Thursday Dressage Recap from Rolex: Karen and Mandiba Shine

Rolex scores at the end of Thursday:
1. Mandiba and Karen (43.7)
2. Courageous Comet and Becky (45.2) 
3. The Foreman and Phillip (47.2)
4. Manny and Diana (51.3)
5. The Good Witch and Jennifer (51.5)
(1) Karen and Mandiba put together a lovely test that featured great movement and technical precision and scored a 43.7 to take the overnight lead at Rolex.  Mandiba showed his experience and was very focused throughout the entire test.  After finishing and leaving the arena, Karen paused to let one of the pony clubbers who was opening and closing the dressage arenas for the riders pat Mandiba on the head (above).  All of the volunteers have done a wonderful job today, and Karen recognized them all with that great gesture.  You should have seen the smile on that little girls face.  
(2) Phillip and The Foreman had a great dressage ride to move into third on a 47.2.  “Chip” looked occasionally a little unsteady in his frame which might have held back their score a touch.  But, no matter what happens tomorrow, Chip will be in great position going into the weekend with his great XC and show jumping skills.
(3) The Canadian squad had an excellent Thursday, with 3 pairs in the top 8.  Manny and Diana Burnett lead the Canadians and are 4th after a great test, especially since Manny looked like he has event more movement to give Diana.  Steph Rhodes-Bosch, also of Canada, leads our field of Rolex rookies and has got to be happy sitting in 7th on a 52.0.  The veteran Canadian pair of Selena O’Hanlon and Colombo are in 8th.
(4) USET Update: Mandiba (sitting 1st) The Good Witch (5th), both on the B-list, got the better of their A-listed counterparts Neville (6th) and Leyland (10th).  Pawlow (9th) and Kheops du Quesnay (14th), also B-listed, had solid days.  Also B-listed, Arthur, Waterfront, Coal Creek, and R-Star are all set to compete tomorrow.
(6) With the lowest score from today set at 43, the door is definitely open for the likes of Oliver, William, Kim, Leslie, Allison, Mara, and Phillip to take the lead when they ride tomorrow.  The top 5 placings are going to look a lot different by 3:30 Friday.
(7) Check back later this evening for more from Rolex, including a post that links to the all the best Thursday Rolex coverage everywhere else online
From Thursday morning’s dressage action:
(1) Becky and Courageous Comet had what for them is a disappointing test, scoring a 45.2.  Comet looked tense and distracted and the trot scores reall suffered.  Becky pulled it together for some 8’s in the canter work behind 4 very nice flying changes.  Granted, they are in the lead by 6 points, but a good test for Comet would have been 10 points lower.  This leaves the door open for the likes of Oli, William, Mara, and Phillip.  Also, Becky’s score has an influence on Eventing Nation’s $100 Bit of Britain Rolex Challenge, as many people figured Comet was a lock to break 45.0 and picked him for the dressage portion of the challenge.  As one rider texted me “I wish my bad days were that good.
(2) Madison Park and Kyle Carter had what looked to me to be a very solid test, but the judges gave them a 59.  Parker was relaxed and moving well, but the judges picked apart all four changes and a bobble in the walk work to leave them with some work to do over the weekend.
(3) Phillip and Kheops suffered from being the first ride and the judges were conservative with their scoring.
(4) Napalm and Ian had a great test, showing the hard work they put into the dressage over the weekend.
(5) Boyd and Neville are sitting in good position with their 51.8.  This will be a little ways out of the lead by the end of dressage on Friday, but close enough for Boyd to catch back up on Saturday.
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