The ever-popular Eventing competition held over four days at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky did not disappoint the thousands of fans who trekked to the Kentucky Horse Park. The competition proved a bit too fierce as the U.S.Team fell short of the podium, coming in 4th place; here’s how it unfolded:
Thursday and Friday were devoted to the Dressage phase of the competition where Germany led the pack finishing in first place. Overall, the U.S. Team felt frustrated with their dressage efforts putting them in 7th place going in to the Cross Country phase.
As a side note for anyone who’s ridden a dressage test whose horse just wasn’t feeling it that day, can relate to Guega Fofanoff of Brazil who probably felt his test took an eternity when his mount, Ekus TW, shied, spooked and was downright disobedient, receiving 2’s and 3’s for many of his efforts. We all felt his pain!
Cross Country day on Saturday brought sunny and breezy weather along with a record-breaking crowd of 50,818. The course, designed by Mike Etherington-Smith, was a true championship test causing 19 competitors to either retire or be eliminated on course. Only 13 of 79 riders completed the course at or under the optimum time, including Germany’s Michael Jung and Britain’s William Fox-Pitt.
A bad fall on the course involved Juan Carlos Garcia of Italy and his horse, Iman du Golfe, who were both injured during a fall at fence 20. Horse and rider were both medically treated and are expected to fully recover. Good news.
The fall did cause one rider who was on course, Geoff Curran of Ireland, to be stopped and delayed 26 minutes before he was able to resume and the delay unnerved and interrupted warm ups for top riders yet to start including Phillip Dutton, Michael Jung, Kyle Carter and Andrew Nicholson.
U.S. Team member Buck Davidson had a bit of trouble with a run out at the Red River Gorge fence giving him a 20 point penalty, but overall the U.S. Team rode brilliantly and rose to 2nd place going in to the Stadium round.
Sunday was unexpectedly cool and drizzly, but it didn’t deter the crowd who were enthusiastic and buoyant for Stadium Jumping. Boyd Martin had a double clear round giving hope to the U.S. fans of a medal. But, it started to fade as Buck Davidson brought down two rails, Karen O’Connor brought down a whole fence and then stilled knocked it over on the 2nd attempt and Phillip Dutton brought down a rail on the third to last fence.
The U.S. Team may feel deflated but they should know we’re proud of them anyway. Being 4th in the world is still quite an accomplishment.
Final standings had Great Britain with the Gold, Canada with the Silver and New Zealand the Bronze. Not sure where the other two teams went to celebrate but the Canadians were all aglow at the champagne tent near the Main Stadium! They performed superbly under the leadership of our very own Olympic Gold Medalist, David O’Connor of the United States.
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