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John Thier


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Bill Levett’s Saumur Round Up

Photo via

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.

[Full Saumur Results]


Go eventing.

Video: Pre-Novice Helmet Cam from Ireland

Mike Ryan’s younger brother, Conor Ryan, has joined our friends at Donnegan Ryan eventing full time.  Here’s a helmet cam video all the way from Ireland, showing Conor ride the pre novice cross-country track at Crecora in Limerick, with Ballylynch Take Advantage.  For more on Donegan Ryan Eventing, be sure to check out their website, and thanks, as always, to Trish for sending us the videos.  Go eventing.

Who Wore it Best?

When Samantha was chatting with Rolex first-timer Caitlin Silliman in Kentucky, she learned that there was a special story behind Caitlin’s Wednesday jog outfit.  That outfit had been previously worn by none other than Boyd Martin’s wife and international dressage rider, Silva, when she was jogging at a dressage competition this winter.  Boyd of course coaches Caitlin and so the connection was made.  Stealing a page from fashion magazines, and with Caitlin (right) and Silva (left) both wholeheartedly on board, we present Eventing Nation with a simple question: who wore it best?

Personally, I like Caitlin’s hair band, so I lean toward the lady on the right, but you gotta love Silva’s look of complete determination and you also have to love the SmartPak coat.  Go Caitlin and Silva.

We want your great eventing Mom stories for Mother’s Day

The Wylie triple-threat, circa 1994

Mother’s day is a big holiday here on Eventing Nation.  From driving us to our first riding lessons, to hugging us when we fall off, to giving us that extra tip in the warm-up, Moms mean everything to our sport.  Our annual Mother’s Day tradition “Mothers Are The Heart of Eventing” series is an absolute chinchilla favorite [2010, 2011, 2012].  We want to open the series up to all of our readers this year and we hope you’ll join us in thanking your Mom with a fun story about what your Mom has meant to your life with horses.

1) Share your story on the Eventing Nation Facebook page, or the Horse Nation Facebook page

2) Share your story in the comment section of this post

3) Email your story (with photos!) to [email protected] or [email protected]

This post is also published on Horse Nation and we’ll combine the best submissions from both sites in one Mother’s Day post.  Go Moms.

How to make the US Eventing Team for Aachen

The US Eventing Team for the championship CCI3* in Aachen on June 27-29th was announced on Tuesday eventing.  The selection pattern is mercifully simple — the two highest placed US horses at Rolex who applied for the Aachen trip and the two highest placed US horses at Badminton were selected for Aachen.  I don’t know the full list of pairs who applied for Aachen, but I do know that Lynn Symansky and Donner (5th at Rolex) did not apply, and it’s important to note that this was very much an application event–you had to apply to go to get selected.

The Aachen team:

Buck and BallynoeCastle

Will Faudree and Pawlow

Clark Montgomery and Universe

Tiana Coudray and Ringwood Magister


Marilyn Little and RF Smoke On The Water

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen

I take two main points away from the selection:

1) The US is sending our best competing 4* pairs at this moment to Aachen.  I know US coach David O’Connor wants to make a statement at the international competitions this year, and this team is sending our best of the best right now to go and try to win.

2) The team appears to have been selected largely on the merit of latest 4* results.  My guess is that we’ll see more and more of a correlation between selection and competition performance as the new selection system is used more and more.  It’s hard for any pair to gripe about not being selected when it’s so clear that achievement at the biggest events of the spring led to selection.

Clark’s selection as a reserve with Glenny make sense because Loughan Glen will be the best US horse based in Europe who is not already selected to the Aachen team.  Marilyn and RF Smoke On The Water have already received the Saumur competition grant and nothing about tonight’s announcement changes that.

Go eventing.

Badminton SJ Live Blog from Horse & Hound

Click below for a live blog of the Badminton competition from our friends at the Horse and Hound, and click here for the Horse and Hound’s complete Badminton coverage.  Eastern time is Badminton time -5 hours, meaning that the first Monday ride is 11:00am local and 6:00am ET.  The final group of the top 20 pairs is scheduled to start jumping at 1:30pm local, 8:30am ET.

