Andrew Nicholson and Calico Joe laid down a stunning test to take the provisional lead on a 40.8 here on Day 1 of dressage at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Six riders kicked things off in the first group to go here on a beautiful, chilly morning in Lexington, Ky. Calico Joe spooked a bit coming down the diagonal toward M in the extended canter, but Andrew corrected him beautifully and got back on track quickly. Aside from being a tad sticky on the changes, this was a relaxed, fluid test. William Fox-Pitt and Seacookie TSF kicked off the morning as the first to go and also put in a very correct test for 46.2 to sit in second place. Andrew will return with his second ride Quimbo tomorrow, as will William Fox-Pitt with Chilli Morning.
Buck Davidson and Park Trader are sitting in third place on a 56.7 as the highest placed American pair thus far. Buck held the horse together very well in his first CCI4* dressage test. Park Trader showed a bit of tension in the free walk and didn’t settle well after that, giving a slight rear after the rein back. Buck struggled to hold the counter canter during the first serpentine, but I think he will be really happy with this test. Jan Byyny and Syd Kent are sitting in fourth place on a 58.2. I also thought this was a lovely test. While Syd Kent showed he was a bit opinionated with a buck during the canter depart out of the reinback, overall this was a very obedient test. Buck will be back for his second ride on Mar De Amor this afternoon and his third ride on Ballynoecastle RM tomorrow, while Jan will return with Inmidair tomorrow.
Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Eagle are sitting in fifth place on a 62.3. The horse seemed rushed through the first extended trot, and he also snuck in a few trot steps in the canter depart out of the reinback. Fernhill Eagle had a big spook in one of their flying changes and overall seemed a bit tense. The temperatures are in the mid-40s with a brisk wind, and quite a few of horses seem to be using that as an excuse to act out a bit. James Alliston and Parker rounded out the last of the first group of rides and are sitting in sixth on a 66.2. Parker looked quiet but obedient, and I thought his half pass to the right looked particularly good. He broke during the second canter serpentine, but had some nice changes in the test. I’ll be back during the lunch break with a full report on the second group of rides.