The U.S. Eventing team took the lead in the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing competition at The Great Meadow International (GMI), presented by Adequan®, in The Plains, VA. At the conclusion of the first two phases of competition, the U.S. is on top with 143.1 penalties. Great Britain holds second with a team score of 155.6 penalties, less than one point ahead of Canada on 156.2.
In the unique FEI Nations Cup™ format, the dressage phase was held in the morning and show jumping took place in the late afternoon. Interim team results changed in the second phase as rider’s tackled the challenging Marc Donovan-designed course.
To the delight of the large crowd surrounding the Fleming arena, the U.S. secured three important clear rounds. Boyd Martin on Steady Eddie earned a two-phase score of 58.3 penalties. Lynn Symansky and Donner stayed on their dressage score of 48.9 and Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda gave a fist pumping ride to end with 48.2 penalties.
Anchor rider Phillip Dutton and I’m Sew Ready had one rail down to add four penalties to the team score.
“It was a really well thought out course,” said Dutton. “Unfortunately I got into a little bit of a fight with my horse coming into the fence off a left turn, but I thought he jumped well and the course was very fair.”
That unfortunate rail gave Dutton a score of 46 penalties, costing him the individual lead to Canada’s Jessica Phoenix. Her clear round on Pavarotti put her on top with a total of 44 penalties.
Great Britain struggled at the start of show jumping. Leadoff rider Justine Dutton incurred 12 faults on Jak My Style for a score of 68.4 penalties. Matthew Heath, second rider for the team, had a rail down on One of a Kind for a two-phase score of 57.7. Team luck improved as the final two riders went clear. Emily Llewellyn and Emirati Night Sky left the rails intact for 49.3 penalties. Anchor rider Nicky Roncoroni was thrilled with her clear round on Watts Burn for a score of 48.6.
“I was absolutely over the moon with the horse,” said Roncoroni. “He is a 12-year-old gelding and I have had him since he was three years old. He has a slightly unorthodox style, but he has a heart of gold and he really wants to try and do it for you. He really tried very hard today.”
The Canadian team had a great start with Phoenix and Pavarotti’s clear round, but the remaining teammates had rails down. Selena O’Hanlon incurred eight faults on Foxwood High to score of 54.9 and Waylon Roberts and Kelecyn Cognac had two down for 57.3 penalties. Anchor rider Lisa Marie Fergusson and Honor Me had only one knockdown for a two-phase score of 69.5 penalties.
“The “Rotti” baby was amazing today. I am just really happy with him. He came into the ring relaxed in the atmosphere and there was quite a lot of it today,” said Phoenix. “I thought it was a super technical course it asked a lot of questions of the riders and the horses. I was just so thrilled with the way he handled himself today.”
The GMI culminates on Sunday with the popular cross country phase beginning at 9:30 a.m. Tickets are available for purchase at the gate. The cost is $40 per carload.
For a complete list of results and information on the USEF live streaming click here.