US Eventing High Performance has to be in a good mood after Blenheim CCI3*. Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen finished third (tied for second, really) and first-timer Meghan O'Donoghue was 11th with Pirate. Meghan received the Jacqueline Mars grant which helped fund her trip-- and for what seems like the first time in a long time, grant money was very well spent. Meghan and Pirate really stepped up on the international stage and proved their Rolex performance was no fluke. While their three rails were disappointing in show jumping, her clear cross-country round is most important. Phillip Dutton and Ben also had no jumping faults on xc, but a bunch of time penalties and five heavy rails down dropped them significantly down the results in 33rd. Ben is still relatively green at the level, and we know Phillip has the experience; though their performance could have been better, it was certainly not an embarrassment.
US results at international events has been a mixed bag this year. Saumur CCI3* saw two Americans in the top 10: Will Faudree with Andromaque in 5th, and Marilyn Little in 8th with Smoke on the Water. The two other grant-receivers, however, did not go clear on cross-country-- Hannah Sue Burnett had a stop with Harbour Pilot, and Buck was eliminated on The Apprentice for missing a flag on a corner and not re-jumping it.
Marilyn Little and RF Demeter finished a strong 7th at Luhmuhlen CCI4*; but fellow Americans Jolie Wentworth had two stops on cross-country with Good Knight, and Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda suffered a fall at the first water.
At the World Cup CIC3* in Aachen, the US team fell apart. Tiana Coudray had a great weekend with Ringwood Magister, going clear cross-country and finishing 9th. Her teammates, however, did not fare as well. Marilyn Little suffered a fall from Smoke on the Water; Will Faudree had two runouts with Pawlow before they fell landing from the last fence; and Clark Montgomery also had a runout with Universe.
The trend seems to be that going clear cross-country corresponds to a respectable, and often competitive result. Perhaps it's not truly the dressage and show jumping keeping us behind other nations; generally when our riders go clear cross-country, they can do well. At Blenheim, we sent two riders across seas to compete, and both of them went clear. That's what we need: consistent, clear cross-country finishes. Let's hope US Eventing High Performance can continue this trend going on to Boekelo CCI3* and Pau CCI4*. [Grant Recipients]