[Badminton Radio (Sidebar), Watch Online on FEI TV (Subscription Required), Final Inspection Results, Show Jumping Live ScoresTV Listings, Badminton Audio Interviews]

XC Live Blog Coverage: H&H website editor Carol Phillips will be bringing you all the action from both showjumping sessions on the final day of the competition.

Video: Our understanding is that FEI TV will carry the show jumping world-wide for a fee, and the BBC will have online coverage for UK viewers.  [More Info]

Radio Badminton: If you can’t access the FEI TV video, Radio Badminton provides live audio from the event.  Click here and look for the Radio Badminton link in the sidebar.

If the live blog doesn’t work in your browser, click here.

Go eventing.

Badminton Final Horse Inspection Live: Twitter and Radio Badminton

In addition to Horse & Hound’s live blogs and FEI TV, Radio Badminton has been a third and excellent source of live coverage at Badminton.  According to Radio Badminton, they will be live and on the air at 8:15am local, 3:15am ET, presumably with coverage of the Badminton final horse inspection, which starts at 8:30am local (that’s 3:30am ET, because I know Kyle Carter reads EN).  We love you Kyle.  If you want coverage of the final horse inspection, you have three main options:

1) Watch the live Twitter feed on the EN homepage

2) Click here and find the Radio Badminton player on the right side of the Badminton homepage

3) Wait for Jenni to post her update from the jog right here on EN.  At the speed Jenni types, it will show up around a minute and a half after the jog.

The show jumping starts at 11am local, 6:00am ET.  The top 20 pairs will ride at 1:30pm local, 8:30pm ET.  Check back right here on EN for Horse and Hound’s live blog and our complete show jumping coverage.  Go eventing.

Jacky Green: Cross-Country Day at Badminton

Jacky Green works for her own Jacky Green Equestrian Media company and operates out of Maizey Manor Farm in the UK, and she is a regular Eventing Nation contributor. Today Jacky has kindly sent us her thoughts from cross-country day.  As always, thanks for writing this Jacky and thank you for reading.

Photo by Jenni Autry

From Jacky:

Jenni has been doing such a fantastic job I hardly need to update on anything from Badminton as you have it all already!  But a few things you might like to know…

Moving the XC start time to 12pm from the normal 11am makes it a very long morning for spectators; if you drive in you need to be on the grounds by 8.30am at the latest if you don’t want to spend 2 or 3 hours sitting in traffic.  The traffic control is excellent but the problem lies in the fact that Badminton is a little country village with narrow country lanes that approach it from the major roads in all directions. And do not ever leave and try and return. The traffic control swaps to the outbound traffic around at about 3pm and one year Wiggy Channer (partner of Andrew Nicholson) had to leave and return before the end of XC day and found it literally impossible to get back in as all the incoming lanes were cordoned off!

As for activities on XC day, if you are a fan of shopping in a crushing crowd you could do that but as I am sure you have gathered by now that is not my idea of fun.  The other option is to hit The Outside Chance which is the on-site-by-the-lake bar and restaurant at Badminton.  Run by Howard Spooner who owns clubs in London along with Guy Pelly such as Public, this brings a touch of class with sofas and screens inside and an outside seating area with a view to die for.  This does not come cheap however, a glass of Pimms will set you back £5 and a small ( and I mean tiny) glass of wine £4.50.  This seemed not to deter many who appeared to spend the entire day there not least a bunch of Kiwis who are going to have to rely on Eventing Nation tomorrow to catch up on the action they missed today!

