Rolex Cross Country Open Thread Sponsored by SmartPak

Good morning from Rolex! It’s overcast with rain expected in the forecast today for cross-country day, with William Fox-Pitt and Seacookie TSF starting on course as our trailblazers at 10 a.m. EST. John and Visionaire are manning the live blog, and I’ll be bringing you live updates on all the action in this post. Be sure to check back for all the latest news, including any withdraws. Thus far, Sally Cousins and Tsunami have been the only pair to withdraw, but inclement weather may lead to more scratches. Optimum time is 11:21. Go Rolex, and go eventing!

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3:16 p.m.: Andrew Nicholson and Quimbo came home double clear to take the Rolex lead. Andrew Nicholson and Quimbo were sitting in second place overnight after dressage and are the new leaders going into show jumping tomorrow. Andrew is also in second place on Calico Joe. Stay tuned for a full report.

3:13 p.m.: Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice retired on course after a runout at the Bridgestone Park Question. Phillip had originally said he would not ride, but then changed his mind, most likely after seeing how much the leaderboard changed this afternoon. Phillip and Mighty Nice were sitting in 24th place after dressage.

3:06 p.m.: Buck Davidson and Ballynoecastle RM came home double clear — making him double clear on two of three rides today. Buck went out very aggressively, as he did on his other rides and really pulled it out. Buck and Ballynoecastle RM were sitting in eighth place overnight after dressage.

3:02 p.m.: James Alliston and Tivoli came home clear with 6.4 time penalties. This was James’ third clear trip around the cross-country course. James gave Tivoli a conservative ride in the horse’s first four-star appearance and got him around safely. James and Tivoli were sitting in 14th place after dressage.

2:54 p.m.: Phillip Dutton has changed his mind and will go with Mighty Nice this afternoon. He and Happy will be the final ride of the day at 3:10 p.m.

2:51 p.m.: Marilyn Little fell from RF Demeter when the mare got her legs tangled at the out element of the Land Rover Hollow. Marilyn was obviously in a lot of pain right when she fell, as she was riding today with a Grade 3 separated shoulder. But she stood up and was OK. This is a big disappointment for Marilyn, as she and Demeter were tied for fifth place after dressage.

2:45 p.m. Heather Gillette fell from Our Questionnaire at the Head of the Lake. They had a few other sticky moments on course, and Questie didn’t seem to be at his best today. Heather and Questie were sitting in 27th place after dressage.

2:43 p.m.: William Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning retired on course when the horse stopped at the first element of the HSBC Water Park. Chilli looked a bit peaky at the Curving Brushes at 6AB and just didn’t appear to be on his game today. William and Chilli were the overnight leaders after dressage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2D07gLFbfhQ

Andrew Nicholson and Calico Joe 

2:40 p.m.: Kendal Lehari and Daily Edition came home double clear and very fast. Kendal had multiple Superman moments with Daily Edition, and the horse looked very strong early in the course. But he came back nicely to Kendal, who is making her Rolex debut. Kendal and Daily Edition were sitting in 36th place after dressage.

2:31 p.m.: Lindsey Oaks and Enchantez were eliminated on course at the Normandy Bank. Lindsey also had refusals at the HSBC Water Park and the Double Corners. This was their first attempt at Rolex. Lindsey and Enchantez were sitting in 44th place after dressage.

2:28 p.m. Rachel Jurgens fell from Ziggy at the first element of the HSBC Water Park at fence 7. This is a big disappointment for Rachel at her first four star, but they’ll be back to fight another day. Rachel and Ziggy were tied for 41st after dressage.

2:26 p.m.: Boyd Martin and Trading Aces retired on course at the Horse Park Shelters. Boyd gave Oscar a brilliant ride through the horse’s first four star, but Oscar began to tire toward the end of the course. This was a true horseman’s decision. Boyd and Trading Aces were sitting in 12th place overnight after dressage.

