Gretchen Pelham sent us this heartwarming sequence of photos from the Rolex cross-country warmup. The backstory, of course, is that Phillip stepped in just weeks before to take over the ride from his broken-legged buddy Boyd. It was a proposition only one of the best riders in the world could pull off — by the time they got to Rolex, Phillip had sat on the horse a handful of times.
Gretchen walks us through the photos: “The first few pics are of Phillip waiting on deck at the start box, with Boyd talking to him, not quite keeping up with Trading Aces’ stride. Phillip smiled at some girls who wished him luck, then seemed to look up at the sun and … pray? Capt. Mark Phillips gave him some last minute tips at the start box. Upon his return, Boyd almost ran out of the tent, grinning from ear to ear. Hugs were for everyone. Big grins and silly faces on all three.”
Awwwwwww!!!! But wait, there’s more: Not only did Phillip guide Trading Aces successfully around the course, they were clear and hit the optimum time perfectly, winning the Land Rover Best Ride of the Day for the top U.S. rider closest to the optimum time and claiming a two-year lease on a new Land Rover Evoque. The pair finished 8th overall — check out this USEF Network video of their cross-country round.
Many, many thanks to Gretchen for kindly sharing her photos with EN. Go Eventing!