Stamford, England—Aug. 31
When Mackenna Shea first met Landioso, she certainly didn’t think she’d eventually end up at one of the world’s biggest four-star events with him. Back then, she was just 14, and Landioso was a 5-year-old. They were both learning the ropes together.
But now, 10 years later, Shea and Landioso are sitting in third after the first day of dressage at the Land Rover Burghley CCI**** (England).
“It’s kind of unbelievable. It really hasn’t sunk in that I’m here,” Shea said. “When you get to [the Rolex Kentucky CCI****], you think, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe I’m here,’ and then you do it and think, ‘That’s it, I’m never going to beat that.’ Getting overseas alone is difficult enough, never mind being at Burghley and keeping the horse sound. He’s been a kid’s horse turned into a top horse, so he has a lot of miles on him.
“We have a great partnership. We almost know each other too well, actually,” she added. “He’s so laidback—I was so proud of him when he cantered on the jog strip yesterday because it’s the most life I’ve ever seen out of him! But he takes his work very seriously.”
Shea, 24, and Landioso, a 15-year-old Bayern Warmblood (Legendaer I—Aspen, Pilotek) scored a 46.1 to move into third place after the first day of the Burghley dressage, sitting being leader Michael Jung on La Biosthetique-Sam FBW (38.9) and Gemma Tattersall on Arctic Soul (43.0) in second.
Shea noted that she was pleased with the score especially since she had some mistakes in the flying changes. “I was really happy with most of my trot work. The canter was pretty good, but it was more consistent in the later work. We aren’t really fans of the changes! I would have loved to have done all my changes correctly, but I was really happy with how he was carrying himself,” she said. “The rideability is always a big thing for me, and he was super rideable today, so I was really happy with him.
“I was trying to focus on what I was feeling from him because yesterday he was pretty electric at the jog, which is unusual for him, so I was a little worried he’d go in there and get a bit spooky. But he’s usually all business, so he was good,” she continued.
Shea and Landioso came up the levels together and debuted at advanced in 2011. Their first three-star attempt in 2012 ended in a fall, but Shea returned to then-trainer Tamie Smith’s farm and diligently worked on her riding. By the spring of 2013, Shea and Landioso won the Twin Rivers CIC*** (Calif.). She had two more unsuccessful starts at the CCI*** level before placing ninth in the Bromont CCI*** (Quebec) in 2014.
In the spring of 2015, they tackled their first Rolex Kentucky CCI**** but had a fall. Then, later that year, Landioso coliced. Shea has said that seeing him through his recovery strengthened their bond—in 2016, they were back at it, completing Rolex Kentucky with a clean cross-country round, winning the Rebecca Farm CIC*** (Mont.) and placing 14th at the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.).
After placing third and first in California CIC***s this spring, Shea and Landioso were named as recipients of a Karen Stives Eventing Endowment Fund Grant. Shea was supposed to participate in the Karen E. Stives European Emerging Athlete Tour at the Houghton Hall CICO*** and Bramham International CCI***-U25, both in England.
But Landioso contracted shipping fever after flying to England in May, and Shea decided to put competing on hold for a few months. She did stay in England, and put Burghley in her sights. “He’s come back well, and I still got to do three events building up to Burghley,” she said. “I’ve been staying with Rodney Powell and Alex Franklin—Alex has helped me so much on the flat.”
Shea admits to being impressed with the Burghley cross-country. “I didn’t know what a big step beyond Kentucky Burghley would be,” she said. “Just walking the course takes so long! I’m going to have to be really mad about something when I go out of the box because I feel like it’s a very aggressive, attacking course. So I’m going to have to be angry to get it done, I think.”
When asked where she’d like to be on Sunday afternoon, Shea joked, “I’d like to be in the show jumping for sure!”
But in all seriousness, she added, “The horse is great; I’d like to ride to the best he can be. I think he can be in the top 20, and I’d like to try to do that for him.”
The other U.S. riders lie in: 11th – Hannah Sue Burnett on Under Suspection (48.8); 24th – Andrea Baxter on Indy 500 (56.9); 31st – Savannah Fulton on Captain Jack (68.9).
U.S. riders’ Friday dressage times are:
- Boyd Martin/ Steady Eddie – Friday 10:40 a.m. (4:40 a.m. ET)
- Lauren Kieffer/Veronica – Friday 10:56 a.m. (4:56 a.m. ET)
- Lynn Symansky/Donner – Friday 11:48 (5:48 a.m. ET)
- Lillian Heard/LCC Barnaby – Friday 3:18 p.m. (9:18 a.m. ET)
Important links: Dressage ride times | Cross-country course map, fence photos and course description | live streaming (on Burghley Facebook page) | Land Rover Burghley CCI**** website