Aug. 28, Richland, Mich.
Even with his toughest competition entering the arena immediately after his show jumping round with Ballynoe Castle RM, Buck Davidson knew he’d already won the Richland Park CIC***. Davidson and “Reggie” topped the division on their dressage score, 43.3, and finally won out in the tie he’d been holding with Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda since Thursday.
Davidson and Brannigan both put in double clears today, but the former had been eyeing his watch around cross-country especially closely yesterday and therefore posted the time closest to the optimum.
“We came in 1 second under,” said Davidson, Riegelsville, Pa. “I didn’t know what Jennie’s time had been, but I figured if I could get that close to optimum, I was doing everything I could.”
Getting every detail right was especially important to Davidson this weekend. Even though Reggie’s coming off a win in an advanced division at Millbrook Horse Trials (N.Y.), his rider was holding on to some frustration from The Event At Rebecca Farm CIC*** (Mont.) in July.
“I went off course in the dressage there, and if I hadn’t we probably would have won,” he said. “I felt like I owed this to [Reggie’s owners, Carl and Cassandra Segal].”
Davidson also rode Absolute Liberty to sixth place on their dressage score in the Pan American Games Selection Mandatory Outing division and Titanium to fourth place in the advanced. He’ll head next to the Nutrena/USEA American Eventing Championships in Georgia, where he’ll make a bid to bank the advanced championship check with Reggie.
“After that I’m going to take him somewhere and really run him quiet and calm and slow, because I’ve really been asking him to move along on cross-country lately,” he said. “Then we hope to go to Galway [CCI*** in California in November]. That’s the plan.”
Brannigan’s second-placed finish on her dressage score with “Ping” was a welcome rebound from their four-star debut this spring. She noted that watching Davidson’s clear round right before hers and knowing there was no way she could lose the win took a bit of pressure off.
Brannigan’s coach and mentor, Phillip Dutton, finished third and fourth with double-clear rounds aboard Ben and William Penn, respectively. Kendal Lehari jumped up from eighth to fifth with her perfect performance on Daily Edition.
Ballingowan Pizazz Makes A Bid To Cross The Border
The past three months have been a whirlwind for Shannon Lilley. In May she put together a group to buy Ballingowan Pizazz and decided to try for the Pan American Games with him and her second mount, Forgotten Emblem.
So the Gilroy, Calif., trainer made the long haul to Montana for the Rebecca Farm CCI**, and her horses ended up third and sixth, respectively. A week later she was on to Kentucky working at the Adequan FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships. That’s when the texts started flooding her inbox—congratulations on being named the first ranked substitute on the USEF Short List.
Back in California, she soon learned a handful of Short-Listed riders had withdrawn, which meant she was moving up off of the alternates list. So she and Ballingowan Pizazz (better known as “Mango”) hopped on a plane for Chicago and hot-footed it to Richland Park.
And now, after their commanding win in the Pan American Games Mandatory Outing division, the team selectors will have to take a hard look at a pair who were hardly considered contenders just weeks ago.
Lilley and Mango moved up one placing in each phase, starting out third in dressage (46.7), tacking on .4 time faults on cross-country and jumping a confident double-clear round today. Michael Pollard took second on Schoensgreen Hanni (49.1) and Lynn Symansky’s flawless go with Donner moved her up from sixth to third.
Hannah Burnett and Harbour Pilot, who won the dressage and added nothing to their score yesterday, pulled two rails to finish fourth.
In the advanced division, Pollard scored a big win with DV8 (37.3), who he’s shown lightly since getting the ride from owner and father-in-law Carl Bouckaert almost a year ago. He’ll hop a plane to England tonight, as he’s entered in the Land Rover Burghley CCI**** with Icarus this coming weekend.
Sara Kozumplik brought Manolo Blahnik back to form to place second in the advanced division (41.6), and Katie Ruppel piloted Sir Donovan to third place (45.6).