Do we have any Family Guy fans in the house? Our fun fact about 'Stewie' is that he is named after the violent and villainous baby on FOX's hit cartoon series Family Guy. Eventing Nation has had the opportunity to keep track of Holly's path to Rolex through her EN guest blogs, which has been tremendously fun, and I expect the best is yet to come. Stewie is very energetic *understatement* young little horse, but Holly does a super job managing his emotions. Holly and Stewie have finished inside the top ten placing in 10 of their 12 advanced level competitions together. A rider fall at the Jersey CCI3* is their only issue on XC in the last 2 years and their dressage is improving each time out. I think the tension of the Rolex environment will keep Stewie from showing his best stuff, but a steady weekend will set them up well for making the team next year.
Sara was the highest placed young rider at Rolex in '05, '06, and '07 and holds the record as the youngest rider ever to complete Rolex. However, Sara is older now and pressure is on to ride like the experience she has. Bred in Idaho, 'Tony' is 2/4 lifetime on 4* cross country courses, collecting a stop at Rolex '05 and retiring at Burghley in '07, but he jumped around Rolex '06 and '07 finishing 14th and 12th respectively. I expect Tony to jump around on Saturday and a finish just inside the top-10 would be a great weekend overall.
While I am not nearly the gentleman that Mr. Wofford is, I too refuse to discuss in print the rumors that surround Karen regarding her tattoo-so stop sending me emails people! If and when there is a police report involving the tattoo, we will of course publish that in its entirety. Mandiba has all the tools to carry Karen to the promised land this fall, but they need to get around this weekend. The trick this weekend is for Mandiba to be efficient enough around most of the course so that he can have time to study the technical questions, but he doesn't have to be the fastest horse on Saturday to have a very successful weekend. Karen delivers in the clutch, and this weekend won't be different: top 10 lock.
Another member of the O'Connor Event Team, Lauren is Jimmy's pick for the highest placed Rolex rookie, and for good reason. Lauren has developed as part of OCET into one of our country's brightest rising stars, and I guarantee this is the first of many Rolex appearances for Lauren. Lauren and 'Snooze,' a 15.3 Chestnut Anglo-Arabian, have grown up together and they bring a quality past performance record to Rolex with only clean XC rides since early 2009, and just 3 rails in their last 7 events. I bet that time on XC and maybe in SJ will hurt their final placing a bit, but I expect a quality weekend from Lauren and Snooze.
Michele and Amistad have had a tumultuous spring, with wins in the advanced at Chattahoochee and Pine Top and a 2nd at Rocking horse, but also a withdraw after a stop on XC at Poplar, and a fall at The Fork. Their most recent event was the win at Chattahoochee last weekend, and hopefully they can keep the momentum for a quality Rolex weekend.
Amy Tryon and Coal Creek: Team Tryon
Once Phillip, Buck, and Oliver withdrew a few of their horses, it left Amy with the best one-two arsenal in the field. 'Devon' is considerably less experienced than his stable mate Leyland, but his record shows that he should not be underestimated. Amy believes (very wisely in my opinion) that horse trials should be viewed as preparation for three-days, so Devon has time penalties at most of his horse trials, but he made the time when it counted at Fair Hill 2008 and won that event. I expect Devon to have a steady trip around Rolex with some time, but a sub-50 dressage test and a clean show jumping could still put them in the top 10, and certainly the top 20.
Jennifer and The Good Witch stormed onto the 4* scene a couple of years ago with an 11th at Pau in 2007, and a 7th at Rolex '08. After a fall at Rolex last year and a stop at Burghley, they still find themselves on the B-list, but they need a clean round this weekend to stay there. On the upside, this pair has a very good show jumping record and they can make the time on XC. If they get around, I like them for a top 10 finish. Yes, I understand that is probably the 15th pair I have said could finish in the top 10, but you get the idea.
This is a tough pair to figure out, with 8 withdraws or retires in their last 13 events. They did win at Poplar Place earlier this spring, but a solid XC ride and a good completion should be their goal at Rolex.
Oliver Towend and Ashdale Cruise Master (GBR): Oliver's Website
Ashdale Cruise Master is Jimmy's pick to win Rolex. Oliver is one of the best riders in the world, he won two 4*'s last year, he is riding for more money than any eventer in history, and the pair won their last full outing before Rolex, a CIC3* at Burnham Market. What's not to like? If I had to nitpick, I would point out that Ashdale was eliminated and had a stop in his two previous four-stars, admittedly with a different rider. Oliver gives me that feeling that he will finish on his dressage score no matter what, so I like this pair to finish in the top 5, but maybe not to win.
On a personal note, I had no idea what I was getting into when I started these previews and each one probably averaged 15-20 minutes. So, we are not going to do Badminton previews, and next year they will be shorter. I will probably give my top 10, top 3, and a pick to win in the next couple of days. Go eventing.
I never expected to have to use "Volcano Update" as part of a post title.
Starting at the very top of the Rolex entry list, we have Laine Ashker with Anthony Patch. Laine rides out of central VA, and our fun fact about Laine is that she can speak both Spanish and Arabic. Anthony Patch, a 16hh TB gelding, brings a strong jumping resume to his first 4*, with only 20 XC penalties and 16 SJ faults in 10 advanced or higher events since the end of 2008. Anthony Patch has never won an advanced level event, and I'm not expecting him to break his maiden at Rolex, but his record shows that he's ready to deliver a strong weekend performance.
