEI CCI Four-Star Test A, and Clark said he thought it flowed well. (Watch a video here.)

“It was interesting to see how the horse’s reacted in the stretchy circle at the end. For Glen it helped him relaxed because he tends to die out in the last few movements of the test. By letting him stretch and relax, he felt rejuvenated for the last few movements.”

Now Clark and Glen, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Limmerick X Tattymacall Mustard) owned by Jess Montgomery, Kathryn Kraft, and Holly and William Becker, look ahead to Derek di Grazia’s cross country course tomorrow, which is guaranteed to shake up the leaderboard tomorrow. (Click here for a fence-by-fence preview of the course.)

Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The pressure is on with Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST sitting within striking distance on 37.1. That’s off the pace from their performance at last year’s Rolex, where they scored 34.4 in dressage on their way to taking a second consecutive win at the venue. As always, Michael said Rocana gave him “a good feeling” today.

“She was very nice to ride and very relaxed, so I could try to go forward and push her a little bit to very good marks. It was a very good test for her, maybe not good enough,” Michael said in the press conference as he glanced to the leader at his left, adding that he didn’t watch Clark’s test but wanted to see a video later “because I heard from everyone it was wonderful.”

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Kim Severson entered the stadium with the cool confidence one gains after winning Rolex three times to pilot four-star rookie Cooley Cross Border to third place on 41.0. The score likely would have flirted with the 30s had their flying changes — which Kim has been working diligently to confirm — been a bit more polished, but it was truly a stellar debut for the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Diamond Roller X Whos Diaz) owned by the Cross Syndicate.

“He really grew up a lot over the last six months,” Kim said after the test. “I was lucky enough to get most of my changes today, which has been my thing with him. He was very mature in there and quite good.”

As for her thoughts on the new 2017 FEI CCI Four-Star Test A, Kim said she thinks it should be performed the same way as any other four-star test: “quiet, forward, relaxed, happy.”

“I really appreciate the fact that we aren’t doing flying changes on the half circle or serpentines anymore. I think that’s a very difficult movement. The stretchy circle is good, and I love the flow of the trot work; shoulder-in to half pass is a forte to my horse. I think the test flows better than some of the others we’ve had recently.”

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Looking to the next spots on the leaderboard, Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deborah Halliday’s Fernhill By Night made their mark as the first pair out today, scoring 41.3 to sit in fourth place. The best two tests of the final afternoon session came from Jessica Phoenix and Phillip Dutton, both of whom have three rides here at Rolex.

Jessica Phoenix and Bentley’s Best. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Jessica and four-star first-timer Bentley’s Best, a 10-year-old Trakehner gelding (Hirtentanz
X Hauptstutbuch Baronesse XIII), put in a cracking performance in the afternoon heat to score 43.0, which puts them in fifth place just ahead of Don Good’s Pavarotti, who led yesterday and now sits sixth on 43.1. (Canadians fans will be thrilled to know that Jessica confirmed to EN she plans to run all three of her horses on cross country tomorrow!)

Lauren Kieffer, who also did her test yesterday, now sits in seventh place on 43.8 with Jacqueline Mars’ Vermiculus, followed by 2016 Pau winners Maxime Livio (who is causing quite a stir here at Rolex) and Qalao de Mers in eighth on 44.6.

Phillip Dutton and Mr. Medicott. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Phillip Dutton cruised to top positions with both of his rides today, with Tom Tierney and Annie Jones’ Fernhill Fugitive and the Mr. Medicott Syndicate’s Mr. Medicott both scoring 44.8 to round out the top 10 tied for ninth place. Phillip also has a third ride sitting inside the top 15 in John and Kristine Norton’s I’m Sew Ready, who scored 46.1 yesterday for 13th place.

Jenny Caras and Fernhill Fortitude are still holding the honors as the highest-placed Rolex Rookies following an impressive performance yesterday, which scored 46.3 and now has them tied for 14th place with Boyd Martin, who had the entire stadium cheering loudly after throwing down with Steady Eddie. The 14-year-old Australia Thoroughbred owned by Denise Lahey, Pierre Colin, and George and Gretchen Wintersteen, bettered his score from last year by 10 full points.

Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

While Steady Eddie’s performance was truly impressive, Katie Ruppel’s Houdini is currently the highest-placed Thoroughbred on the leaderboard thanks to scoring 46.0, which has them sitting in 12th place. Go Thoroughbreds!

It was a bittersweet end to the day, as Allison Springer and Arthur trotted down the centerline in the Rolex Arena for the last time. Arthur was originally targeted to compete in what would be his eighth Rolex, but after a heart condition was discovered during a vet exam the decision was made to retire him from eventing.

The ground jury at Rolex granted Allison and Arthur the chance to dance in the arena at the Kentucky Horse Park one last time as an exhibition ride. They received a standing ovation from the spectators, officials, volunteers and everyone in between. It was a curtain call for the ages.

Allison Springer and Arthur. Leslie Threlkeld Photo.

Now we look ahead to tomorrow’s cross country day, which is currently forecasted to bring unseasonably high temperatures peaking at 90 degrees (32 Celsius). To quote weather.com: “Mostly cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy in the afternoon. Near record high temperatures. High near 90F. Winds SSW at 10 to 20 mph.”

The chance of rain tomorrow has been lowered to just 10 percent, with a 50 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms tonight. The ground definitely feels a bit hard in spots right now, but rest assured that Mick Costello and the amazing grounds crew here at the Kentucky Horse Park are busy aerating, aggravating and watering to ensure the best possible conditions for the horses tomorrow.

As for the strategies our top three will be employing, Clark Montgomery said, “For Glen I have to make sure that I don’t come out of the start box a bit too fast. It’s big the whole way around and tricky. … You need rideability at the end of the course.”

Kim Severson said how much rain the area receives tonight will definitely affect the conditions. “The ground could be holding, which we’ve had in the past with the heat in the afternoon. I think the heat is going to be a factor. A lot of us are going to find out a lot about our horses tomorrow.”

Michael Jung said he thinks the flow of the course is better this year, but the track is still “tough with big fences and also a few very tricky combinations in the end. I think it’s a very tough four-star course. I think the ground is maybe at the moment a bit hard, but I think that’s OK. If it’s not too hot tomorrow, I think we will have a lot of fun.”

The Rolex Head of the Lake. Photo by Jenni Autry.

If you don’t have a plan for cross country day tomorrow, allow us to lend a helping hand! If you’re here at Rolex, you’ll want to watch from EN’s premium tailgate spaces at S240 and S241, near the jog strip and announcer’s tower overlooking the infield. Click here for all the details. (The tailgate is also the only place where you can buy #teamleelee stickers for $5 each. All proceeds will support the medical fund for Phillip Dutton’s stepdaughter Lee Lee Jones, who is recovering from a traumatic brain injury.)

If you’re not at Rolex, you can watch live on USEF Network or FEI TV starting at 10 a.m. EST/3 p.m. UK time. We’ll also have an open thread running here on EN, and I’ll be tweeting live from the media center, where we have four television monitors to show us every second of the action.

If you’re just tuning into EN today, you know the drill by now. Click here to catch up on all of our #RK3DE coverage, and don’t forget to download the all new EN app. [Download the EN app for iOS] [Download the EN app for Android]

Go Eventing.

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Breaking Down the Winning Ride: Where Did Clark Get the Upper Hand?

Clark Montgomery and Michael Jung. Photos by Jenni Autry.

It’s no surprise that two of the best dressage event horses in the world are currently nearly neck and neck for the lead heading into cross country at Rolex Kentucky. Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen were just shy of a personal best, scoring a 33.6 for the lead, followed by Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST on a 37.1.

While there is a tiny bit of breathing room (less than 10 seconds of time for tomorrow’s cross country test) at the top, it’s certainly still any man or woman’s game at this point. Nevertheless, we thought it would be interesting to break down the top two tests to see exactly where Clark gained a scoring advantage from the judges.

