Tim Price and Wesko sailed into the lead this morning on Day 2 of dressage at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event for New Zealand, scoring 36.3 to sit in first by 3 points over Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST. It was just one of those tests that was truly a privilege to watch.
A striking 12-year-old Dutch gelding with four white socks and a blaze, Wesko has a strong presence in the sandbox, and the test proved to be the picture of consistency throughout, with flawless final changes as the cherry on top at the end. You can click here to watch a video of the test courtesy of USEF Network.
Already winners at this level having clinched the Luhmühlen victory last year, we know Tim and Wesko are capable of brilliance at four-stars. The question is whether they can replicate it, which they’ve struggled to do since tasting victory in Germany. We’ve picked them as the Spoiler this weekend.
Mackenna Shea Shines
But enough about the Kiwis. Let’s talk about our new top American combination Mackenna Shea and Landioso. You wouldn’t have known Mackenna is just 22 years old making her Rolex debut watching her canter down centerline with all the poise and confidence of a much more seasoned competitor.
Mackenna and Landi stayed at the 70% mark just about the entire way through the test to ultimately score 43.7, which puts them in third place just ahead of Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch. Click here to watch a video of the test.
The crowd went wild for this Pacific Northwest native who now lives in California, but no one cheered louder than her very proud coach, Tamie Smith. Two West Coasters now sit inside the top 10, with Jolie Wentworth and Goodknight in eighth place on 50.6 after their lovely performance yesterday.
We saw a number of touching, emotional moments this morning as riders completed their tests in the hallowed Rolex stadium. Katie Ruppel was over the moon after a notoriously tricky Houdini rose to the occasion to score 49.8 for seventh place, which is 12 points better than their score last year (video here).
Lillian Heard and Share Option had a lovely test to start the morning in their second trip to Rolex, scoring 51.6 to sit just outside the top 10. She gave all the credit to “Whitey” as they left the ring, pointing to him in response to the crowd’s applause; they improved their score by 8 points from last year.
Amanda Wilson was overcome with emotion when leaving the ring after making her Rolex debut with Cool Decision, a horse she has produced from Novice level. She endured a long, cold winter in her home base of western Pennsylvania preparing for her first four-star while keeping her lesson and training business going. Laine Ashker won the All the Feels Award yesterday; we’re awarding it to Mandy today.
More Morning Notes
The Reign of the Rookies continues today, as Maya Black and Doesn’t Play Fair, another talented combination hailing from the West Coast, scored 52.3 to sit in 14th place. They are definitely capable of hitting the 40s, which likely would have happened had Cody settled a bit sooner in the test. Maya got him under control nicely and should be proud of the effort.
Meghan O’Donoghue and Pirate delivered their personal best Rolex score this morning with a 54.2, which is also what they scored at Burghley last year; that puts them in 17th place. They would have cracked the low 50s had Pirate been more keen to trot early in the test; he’s looking fighting fit and ready for cross country. Go OTTBs!
You can view videos of all the morning dressage tests on USEF Network at this link and relive all the action in our morning open thread here. I’m also live tweeting ringside @eventingnation. We are all anxiously anticipating the star-studded lineup of riders still to come this afternoon, with a drastic leaderboard shakeup almost certainly in the cards.
Stay tuned for much more from #RK3DE. Go Eventing.