Course chat….. Sir Mark Todd made his thoughts quite clear when he said in public that he thought “it was a 3 star course with a few 4 star fences thrown in.”  The word in the lorry park after the first walk was that the track was “boring”, “plain”, “unimaginative” and “soft.”  The stats today seemed to rather bear that out as the leaderboard did not see any dramatic changes and, although there was the odd drama, it seemed that Toddy was right.  No one wants to see horses falling or overfaced but as Sir Mark said, we used to walk Badminton and be actually scared!  So much history has been lost, no Tom Smiths Walls, no real Vicarage V, no Luckington Lane, no massive ditches like the Cottesmore Leap at Burghley, and yet Badminton has no budget problems and really could and should lift its game if it wants to be considered one of the best in the World.  The legendary course builder Tommy Brennan mapped out the 1991 European Champs in Punchestown on beer mats so legend says, and we walked a track that used all of Ireland’s history as feature fences.  One of the most popular choices is for Ian Stark, aka the Flying Scot, to course build there although those that propose him say they will retire before he does!  It just seems a slightly sad day for Badminton when the most exciting phase is the showjumping. Tomorrow will be really close but today should have made more of a difference than it did. And that is not to take away anything from those who jumped fabulous rounds today, it just means that they should have moved up more than they did by such an exemplary display of riding than they have.

Open Thread: North American Badminton XC Rides

Check back here throughout Sunday morning for quick, provisional, and typo-riddled recaps after each ride of the four North American riders competing at Badminton.  Click here for Horse and Hound’s Badminton live blog and click here to watch the action on FEI TV for a subscription.  Good luck to everyone and keep refreshing this page for updates!

[XC Live ScoresXC Ride TimesBadminton Audio InterviewsFence Analysis, Live Tweets, Course Info, Jenni’s XC Preview]

10:17am ET Clark Montgomery and Universe (USA) — Clark and the fireplug Universe were getting lots of love from Oli Townend on the FEI TV as well as the commentators on Radio Badminton and H&H’s live blog in this horse’s first time around a four-star.  Clark saved the round at fence #22, Savills’ Staircase. According to Radio Badminton, they jumped up the first step really big, got under the second step, stumbled up the second step, and then they turned hard to the optional route before presenting to the fast route. Fortunately the jump judges scored them clear. They finished 16 seconds over the optimum and provisionally clear in what appears to be a fabulous first four-star performance.  Go Clark!

Note: If you don’t have FEI TV, Radio Badminton is a good option to follow live in addition to Horse and Hound’s live blog.  Go to the Badminton website and then find the Radio Badminton link in the right sidebar.

10:30am Colleen Rutledge and Shiraz (USA) — The incredible team of Colleen and Luke successfully finished their fifth different four-star cross-country at Badminton, crossing the finish line clear and just 10 seconds over the optimum.  They will go into the cross-country on their score of 67.2.  What more can you say about this pair, absolutely brilliant — go Colleen and Luke!!

10:55am Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master (CAN) — The only Canadian pair in the Badminton field skipped around the Badminton cross-country course, making it look easy and finishing just two seconds over the optimum.  Rupert never looked hurried and he looked better and better throughout the course.  This pair was already a front-runner for Canada at the WEGs in Normandy, but this round puts them right at the top of the list.  Go Rupert!

11:45am Tiana Coudray and Ringwood Magister (USA) — Tiana and “Finian” were looking for a comeback weekend after a prematurely short XC ride stop on cross-country in London last year.  They got that and more today with a brilliant ride around their first Badminton.  Finian jumped neatly around the course, making much of it look like a show jumping round.  In a scary moment, Finian’s right front wrap came unraveled in the Badminton Lake, possibly after he scraped it on the brush jump into the water.  It was hard to see on the video, but it looked like it was a porter boot.  Tiana made it obvious that she elected to take the optional route at the Staircase that nearly gave Clark and Universe a problem.   Tiana and Finian finished with 5 seconds over the optimum.  Whatever happens with the rest of the rides today, they will be in great position going into the show jumping.  In her post-ride interview, Tiana was beaming and said her ride got “better and better” as they got going on course.  Go Tiana and Finian!

A Great Day for North America: In a nice change of pace from past years, North America rocked Badminton today.  All four North American pairs who started Badminton finished the course clear, finishing a collective total of 33 seconds over the optimum.