Here is a look at each test broken down by judges’ marks at each movement, collective marks, and total penalty points and percentage:

Clark Montgomery:

Michael Jung:

For the sake of surface analysis, we did a progressive average to find out where each pair really had their best trend as well as their lowest. From a pure numerical standpoint, here is the breakdown of averages for each rider:

Some notes that are of interest:

  • Clark Montgomery started his test at a 73% with his first centerline, halt and salute. From there, he progressively trended up, only losing a hair of traction (if you can call a +75% “losing traction”) in his walk and the beginning of his canter work. He ended on an average of 76.4%, not including collective marks.
  • Michael Jung started strong and lost traction throughout the rest of his test. His first centerline, halt and salute earned him a 9 from Nick Burton at M, and his starting percentage was a 75%.
  • Michael lost the most amount of momentum in his walk work. Looking back at the live stream, which featured Marilyn Payne as a guest commentator during this test, a few comments were made about Michael giving fischerRocana FST perhaps a bit longer of a rein that necessary. This is speculation, of course, without seeing the judges’ remarks, but Marilyn did make a comment about this.
  • Both riders’ highest average marks from the three judges came during their flying changes towards the end of the test, across center line.
  • Collective marks notwithstanding, Clark had an overall score average of 75.8%, while Michael averaged 73.4%. You can see the final percentages above that include the collectives.
  • Michael received two nines during his test, both from Nick Burton: his first center line and his halt prior to the rein back.
  • Clark received four 9s and one 10 (two of the 9s and the 10 from Nick Burton, the other two from Christina Klingspor) on the following movements: Extended trot, his second flying change, his second center line flying change, and his final halt, which received the 10.

While these two scores are certainly not “neck and neck”, it’s still fascinating to break down the averages and see exactly how each pair managed their tests. We could go even farther into detail, but my math skills stop right about here.

Take a look at the top two tests here so that you can do your own comparison!

Maggie Deatrick also contributed to this report.

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Post-Test Rider Reflections: Friday Afternoon

Holly Jacks Smither and More Inspiration. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Samantha Clark has been a busy bee all weekend, catching riders as they get off of their horses after each test. We’re lucky to have thoughts from most of the riders on their respective tests, so here are the interviews from this afternoon:

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Savannah Fulton (66.2):

Matt Brown (47.8):

Jordan Linstedt (47.3):

Tim Price (46.9):

Doug Payne (48.6):

Boyd Martin (Steady Eddie – 46.3):

Will Faudree (47.9):

Holly Jacks Smither (57.7):

Will Coleman (Tight Lines – 54.4):

Phillip Dutton (Mr. Medicott – 44.8):



Jessica Phoenix (Bentley’s Best – 43.0):

Buck Davidson (Petite Flower – 48.1):

Friday Video from World Equestrian Brands: Preview the #RK3DE Cross Country with Derek di Grazia

We’re getting hyped for cross country on Saturday here at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, and just in time the USEF Network has posted a course preview with designer Derek di Grazia. Check it out as Derek walks us through some of the most challenging questions on the course.

It should be a great day of cross country action, so stay tuned for much more from Lexington! And be sure to stop by the EN Rolex Reader Appreciation Tailgate Party, presented by Amerigo, to win great prizes from World Equestrian Brands!

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram, Live Scores

Post-Test Rider Reflections: Friday Morning

Fist pump! First out today and straight into the lead 💃🏻 #RK3DE

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They came, they dressaged, they conquered. The Friday morning Rolex dressage session was full of heavy hitters ready to give the leaderboard a good shake — and Samantha Clark was waiting for them on the other side.

Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST (37.1)

Tim Bourke and Luckaun Quality (57.2)

Zara Phillips and High Kingdom (46.6)

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border (41.0)

Hannah Sue Burnett and Under Suspection (45.2)

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Rolex Friday Afternoon Open Thread, Presented by SmartPak

Woodge Fulton and Captain Jack. Photo by Jenni Autry.

It’s just about time to wrap up the dressage here at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. This morning we were treated to some real master classes on how to perform a CCI4* test, and it’s Clark Montgomery leading the charge with Loughan Glen on a 33.6. You can catch up on our full report here and our morning open thread here.

While it will be a tough play to best Clark’s score from this morning, there is still plenty of deep talent left to see today, and it’s likely we’ll see quite a few more shuffles on the board before we finalize the standings heading into cross country.

Keep refreshing this page for the latest, and we’ll be joining you shortly at 1:30 p.m. EST with the first ride of the afternoon, Lillian Heard and LCC Barnaby, her second ride of the weekend.

