Halt Cancer at X Challenge Cross Country: Yellow Cards for All

Still in the hunt after dressage: Bobby Stevenson of the ground jury, Rebecca Farm’s Sarah Broussard, course builder Bert Wood and USEA CEO Rob Burk. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The Halt Cancer at X Challenge continued Saturday evening at Rebecca Farm with the most incoherent demonstration of cross country riding that American eventing has witnessed in recent history, or at least since last year’s Challenge. The format was gambler’s choice, and in a new format twist that had spectators ducking for cover, this year all five riders went cross country simultaneously.

There were some overnight shake-ups from dressage — Gretchen Butts and Carol Kozlowski were out, replaced by USEF Chief Compliance Officer Matt “Tiny Dancer” Fine in a borrowed pink tutu and stuffed bra. He wasn’t happy about the latter: “I don’t need to stuff my bra,” he says. “I’m beautiful just the way I am.”

The catch ride was a bold move for Matt, a former Young Rider who has only ridden twice in the past six years, once in bike shorts and once to impress a girl. We were all impressed, or something, when he trotted his horse off the one-star bank.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Stand by your man, ladies. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Bobby “Superman” Stevenson, who represented Canada in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, took flight at the water complex.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Here’s the full sequence — notice how he’s laughing even before he hits the ground.

And then there was “Fatman in Pink” Rob Burk, who in his pre-USEA past life was a graduate H/A Pony Clubber and Young Rider who coached the Otterbein University Equestrian Team and the U.S. Naval Academy Equestrian Team.

The Dark Knight rises, er, drops. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

We were all concerned when he galloped out of sight on course only to reemerge some time later half covered in mud. Which was baffling, since Montana is in a drought and there is no apparent mud on the cross country course anywhere.

Breeches: Before. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Breeches: After. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Rob was limping a bit when we spotted him at the competitor’s party. Feel better soon, buddy!

To be fair, Sarah “Wonderwoman” Broussard and Bert “Thor” Wood looked quite competent out there. Sarah’s only dangerous riding violation came when she nearly mowed down some small children on the Western Town mound, and our only complaint about Bert was that he he left his hammer back at the barn.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The action continues with today’s Halt Cancer at X Challenge show jumping finale at 1:30 MT. There’s plenty more going on this weekend to benefit Halt Cancer at X, and we’ll keep you posted on that! Be sure to stop by Fleeceworks in the trade fair, where their great Ride for a Cause incentive is donating 10% of sales to Halt Cancer at X.

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