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Sara Lieser

May 5, 2006

Van Grunsven Vanquishes The World Cup For Third Straight Time

It's hard to argue with perfection. Anky van Grunsven and Keltec Salinero rule the modern dressage arena, and the FEI Dressage World Cup Final on April 20-22 was no exception.

The gifted pair laid down an impressive and precise musical freestyle to take home their third title in a row, this time in their native land of the Netherlands before a sell-out crowd in Amsterdam.

Always spectacular in his piaffe and passage, Salinero appeared relaxed and comfortable in the electric atmosphere of the RAI Center, performing true halts and invisible transitions.

April 30, 2006

Yesterday’s Leaders Looked Great At The Third Horse Inspection

Thirty-five riders presented their horses on Sunday morning, April 30.  Overnight leaders Becky Holder and Courageous Comet looked fit and ready to jump as they jogged up the pavement.

Spectators mobbed the third horse inspection, trying to get as close as possible to the amazing athletes, both equine and human.
Ralph Hill, who hasn’t missed a Rolex Kentucky in the history of the event, was enjoying himself as usual in the jog with Bad Boy Billy.  He flashed the crowd with his bright pink socks at the far end of the runway.

April 29, 2006

Courageous Comet Rockets To The Top

Courageous Comet may only be 10 years old, but he answered all the questions on cross-country day, April 29, better than many of his elders.  He and Becky Holder flew into the lead early in the morning by finishing on their dressage score of 43.7 points.

“I kind of feel like Cinderella at the ball,” said a bedazzled Holder.  “I’m waiting to turn back into a pumpkin.” 

This is this combination’s second start at Kentucky, but they didn’t finish because of a foot problem in 2004.

April 28, 2006

Windfall Wows The Judges To Take Dressage Lead

Darren Chiacchia and Windfall II spent their winter in Florida contesting the FEI Prix St. Georges classes and it showed.  Windfall’s presence and movement carried him to the top of the leaderboard at the end of dressage (33.0) by more than 6 points.

They rode a flawless test, where the highlights included his sweeping trot half-passes, huge extended trot and expressive flying changes.  Brian Ross, the judge at H, rewarded them with 80 percent.

“As a package, this was my best test ever,” said Chiacchia. 

April 28, 2006

Severson Shoots To The Top Of The Scoreboard

Kim Severson could win dressage on a donkey, but of course Royal Venture is no donkey.  The Australian Thoroughbred put in a magnificent test—accurate and flowing with invisible transitions to take the lead (39.5) three quarters into the dressage at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** in the morning on April 28.
No other rider was able to break into the top five in the morning.  Mara Dean and Nicki Henley still stand in second place, Becky Holder and Courageous Comet in third, Stephen Bradley and From in fourth and Donna Smith and Call Me Clifton in fifth.

April 27, 2006

Stephen Bradley Takes The Early Lead At Kentucky

Eventing dressage just continues to improve, and Stephen Bradley illustrated that in the first morning of dressage at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** with his lovely test aboard From.

All the judges rewarded Bradley with 70 percent or better on Thursday, April 27, catapulting him into the early lead with a score of 43.9.  Just fourth to go, From scored a steady stream of 7s and 8s, even garnering a 9 for his seamless flying changes.

April 27, 2006

Dean Heads The Competition On Day 1 Of Dressage

The sun shone down on Lexington, Ky., for a change, and Mara Dean and Nicki Henley captured the top spot after the first day of dressage on April 27.
Nicki Henley’s floating trot and excellent obedience moved him to the front in the afternoon, although Dean trotted the first change (43.2).

April 22, 2006

Amsterdam Belongs To Anky

Anky van Grunsven has a reputation for being a perfectionist, but even she couldn’t find fault with her FEI Dressage World Cup winning freestyle aboard Keltec Salinero in her home country of the Netherlands on April 22. 

Riding to her signature music, van Grunsven urged Salinero to perfection in the piaffe and passage, scoring a 10 for their artistry and earning an impressive 87.75 percent.

April 21, 2006

Fisher Reels In A Galway Downs Double Victory

It may've been April Fool's Day, but Robyn Fisher wasn't fooling around at Galway Downs in Temecula, Calif., March 31-April 2. She garnered a big win in the CIC*** FEI World Cup qualifier on Le Samurai and followed it up with another triumph in the CIC** aboard Lady Calido.

It was a hard-fought victory for Fisher and Le Samurai. The 11-year-old Holsteiner/Thoroughbred has all the talent for the big leagues, but harnessing his enthusiasm takes skill and energy.

April 21, 2006

The Odyssey Of Sara Mittleider's Road To Rolex

Five days before Christmas, Sara Mittleider and her father, Gary, packed up three horses and headed out from Idaho on their semi-annual trek east. They had no idea what perils their journey would bring.

Just 20 years old, Sara is used to traveling. Her home base is her family's Rocky Hollow Farm in Kuna, Idaho, which isn't exactly eventing central. The closest advanced event is 10 hours away, and the next-closest is 20 hours.

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