12:15pm Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam – Michael survived a hairy moment at the Lake, wiggling his way out over the brushes, and made it through another awkward moment at the Mirage Pond, which has seemed to ride that way most of the day.  Michael and Sam quickly put those bobbles behind them and finished the rest of the course strong and easily within the time.  “He’s such a machine,” according to Badminton radio.  Machine, indeed.  Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam will go into show jumping with the overnight lead, still on their dressage score of 36.0.

12:27pm William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk – The hope of Great Britain finished clear and just inside the optimum time, leaving him 4 penalty points – exactly one rail- behind Michael Jung and Sam.  If that rail were to fall, WFP would win the tiebreak by being closer to optimum on cross-country.  However, Jock Padgett and Clifton Promise sit between them in second, with 39.7.  The drama continues!

** William reports in the Badminton Radio interview that the course is riding “more interesting than it walked.”  He also said that his broken finger, sustained in the show jumping at Rolex, likely caused the problems with Oslo.  He was unable to gather his reins properly, and thus had a runby the corner.  William said he went out and bought really thin reins to use for Parklane Hawk… clearly a good decision!

12:40pm  Andrew Nicholson and Nereo – Nereo used his big stride to bounce through the one-stride in the Lake, and continued around the course in bold fashion, finishing double-clear.  Andrew Nicholson and Nereo sit just behind William Fox-Pitt in fourth, 40.2.

It was a lovely, successful day today at Badminton.  There was trouble here and there throughout the course:  Pippa Funnel had a runout at the brush at the top of the Staircase, Bettina Hoy suffered a scary fall at the Huntsman’s Close, Mary King missed a flag with Kings Temptress and was eliminated, Dirk Schrade and Zara Phillips both retired.  However, there were 58 clear rounds, and most inside the time or close to it.  The show jumping will definitely be interesting tomorrow!

[Live Scores]

North American Results:

  • Tiana Coudray & Ringwood Magister  – 45.3    10th place
  • Rebecca Howard & Riddle Master – 52.1   22nd place
  • Clark Montgomery & Universe – 60.7   40th place
  • Colleen Rutledge & Shiraz – 67.2  tied for 49th place (but will lose OT tiebreak)

Go eventing.

Badminton XC Live Blog from Horse & Hound

Click below for a live blog of the Badminton competition from our friends at the Horse and Hound, and click here for the Horse and Hound’s complete Badminton coverage.  Eastern time is Badminton time -5 hours, meaning that the first Sunday ride is 12:00pm local and 7:00am ET.  The last XC ride is scheduled for 12:32pm ET.

[Badminton Radio (Sidebar), Watch Online on FEI TV (Subscription Required), XC Live Scores, XC Ride Times, TV Listings, Badminton Audio InterviewsCourse InfoJenni’s XC Preview]

XC Live Blog Coverage: H&H website editor Carol Phillips will be joined by fellow eventing fan Sarah Jenkins on cross-country day.

Video: Our understanding is that FEI TV will carry the XC and show jumping world-wide for a fee, and the BBC will have online coverage for UK viewers.  [More Info]

Radio Badminton: If you can’t access the FEI TV video, Radio Badminton provides live audio from the event.  Click here and look for the Radio Badminton link in the sidebar.

If the live blog doesn’t work in your browser, click here.

Go eventing.

Badminton Dressage Live Blog from Horse & Hound

Click below for a live blog of the Badminton competition from our friends at the Horse and Hound, and click here for the Horse and Hound’s complete Badminton coverage.  Eastern time is Badminton time -5 hours, meaning that the first Saturday ride is 9:00am local and 4:00am ET on Friday.  The last dressage ride is scheduled for 11:58am ET.

[Dressage Live Scores, Dressage Ride Times, TV Listings, Badminton Audio Interviews]

Dressage Live Blog Coverage: H&H website editor Carol Phillips will be joined by H&H Live regular Anna Ross Davies — successful British dressage trainer and grand prix competitor — for both days of dressage.

Video: Our understanding is that there is no online video coverage of the dressage on Friday and Saturday.  FEI TV will carry the XC and show jumping world-wide for a fee, and the BBC will have online coverage for UK viewers.  [More Info]

If the live blog doesn’t work in your browser, click here.

