The weather god’s smiled on the Kentucky Horse Park Saturday. With a 70% chance of rain, we were blessed with overcast skies, cool conditions, and only an intermittent sprinkle in the afternoon.
Cross country results ended up all over the place and I am still scratching my head trying to figure out what happened to create such different results from the morning session to the afternoon session. 41 horse and rider combinations started the course after Jennie Brannigan, Jessica Phoenix, Sarah Cousins, and Jan Bynny on Inmidair withdrew.
The morning session seemed to flow well with only the retirement of Madeline Blackman and Gordonstown and the elimination of Becky Holder and can’t fire me due to a fall at the goose pond. Of the 21 horses that started in the morning session there were seven double clears, including first time Rolex riders Lynn Symansky and Daniel Clasing. 19 0f the 21 horses that started the morning session completed the cross country phase and move on to the second inspection today, a stark contrast to the 11 of 21 that started the afternoon session.
Afternoon shockers included the retirement of Mary King and Fernhill Urco, Boyd Martin and Trading Aces, William Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning, and Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice. The only three double clear rounds in the afternoon belonged to Kendal Lehari and Daily Edition, Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM, and Andrew Nicholson and Quimbo.
Video – Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle’s Cross-Country ride
The one thing that really stood out to me yesterday was the horsemanship demonstrated by several of the riders. Whether they were jubilantly crossing the finish line double clear like Buck Davidson and Reggie (who I had the pleasure to watch in the vet box just after), making the decision to save their horse for another day like so many did, or standing up after a fall, patting their horse and saying “It’s ok, babe” you could tell the horse was the most important thing part of it all.
Here’s to hoping that the forecasted rains hold off today, healthy happy horses and riders pass the second jog, and the rails stay up in the showjumping!
Andrew Nicholson and Quimbo start the day with a rail in hand over Andrew and his other mount Calico Joe. The top placed American combination is Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM on a 45.2.