2:22 p.m.: Emily Renfroe and Walk The Line came home clear with 24.8 time penalties. Walk The Line had some clever moments where the horse showed just how athletic she is, and Emily gave her a fantastic ride in this pair’s first trip to Rolex. Emily and Walk The Line were sitting in 39th overnight after dressage.

2:16 p.m.: Jonelle Richards and The Deputy came clear home with 2.4 time penalties. This is the horse’s four-star debut, and Jonelle gave him a brilliant ride around. She slowed up a bit toward the end when the horse started to tire. Jonelle and The Deputy were sitting in 16th after dressage overnight.

2:11 p.m.: Erin Sylvester and No Boundaries came home with 20 jumping penalties and 2.4 time penalties. Erin and Bucky had a stop at the Sheep Shelter at fence 15. This has not been their weekend, as Erin struggled yesterday in dressage to keep a very tense Bucky from jumping out of his skin. Erin and No Boundaries were sitting in 45th place after dressage.

2:05 p.m.: Ronald Zabala-Goetschel and Wise Equestrian Master Rose fell at the first element of the Head of the Lake. Both Ronald and Big Boy were up and OK after the fall, which was quite scary to watch. They were having a very good ride prior to that. Ronald and Master Rose were in 22nd overnight after dressage.

2:03 p.m.: Michelline Jordan and Irish Diamonds came home with one stop at the Bridgestone Park Question and 22.4 time penalties. They had some sticky moments, and Michelline played it safe with a conservative ride through the rest of the course after their stop. Michelline was tied for 30th coming into dressage.

1:57 p.m.: Mary King and Fernhill Urco retired on course before the Horse Park Shelters just four fences from home. Mary had a runout at the out element of the Rolex Head of the Lake, where she just got there on an off stride. Fernhill Urco looked quite green at some points in the course, and Mary really head to give him a strong ride. Mary and Fernhill Urco were tied for fifth overnight after dressage.

1:53 p.m.: Meghan O’Donoghue and Pirate finished clear with four time faults in their first trip around Rolex. Meghan rode around her first four-star course like a seasoned pro, giving Pirate a fantastic ride and really keeping her cool. Pirate definitely looked a bit tired coming home over the Horse Park Shelters at 26AB, and Meghan brought him home safely. Meghan and Pirate were in 25th place going into dressage.

1:47 p.m.: Austin O’Connor and Ringwood Mississippi came home clear and with four time faults. The horse really looked like he was tiring earlier in the course, and the fact that they came home with just four time penalties really shows how well Austin rode him there at the end. Austin and Ringwood Mississippi were sitting in 32nd place overnight after dressage.

1:37 p.m.: Allie Knowles and Last Call were eliminated on course after multiple stops at the Sunken Road. The trouble began when Last Call caught her legs badly at the Ditch Brush at fence 12. After that, Allie lost her rhythm, having a runout at the first element of the Sunken Road at 13. She then went to take the option and had multiple stops before being eliminated. Allie and Last Call were the highest placed American pair coming in to cross country, sitting in fourth place.

1:30: p.m.: We’re underway again on cross country here at Rolex. Allie Knowles and Last Call, the highest-placed American pair in fourth place after dressage, are the first to head out after the lunch break. This is their first trip to Rolex.

12:21 p.m.: Phillip Dutton has just withdrawn Mighty Nice to save the horse for another day, according to his Facebook page. Happy has nothing to prove in the jumping phases and has a big future ahead of him. The horse finished in 10th place at Rolex last year.

http://youtu.be/Sfai9bR4o7o

William Fox-Pitt and Seacookie TSF were first on course, double clear right on optimum time.

12:08 p.m.: We’re now on the lunch break. Stay tuned for a full lunchtime report.

12:07 p.m.: James Alliston and Jumbo’s Jake came home clear with 24.4 time penalties. This is James’ second clear ride of the day, as he went double clear this morning with Parker as the second rider out of the day. James really pushed Jake at the end, as the horse looked a bit tired. James and Jake were sitting in 15th place overnight after dressage.

