America’s Best Put in Admirable Efforts in Two Disciplines
RELEASE: September 13, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Joanie Morris
The U.S. show jumpers and event riders traveled in opposite directions to take on some of the world’s best during the first half of September. The highlight of the eventers’ performances was 57-year-old Bruce Davidson’s 10th-place finish on his 11-year-old homebred mare Jam at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials August 29-September 2. The prestigious event was won by British veteran rider William Fox-Pitt and American Philip Adkins’ Parkmore Ed. It was Fox-Pitt’s fourth Burghley win despite being Parkmore Ed’s first try at this level. The leader after the cross-country, Andrew Nicholson and Lord Killinghurst sadly had two rails down in the show jumping and dropped to fourth.
Completing the prestigious CCI**** for the 13th time, Davidson added just a handful of cross-country time penalties to his dressage score and capped off an emotional performance with an immaculate double-clean show jumping round, one of only two out of the 45 finishers.
“It was even better (than it looked on paper),” said Davidson. “She was great; we had a great group of friends come over to cheer. She was good in all three phases, and she never even had a stiff moment—that’s the best part. It was a real true four-star. The conditions were perfect, but it was still a difficult test for a lot of horses, and Jam made light of it.”
Jam is on a well-deserved vacation at Davidson’s Chesterland Farm, and he looks forward to improving her dressage even more before next year.
The other Americans faired well. Will Faudree undid the disappointment of a high dressage score by flying around the cross-country with Antigua in their signature style. Antigua, an 18-year-old Australian Thoroughbred belied his years and made light work of the difficult track. The pair added two rails in the show jumping to finish 21st in their fifth four-star together.
Kristin Schmolze also jumped clear on the cross-country, managing Cavaldi’s enthusiasm skillfully and picking up 37 time faults. They were 30th at their first trip to Burghley. The 11-year-old Irish Holsteiner gelding
Jane Sleeper and UN picked up a technical refusal on the cross-country, which effected their score but not their enthusiasm. Sleeper was thrilled with her 12-year-old mare’s effort.
“Burghley was a thrill,” said Sleeper of her first trip to the event. UN was great, and I stayed on. It was the biggest course I've jumped. I've got a great photo of UN jumping into the first water. I pecked forward and the reins flew over her head. She galloped on, and I had no reins. I got organized but got a technical refusal. What a mare. I just have to keep doing this because it's so much fun!”
Dornin North had a most eventful trip, her stirrup slipped off her saddle early on the course. She had had two run outs up to that point but dug in when most people would have retired and completed the course picking up one more run out with Lion Display. The 12-year-old Irish-bred gelding and North completed their first four-star with a number of time penalties but valuable experience.
Jan Byyny had the unfortunate experience of having to withdraw 16-year-old Task Force after the dressage. The pair put in a very good test and was the highest-place Americans after the first phase. Kristin Bond hit the ground at the mushroom fence with Fleeceworks’ Blackout but both jumped to their feet unscathed. Sarah Mittlieder and El Primero had the disappointment of retiring on course when the horse felt not like himself at the nineteenth fence.
Before the eventers landed back on U.S. soil, the show jumpers had shipped to Canada for the Spruce Meadows Masters, September 6-9. The very rich Calgary show boasted more than $2 million in prize money and drew the best horses and riders from all over the world.
The U.S. team was fourth in the Nations Cup behind Germany, The Netherlands and Canada. One member of each of the top two teams ju