Emily Beshear and Here’s To You set the benchmark as the second pair out in the first Advanced division here at The Fork, scoring 29.1 to hold the lead following the dressage. Quincy was going beautifully when the judges suddenly stopped him toward the end of the test just before the extended canter. Apparently there was a bit of confusion as to whether she had missed a movement; she hadn’t, and they continued on to finish well. Emily said after the test she was very pleased with him, and it’s certainly the test she wanted heading in to Rolex. Emily and Quincy had to skip Kentucky last year due to a last-minute injury, so she’s definitely one who will be buying bubble wrap in bulk in these final weeks.
Phillip Dutton had a bang up morning with his three rides, who are all sitting behind Emily and Quincy in third through fifth places. He scored 29.7 with both Mr. Medicott and Trading Aces, who he’s riding this weekend while Boyd Martin is sidelined recovering with a broken leg; that score ties both horses for second place. Mr. Medicott looked very keen in the warmup but settled very nicely for the test. Oscar, who Phillip rode for the first time yesterday, has had some naughty moments in the dressage so far this season, but he was on his best behavior today for a very good performance. Phillip was first out this morning with Mighty Nice, and Happy looked very obedient for a consistent test to score 30.0 for fourth place. It’s also notable here that all 12 changes between Phillip’s three rides were clean — not a bad way to start the weekend!
Lillian Heard and Share Option were the final pair to go in the division, scoring 30.6 for fifth place. The changes were a bit of a mixed bag, but this was a really nice showing from this pair. Veronica was very excited to be out today, and she was not at all happy to be held to a trot in the beginning of the test. Multiple breaks to the canter unfortunately affected Lauren Kieffer’s score of 32.8 for sixth place. Michael Pollard and Mensa didn’t perform to the level we usually see from them, and the horses didn’t look very settled in the bridle today; they’re sitting on 33.1 for seventh place. Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch put in the consistent performance we’ve come to expect. While the changes weren’t quite on par with what we normally see from them, there was still a lot to like about this test; they scored 34.7, which ties them for eighth place with Will Coleman and Conair.
It’s impressive how much Conair’s trot work has improved since Will took over the ride on this horse. He’s gained a considerable amount of strength and looks incredibly fit right now. They lost a bit of rhythm in the canter work, and that’s another piece of the puzzle that will come together with time as the horse continues to gain the muscle he needs to achieve consistency in the gait. Kevin Keane and Fernfill Flutter round out the top 10 on 35.3. This horse tries so hard for Kevin, which always makes them a nice pair to watch. They’re also heading to Rolex, and Kevin said he was pleased with how the horse handled the atmosphere here. We’re on a break now before the CIC3* dressage starts at 2:37 p.m. I’ll also be touring the cross-country course today with designer Tremaine Cooper. Stay tuned for much more from The Fork!