Clear rounds were the order of the day on Saturday morning, April 26, with eight of 19 starters finishing with no jumping penalties, inside the time of 11:00. Overnight leader Becky Holder, with Courageous Comet, posted a double-clear round to retain her lead.
Other clear rounds included the first pair on course, Theodore O’Connor and Karen O’Connor, followed by Woodburn and Phillip Dutton, Mazetto and Laine Ashker, Neville Bardos and Boyd Martin, Madison Park and Kyle Carter, Hollywood and Kelly Sult, and Critical Decision and Missy Ransehousen.
Ransehousen stands in second place, with 53.3 penalties, while Dutton and Martin are tied for third on a score of 55.0. Cammy O’Rourke of Australia rounds out the top five (55.1), after earning just 2 time penalties, while Stephen Bradley and Brandenburg’s Joshua are sixth (57.6) with 6.8 time penalties, just ahead of O’Connor (58.2) in seventh. Of course, many of the top 10 after dressage will be running after lunch, starting at 2:00.
Dornin Anne North fell from Lion Display when he ran past the final element of the coffin at fence 6-7AB, and she fell again at the Footbridge, at fence 13. A second fall of rider results in elimination, and while medics checked North, Holder was held before the Hammock, fence 8. North was soon released with no serious injuries to horse or rider, and Holder made the best of the situation, not exactly sure where she stood on the clock when they restarted her but flying around the course without putting a foot wrong.
The only other difficulties on course came when Julia Steinberg missed her line to the ducks in the final water complex at fences 28AB-29AB, causing Mr. Big to stop at the first duck in the water. Dorothy Crowell and Radio Flyer ran past the first of the Double Diamonds, 16ABCD, as did Jane Sleeper and UN, who then had another runout at the narrow triple brush on the way out of the Head of the Lake, fences 21ABCD-22AB.
Although the rain that had been forecast for the day passed through briefly in the morning, before the first horse started, it’s been clear and in the 50s since the cool front came through, making for perfect weather for the horses.