In front of a record crowd of 70,000 spectators, Canadian Olympian Rebecca Howard, of Salmon Arm, BC, finished in 11th place at the CCI 3* Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials, held September 6-9 on the grounds of Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, UK.
Howard rode her 2012 Olympic partner, Riddle Master, an 11-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding owned by Blithe Hill Farm. Sitting in 65th place following dressage, the pair rocketed up the leader board to 17th place when they posted a fault free cross country ride. With a perfect show jumping performance on the final day, Howard and Riddle Master climbed an additional six spots, to place 11th, and finishing on their dressage score of 56.4. They were one just three of the 90 starters to complete the competition on their dressage score.
“At the beginning of the week poor Riddle Master was struggling with a sore neck muscle,” said Howard, who, with Riddle Master, was a member of the Canadian Equestrian Team at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. “Although he was getting better each day, he was still really unhappy about doing dressage so our test was not our best, especially because we have been working so hard on our dressage and he is going really well.”
“I was determined then to finish on that mark. He was a good boy over a cross country track that was proving to be quite difficult. He came out on show jumping feeling even better, and jumped a great clear round,” continued Howard, who is now based at Maizey Manor in Marlborough, England. “Feels great to have a successful CCI 3* and my first Blenheim completed. Riddle Master came out of the weekend very well and is now on holiday. I would like to thank both Jackie Green and Catherine Burrell at Maizey for all the great help and support as I get settled it to the English eventing Life. Now I can’t wait for the spring season.”
British rider William Fox-Pitt won the CCI 3* riding Seacookie with a score of 39. Complete results for Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials may be found at www.bdwp.co.uk.