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October 15, 2004

Severson Takes Over Fair Hill's Dressage Lead

Phillip Dutton and The Foreman rode just after the worst of the rain to stand fourth (46.2).

Kim Severson and Royal Venture turned in a lovely test this afternoon, showing both obedience and brilliance, going as if the rain that started this afternoon wasn't falling on them at all. And by scoring 36.8 penalties, they've taken a six-point lead over Amy Tryon on My Beau (42.8), who's just ahead of Buck Davidson on Idalgo (43.8).

Phillip Dutton rode The Foreman into fourth place at day's end (46.2), just ahead of Corinne Ashton on Dobbin (47.4), with Penny Rowland on Windswept (49.2) in sixth place. Dutton's mount Connaught, yesterday's leader, is now tied for seventh with Dunrath Alto and Lauren O'Brien. Michael Pollard on S.S. Jett is ninth, and Karen O'Connor on Grand Slam is 10th.

Royal Severson had three colic surgeries in 2003. "People talk about how a near-death experience makes them enjoy life more, and that's what I've seen with this horse," said Severson.

The judges-- Wayne Quarles at H, Angela Tucker at C, and Jo Young at B--each placed Royal Venture No. 1, with scores of 72.4, 76.4 and 77.6 percent. They all gave Royal Venture 8s on his extended trot, on both flying changes, and the final halt and salute. Quarles gave Royal Venture a 9 on the first extended canter, while the other two awarded 8s.

Tryon, like Severson a member of the Olympic team two months ago, went two horses later and guided My Beau through steady and forward trot work. After a lovely halt and reinback at A (which scored 7, 8, 7), the judges gave him and 8 and two 7s for the first extended canter. My Beau, 15, showed his experience and balance with two lovely counter-canter serpentines, and then ended with three 8s for the final halt/salute. All three judges placed My Beau second.

My Beau banged the bottom of a front splint bone while in Athens as Tryon's Olympic reserve. Tryon said she didn't know then if he'd fractured the tip of the splint (as he'd done four years ago on the other leg) and decided to skip the Burghley CCI**** because of it. But when My Beau returned home, U.S. veterinarian Dr. Brendan Furlong x-rayed the splint and pronounced him sound. She said she came here because she doesn't want to do another long-format CCI***** on him. "He's done enough and been a really fantastic horse for me," Tryon said.

Davidson and Idalgo, who finished eighth at the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) in May, turned in what would have been a winning test on most days. The only slight mistakes were a ragged transition to canter after the reinback and abrupt, sliding final halt.

It was on Idalgo that the judges showed some of the disagreement they showed yesterday. On the extended trot, Quarles awarded a 9, Tucker awarded a 6, and Young awarded an 8.

Cross-country starts at 10 tomorrow morning, with Phillip Dutton on Connaught, the Thursday leader, going first. Sally Cousins will wrap up the day at 3:20 with Buzzby. Cousins and Dutton are each riding three horses.

Observed Severson as the rain increased shortly after dressage had ended, "The time is getting harder and harder to make" on cross-country.

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