Monday, May. 27, 2024

Brannigan And Davidson Share The Lead In Richland Park CIC***

Aug. 27, Richland, Mich. 

Jennie Brannigan and Buck Davidson both came to the Richland Park CIC*** with a bit of an axe to grind. Brannigan needed confirmation that the work she’d done with Cambalda since they were eliminated in their four-star debut in June had really bolstered the gelding’s confidence.

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Aug. 27, Richland, Mich. 

Jennie Brannigan and Buck Davidson both came to the Richland Park CIC*** with a bit of an axe to grind. Brannigan needed confirmation that the work she’d done with Cambalda since they were eliminated in their four-star debut in June had really bolstered the gelding’s confidence.

And Davidson wanted to silence the critics who’ve been questioning Ballynoe Castle RM’s potential as a top-level mount since his lackluster performance last fall at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

So no matter which pair (if either) ends up on top tomorrow, both riders are sleeping soundly tonight, Aug. 27, with the memory of strong, confident double-clear rounds fresh in their minds. They’ll be heading in to show jumping tied on 43.3 penalties.

“I went pretty strong with him [at first],” said Brannigan, West Grove, Pa. “My plan was to get [going aggressively] through fence 4, and after that I thought, ‘OK, I’ll back off of him a little bit, because he took that on really well.’ I just wanted to have a really positive go here.

“I loved the way he jumped all of the tough stuff,” she contined. “Both waters, the sunken road and the coffin all felt good. Phillip [Dutton] and I have been working so much to get him in tune and taking me to the jumps a little bit more, and now he’s actually taking me a little too much to the single galloping fences, so I’ll probably not ride him so aggressively the next time out. He was really great today.”

Davidson, of Riegelsville, Pa., is coming off an advanced division win at the Millbrook Horse Trials (N.Y.) with Ballynoe Castle RM.

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“Everybody had kind of half given up on ‘Reggie,’ but I really feel like I have one of the best horses in the world,” Davidson said after that victory. “It’s my job to show him off. I just love the horse.

“On the flat, I really have taken a bit of a step back and believed in my basics. I’d gotten lots of help with him, with people saying, ‘Buck, do this,’ and, ‘Buck, do that,’ and it’s all been good, but I think sometimes it’s too much,” he continued. “He’s such an overachiever that every time someone told me to try something, he’d try twice as hard, and I think he got a bit confused. He’s very talented, so if he has simple consistency, it seems to work. I really haven’t pounded on him in the dressage. I’ve spent more time keeping him happy and confident.”

This spring, Reggie was the highest placed U.S. horse at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton CCI**** (England), and he also finished second at the Event at Rebecca Farm CIC*** (Mont.) in July.

Dutton, who won the dressage at Richland with Ben, slipped down to third place with 7.2 time penalties. But his second ride, William Penn, moved up from 11th to fourth with a double clear.

In her first CIC*** start since her life-threatening fall in early 2010 and the stroke that resulted from it, Jan Byyny stands fifth aboard Inmidair.

Problems were scarce for riders in the three-star. Davidson retired L.A. Albert after one stop, and Lucia Strini pulled up early in the course after two refusals. Doug Payne (Running Order), Diana Burnett (Shigatzi), Dani Dichting (Tops) and Laura VanderVliet (King Billy) picked up one stop apiece and round out the bottom placings in the now 20-horse field.

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Hannah Burnett may need to start brushing up on her Spanish after her double-clear cross-country round in the Pan American Games Mandatory Outing division today aboard Harbour Pilot. While the winner of the division isn’t guaranteed a trip to the Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, in October, Burnett, of The Plains, Va., gave the U.S. team selectors something to talk about this afternoon.

The pair won the dressage on 44.4 penalties and made Ian Stark’s advanced cross-country course look easy. With their second-placed finish at the Bromont CCI** (Que.) in June, the pair seems a good bet for the team.

“He’s really grown up,” said Burnett. “After Bromont, he thought he was Superman. This is actually his first run since [then].”

The rider called today’s ride one of her best rounds ever, on any horse, and noted that her mount made the time (which was adjusted for intermediate speeds) easily.

“I just picked up a good rhythm at the first fence, and I built on it,” she said. “All of the combinations rode like gymnastics. I picked up the speed at the last two fences.”

Shannon Lilley and Ballingowan Pizazz are close on Burnett’s heels, however, less than 3 points behind. And Tamra Smith moved into third today with a double-clear round aboard Mar De Amor; they’re also less than a rail out of the lead (47.8).

Kevin Keane and Fernhill Flutter were the only pair to collect jumping faults in the 14-horse Mandatory Outing division. The pair had a run out at the C element of the first water complex.

For full provisional results, visit EventEntries.com

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