Go eventing.

Jacky Green: Badminton Day One Dressage, the Inside View

Photo of Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master on Thursday, photo via Denya

From Jacky:

Having lulled us into a false sense of security yesterday the weather turned distinctly chilly today with a brisk wind and not so much sun. While I had made the minor error of wearing a light jacket it was slightly amusing to see those in shorts and Dubarry’s with thighs turning blue. I just don’t get shorts and wellies even if they are posh ones. It brings the notion of a farmer’s tan to a whole new ball game and seems on a par with me to a sleeveless raincoat. The crowds were out in force today although seemingly not to watch the dressage as those stands were remarkably empty. They were apparently shopping in the thousands though as Tom McEwen came back from getting his top hat stretched at the Patey stand with a look of fear in his eyes and said in his usual understated way, “ it’s pretty bloody busy.”

This year the official photographers have been moved from their normal position and situated behind a rope in the main arena. This has the effect of blocking from view the bottom third of the arena from the competitors’ stand which is mildly irritating to say the least. Apart from that the main theme of the day was that the judges are being very conservative with their marks which everyone agrees is fine….if they stay that way tomorrow.

One of the highlights was Beanie Sturgis’s Lebowski who got loose in the collecting ring after his test. Beanie watched him trot determinedly off with Chris Bartle in hot pursuit and was heard to be shouting, “ Don’t get too close Chris, he will kick you,” which was clearly good advice as Lebowski promptly swung his quarters at Chris. Quite why the German trainer was chasing Lebowski (stable name Rotter) remains a mystery.

Apart from that, today’s highlights included a great test from Burto (Christopher Burton), an early fab test from Andrew Nicholson on Avebury, and a lot of nearly undrinkable coffee from the competitors’ tent where they seem to be rationing the grains per cup. Having spent a fair proportion of the day with Will Coleman I can also report that he is incapable of passing a “rest room” as he calls it, a portaloo to the rest of us, without a visit so it’s a bit like taking Grandad out for the day. It could be that he is just trying to escape our company, however, so don’t read too much into that!

Jacky Green: Thursday at Badminton

Photo via Jenni

From Jacky:

Well, it’s jog day.  But because there are the grass roots championships going on suddenly the quiet jog day has turned into a hugely busy tradestand and course walk day and lots of tweedy folk trundling round the tradestands.  A quick walk through saw more tweed on offer than at Cheltenham, several hazards negotiated such as dogs on extension leads that nearly resulted in my friend being poleaxed, a trip through the craft tent that left us scarred of “The Woodland Trust” as the guy looked like a Cult resource guy and left us cold with his sale regime.  We declined odd looking cheese, looked away at strange jewelry and emerged to more tweed back on the line.

Wow!  The shopping today was fab if you wanted to spend £2.5 k on garden furniture.  Or if you wanted a polo shirt for twenty quid.  Or if you wanted to buy a car or a quad bike.  We stuck with the food and some nice earings and headed back the solitude of the lorry park before the jog.  Clark Montgomery jogged possibly the most beautiful horse of the day in Universe and Rebecca Howard looked stunning with Riddle Master.. ….

Roll on the rest of the week and what will be will be……..

Jacky Green: Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master Head to Badminton

Jacky Green works for her own Jacky Green Equestrian Media company and operates out of Maizey Manor Farm in the UK, and she is a regular Eventing Nation contributor. Today Jacky has kindly sent us a report about Canada’s Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master arriving at Badminton.

From Jacky:

It was always the plan after London 2012 that Rebecca and Riddle Master (Rupert) were going to stay in the UK for a couple of years. It was a “right place, right time” situation that there was a riding job that came up as second jockey to New Zealand team riders Tim Price and Jonelle Richard’s Mere Farm set up just on the outskirts of Marlborough and that has turned out as a very happy alliance! Rebecca gets to ride 10 or 12 horses a day, picks up a few competition rides and generally works her butt off doing what she loves best, riding event horses.