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

4:02 p.m.:

3:41 p.m.: Catch Buck’s thoughts on his last ride with Petite Flower:

3:38 p.m.: Well it will be Clark Montgomery, Michael Jung and Kim Severson who are your top three heading into tomorrow’s cross country! Stay tuned for the full report, and I will continue to add more tidbits to this thread.

3:37 p.m.: I really hope that the judges kept a score for Allison because we would love to know how she would have placed!

3:37 p.m.:

3:35 p.m.: Allison receives a standing ovation from a packed house as her final curtain call with Arthur comes to an end. The pure emotion that we’re seeing right now is overwhelming. She now takes a victory gallop as a final farewell. I am really sorry I don’t have more GIFs, my computer chose the perfect time to say nah.

3:26 p.m.: Oh God. It’s time. I can’t handle the amount of tears that are about to happen.

3:26 p.m.: Buck is working on a really nice test here with Flower.

3:22 p.m.:

3:21 p.m.: FLOWER POWERRRR

3:19 p.m.: And now we’re on to our final judged ride of the day, Buck Davidson and the homebred by Bruce Davidson’s Petite Flower.

3:19 p.m.:

A class performance from Bentley's Best in his CCI4* debut with Jessica Phoenix #rk3de #bestweekendallyear

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3:19 p.m.:

Mr. Medicott is baaaaaaack! 😍#rk3de

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3:18 p.m.:

3:17 p.m.: Jessica knows that test was a solid one! She looks thrilled.

3:15 p.m.: Check out Holly Jacks and Will Coleman’s thoughts on their tests:

3:15 p.m.:

3:14 p.m.: Bentley’s Best is really showing off his chops here:

Jessie Phoenix and Bentley’s Best.

3:13 p.m.:

3:12 p.m.: Just a couple more to see still and now we will see Jessica Phoenix’s third and final ride, Bentley’s Best.

3:11 p.m.: How is that for consistency? Phillip earns a 44.8 on Mr. Medicott to tie with his earlier ride, I’m Sew Ready.

3:10 p.m. An absolutely lovely test from Phillip and “Cave.” Unfortunately, my GIF maker has decided to crap out on me so bear with me as I try to get it up and running again.

3:02 p.m.: Some tension will hurt Will’s score with Tight Lines but a solid showing with a good finish for this horse’s first CCI4*.

2:58 p.m.: Hear from Will Faudree on his ride with Pfun:

2:57 p.m.: Will Coleman and a stunning looking Tight Lines are the next in.

2:57 p.m.:

Holly Jacks-Smither gives big pats to More Inspiration after making their #rk3de debut 🇨🇦 #bestweekendallyear

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2:57 p.m.:

Will Faudree gives Pfun a big pat after seeing his score of 47.6 in the horse's CCI4* debut #rk3de #bestweekendallyear

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2:55 p.m.:

2:48 p.m.: And now we are on to our final Rookie, Holly Jacks Smither and More Inspiration, representing Canada. Will Faudree earned a 47.9 on Pfun.

2:46 p.m.: A lovely finish to Will’s test.

Will Faudree and Pfun.

2:45 p.m.:

2:45 p.m.: Big shout-out to John Kyle, working hard as always in the announcer’s booth!

2:43 p.m.: Pfun is looking absolutely stunning for Will Faudree. Funny story, I just started to spell “Faudree,” “Pfaudree.”

2:43 p.m.:

2:36 p.m.:

Boyd Martin hams it up for the crowd at Rolex after the best test of Steady Eddie's career! #rk3de #bestweekendallyear

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2:33 p.m.: Get Boyd’s thoughts on Steady Eddie’s test:

2:33 p.m.:

2:29 p.m.: If only all tests could be this quick!

2:28 p.m.:

Boyd Martin on Steady Eddie at #rk3de

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2:27 p.m.: Catch Doug Payne’s thoughts on his test with “Quinn”:

2:27 p.m.:

Doug Payne on way to arena! #rk3de2017 #rk3de #eventing @visitaikensc #aikensc #rolexkentucky @dpequestrian #dougpayne

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2:26 p.m.: And we’re onto our final break of the day and will resume at 2:40 p.m. with Will Faudree and Pfun.

2:23 p.m.: Nice changes from Boyd, I missed the last one off of the extended canter, but that was my favorite. A lovely transition from the extended to the collected and a nice lift for the change.

