The first half of the 57 horses who moved forward from yesterday’s veterinary inspection performed their dressage tests today under the watchful eye of the ground jury at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in Lexington, Kentucky. The third pair of the day, Karen O’Connor and Team Rebecca’s Veronica, set a high standard with a 47.8 – a score that stood nearly all day long until the second to last ride of the day, Boyd Martin, rode Henley House Stables’ Remington XXV to a 45.3.
“[Remington] was good; he has done that test a few times so he sort of knew his way through it, and he stayed chilled,” Boyd said. “I was pretty happy with the old horse.”
Boyd’s wife Silva, a Grand Prix dressage rider, was on hand to coach Boyd and Remington through every step of the day and was excited to watch the pair move into the lead.
“We have been working with this horse a long time now and I think this was his best test,” Silva added. “Actually, I think this was Boyd’s best test – he rode really, really well. I am so happy. I think it is awesome.”
Boyd and the 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Rubenstein I x Weserpaume) have been partners since 2007, and this is their third four-star together. However, Boyd’s second ride of the weekend is a first time four-star horse. Look for Boyd and Otis Barbotiere tomorrow as the final ride of the day at 3:52 p.m.
Although sitting in second place currently, Karen O’Connor is already a winner at this year’s Rolex Kentucky having been named the Dubarry best turned out female at the first veterinary inspection – her first time winning the award in 30 years of coming to Rolex.
“I was really happy with Veronica,” said Karen. “She is young; this is her first four-star, and she handled the atmosphere just wonderfully. She did not really change – I had a great warm-up prior to the test. The trot work I was delighted with, I lost her a little bit in the walk so I lost marks in the canter work, but overall for a young horse at Rolex I am really delighted. She is a lovely, lovely mare, and I am so excited to be able to ride her for Team Rebecca.”
During the afternoon press conference, Karen said that last fall she started to focus on her fitness in order to be at the top of her game for this Olympic year.
Just 1.1 points behind Karen sits Andrew Nicholson (NZL) aboard Twenty Twelve in Mind’s Calico Joe. Andrew is competing this week on two green horses that are here to be tested for Olympic potential. Andrew will ride Rosemary and Mark Barlow's Qwanza tomorrow afternoon.
Twenty-nine horses will ride their dressage tests Friday beginning at 9:30 a.m. with Madeline Blackman and Gordonstown kicking off the day. The entire field will take to Derek di Grazia’s cross-country course on Saturday before the weekend is concluded back in the main Rolex arena with a live television broadcast of the show jumping conclusion on Sunday.