Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot snuck into the lead in the Advanced division at Plantation Field with just one horse left to go, scoring 27.5 to best Allison Springer and Copycat Chloe’s score by nearly two penalty points. William looked very relaxed on an afternoon when we saw quiet a lot of tension from horses, especially in the walk work. He swapped leads right at the very end of the test before the final halt, but that little bobble didn’t deter from the test in the least. Allison and Chloe also had a fluid test, with Chloe looking so relaxed during the test that her ears were flopping, which is a real testament to just how far this pair has come since beginning their partnership together earlier this year. They looked brilliant at Richland and even better today, scoring a 29.7 for second place.
Hannah Sue and William and Allison and Chloe were the only pairs to crack the 20s, although Lauren Kieffer and Veronica nearly got there with a very respectable 30. Veronica perhaps looked a little tense during certain movements, which we usually don’t see from her, but overall this test was a very solid performance. Kim Severson and Fernhill Fearless were the first to go this afternoon, setting an early benchmark with a lovely test to score 33.1. This horse can get a bit tight through his neck, but he looked more relaxed today than when I last saw him at Richland. Buck Davidson and D.A. Adirmo are sitting on the same score of 33.1 to lie in equal fourth place with Kim and Fernhill Fearless. D.A. Adirmo broke during the medium trot and was a bit vocal during the test, but I thought this was a very nice performance for them.
Holly Payne and Madeline picked up an error early in the test when she missed the half pass to the right after the rein back, but she didn’t let that affect her rhythm and recovered well. Madeline seemed a bit spooky and up throughout the test — and she took great offense when the ring steward opened the gate in the neighboring CIC2* ring — but Holly handled the mare’s tense moments well to score 33.4. That score puts Holly and Madeline in equal sixth place with Booli Selmayr and Castle Diamond. I didn’t quite appreciate how big this horse is when I saw him at Bromont, but I had a closer view of him today; he’s gigantic! The horse is a big, impressive mover, and Booli rode him very well today.
Buck Davidson and Absolute Liberty were the last pair to go today and put in a solid performance for a 35.6, which ties them for eighth place with Whitney Weston and Rock On Rose. This is the first time I’ve seen this pair in person, and they rode an accurate test in a field of big names. Erin Freedman and Viola round out the top 10 with a score of 36.3. Viola is lovely to watch and was definitely excited to be showing off today, and she leapt into both flying changes. I met Erin at Bromont while walking the cross-country course, and she had a heartbreaking moment there with Viola when the mare tweaked a shoe in the show jumping, forcing her to retire on course. I’m sending them all the best this weekend!
I also have to send a shoutout to Allie Blyskal and Sparrow’s Nio, who are contesting their first Advanced this weekend. I fell head over heels in love with this little pocket rocket at Jersey Fresh, and he put in a really lovely test today. Over in the CIC2*, Boyd Martin and Pancho Villa have a whopping 10-point margin over second-placed Sharon White and Don Sheffield. The majority of the CIC2* division will ride dressage tomorrow, but Boyd will enjoy his comfortable lead overnight. I’ll be bringing you all the action tomorrow from the CIC3* dressage, which starts at 8 a.m. with Jimmie Schramm and Bellamy. It’s an absolutely beautiful weekend here so far; we couldn’t have asked for nicer weather. Go Plantation!
Click for Hannah Sue’s test in HD courtesy of The Horse Pesterer