2:22 p.m.: We caught up with Tim Price after his test:

2:21 p.m.: Am I the only one who was kind of wishing that the FEI didn’t institute a new rule about not catch riding at this level so that William Fox-Pitt could have ridden this horse?

2:17 p.m.: And the final of our second to last group today is Boyd Martin and his second ride, Steady Eddie.

2:17 p.m.:

2:14 p.m.: Not quite as flashy as the leaders, he’s trending more towards the 67% but a consistent and obedient test about half way through.

Doug Payne and Vandiver.

2:11 p.m.:

Good luck finding a bigger or more passion group of fans than Woodge Fulton has! #rk3de

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2:10 p.m.: Here are Jordan Linstedt’s thoughts on her test:

2:08 p.m.: Tim left a few points on the table in the latter half of his test but nailed his final halt to give a good final impression. They will take a 46.9 into cross country tomorrow. Next we will see Doug Payne and Vandiver.

2:07 p.m.:

2:06 p.m.: Matt Brown chats with the media:

2:06 p.m.:

RevitaVet Capato says, "Is all that cheering for me?" #rk3de #bestweekendallyear

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2:04 p.m.: A superb start for Ringwood Sky Boy. This could be a challenger! A slight mistake when Sky Boy tried to take a step forward in the rein back and then hit the board during.

2:02 p.m.: Here’s what Woodge Fulton thought of her test:

2:01 p.m.: And now we have Tim Price with Ringwood Sky Boy, who could be ones to challenge the leaders.

2:00 p.m.:

1:59 p.m.: John Kyle comments that the number of changes in this test has held many riders back from better scores, especially since they come as some of the last movements of the test.

1:58 p.m.: A lovely change for Capato, who has my favorite gallop. Just wait til you see him tomorrow.

1:57 p.m.: A little resistance in the rein back for Capato:

Jordan Linstedt and RevitaVet Capato.

1:56 p.m.:

Woodge Fulton definitely wins for the largest cheering section! #rk3de #bestweekendallyear

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1:55 p.m.: We are now joined by the lovely Jordan Linstedt and RevitaVet Capato.

1:54 p.m.: Slo-mo of Flaxen’s spook after clipping the board by C:

Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF.

1:53 p.m.:

1:50 p.m.:

The Biggest Smile of the Day Award goes to Rolex Rookie Woodge Fulton with Captain Jack! #rk3de #bestweekendallyear

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1:49 p.m.:

Chinch has the solution to that #fridayafternoonslump #secondwind #bloodymarymotivation

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1:47 p.m.: A little tense heading into the first medium trot on the short diagonal. Perhaps a bit of tension from this horse, but they still present a really nice picture.

Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF.

1:46 p.m.: Next up, Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF. Matt surely has his superhero socks on, and this will likely be a super lovely test.

1:44 p.m.:

1:43 p.m.: And Woodge has made her official Rolex debut! We all know Captain Jack is not a huge fan of the dressage (we get it, buddy), but now it’s on to the fun stuff!

1:40 p.m.: Captain Jack says “How do I look?” to the crowd at his halt at C.

Woodge Fulton and Captain Jack.

1:38 p.m.: And now we have another Rookie and another one of our youngest riders this year, Woodge Fulton and Captain Jack.

1:35 p.m.: Lillian has a big grin as she makes her final halt. A really nice test with just a couple of mistakes from LCC Barnaby. They earn a 57.0 from the judges. Barnaby looks quite pleased with himself!

Lillian and LCC Barnaby.

1:34 p.m.:

Go Woodge! #rk3de #fmfblue #fullmoonfarm #jointhejoy #pony #horselife

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1:32 p.m.: Karen O’Connor comments that LCC Barnaby is not “the most extravagant” of movers, so Lillian really has to concentrate on quality of transitions and accuracy, as well as setting her horse up as best she can to get the most out of each movement.

Lillian Heard and LCC Barnaby.

1:30 p.m.: And here we go! Underway with Lillian Heard and LCC Barnaby, who is 11 this year and looking for his second CCI4* completion this weekend.

1:27 p.m.: The ever wonderful John Kyle is now re-joined by Karen O’Connor for this first afternoon session.

1:21 p.m.:

Warmup! #rk3de #dressage

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Enter Horseware Ireland’s Rolex Photobomb Contest To Win This EN Cooler!

