July 26—The Plains, Va.
Pressure was the name of the game again for the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team riders during the show jumping phase of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Prep Trial at Great Meadow.
Held under the lights and surrounded by hundreds of fans and supporters, the atmosphere was electric as riders jumped around Richard Jeffrey’s track.
Boyd Martin held onto his lead with Shamwari 4, jumping one of seven double-clear rounds.
“He’s sensational, even in here,” said Martin. “If you look around, it’s such a big crowd and there’s a lot of atmosphere and the horses responded really well. There was a lot of good jumping out there. I was thrilled with my bloke. He came in and jumped beautiful and I feel confident going into tomorrow.
“It’s actually pretty humbling that this many people actually care about what we’re doing,” he continued. “It’s also great for us to jump under a bit of pressure, a bit of noise and a bit of atmosphere. That was the biggest thing. It’s easy to jump well at home when no one’s watching, but to execute it for 20 jumps in a row in front of a big crowd over big jumps is the key. You’ve got to practice it and practice it and practice it until it’s second nature.”
As the first out again, Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot set the standard with a double-clear. Burnett admitted she was a bit nervous since she’d never been in the position of jumping first, but “William” handled it well.
“My plan was to just keep going forward through the turns,” she said. “My horse just jumps better that way. It’s kind of been my game plan lately and it’s working well. I started out a little bit tentative but then started riding more forward and he jumped better and better.”
Lynn Symansky and Donner, who were sitting in third after dressage, jumped a clear round but added one time penalty to drop behind Phillip Dutton and his alternate ride, Mighty Nice.
Show jumping can be a tough phase for the gelding, so Dutton was happy for the clear. He also jumped clear aboard Trading Aces.
“[Mighty Nice is] getting better and better and I’m getting a better understanding of what to do,” he said. “[Show jumping coach Silvio Mazzoni’s] been a great help in that regard. I was pleased with where they’re [both] at.”
Riders will tackle a shortened cross-country course tomorrow. The first horse is on course at 9 a.m.
For full results, click here.