Lexington, Ky.—April 29
“Heart-stopping” was how Australian Chris Burton described the moment when the ground jury asked him to take Nobilis 18 to the holding box at the final horse inspection of the Land Rover Kentucky CCI****.
“It was a bit of a surprise,” agreed Germany’s Michael Jung, whose fischerRocana FST was also held. Jung currently sits first, and Burton is second heading into show jumping.
But both horses were accepted upon re-presentation. “She was a little bit stiff in the morning, but I didn’t really think there was a problem,” said Jung. “The vet in the holding box could find nothing. The [ground jury] said to me that I had to let the reins be longer, and I think that was the problem in the beginning.”
“We felt confident the horse was fine to jump and fine to present,” said Burton. “The ground jury are just doing their job and looking after the interest of the sport. We had a little boot rub on his leg, and that can sometimes just cause a little bit of aggravation, but it’s not going to do him any harm going forward.”
Other horses held at the final inspection included Caroline Martin’s Spring Easy and Erin Sylvester’s Paddy The Caddy. Spring Easy was accepted, but Paddy The Caddy was eliminated.
Three riders chose not to present their horses. Colleen Rutledge withdrew Covert Rights, Mackenna Shea withdrew Landioso, and Leah Lang-Gluscic withdrew AP Prime.
“To quote Ralph Emerson; ‘Life is about a journey, not the destination,’ ” posted Rutledge on her Facebook page late on Saturday night. “While our destination was seeing the finish at the Land Rover Kentucky CCI****, we realize our journey does not end here. Leading up to this week ‘CR’ has felt stronger than ever. He left it all on the table, putting in a stellar dressage test. Unfortunately, we had an uncharacteristic cross-country day. While CR is ready to give his heart out tomorrow, we feel it is in his best interest to wait for another day. We will head home, and CR will get a much appreciated vacation!”
“I have said all along that if AP gave me any indication that he wasn’t 100 percent, I would be prepared to call it a weekend,” said Gluscic. “Last night, he was looking really solid, but this morning he was baseline jogging a 2 out of 5. Rather than go to extraordinary measures to try to get him through the jog, my team and I decided to withdraw and will be evaluating his options going forward.
“If there’s a way that he can come back to this level, it will be my privilege to allow this horse to do his favorite thing in the world,” she continued. “I think he showed everyone yesterday that he is a world class four-star cross-country horse. If not, we will have a great time doing dressage shows and hunter derbies!
“Thank you to everyone for the support and for allowing me to share my best friend with you. Thank you in advance for your kindness and understanding in my making this decision for him.”
Show jumping begins at 1 p.m. in reverse order of standing, and 32 pairs will jump.
The Chronicle is on site at the Land Rover Kentucky CCI****. Keep an eye out at coth.com for all our coverage of the event.