Not only is it an awesome cooler, it has four-star horse germs all over it! As modeled by Doug Payne’s Rolex ride Vandiver.

Want to win this one-of-a-kind Eventing Nation cooler from our friends at Horseware Ireland? Here’s how:

Photobomb any of the following Horseware sponsored riders …

  • Phillip Dutton
  • Michael Jung
  • Doug Payne
  • Jessica Phoenix

… and share it on Instagram with the hashtag #RolexPhotobomb for a chance to win!

Deadline is the end of show jumping on Sunday, after which we’ll draw a winner.

Horseware is all over the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, from back at the barns …

Michael Jung’s champion mare Rocana having a Sportz-Vibe session before her third Rolex debut! #teamhorseware #rk3de #horseware

Posted by Horseware on Thursday, April 27, 2017

… to the Horseware booth in the Rolex Sponsor Village, where Horseware riders have been stopping by to sign autographs for fans. Pro tip: Michael Jung’s 2 p.m. Friday autograph signing would be a good photobomb opportunity!

Check out Horseware’s complete line of rugs, boots and bandages, horse care products, accessories and much, much more in person at the Horseware booth, or shop online here! And be sure to follow Horseware Ireland on Facebook for all the latest!

Go Horseware Ireland. Go Rolex. Go Eventing.

Chinch hitching a ride at the Horseware tent in the Rolex Sponsor Village. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Rolex Lunch Update: Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen Throw Down

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen didn’t quite catch their four-star personal best on the second day of dressage here at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, scoring 33.6 to easily top the leaderboard at the lunch break. But when your personal best is a 33.3 and you missed that by just 0.3 points, it’s difficult to be disappointed!

It’s old news by now that Clark and Glen, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Limmerick X Tattymacall Mustard) owned by Jess Montgomery, Kathryn Kraft, and Holly and William Becker, are a formidable combination in this phase. But that doesn’t discount the fact that they delivered an absolutely stellar performance in the Rolex Stadium today to put the pressure on two-time defending winners Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST.

Rocana, a 12-year-old German Sport Horse mare (Ituango xx X Rose II) owned by Joachim and Brigitte Jung, has hit the 34-mark range twice in her four-star career, but she didn’t quite match that today, scoring 37.1 to still sit comfortably in second place and well within striking distance as we look ahead to cross country tomorrow.

Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST survey their kingdom! #rk3de

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Three-time Rolex winner Kim Severson is sitting in familiar territory with Cooley Cross Border, who put in a beautiful performance in his four-star debut for third place on 41.0. His marks were trending right on par with Clark and Glen through much of the test, and while they left points on the table in their flying changes — which Kim has said aren’t quite yet confirmed — this was a very exciting debut for the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Diamond Roller X Whos Diaz) owned by the Cross Syndicate.

Go Kim and Cross! #rk3de #bestweekendallyear

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It’s been a stellar day of dressage right from the beginning, with Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Deborah Halliday, starting us off right, besting their score from last year by nearly two full points to sit in fourth place on 41.3. Jessica Phoenix and Don Good’s Pavarotti, who led overnight following the first day of dressage, now sit in fifth place on 43.1.

Fist pump! First out today and straight into the lead 💃🏻 #RK3DE

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Looking to other notable tests from the morning session, Hannah Sue Burnett piloted Under Suspection to a lovely performance in the mare’s four-star debut, scoring 45.2 to sit in ninth place. The 13-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Mary Ann Ghadban is one of EN’s picks to play spoiler this weekend, so be sure to keep an eye on her tomorrow.

Phillip Dutton gave us the only other test to crack the top 10 so far today, scoring 44.8 with Tom Tierney and Annie Jones’ Fernhill Fugitive, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, to sit in seventh place. He now has two rides in the top 15, with John and Kristine Norton’s I’m Sew Ready in 11th, and the Mr. Medicott Syndicate’s Mr. Medicott still to come this afternoon.

44.8 for Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive for 5th place #RK3DE

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EN’s data analyst Maggie Deatrick once again crunched the numbers on the morning scoring, and the sessions varied from the expected averages more than yesterday morning’s sessions. Early on, it looked as if the cool weather may have been creating some tighter horses, as scoring in the first morning session trended 2.0 points above expected averages. A couple of stellar tests in the second session, including Loughan Glen coming close to his personal best four-star score, dropped that session’s average to 1.73 points below expected averages.

