Hello from the always amazing Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, where a light breeze is blowing on a beautiful day here in Wellington, Florida. With just nine horses left to go in the dressage on the first day of the $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase, Boyd Martin and Craig and Gloria Callen’s Welcome Shadow lead the way at the lunch break on a personal best score of 26.5.
This 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare is entering her second full season at the Advanced level this year, and we’re calling it now that she is only going to keep getting better. While she’s been a bit overshadowed by the bigger names in Boyd’s string in the past, now it’s her turn. Watch out for Shadow this year!
Horses and riders are performing USEF Advanced Test B for judges Mark Weissbecker (at C) and Jennifer Benoit (at B). Hannah Sue Burnett and Jacqueline Mars’ Harbour Pilot gave us the next best test of the morning to sit in second place on 27.1. The 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding is another horse we have our eye on for a big season in 2017. Hannah confirmed that “William” is aiming for Badminton this spring; watch for him to have a top performance there.
Now 18, Arthur has surpassed the getting-better-with-age stage and has now entered total legend territory. The Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Arthur Syndicate looked in beautiful form during his test with Allison Springer, scoring 27.2 to sit in third place. Can you believe this is their 10th season at the Advanced level together?
Kim Severson and the Cross Syndicate’s Cooley Cross Border delivered a lovely performance to sit in fourth place on 28.0, with Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deborah Halliday’s Fernhill By Night scoring 29.3 to round out the top five.
Looking to other notable tests this morning, Tim and Nina Gardner’s Cambalda made his return to the Advanced level with Jennie Brannigan, scoring 31.3 to sit just outside the top 10. Beaming from ear-to-ear, Tim said it best: “He’s back!” Ping last competed at this level at Pau CCI4* in 2015, and we’re delighted to see him out and about again.
We also have to extend a very warm welcome to our international guests, William Fox-Pitt, Mark Todd and Dan Jocelyn, who are each riding two horses at the showcase. William and Steady Eddie, owned by Denise Lahey, Pierre Colin, and George and Gretchen Winteresteen, are the best of the bunch so far, sitting in 12th on 31.5.
We’re getting back underway with the final nine to go. Stay tuned for much more!