Rolex Recap: Show-jumping

William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk win the second stage of eventing’s Grand Slam. John has the full report from Kentucky.

Top photo: William and Parklane Hawk for the win, photo by Samantha

From John:

William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain won his second Rolex (’10 Cool Mountain) and the second of three steps to the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing today at the Kentucky Horse Park.  William and the 2011 Burghley champion Parklane Hawk entered the show jumping arena with a rail in hand.  They pulled a rail at fence number 6 but jumped clear after that for the win.  The Kentucky crowd was supporting William at every jump–he is a true champion and a great representative of our sport.  Everyone here this weekend (and I am sure throughout Eventing Nation) will be cheering William on at Badminton next weekend to win and capture the Rolex Grand Slam by winning Burghley, Rolex, and Badminton consecutively.

The United States finished a great weekend by taking the next 4 placings behind William.   Allison Springer, Boyd Martin, Karen O’Connor, and Will Coleman all made different but significant steps forward this weekend.  Jonathan Paget and Andrew Nicholson of New Zealand finished in 6th and 7th, and the four placings behind them went to the USA.

Just 5 horses finished the show jumping with double-clear rounds (Otis, Mr. Medicott, Twizzel, Qwanza, and Gordonstown).  Only three pairs finished the weekend on their dressage score–Boyd with Otis, Will Coleman and Twizzel, and Andrew Nicholson and Qwanza.  William’s win gives the last three Rolex wins to Great Britain (William ’12, Mary King ’11, and William ’10).  The last US Rolex champions were Phillip Dutton and Connaught in 2008.

Rolex Final Results:
1. William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk (GBR) +4  45.3
2. Allison Springer an Arthur +4  47.0
3. Boyd Martin and Otis Barbotiere +0  51.0
4. Karen O’Connor and Mr. Medicott +0  51.0
5. Will Coleman and Twizzel +0  51.3
6. Jonathan Paget and Clifton Promise +8 (NZL)  52.8
7. Andrew Nicholson and Qwanza +0 (NZL)  55.8
8. Boyd Martin and Remington +4  56.9
9. Marilyn Little-Meredith and RF Demeter +12  63.8
10. Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice +8  66.7
[Full Rolex Results]


Allison and Arthur, photo courtesy of Samantha

Allison Springer pulled one and ultimately very costly rail with Arthur, but they finished the weekend with a wonderful result in 2nd place and they were the highest placed US pair.  They started off their show jumping round looking nervous and not nearly forward enough but they pulled things together quickly.  This weekend validates a ton of hard work from Allison and is a really big step forward.  There’s a long way to go until London, but this finish certainly puts Arthur back into team consideration.  Allison noted in the press conference that she was left off of the US Team training lists this winter and she said that might have let her focus on what she needed to focus on.  Arthur also won the best conditioned horse award.

Boyd Martin and Otis, photo courtesy of Lesley Ward

Otis Barbotiere wins the unofficial EN award for the highest placed four-star rookie at Rolex in 3rd place.  Otis finished on his dressage score in his first four-star despite the incredibly tough cross-country and show jumping courses.   Otis jumps so big with his hind end that it is hard for Boyd to stay steady in the saddle, but the upside is that there was never a risk of Otis pulling a rail with his hind end.  You would be hard pressed to find a bigger Neville fan than me, but the question of Neville or Otis for London is going to gain momentum after this weekend.  Boyd also has Remington, who finished in 8th, and Ying Yang Yo in Olympic contention.

Jonathan Paget and Clifton Promise of New Zealand, 3rd after the cross-country, found 8 faults at the triple combination, pulling down the rail at #9A and then putting two strides in the one stride and punching out #9C.  Jonathan and Clifton Promise finished in 6th.

