Lexington, Ky.—April 26
Forty-two horses presented at the final horse inspection on a chilly Sunday morning at the Kentucky Horse Park, and of those, 41 will go on to show jumping.
There was a bit of drama early on amongst the international group when two British horses were held—William Fox-Pitt’s Bay My Hero (sitting fourth after cross-country) and Nicola Wilson’s Annie Clover (10th after cross-country). Both horses were pass upon re-inspection. Their teammate Francis Whittington didn’t present Easy Target.
British team coach Yogi Breisner said Easy Target was sore after yesterday’s cross-country, so Whittington chose not to present him. “The horse wasn’t fit to compete,” said Breisner.
Easy Target clambered over 18C, the corner at the Land Rover Hollow, and took it down completely in the process of jumping around without penalty.
As to the other horses, Breisner was mystified as to why they’d been held. “I don’t know,” he said. “[The ground jury] obviously see things that we don’t. We had no worries whatsoever with either of those two horses right through last night and this morning. They obviously see things that we don’t see.”
New Zealand’s Tim Price, sitting first with Wesko, and Germany’s Michael Jung, sitting second and third with La Biosthetique-Sam FBW and FischerRocana respectively, sailed through the inspection.
Kiwi rider Emily Cammock didn’t present Dambala. “The conditions couldn’t have been much worse for ‘Oscar,’ but he stepped up and showed his heart to give me a fantastic round,” she wrote on Facebook. “He slipped badly on takeoff at the second fence, and I saw the ground approaching rapidly. Luckily Oscar regained his balance, and the Sadl-Tite glue kept me on board. After that, the course was a pleasure to ride.
“Now for the devastating news,” she continued. “After the second to last fence I felt something wasn’t quite right, and as we pulled up at the end of the course it was obvious we had a problem. It appears that the deep ground has proven too much for an old suspensory injury, and he has had to be withdrawn. With plenty of drugs on board he is feeling OK, but we are all feeling pretty somber.”
Will Faudree didn’t present Andromaque. “I’m totally gutted,” he wrote on Facebook. “ ‘Missie’ gave me one of the best rides of my life. She threw a shoe on cross-country and is just not quite right. And it’s not in her best interest to continue and jump tomorrow. We will get home and assess her, and be back to fight another day.”
Phillip Dutton also chose not to present Mighty Nice, one of his three rides. “He got some skin off his stifle,” said Dutton. “He’s obviously brushed a jump. He’s just a bit stiff and sore.”
Five horses were sent to the holding box. In addition to Annie Clover and Bay My Hero, Caitlin Silliman’s Catch A Star, Angela Grzywinski’s Novelle and Lizzie Snow’s Coal Creek were all held. Novelle and Coal Creek passed upon re-inspection, but Silliman decided to withdraw “Hoku” in the holding box.
“The horse is a bit stiff and sore after cross-country,” said her coach Boyd Martin. “She hopped on and gave her a ride this morning, and she became perfectly sound, so we just thought she was muscle sore. So I gave her a pat on the back and said, ‘You’re good to go.’ Obviously when she trotted up it was a big surprise to us all that she looked a little bit off. So she decided to pull out when she got put in the hold.”
“It’s such tough conditions and a grueling course, and it’s a four-star,” Martin continued. “Any athlete would be a bit stiff and sore afterward. I don’t think it’s anything major. I’m sure we’ll see her back out there pretty soon.”
Show jumping starts at 1 p.m. in reverse order of standing.