Lexington, Ky.—April 28
Allison Springer couldn’t have had a much better start to the Rolex Kentucky CCI****. First in the ring this morning, Springer and Arthur laid down the best test of the day, finishing on a score of 42.3 penalties. This came on the heels of last night’s competitor’s party, where she picked up a new pair of boots as the recipient of the Dubarry Style Award for the best-dressed female at the first horse inspection. At that party she also won a drawing for a Rolex watch.
“I do want to win one of these the hard way though,” she said as she showed off her new timepiece.
Arthur performed a fluid and expressive test for Springer, despite a few spooks.
“I almost found myself in the same situation as last year, just making it in under the clock headed down centerline,” said Springer, Marshall, Va. “He’s a nervous, quirky horse, and I joke that he sees dead people.”
While Springer said she wished her test had gone slightly better, she pointed out some highlights.
“He has an extraordinary medium and extended canter and good changes,” she said. “He’s an athletic and quick moving horse, and I have to slow his mind down and be sure to keep his feet on the ground. I know it was a good test, but my goal was to score more like a 36 or 37, because we’re capable of that. I’m not disappointed in him at all.”
Kings Temptress, the first of King’s two mounts, had a mistake-free ride, highlighted with lovely trot work. She’ll be back tomorrow with Fernhill Urco.
Springer’s hoping to improve on last year’s result, where she ended dressage day tied for second but picked up 20 penalties cross-country, finishing an eventual 26th.
“I know with Arthur I’ve gotten in trouble with the right turning questions if I go to the right rein,” said Springer, 36. “I know it’s not what you’re not supposed to do, you’re supposed to ride both sides of your horse, but sometimes under pressure you don’t do it right.”
Record-setting rainfall has besieged the Lexington area this April, and yesterday’s tornado warnings prompted the evacuation of the horses here to compete this weekend—both eventers and the reiners here for tomorrow night’s Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup CRI*****—into the Alltech Arena.
The rainfall has soaked the galloping lanes, giving course designer Derek di Grazia and his crews plenty of work to do to get everything ready for Saturday. The forecast for the rest of the competition looks precipitation-free.
“If all goes well, I’ll be very proud,” said di Grazia. “I’ve worked at the park for a while now, and I’ve ridden here. It’s exciting to work on an event of this magnitude where the competition is the best of the best. It was a little difficult this year with [the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games]. I didn’t have as much time as I’d like. But in the end I was able to spend a lot of time here and do what I wanted to do.”
Other Rolex Tidbits:
-Di Grazia promised that the sunken road, which is now flooded with at least 8” of water, will still contain some water Saturday.
-Katie Ruppel’s Rolex bid ended abruptly when Sir Donovan dug in his heels early in the dressage test. Despite persistent encouragement from Ruppel, the chestnut pinned his ears and refused to move after the initial halt. He showed the same resistance in his trot work and was eliminated.