It’s an electric night here at Great Meadow, with a huge, enthusiastic crowd of thousands lining the main arena for the WEG Prep Trials for U.S. and Canada. Boyd Martin and Shamwari 4 jumped a beautiful clear round to hold their lead going into cross country tomorrow, and he definitely started celebrating over the final fence — that’s just the type of night it’s been here in The Plains. Everyone here is pumped up for WEG, and the excitement is contagious!
Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot were first out to jump — a position Hannah said she’s never been in before, as you’ll hear her say in the interview below. But she handled the pressure beautifully, and all their hard work in the Twilight Jumpers has paid off. They delivered a lovely clear round to hold second place, taking their dressage score of 45.0 through to cross country tomorrow.
Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice put some show jumping demons to rest with a clear round, which moves them up from fourth to third on a score of 47.0. Happy tends to get really amped up in this phase, which we saw last month at Luhmühlen when he pulled three rails. But he kept a lid on it today, jumping a very nice round to leave the poles in the cups.
Lynn Symansky and Donner also jumped clear, though a pesky time penalty dropped them down one place to equal fourth. Donner was jumping out of his skin — a telling sign he hasn’t lost his edge during their relaxed spring season. Marilyn Little and RF Demeter also jumped a clear round, showing they can deliver under pressure when it really counts; that clear round puts them in equal fourth with Lynn and the Flying Deer.
Crowd favorites Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM delivered another clear round — and he gave us photographers a courtesy warning that he was planning to take the inside turn near where we were standing. Thanks, Bucks! Reggie continues to look on point, and it’s clear he’s a different horse than he was four years ago when he represented Team USA at WEGs. They remain in sixth place on 48.0 heading into cross country.
Kim Severson and Fernhill Fearless also join the clear round club, and I’ve never seen Sparky jump better. He was adjustable and attentive to Kim, and they delivered a beautiful trip as a result. Manoir de Carneville looked raring to go for Sinead Halpin, and they unfortunately had a rail down, which drops them from fourth to equal eighth with Phillip Dutton and Trading Aces, who jumped clear. That makes Phillip two for two tonight.
Selena O’Hanlon leads the way for Team Canada in 10th place with Foxwood High, who pulled a rail and picked up one time penalty. Woody is such a careful jumper, and they just had an unlucky rail down tonight. In truth, there were quite a few lucky rubs, and my fingers are crossed that luck carries #teamcamerica onward to France! Pavarotti came in guns blazing for Jessie Phoenix, and they dropped two rails and picked up three time to move down one spot to 11th place.
A Little Romance, also known as The Little Mare That Could, had one unlucky rail in an otherwise lovely round; I want to emphasize once again that this mare gives 110 percent to everything she does — such a cool horse. Meghan O’Donoghue and Pirate dropped one rail in a very careful round that picked up 11 time penalties, which drops them to 13th place on a score of 70.0. Park Trader rounds out the bunch with three rails down and six time penalties; Kobe is desperately seeking directions to David O’Connor’s cross-country course.
It was very inspiring to hear hundreds — maybe thousands? I need a head count from Great Meadow guru Nate Chambers — cheering for Team USA and Team Canada. All the riders are having a blast at the event, and Great Meadow has done a wonderful job of putting on an event that is really getting everyone amped up for WEG. Check back soon for a video gallery of tonight’s show jumping rounds. Go WEG!