Our fun fact about Kyle is that he is a loving father. I have liked Madison Park (16.2 Bay Gelding) from the first time I saw Kyle riding him in Florida a few years ago. Since then, Madison Park has become an international veteran, competing at the Pan Ams, Rolex (twice), the Olympics, and Burghley. While Kyle got around the first three of those without any XC penalties, he collected a stop last year at Rolex and was eliminated at Burghley, but those are the only issues in the last 10 advanced competitions for Kyle and Madison Park. Madison Park has a lot of talent, but sometimes struggles with putting together three great phases in a row, and his dressage and show jumping often leaves me wishing for more polish. If he does put all three phases together, look out.
I must confess that before I started looking at the Rolex entries I knew absolutely nothing about Geoff Curran. That said, I've pieced a few things together. Our fun fact about Geoff is that his favorite band is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Geoff earned his title of 'Captain' while serving in the Irish Defense Forces for 9 years. Geoff is 30 years old, and has considerable experience, having represented Ireland at both the 2006 WEGs and the 2008 Olympics. Geoff and The Jump Jet (16.2 Irish Sport Horse G) finished 18th at the Pau CCI4* in 2009. Not sure what to expect from this pair, but from reading about Geoff, he seems like a hard worker and a likable guy.
Wow, so many places to go with the fun fact...I guess lets go with pointing out that Boyd purchased two 4-star horses in a package deal at a bar for less than $7,500. Actually, lets get this out of the way right now: it's sometimes hard for me to judge the perception of the general eventing public, but if you don't think of Boyd as one of the best riders in the US who is going to be a perennial 4* and USET contender, if for no other reason than he gets horses around the XC, then you should probably start. Neville Bardos, last year's Fair Hill CCI3* champion, takes the stage at Kentucky as a savvy, veteran horse. Neville has show jumping penalties in 6 of his last 8 events, and is not a flashy mover, but expect a clean and fast XC round to put the pair in contention come Sunday.
You man not think black and pink are a good color combination, but you will get to see them Saturday at Rolex when Tasman Sea (16hh NZL TB G) leaves the box. I don't know Chelan personally, but I hear good things and her blog entries always have a lot of personality. I don't expect the Chelan and Tasman to be in contention on Sunday, but I'll be rooting for them.
Feel free to continue the discussion and commentary in the comment section, but please help us uphold Eventing Nation's standards of politeness and discretion.
We are just over three weeks away from what Lauren deemed "The Three Day That Shall Not Be Named," are you getting excited? While most competitors still have one last major obstacle waiting in North Carolina, the Rolex entries have closed and it's time to take an early look at the Rolex entries.
Notes: The entries are up from the starters of the three previous years. 2007 had 44 starters (33 USA), 2008 had 42 (32 USA), and last year 50 horses started Rolex. (28 US),
Certainly, less than 69 horses will start Rolex for a variety of reasons. Injuries are most likely in the last month before three-days; I have heard estimates from top vets that as many as 30% of horses withdraw due to injury in the last month before four-stars.
Additionally, several of the horses are cross-entered at Badminton, inclusing WFP's Cool Mountain, Woodburn, and OT's Carousel Quest and Master Rose.
Notes: 65% of 2010's entries are US pairs, which is right on the average percentage from the three previous years: 2007 (75% US riders), 2008 (76%), 2009 (56%).
Ashley Adams has withdrawn from The Fork. Ashley has some of the best blog entries of any rider; she is open, straightforward, and honest with her fans. She talks openly about soundness concerns which (shocker) nearly every 4* hopeful is dealing with right now, and she isn't afraid to let her emotions be known. Ashley's blog today is a great representation of the problems/emotions/concerns that are racing through the mind of almost everyone entered at Rolex right now.
This week's show has a British flavor with reigning World Champion, Zara Phillips, Rolex Grand Slam Challenger, Oliver Townend, British Eventing Chief Executive Mike Etherington-Smith plus Karen Dixon pays tribute to he multi-medal partner Get Smart. Listen in. Eventing Radio Episode 68 - British Eventing:
- Show Hosts: Chris Stafford & Lucinda Fredericks
- Guest: Karen Dixon
- Guest: Mike Etherington-Smith
- Guest: Zara Phillips
- Guest: Oliver Townend
- News: Chris Hunnable has taken over chairing British Eventing's Sports Committee from Chief Executive, Mike Etherington-Smith. Chris ran the Towerlands Equestrian Centre and also a number of successful Horse Trials. He also served on the Sport Horse of Great Britain board for four years. The Sports Committee is responsible for Rules, Training, Performance, Safety and Fixtures. The move also allows Mike to concentrate on developing the Business Plan and direction of British Eventing as well as realigning the structures and operating procedures that were started in 2009.
- News: The intrepid British based New Zealander, Andrew Nicholson, won two of the three OI sections along with an Intermediate for a great start to his season. Stephen Way took the remaining OI on Secret Picnic.
- News: Oliver Townend & Piggy French dominated the big classes, with Oliver taking the AI and Intermediate, Piggy finishing 1st and 3rd in the OI and runner up in the AI.
- News: Dirk Grouwels, a 48 year-old Belgian rider, who was described as "an experienced amateur", was killed in a rotational fall on the cross-country at the Zutendaal unaffiliated one-day event in Belgium on March 14th. According to Tony McPherson, the FEI Safety Officer for Belgium, Mr. Grouwels' horse refused at a simple fence -- the first part of a combination -- the rider urged the horse on and it somersaulted over the fence. A doctor standing by the fence was at the scene immediately, but said Mr. Grouwels was killed instantly. Our sympathies go out to his family and friends.
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