Cross-country day is the most demanding on the horses for the annual Rolex Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover which it taking place now at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. And this year with the event also being part of the selection process for the Alltech World Equestrian Games to take place in Normandy France August 23-September 7 the course they faced was safe but technical.
When the final horse crossed the finish line and scores were tallied it was past winner and Olympic veteran William Fox-Pitt who took over the lead with Bay My Hero (44.0). Not far behind was someone that is not as well known as the rest of the riders but just as talented. Lauren Kieffer and Veronica finished on a score of 46.7.
Olympic veteran Phillip Dutton stood third with Mr. Medicott with his score of 49.5. Dutton also achieved yet another goal. By having the Land Rover Optimum Time of the Day (11:12) he received a free two year lease on on a 2014 Range Rover Evoke from presenting sponsor Land Rover.
While these riders made the course look easy in fact there were many others that never made it over the final fence. Fox-Pitt and the other riders made it clear that this was a course you needed to ride with focus.
“I don’t think any of us thought it was easy during the week. We all realized it was a serious track,” commented Fox-Pitt, who also noted that they were lucky with the footing. “We were riding in perfect conditions. The ground was very good.”
Part of the reason the ground worked well was because of the rain that fell the day before giving just enough moisture to create more of a cushion for the horse’s feet without creating muddy conditions that make it hard for them to negotiate the ground.
“I think the course encouraged forward riding. I was delighted with how the course rode. I was thrilled with both my horses but particularly Bay My Hero.”
Dutton was thrilled but not surprised by Mr. Medicott who also is an Olympic veteran who has done a lot in his career.
“I think the conditions were ideal and Mr. Medicott has been around so many courses around the world that it was a pretty easy course for him,” he remarked.
Of course Lauren, who is the newest of the bunch, was thrilled with her mare. “She really fought for it. Everything kind of rode the way I expected it to. I knew going out I would have to fight for it.”
Fight for it she did and that fight will continue on Sunday for the final phase of this four-star event when the show jumping takes place. For more information and results visit the web site at www.rk3de.com.