In the third session, every horse performed better than their expected score, making the final morning session trend 2.99 points below expectations. However, overall the entire morning averaged only 0.95 points below average, on trend with both yesterday morning and afternoon. As of lunch time, there has been no clear advantage in going on a particular day or time.

The judges continue to track closely with one another, with Loughan Glen receiving the largest difference in marks, equaling I’m Sew Ready’s difference from yesterday. Nick Burton particularly liked Glen’s test, rewarding it with an astonishing 80.0%, while David Lee felt it was ‘only’ worth a 75.0%. Of the entire field, 84.4% received scores that varied no more than 3.5% between the three judges.

It’s unlikely we will see anyone catch Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen’s leading score in the final session, but there are still a number of top horses to watch. If you missed Maggie’s analysis on the dressage powerhouses of day two, now is a good time to catch up ahead of the 1:30 p.m. start time. Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy have cracked the 30s twice at four-star level, so their test at 2:02 p.m. is one to watch for sure.

If you’re just tuning in to EN today, click here to read through our morning open thread and here to scroll through all of our coverage. If you haven’t been watching the live stream on USEF Network or FEI TV, you are missing out on John Kyle’s excellent commentary, along with Karen O’Connor and top riders who are dropping by throughout the broadcast to provide their insight.

Be sure to check out Abby Powell’s Rolex at a Glance post to get to know the riders better, and then click over here for all the details on EN’s 5th Annual Rolex Tailgate, presented by Amerigo. It’s THE place to be on cross country day at Rolex, with food, drinks, trivia, games, celebrity appearances and, of course, a chance to meet Chinch.

We are closing in on 1,000 downloads for the new EN app, and you MUST have the app downloaded on your phone if you want to snag a W.W.M.J.D bracelet tomorrow at the tailgate. [Download the EN app for iOS] [Download the EN app for Android]

Go Eventing.

#RK3DE Links: Website, Schedule, Ride Times, Live Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, Live Stream, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

Your Guide to EN’s 5th Annual Rolex Tailgate, Presented by Amerigo

It’s happy hour all day at the EN Rolex Tailgate, presented by Amerigo! Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Eventing Nation has the best readers in the land. And because nothing says “thank you” like free refreshments and swag, we are once again partnering with our friends at Amerigo to throw EN’s 5th annual Rolex Reader Appreciation Tailgate Party!  

Consider this your official invite.

When: Cross-country day! Saturday, April 29, from when the first horse sets out on course until the last horse passes the finish flags.

Where: We’ll be in tailgating spaces S240 and S241, near the jog strip and announcer’s tower overlooking the infield (see blue star on map). Red on right, white on left, party in the middle… we’re kind of hard to miss.

What: All the fun, all day long. Stop by to get EN temporary-tatted up, schmooze with a certain celebrity Chinch, quench your thirst, enjoy a snack, and win some sweet swag.

Win!: 

  • Submit your best “What’s the REAL Story Behind Chinch?” conspiracy theory for a chance to win prizes from Cavalor!
  • Drop some science in Rolex Trivia (2 p.m. hosted by Glenn and Jamie from Horses in the Morning) to win EN swag, along with a grand prize beautiful figure-8 bridle from Vespucci!
  • Download the brand new EN App to pick up a W.W.MJ.D. wristband!

What would Michael do? Win Rolex, clearly!!! #ThisAintNoRolex #RK3DE

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  • Try your hand at games like #WhackaChinch, #BowlingForChinches, #ChinchHole and #ChinchPong! Demonstration, please:

Bowling for Chinches at the EN Tailgate Party. #chinstagram #rk3de

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Playing some Whack-a-Chinch at the EN Tailgate Party. #poorchinch #toofar #chinstagram #rk3de

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Chinch-hole at its finest. #yesitsathing #insanityinthemiddle #rk3de

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Why: Because you’re awesome.

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Games will be going on all day and we’re expecting a few eventing celebs to stop by — keep an eye on EN’s Twitter (@eventingnation) and Instagram (@goeventing) for updates!

Go eventing party people!