After finishing in the top 12 at Blenheim CCI *** in 2012 Badminton was the aim. A few weeks holiday out in the paddock at Catherine Burrell’s Maizey Manor Farm base and then Rupert moved to Mere Farm and spent the long, cold winter trying to grow as much coat as possible and learning not to be so spooky in case he fell over on the ice! Despite the Spring cancellations pretty much everything has gone to plan….the early OI start at Iselham proved to be a massive bonus as then there was no where to run again before Fontainbleu CIC***. Rupert stepped up to the challenge with a fabulous display of dressage and jumping and a top 6th spot amidst the cream of Europe.

Then followed a 6th place at Weston Park Advanced and Belton Advanced was used as a combined training as a final prep. Isobel Wessels has helped to fine tune the dressage and a final cross country school at Russ Hardy’s Boomerang base this weekend means that both Rupert and Rebecca are ready and waiting to start with the jog on Thursday. They are there, parked and ready to rock! To underestimate this combination would be a mistake, they have a great partnership and if luck is on their side a top 10 finish is by no means just a dream.

Reiners and Eventers Unite: Harlem Shake at the Kentucky Renining Cup

Eventers are the coolest.  Duh.  Sometimes we’re kind enough to reach out to other disciplines and show them how to be cool like us. Such was the case on Saturday night at Rolex when reiner Pete Kyle asked for some help with his world championship freestyle performance, a rening rendition of the Harlem Shake [examples, the best].  A mix of eventers from Lexington’s Antebellum Farm, friends, and a contingent from US Eventing High Performance met in the middle for the dance, which traditionally features one person dancing for the beginning of the song while everyone freezes, and then everyone dancing like crazy when the beat drops.  Keep a close eye on the dancing for US eventing Coach David O’Connor, high performance rider Sinead Halpin, the amazing Meg Kep, and US Managing Director of eventing Joanie Morris, and there are unconfirmed reports that yours truly was part of the mayhem.

Another view:

And another:

[via Joanie Morris]


Pete Kyle was riding A Ruf Gal.  The pair came in second behind Shane Brown and Shepherd Star.  Third place Aaron Ralston’s ride is definitely worth a watch as well.  [Results]

Lesson learned: all it takes is a little bad music and dancing to unite horse people.  Go reining.

Rolex Contest: Win A Free Point Two Air Jacket

Point Two air jackets were used by almost the entire field on Saturday at Rolex.  Our last Rolex contest of 2013 is one of our simplest.  Here’s how it works:

Email the following [email protected] with subject line “Point Two.”

1) The number of riders (riders, not pairs) who wore a Point Two air jacket on the Rolex cross-country on Saturday.

2) As a tiebreaker, the number of EN cups we bought for the EN tailgate on Saturday.

All other ties will be broken randomly, and if no one nails the number of riders we will of course pick the entry with the closest to the correct number but not over.

Entries are due by 8 a.m. Thursday morning.  Please only one entry per person.  The winner will receive a free Point Two air jacket in the size of their choosing.  It’s that simple!

Go eventing.

Rolex: A Weekend of Expected and Unexpected Results

No one should be surprised that Andrew Nicholson and William Fox-Pitt finished in the top three places at Rolex.  With the exception of WEG and Olympic champion Michael Jung, these two are on top of the eventing world right now.  Andrew and William will ride against each other for the Rolex Grand Slam of eventing and its $350,000 in prize money next weekend at Badminton.  Andrew, William, and Michael will collide next weekend in a showdown that threatens to swallow Badminton up in a black hole of awesomeness.

Rolex 2013’s top three riders met in the Sunday afternoon press conference to discuss their weekend:

–Andrew Nicholson was full of praise for Quimbo at the horse’s first four-star, calling him an “unbelievable show jumper.”  He said that Quimbo feels impressive in the warm-up and then steps up even more in the arena.  Andrew said that he learned this weekend that Quimbo, a warmblood who was bred to be a show-jumper, has the stamina to do the 4* jumping and distance.  So Andrew has a young horse, expertly bred for show jumping, who can already score under 40 in the dressage and easily make the time around a 4*.  Look out world.  Quimbo surprised Andrew by making up time in the last several minutes of the cross-country course. In contrast to Quimbo, Andrew was very critical of Calico Joe’s talent as a show jumper, joking (?) that he’s been stuck with the horse since he was young.  Andrew also recognized that the horse has two top-five performances in his last three four-stars.  He said “I was very pleased with him, and to be honest I was very proud.”

