Kalispell, Mont.—July 24
Buck Davidson finally broke his string of prior just-miss finishes at The Event at Rebecca Farm with dual victories. Show jumping today in the CCI***, he piloted Carl Siegel and Sherrie Martin’s 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse, Copper Beach, to a flowing clear round over Chris Barnard’s course.
In previous years at Rebecca Farm’s CCI***, Davidson has been third (in 2015 on The Apprentice) and second (in 2011 on Ballynoe Castle RM).
Going into the arena, Davidson stood second behind Hannah Sue Burnett on Under Suspection. Davidson finished the competition with an overall score of 48.7 to put the pressure on the overnight leader, Burnett. She had one unlucky rail down, dropping her behind Davidson and into second with a score of 49.6.
The two Pan American Games teammates congratulated each other heartily at the day’s end. “I’d never want anything bad happen to anyone else but I am really happy not to be second,” Davidson grinned. “And it’s great to have my friends here next to me,” pointing to Burnett and CCI*** third-place finisher, Hawley Bennett-Awad.
It was an emotional return to the three-star level for Bennett-Awad aboard her new mount, Jollybo, on whom she’s had the ride only two months. “I have unbelievable people behind me and one of them is Buck. To put my red coat on again is very special,” said Bennett-Awad, who rides for Canada. Jollybo and Bennett-Awad finished in third place overall with a score of 57.9.
Davidson held his overnight lead in the CCI**, jumping a clear show jumping round to finish on 43.2 penalties with Christine Turner’s Halimey, a Trakehner stallion.
“I’ve got to give credit to Michael Pollard. He’s done all the work with this horse,” said Davidson. “Hal was great today, great in all three phases. I really didn’t do very much other than steer!”
Hear Davidson talk about his CCI** win with Halimey…
RevitaVet Elijah, owned and ridden by James Alliston, finished second in the CCI** with 44.8 penalties. Kevin Baumgardner had enthusiastic cheering as he and his own Wembley jumped clear to take third on a score 56.9.
In the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC***, Mackenna Shea had a rail down but still rode to a first place finish, scoring 58.4 aboard her own Landioso. She beat her coach and friend, Tamra Smith who took second.
Shea credited her mount: “He’s an honest trier and has taken care of me for a long time. I wasn’t pleased with my ride but he took care of me today.”
Smith and her mount, Dempsey, an 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood, had a flawless clear show jumping round, finishing on 58.6. The only other double clear round in the division vaulted Bunnie Sexton and her own Rise Against from eighth place to third to finish on 61.0.