Becky Holder and Can’t Fire Me couldn’t quite catch Andrew Nicholson, but they put in a hell of a test to move into second place on a 44.2. The entirety of this test was very accurate, obedient and smooth. The trot work at the beginning of the test was particularly good, and Can’t Fire Me looked very relaxed throughout. If I had to pick one thing to nitpick about, I’d say the changes could have been smoother; but Becky should be absolutely thrilled with that test. She received a huge, much deserved cheer from the crowd as she left the ring. Will Faudree and Pawlow were the next best in the second group before the lunch break, scoring a 47.2 to move into fourth place. This was also a very good test with the best changes we’ve seen so far today.
Caitlin Silliman performed the dressage test of a lifetime on Catch A Star to move into fifth place on a 53.7. There’s no better time than your Rolex debut to have a peak performance, and Caitlin absolutely delivered today. Hoku looked relaxed and fabulous sporting some bling on her ear bonnet. They were a bit crooked in the reinback and the changes were a touch sticky, but aside from that it was a spectacular test. Between overcoming horrific burn wounds after Hoku narrowly escaped the True Prospect Farm barn fire and Caitlin recovering from a skull fracture last year, this pair was due for some good luck. What a great comeback story! Caitlin was all smiles leaving the ring, and I am absolutely thrilled that the test went so well for her.
Maddie Blackman and Gordonstown kicked off the second group of riders. The horse seemed a bit tense throughout and a tad fussy at points, but overall this was a solid test for this pair. Maddie and Gordonstown scored a 67 to sit in 10th place. Beth Perkins and Sal Dali scored a 70.3 to sit in 11th place. Sal Dali jigged the whole way through the free walk and was obviously feeling very good. Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda were scheduled to ride second to last before the lunch break, but Ping slipped this morning while being lunged and is apparently a bit banged up. Kudos to the Rolex officials for allowing Jennie to push her test to tomorrow so Ping can be feeling his best. We’re in the lunch break until 1:30 p.m. when Peter Barry and Kilrodan Abbott will lead off the third group of riders for the day. I’ll be back later in the afternoon for my next update.