12:02 p.m.: Lynn Symansky and Donner came home double clear and 11 seconds inside the time in the horse’s four-star debut. Lynn is riding with her right hand in a cast due to a spiral fracture in her pinky. The cast didn’t seem to hold her back at all, and this pair looked fantastic the whole way around. This is a horse with a very exciting future. Lynn and Donner were sitting in 19th after dressage.

11:57 a.m.: Buck Davidson and Mar De Amor came home double clear well inside the time with a double fist pump from Buck across the finish line. This is Mar De Amor’s four-star debut, and Buck really held nothing back and rode some very aggressive lines on course. Buck and Mar De Amor were sitting in 20th overnight after dressage.

11:52 a.m.: Shandiss McDonald and Rockfield Grant Juan came home clear with 20.4 time penalties. This horse is huge and an incredible jumper, looking like he was just stepping over the fences at points. Shandiss gave him a good ride home when he started to tire at the end. Shandiss and Juan were sitting in ninth place overnight after dressage.

11:42 a.m.: Kristi Nunnink and R-Star came home clear with 4.8 time penalties. Kristi and R-Star took a flyer into the Head of the Lake and also left a stride out at the Ditch Brush at fence 12, giving us a bit of a scare. R-Star has a huge gallop and covers the ground beautifully. Kristi and R-Star were sitting in 21st place overnight after dressage.

11:36 a.m.: Hawley Bennett-Award and Gin & Juice came home clear with .8 time penalties. Ginny looked incredibly agile on course, pulling Hawley around the whole way and bounding over the fences like she had springs for legs. The mare looked fantastic and like she could have gone around again. Hawley and Ginny were sitting in 29th overnight after dressage.

11:31 a.m.: Daniel Clasing and Houston came home double clear — the first of our Rolex first-timers to do so today. Houston looked full of running at the end of the course — a testament to Daniel’s hard work to get the horse fit for his first trip to Rolex. Daniel and Houston were sitting in 37th overnight after dressage.

11:27 a.m.: Katie Ruppel and Sir Donovan came home clear with 2 time penalties and a giant smile on her face. Katie and Donald have struggled with a Rolex curse the last two years, facing elimination in dressage in 2011 and taking a tumble last year on cross country. Kudos to Katie for coming back and persevering. Katie and Donald were sitting in 33rd overnight after dressage.

11:22 a.m.: Kristin Schmolze and Ballylaffin Bracken came home clear with 14 time penalties. Rox looked tired toward the end of the course, and Kristin brought him home safely with a huge pat upon finishing. This is Rox’s first trip to Rolex, and Kristin has big plans for future teams with this horse. They were tied for 17th overnight after dressage.

11:16 a.m.: Peter Atkins and Henry Jota Hampton came home clear with 2 time penalties. Peter and Henny had a very hairy moment through the Curving Brushes at 6AB, but Peter kicked on and recovered well. Look for the signature Henny helmet cam on EN later today. Peter and Henny were sitting in 28th overnight after dressage.

11:07 a.m.: Peter Barry and Kilrodan Abbott came home clear with 11.2 time penalties. Peter took his time around the course with Eddie and played it safe. His goal looked to be to get around with a solid ride. That will be a big confidence booster for Peter and Eddie going forward. They were sitting in 35th place overnight after dressage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIZJjm7CWKo

Lynn Symansky and Donner

11:01 a.m.: Becky Holder fell from Can’t Fire Me when the horse hung a leg at the duck at 24B, the Animal Water Park. It wasn’t a bad fall, and both Becky and Teddy were up right away.  Teddy looked quite strong and very keen around the course, and Becky rode him extremely well through a few hairy moments. Luck just wasn’t on their side today. This pair didn’t finish at Rolex last year either due to being pulled up because of a cut on Teddy’s leg. They were sitting in seventh overnight.

10:57 a.m.: Will Faudree and Pawlow came home clear with 6.8 time penalties. Will looked very steady around the course and didn’t seem to be pushing for time, although he did take the same inside turn as Buck and Park Trader at the Head of the Lake. This pair finished 15th at Rolex in 2010 and came into today sitting in 11th overnight after dressage.

