Arthur is King in Kentucky after Dressage Allison Springer and Arthur lead the pack heading into cross country. photo © Shannon Brinkman  

Arthur is King in Kentucky after Dressage

by Kathleen Landwehr

The second day of dressage came to a close Friday at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event with Allison Springer and Arthur on top.

Twenty-nine horse-and-rider combinations performed their test in the Rolex Stadium in front of the Ground Jury of Sandy Phillips (GBR), Gillian Rolton (AUS), and Christina Klingspor (SWE). The U.S. riders had another day of impressive performances at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Springer (Upperville, VA) rode longtime partner Arthur into the lead with a score of 39.5, 4.5 points ahead of second place. With the Arthur Syndicate LLC’s 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Springer had a beautiful test with great work at the trot and canter with quality flying changes.

“No, he’s not a more mellow guy but I think we know each other really well,”Springer replied of Arthur’s sometimes spooky nature. “As a competitor he has given me most of my mileage so I’ve learned to be a little bit more relaxed and understanding of what I have… I think he remembers Kentucky because he was so nice at the jog and that’s the nicest he has actually walked down that ramp and trotted around the arena… It’s very emotional to have my horse back and strong and feeling great.”

Sitting in second place are William Fox-Pitt (GBR) and Bay My Hero on a score of 44.0 after a wonderful test. Fox-Pitt and Catherine Witt’s 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding had a very smooth test making the movements look easy.

“I was very happy with Bay My Hero today. He couldn’t have gone very much better,” Fox-Pitt said of his dressage test. “He likes to look at everything but today he really held it together well. I was very pleased with him.”

Lauren Kieffer (Middleburg, VA) and Veronica are in third place with 46.7 heading into Saturday’s cross country phase after putting in a solid test. In only her second appearance at Kentucky, Kieffer moved into her respectable position with Team Rebecca, LLC’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare on the strength of good trot work and nice flying changes.

“Last time I was here in 2010 with my Young Rider horse Snooze Alarm and he was great and it was a super experience,” Kieffer said of her first experience at Kentucky’s CCI4*. Continuing about her mount this year she said, “I have been riding Veronica for about a year now and it’s definitely a different mindset this time around. I came here to give a shot at it. There is a lot to do tomorrow. It certainly won’t be a dressage show but I’m happy with how it went today.”

Looking forward to tomorrow’s cross country day, Springer has two different rides with Arthur and stablemate Copycat Chloe, Copycat Chloe Syndicate, LLC’s 12-year-old Trakehner/Thoroughbred mare. “I think it is interesting for me looking at the course because I have two very different horses, one doing her first four-star so what’s important about that is giving a very educational run, a confidence-building experience.”

“I think there is quite a bit to do out there. Obviously with Arthur I want to have a great day tomorrow, we all do. I think the angled hedges [16A and B] are about the most severe angle I will have jumped,” Springer said with a laugh. “I really trust Derek [di Grazia] as a course designer. I think there are tough questions but I as a rider trust him a lot and I have a lot of faith in Arthur and what we have together. I hope to give him the best ride that I can.”

Kieffer added that it was a beautiful, well done course, saying that “Derek is a genius as course designer.” She thought the course will require a rider’s constant attention, but has clear lines when presented to a horse clearly should ride quite well.

“I think it does look like a great course. What’s out there needs to be attacked and encourages forward riding and forward horses,” Fox-Pitt shared of what should be a great day of cross country. “It’s always a tough track and you never really know how the day is going to go.”

Cross country day begins tomorrow at 11:00am EST with Buck Davidson and Park Trader.


Results after Dressage

1 Allison Springer/Arthur (USA) 39.5
2 William Fox-Pitt/Bay My Hero (GBR) 44.0
3 Lauren Kieffer/Veronica (USA) 46.7
4= Phillip Dutton/Mr Medicott (USA) 49.5
4= Jan Byyny/Inmidair (USA) 49.5
4= Michael Pollard/Mensa G (USA) 49.5
7 Will Faudree/Pawlow (USA) 49.8
8 Doug Payne/Crown Talisman (USA) 51.2
9 Marilyn Little/RF Demeter (USA) 51.3
10= William Fox-Pitt/Seacookie (GBR) 51.5
10= Sinead Halpin/Manoir de Carney (USA) 51.5