XC Photo Gallery from John Walker and Leslie Mintz of the USEA
(1) William Fox-Pitt and Cool Mountain finished clean and well inside the time to maintain their lead going into Sunday at Rolex. Cool Mountain was visibly tiring toward the end of the course, but William used his considerable experience and a very steady galloping position to help Cool Mountain home.
(2) Kim had her typical fabulous double-clear Rolex XC ride on Tipperary Liadhnan. “Paddy” isn’t the fastest horse, but Kim was the most efficient rider on course today and they jumped up from 4th to sit in 2nd. The really tough work for this pair is tomorrow.
(3) You can say the same for Becky and Comet, who blasted around the course easily within the time and are in 3rd on a 45.2. Nothing looked hard for Comet around the XC.
(4) The Rolex organizers eliminated the lunch break and accelerated the afternoon starts to beat the weather which was predicted for Saturday afternoon. The plan worked perfectly and riders competed on excellent footing and under clear skies for most of the day. The wind and rain is just starting to pick up here at the KHP and the WEG show jumping test event scheduled for tonight has been canceled due to predicted storms.
(5) 8 of the 9 Canadian starters had clean rounds on XC, 4 Canadians had double-clears, and 6 Canadians are in the top 10. David has been coaching the Canadians for a few years now, and the benefits are really showing. Leading the way for the Canadians is Steph Rhodes-Bosch (9th) who has had the lowest weekend jumping totals at several big horse trials this spring.
(6) Mandiba lost a shoe at the 4th fence and Karen showed veteran poise and guided Mandiba around the rest of the course. Losing a shoe that early on the course is significant because the horse loses the traction of the missing studs and the protection of the shoe. A lost shoe often leads to a lot of work Saturday night making that hoof feel better.
(7) Boyd did what Boyd does. His 3 horses had 5.3 time penalties among them, and they jumped a total of 45 spots on the leader board on Saturday.
(8) The USET A-list fared decently on Saturday, with Neville and Woodburn jumping around perfectly. But Leyland withdrew on Saturday morning.
(9) The B-list had an awful day. Allison and Arthur had a tough day with a stop at the rail into the coffin, R-Star crashed at The Hollow, The Good Witch crashed at the Mushroom at #3, Phillip retired Waterfront on course, Coal Creek retired on course after two stops, and Kheops withdrew yesterday. On the upside, Pawlow looked very good, and, as mentioned, Mandiba had a quality performance.
(10) Eventing Nation Karma was in full display today as Lauren Kieffer and Snooze had a textbook first 4* XC, collecting time but looking steady throughout the entire course. Stewie (Last Monarch) looked more mature than he ever has in the 4 years I have known him. Stewie listened to Holly perfectly throughout the entire course, and stayed disciplined during a brief hold on course.
(11) It’s so typical that I almost didn’t mention: Phillip has 2 horses in the top 5 going into Sunday.
(12) Of the 51 XC Starters, there were 10 double-clears: Cool Mountain, Tipperary Liadhnan, Comet, Woodburn, Neville, Port Authority, Colombo, Gin & Juice, Rock on Rose, and Madison Park.
(13) 30 of the 51 starters (58%) had clean rounds. For comparison, 68% (16 out of 49) starters had clean rides.