–William discussed his and Andrew’s Rolex Grand Slam chances by saying “probably neither of us, Michael Jung here we go.”  As for what’s next for Seacookie, he gets home Thursday and then will have a nice long break.  William said that the 14-year-old gelding doesn’t have a set plan for the autumn. When asked about his finger, which he broke in the show jumping, William said that he hopes it won’t hamper him at Badminton and seemed to play it down.

–Buck was asked what it meant to him to have his Dad watching.  He responded by saying, “Kentucky has been a great place for the Davidsons.”  Buck also noted that his Mom was also in attendance this weekend.  Buck described his feelings on the weekend by saying, “of course I’m bummed to have two down.”  On coming in 4th, Buck said “if I’ve gotta lose, these are two good guys to lose to.”  Buck said that he was “pretty sure” either William or Andrew will win at Badminton next week.

A few additional notes on the weekend:

–Andrew finishing two horses in the top-three should be regarded as unprecedented if not for the fact that Mary set a better precedent by finishing two horses in the top-two in 2011.  Finishing a four-star is hard enough, let alone placing in the top 3 with one horse.   Andrew is simply a master at his craft and showed off his amazing skill this weekend.

–William Fox-Pitt finished in the top four of Rolex for the fourth straight year, including two winning years.  Although I bet William looks at this weekend as something of a defeat, he’s establishing himself as the consistent master of Kentucky.

–Buck was the only U.S. rider to finish the weekend on more than one horse, finishing on all three of the starters.  Andrew and James Alliston were the only other two riders to finish on more than one horse.

–In some heartwarming news, the USA’s losing streak at Rolex extends to five years, with only one victory in the past eight years.  There’s no way I will consider our high performance program in top shape until we start winning Rolex consistently.

–What more can be said about Lynn Symansky and Donner?  Lynn came into this weekend with a bad back and a badly injured pinkie finger and she left in 5th place with a double-clear jumping performance in Donner’s first four-star.  The only other pair to finish without a cross country or show jumping penalty on the weekend was some guy named William Fox-Pitt.  Veterans Buck Davidson and Ballynoecastle RM were the only U.S. pair to finish above them.  Lynn had the quintessential emergent performance at Rolex and, premature or not, this young pair is instantly in the conversation for making the WEG team next year.  Lynn also led the way for girl power at Rolex. Donner won Best Conditioned Horse and also Best Turned Out at the two horse inspections.

–Kristi Nunnink and R-Star have had two straight great four-star finishes including Burghley last year.  R-Star is an absolutely fabulous mare — I might say the best of any U.S. mare right now along with perhaps RF Demeter — and I couldn’t be happier to see the West Coast so well represented this year.  We’ve already written quite a lot about Hawley and Ginny’s brilliance, but they represented both the West Coast and Canada to perfection and won the hearts of the Lexington crowd this weekend.

–Will Faudree and Pawlow were the third-best U.S. pair this weekend, finishing in 6th.  It was “Ernie’s” best four-star performance of his career and sets this pair up nicely for the WEG hunt.  Will is no stranger to managing talented horses successfully in the second half of their careers.

–If you are Twitter inclined, follow #nicholsonontwitter for some fun.

–Canada finished four pairs in the top 20.  Five of their six starters finished the weekend, with Exponential withdrawing before the cross-country.  Only New Zealand (3/3) and Australia (1/1) can boast better percentages for finishing the weekend.

