“What, Like It’s Hard?” Your Attorney Takes Adelaide CCI5* Dressage Lead


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Oh, you thought two spring CCI5* fixtures was a treat? Well buckle up, eventing nerds, because – surprise! – there’s another one on the go right now, whetting our collective whistles for the few weeks of madness to come.

I won’t profess to understand how time zones work, so to be totally honest with you, cross-country at the Adelaide Equestrian Festival in sunny Australia could be starting in five minutes, or it could be starting in five hours, and I’m sorry, but not that sorry, if that’s not a professional enough analysis for you. Somewhere between writing this sentence and coming to the tail end of this article, I suspect one of my more sensible colleagues will send me a painstakingly calculated guide to when the pivotal second phase begins, and then I will copy and past that information where it belongs at the bottom of the piece, but I will not come back to the top of it and erase this paragraph. For posterity’s sake, but also because I have to live my own truth, don’t I?

Anywho, whenever the cross-country starts, what we can tell you in full confidence is this: the dressage is done and dusted, and our compact field of eleven starters has begun to establish its competitive hierarchy.

In first place overnight is New Zealand’s Diane Gilder, riding the rising twenty-year-old (yes, really, but he’s a November baby, so he’s rising slowly) Your Attorney. This is a third five-star start for the pair, who made their debut at Adelaide in 2019, finishing sixth, and then returned last year, finishing seventh. Though they didn’t quite match last year’s 28.9, their first-phase score of 31.5 puts them 2.2 penalties ahead of second-placed Andrew Cooper and Hey Arnold of Australia, who sit on an overnight score of 33.7. Third place is the domain of Aussies Gordon Bishop and Advantage Hill on a 34.2.

Though no one broke the 30 barrier this year, we also saw only two riders head into the 40s, which means that cross-country gets underway with just 14.1 penalties spanning the entire field. That means that a refusal will be the difference between first and last place, as will a flag penalty – while a MIM activation or even a smattering of time looks pretty pricy, too. Diane and Andrew, who finished seventh and eighth last year, respectively, are the highest-placed 2023 returners to this year’s event, with reigning champion Shane Rose sidelined after a nasty fall recently.

Over in the CCI4*-S, Shenae Lowings and Bold Venture lead the way on a score of 27.8 – the only sub-30 score in the class, and a great start to their bid for Paris selection, while the CCI3*-L is helmed by Olivia Barton and APH Sodoku on a 29.9. You can find each class’s dressage leaderboards here.

And what of the cross-country challenge to come? Well, it’s going to be a big’un, by the looks of it. Course designer Clayton Fredericks has an interesting challenge on his hands laying his routes around Adelaide’s available space, because this is a true city event, not dissimilar, all things considered, to the location afforded by Pau in the south of France. Here’s a look at some of the challenges he’s snuck into this year’s track.

Want to follow along? Of course you do – who on earth wants to miss a five-star?! Luckily for all of us a touch too far away to enjoy the show in person, Horse&Country TV will be live-streaming all the action – you can find all the information here, plus a closer look at the course in full. I’m semi-reliably informed that the start times for the remaining phases of the CCI5* are as follows, but Our Attorney (ha, ha) tells us that we can’t be held responsible if we got those calculations wrong, so please don’t shout at us. Go Eventing, Go Adelaide, and, um, Go Math Lessons, I guess.

Saturday 20th – 5* Cross Country – 1pm local time / Friday (19th) 11:30pm ET / 5:30am CEST

Sunday 21st – 5* Show Jumping – 2:45pm local time / 1:15am ET / 7:15am CEST

Adelaide Equestrian Festival [Website] [5* Entries] [Schedule] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

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