10:52 a.m.: Beth Perkins and Sal Dali came home clear with 19.2 time penalties. Beth took her time around the course and gave Sal Dali a very solid and safe ride. They also completed cross country last year at Rolex with 12.4 time penalties. Beth and Sal Dali were sitting in 43rd overnight after dressage.

10:46 a.m.: Caitlin Silliman and Catch A Star came home with 20 jumping penalties and no time penalties. Caitlin and Hoku had a stop at the first element of the Land Rover Hollow at 17A, but quickly circled around and got back on track. Caitlin and Hoku are our first Rolex first-timers to go today out of a record 12 pairs. I know she’ll be kicking herself for that stop, but Caitlin should be very proud of her first trip around Rolex. Caitlin and Hoku were tied for 17th overnight after dressage.

10: 39 a.m.: Maddie Blackman retired on course after two stops with Gordonstown. Maddie had a runout at fence 9, the first element of the Bridgestone Park Question, and then had another stop at the out element of the Land Rover Hollow, fence 17ABC. She and Gordonstown finished 24th last year at Rolex. There were tied for 41st after dressage.

10:38 a.m.: Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Eagle cruised home double clear and 10 seconds under the time.This horse was 12th at Rolex last year and came into today’s cross country sitting in 34th overnight after dressage. Phillip will return this afternoon with Mighty Nice at 3:10 p.m. as the final ride of the day.

10:33 a.m.: Andrew Nicholson and Calico Joe came home double clear well inside the time, another very experienced pair making the course look easy. He is currently sitting in third place with this horse after dressage and will return at 3:05 p.m. this afternoon with Quimbo. Should Andrew win here at Rolex this weekend and next weekend at Badminton, he will clinch the Rolex Grand Slam.

10:27 a.m.: Jan Byyny and Syd Kent came home clear and with 3.2 time penalties. Syd Kent looked quite sticky off the ground at the beginning of the course, but Jan pushed him into a great rhythm and looked fantastic around the last part of the course. Jan scratched her second ride Inmidair, so we won’t be seeing her return.

10:22 a.m.: Buck Davidson and Park Trader finished clear with 16 time penalties. Buck took a tight turn inside the fish at the Rolex Head of the Lake, shaving off some time in a bold move. Park Trader looked tired at the Horse Park Shelters at 26AB, and Buck nursed him home. Buck and Park Trader were 23rd overnight after dressage. Buck will return with Mar De Amor at 11:45 a.m. and 2:55 p.m. with Ballynoecastle RM.

10:17 a.m.: James Alliston and Parker came home double clear and six seconds inside the time, perhaps foreshadowing that we will see a lot of riders making time today. Parker was really pulling toward the end of the course, looking very full of running on a very long, hilly course. James and Parker were 40th overnight after dressage. James rides at 11:55 a.m. before the lunch break on Jumbo’s Jake and at 2:50 p.m. with Tivoli.

10:12 a.m.: William Fox-Pitt and Seacookie TSF made a very tough course look easy with a double clear — a great way to start off the day. And to top it all off, he came home right on time, exactly on the 11:21 optimum time mark. It will be interesting to see what the trouble spots are on course this year. While William cruised right through, I think we’ll see the Curving Brushes at 6AB and the Bridgestone Park Question at 910AB causing some problems. William and Seacookie were 10th overnight after dressage. He returns at 2:40 p.m. with leader Chilli Morning.

9:29 a.m.: Jan Byyny has withdrawn Inmidair and Jessica Phoenix has withdrawn Exponential, according to the live scores. We heard from Jessie that she and Tucker will be rerouting to Jersey Fresh with the feeling that the horse has nothing left to prove or learn in the jumping phases here at Rolex. We’ll bring you more news on Inmidair as we have it.

8:52 a.m.: Sally Cousins has withdrawn Tsunami, as the mare had a difficult trip to Lexington and has developed a cough, Sally posted on her Facebook page this morning. Sue does not have a temperature and should be just fine. Sally said she is talking to David O’Connor about taking Sue to Burghley this fall instead.

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