–This is the first time in a long time (at least three years) that Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin, USA’s stalwart riders over the past few years, have both finished outside of the top 10.  I don’t make much of this because Phillip and Boyd started the weekend with just three horses between them.  I think it’s safe to say that Mighty Nice and Trading Aces still very much look like team horses of the future for the USA despite retiring here this weekend.  Trading Aces especially looked terrific in everything except his fitness.  Phillip has to be pleased with moving up 23 places on Fernhill Eagle this weekend.  We wish Boyd the best in his ankle surgery this upcoming week.

–In all, eight of the 12 pairs making their four-star debuts completed at Rolex. Meghan O’Donoghue and Pirate were the highest-placed pair making a first appearance at Rolex, finishing the weekend in 12th place. They started the weekend sitting in 25th after dressage, and moved up to 14th after coming home clear on cross country with four time penalties. While they pulled a rail today in show jumping and picked up three time penalties, the crowd showed them a lot of love, and Meghan has to be ecstatic with her performance here this weekend.

–A big shoutout to the other four-star first-timers who completed: Austin O’Connor and Ringwood Mississippi (13th) (Update: Apologies to Austin, he clearly isn’t a first 4* timer, he is a Rolex first-timer), Shandiss McDonald and Rockfield Grant Juan (16th), Kendal Lehari and Daily Edition (19th), Daniel Clasing and Houston (21st), Caitlin Silliman and Catch A Star (24th), Emily Renfroe and Walk The Line (27th), and Michelline Jordan and Irish Diamonds (29th).

Peter and Henny rocked it this weekend in front of an adoring crowd, moving up 18 places by adding just 5.6 jumping penalties to their dressage score.  Check out Henny’s helmet cam video from cross-country here.

–It was great to see Katie Ruppel and Sir Donovan finish Rolex successfully after a forgettable previous two years.  They added just 9.6 penalties to their dressage score on a great weekend of jumping.

–Last, but very much not least, we extend a huge EN thanks to all of the volunteers who made this weekend possible.  Rolex is a tremendous operation that could never happen without the many men and women who dedicate their time to helping out at the Kentucky Horse Park.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

[Results, Jenni’s Recap with More Interviews, Quimbo’s SJ Round]

Go eventing.

Rolex Show Jumping Live Blog Presented by Cavalor

Welcome to show jumping day at Rolex!  Our friends at the USEF Network are providing a wonderful free online live viewing experience all weekend from Rolex for our readers within North America.  If you are at home trying to follow Rolex live, that’s the place to start–click the link below to see all of the action live.  As always, we are meeting together here on EN to provide our own insights, guests, war stories that we probably shouldn’t tell, and ridiculousness.  Please jump into the discussion and join us right away!

Watch SJ Live: USEF Network (Free, North America), FEI TV (Outside North America), TV Broadcast Details

[Live Blog Archived]

Schedule: SJ is scheduled to start at 1:07pm ET, with awards scheduled for 3:00pm.  29 horses are set to show jump.  Stay tuned for any schedule updates.

SJ Links: Live Scores, SJ Preview with BoydRK3DE Homepage, Jenni’s Rider Profiles

[Click image above to enlarge]

Note: We apologize in advance for any technical issues or server crashes, which are something of a Rolex tradition on EN.  We are having some traffic load issues when we get over 250 commenters on the blogging software.  If an error message displays above this note, please try clicking on the post title or refreshing the page, or email [email protected] and we will try to help.

As always, stay tuned to EN throughout the day for the latest Rolex news, results, and ridiculousness.  Go eventing.

Video: Peter Atkins and Henny Rolex 2013 Helmet Cam [Update: Pulled from Rolex Kentucky Facebook]

[Video pulled from Rolex Kentucky Facebook page]

If the video doesn’t play in your browser, click here or the link below.

via [Rolex Kentucky Facebook]


Note:  We have heard that Rolex Kentucky may pull the video from their Facebook page.  If so, it will stop playing here.  Stay tuned and if so we’ll get it back up on EN soon.

Update: Apparently there was a confusion between Peter and Rolex Kentucky.  The video has been pulled from Rolex Kentucky’s Facebook and Peter will post it on his Youtube page soon–Peter tells us later Monday evening.  We’ll repost it on EN then.