Tailgate nation. Photo (and car paint) courtesy of Brandi Williams.
Good morning EN! It’s hard to top the whirlwind of coverage that John and the rest of the EN team have provided in the past four days, but I will do my best to match their standards. Obviously the headliner today is William Fox Pitt’s Rolex victory with Parklane Hawk. William is the only rider in the world to have won five of the six existing four star events, and what’s even more impressive is that this weekend’s victory comes on the heels of his win at Burghley last fall. As I type this he is en route back to Britain to prepare for Badminton later this week and potentially cinch the ultimate prize: the Grand Slam of Eventing. Seven days and three phases are the only things standing between him and the $350,000 prize. Only one other rider in history (Pippa Funnell back in 2003) has won all three events in a row, but if I had to bet on any rider being able to repeat her performance it would probably be William. This weekend he will be riding two of three horses according to the draw: Lionheart, Seacookie, or Neuf Des Coeurs.
Looking towards London, this was an impressive weekend for the US, with Boyd, Karen, and Will Coleman all putting down double clear stadium rounds finishing third, fourth, and fifth respectively. Allison Springer and Arthur had a nearly fairytale weekend as well, leading the competition after dressage and finishing in second place with just 3.2 time faults gained from cross country and a single rail. The stadium course proved to be very tough for tired horses, and only five riders jumped around cleanly (Andrew Nicholson and Madeline Blackman were the other two clear rides). Quick comparison: in 2011 the US had only three riders place in the top ten, whereas this year we had four riders in the top five and seven in the top ten. You can say something about fewer heavy international hitters this year (Mary King, Clayton Fredericks, etc. were absent), but since two of those in the top five finished on their dressage score and the other two had minimal penalty additions, it is easy to imagine that the US riders would have still been just as competitive had more international riders made the trip. Congrats to all competitors, whether aiming for London or not! This year was not a dressage competition and every pair that finished has certainly earned their four star stripes. [Final Results]
Rolex by the numbers, courtesy of the event website:
Total number of spectators: 41,085 (18,506 on Saturday alone)
Total number of horses who completed dressage: 68
Total number of horses who completed cross country: 32
Total number of horses who show jumped: 27
Total number of rails pulled on Sunday: 52
Prize money William won (plus a cool watch): $80,000
Prize money Allison won (plus a 1 year lease on a Land Rover): $37,000
Prize money Boyd won: $30,000
Total number of EN posts between Wednesday and Sunday: 64 (standard deviation +/- 1, it’s 1am and that’s a lot to count)
Onto the rest of your links:
One of the big picture stories shaping up this summer is the question of how to adequately address security concerns that will surround the Olympics in the current political climate, and it seems that Britain is taking no chances. Recently officials knocked on doors in an upscale apartment building and told residents that missiles would be placed on the roof of their building, as it is the best place from which to protect the stadium. The missiles are meant to protect (and deter, given that there doesn’t seem to be much secrecy involved in the operation) from an aerial attack on the games and will be placed in several locations around the city. Apparently this is not a new practice, as there were similar missiles stationed about 1km south of the Beijing arena in 2008, but there have not been missiles of this size in London since the end of World War II so residents are understandably alarmed. According to this Reuters article, London has allocated a budget of over 1 billion pounds for security during the games. It makes the soldiers with machine guns in Mexico during Pan Ams look a bit tame in comparison. [Reuters]
Claire Lomas, the eventer who was paralyzed in a fall in 2007 and now walks with the aid of a robotic suit, has reached the halfway point of the 26 mile London Marathon course. She is walking the course to benefit a charity called Spinal Research and is scheduled to complete her walk on May 8. So far she has raised ￡40,000 and has been joined on her walk by several celebrities, including Australian eventer Paul Tapner and dressage rider Dane Rawlings. Go Claire. [Horsetalk]
Have you ever caught your horse eating wood shavings? A new study says that means he could be hungry. After observing ponies on restricted diets researchers determined that some consumed up to 1kg of shavings per day. They recommend watching horses on diets closely and using rubber mats in lieu of bedding if the problem is persistent. [Horsetalk]
The Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup Championship Freestyle also took place at the KY Horse Park this weekend. The winner was Pete Kyle riding A Ruf Gal, followed by Shane Brown on Houston Pine. Karen O’Conner and Gina Miles also took part in the competition as celebrity riders. Reining freestyles are similar to dressage freestyles and competitors choreograph routines set to music complete with costumes. A photos of Karen is posted on Kentucky Reining’s Facebook page. [Louisville.com]
Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro broke a world record this weekend at the Horses And Dreams Meets Great Britain CDI in Hagen, Germany, scoring a 88.022% in the Grand Prix Special. She led the class by nearly 8%. Other interesting tidbit: Matthias Rather and the famous Tortillas won the freestyle with a Thrilling performance set to a Michael Jackson medley. I promise that is the only pun you will find in this post. [Horse and Hound]
An insurance company in Britain, NFU Mutual, has changed its policy wording to require all owners to use a registered farrier in order to make a valid claim related to a foot problem. In Britain farriers are regulated by the government and in order to call oneself a “farrier” (as opposed to being a “trimmer” or “professional equine podiatrist”) one must meet qualifications and be registered. Those who are not registered are concerned that the change is aimed at their business and worried that they will suffer from the new insurance requirement. However, the insurance provider claims the change is intended only to make owners question qualifications before making a choice to use an unregistered farrier. [Horse and Hound]
Best of Blogs:
Brian Murphy, boyfriend and groom extraordinaire to Sara Kozumplik, blogs about her disappointment at not getting to finish the weekend. However as he writes, “The horse always comes first,” and Sara showed great horsemanship withdrawing her partner Saturday night when it became clear he would not be able to finish the event due to an injury sustained on cross country. EN wishes a speedy recovery to “Manny” and sends lots of good karma to Sara and Brian. [COTH]
That’s all for now EN, I’m sure there will be a lot of posts coming your way, both wrapping up our Rolex coverage and preparing for Badminton later this week. Thanks for reading!