I met Bill Levett for the first time in 2011 in a bar in Soho, London, during the Olympic test event. The story of that evening is too long for this post, but I’ll just say that all the rumors are true — Bill struck me as a complete class act. He was extremely nice, and very humble, and I’ve rooted for him ever since. I was thus thrilled to see Bill take home the Saumur trophy for Australia today aboard Shannondale Titan. Host nation France had to settle for second and third with Nicolas Touzaint and Arnaud Boiteau.
Photo via USEF HP
Team USA continued their momentum from Badminton and took another step towards being competitive internationally. 46 horses started the Saumur CCI3* and Team USA finished the weekend with two pairs in the top 8. Only three countries — France, New Zealand, and Great Britain finished three or more pairs above the USA’s top three pairs and both France and Great Britain had more starters than the US.
Will and Andromaque had a fantastic comeback weekend. I’ve been one of Missy’s biggest fans for a long time and I can’t wait to see what Will and this mare can do as they make a charge for the WEG team. In my opinion, Missy is built for Pierre Michilet courses and I think we saw that play out this weekend.
Marilyn is based in Europe for the summer and it’s so-far-so-good with a brilliant weekend at Saumur aboard RF Smoke On The Water. I was surprised to see the pair accrue two rails today and I know Marilyn will surely correct that for the next event. Without those jumping faults this pair would have finished in the top 4.
Buck and Hannah didn’t have the weekend that they were hoping for, but I know that they both learned a lot about their horses and hopefully they feel one step closer to coming back to France in 2014. You could say that the final hypothetical “team” score for the US isn’t great because it does include a stop, but I look at this weekend as a clear indicator that our best CCI3* pairs can compete with the best in Europe. That being said, we still surely don’t have nearly as many top CCI3* pairs as the top European nations, and that needs to keep improving.
Great Job USA at Saumur! 2 in the top 10 we are getting there…keep that the norm & it won’t take USA long to be winning #road2thepodium
— sinead halpin(@sinead_c_Halpin) May 26, 2013