Saumur, France—May 24
Great Britain’s Kitty King laid down the best test of the day with Zidante on 41.8 to lead the Saumur CCI*** in France, but the U.S. contingent showed strong competition, with Friday’s riders, Will Faudree and Buck Davidson, producing solid efforts. They head into cross-country in eighth and 12th places, respectively.
“I’m very happy,” said King. “She did a lovely test, and she was very ridable. She stayed very onside and was really trying and lifting throughout the test.”
King, 30, is the first rider to represent Great Britain at every level from pony through junior, young riders and now senior. Zidante, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Polydox—Dante, Voltaire), won the two-star young horse championship at Le Lion d'Angers (France) in 2011 and was fourth at the Blenheim CCI*** (England) last fall.
Australia’s Bill Levett slotted into second with Shannondale Titan over France’s Nicolas Touzaint on Lesbos. Shannondale Titan, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Limmerick—Rocklea, Leabeg) has never contested a CCI*** before. “He’s a big, leggy horse so he’s taken a long time to mature,” said Levett. “We’ll find out a lot in terms of how he copes with it all, but he’s fit, and he’s got lovely length of stride, so I’m hoping that he’s going to go well.”
The Ground Jury of Sandy Phillips, Luciano Cantini and Catherine Agaesse rewarded Faudree and Andromaque's classy performance with a score of 47.8.
“I was very, very happy with her,” said Faudree, Hoffman, N.C. “I needed to ride a bit stronger in the trotwork. You never know how they’re going to act when you go into a big ring like that, and I just needed to trust her a bit more, but that was my mistake. I was very happy with her walk and her canter, and I think that’s what brought my score back up. There was a lot more in there, and we’ll keep working to get the rest out.”
Faudree joked that “Missie,” a 12-year-old Irish Thoroughbred (Anshan—Gortnagale, Strong Gale) who belongs to his longtime supporter Jennifer Mosing, is very proud. “She’s very similar to the character that Meryl Streep plays in The Devil Wears Prada,” he said. “She’s just all business all the time, and there’re no joking, no funny business. Luckily, she and I get along great, so she’s a lot of fun.”
Davidson said he wouldn’t have changed anything about his test with The Apprentice that scored a 50.2. “The test was fantastic. The warm-up went just according to plan, and I couldn’t be happier with him,” he said of Sherrie Martin’s 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Casado—Funny Girl, Fernblick).
All the riders were approaching Pierre Michelet’s cross-country course seriously.
“The course is very challenging, and it’s quite twisty. The combinations are very big, and you need to keep coming,” said Faudree. “I’m looking forward to getting out there.”
“Everything’s on an open distance to a skinnier corner, so it’s one of those courses that you could have a great round and have an annoying stop or something stupid,” said Davidson. “I have to make sure I have my complete focus.”
Fellow Land Rover Competition Grant recipients Hannah Sue Burnett of The Plains, Va., and Marilyn Little of Frederick, Md., completed their dressage tests Thursday and stand 11th and 17th, respectively. Burnett and Jacqueline Mars’ Harbour Pilot head to cross-country on a score of 48.6 ,while Little and Raylyn Farms Inc. and Phoebe and Michael Manders’ RF Smoke on the Water will leave the start box on a score of 52.
Cross-country for the CCI*** gets underway at 3 p.m. CEST.