Karen and Mr. Medicott, photo by Samantha

Karen worked really hard for her double-clear with Mr. Medicott.  As the crowd roared their approval Karen pointed down to Mr. Medicott, recognizing his great performance this weekend–I love it when riders show their horses some love on the biggest stage of our sport.  Mr. Medicott was wearing one of the largest bits I have ever seen, but it got the job done.  They finished with just 6.8 XC time penalties added to their dressage score and Karen accomplished exactly what she needed to this weekend to continue Mr. Medicott’s track towards the Olympics.

Will Coleman and Twizzel, photo by Samantha

Will Coleman and Twizzel produced a beautiful double-clear show jumping round.  I’m so happy to see luck finally smile on Will and Twiz.  As promised, when this pair has a bit of luck go their way they are a top five placing 4* pair all day long and they have to be in Olympic consideration now.
Marilyn Little-Meredith pulled three rails with RF Demeter.  Marilyn has said that when she buys event horses she tries to find horses that need some work in the show jumping because that phase is her strength.  Demeter drifted a bit at times and Marilyn worked hard to get through with just 3 rails.  They dropped from 7th to 9th in the show jumping.
As mentioned, the United States finished with 4 pairs in the top 5 and 7 pairs in the top 10 at Rolex.  Team USA also came up clutch in the show jumping–4 of 5 double-clear show jumping rounds belonged to US pairs.
Update: Video interview with William after his win, courtesy of Josh Walker, Frankie Thieriot, and Rolex

Here’s how the rest of the rides played out, starting with the first to go today…

One of my favorite pairs this weekend, Jordan Linstedt and Tullibards Hawkwind started the show jumping Sunday afternoon with 16 penalties but Jordan was a class act and rode great, as she did all weekend.  It looked as though Richard Jefferies’ show jumping course might be a little mild this year when the second pair of the day, Madeline Blackman and Gordonstown, jumped clear.  Little did we know how hard that accomplishment would prove to emulate for the riders after them.  Maddie and Gordonstown were the only riders of the first group to jump clear and most of those early pairs pulled one or two rails.

Jessica Hampf and High Society firmly ensconced themselves in Canada’s high performance picture by following up their clear ride yesterday with two rails today.  Kate Hicks and Belmont added just one rail to their clean round yesterday–Jimmy Wofford’s prediction of a good weekend for turned out to be exactly correct.

Erin Sylvester capped off an amazing first Rolex with just 4 penalties all weekend.  That is an absolutely huge achievement and you have to expect great things from them in the future.

Peter Barry and Kilrodan Abbott were the first to ride after the first 10 minute TV break and they got us started off right, pulling just one rail.  Canada started the weekend with 3 pairs at Rolex and they will finish with two in the top 20.  After this weekend, Peter and Kilrodan Abbott are definitely in consideration for London.

Mighty Nice and Phillip Dutton continued to impress the crowd in their show jumping.  Mighty Nice’s barn name is Happy and you can see why–he is so thoughtful, kind, and engaged over the fences.  It makes me happy just watching him work.

Appropriately, Andrew Nicholson and Qwanza became the first pair today to finish the weekend on their dressage score.  Their dressage test didn’t give them a chance to win Rolex, but anyone finishing this weekend with no jumping faults should be incredibly proud of their horse.

The final 7 rides aired live on NBC TV and the rest is history.

Final Press Conference Notes:
The EN bloopers award goes to whoever was in charge of playing the national anthem during the award ceremony.  The British anthem “God Save the Queen” was introduced but then the Star Spangled Banner rang out over the speakers.  After a brief pause the German (I think) anthem started to play.  After that, announcer Nigel Casserly apologized and jokingly asked William to hum the British anthem.
I want to give a big thanks to the volunteers, the fans, the riders, the horses, the USEF Network, EN’s sponsors, Rolex and all of the event’s sponsors, and the Kentucky Horse Park for making this a wonderful weekend of competition.  Thank you to everyone who joined our EN live blogs throughout the weekend.  Please help our Rolex coverage roll on into next week by sending your photos, videos, stories, and ridiculousness to [email protected].  I also want to give a huge thanks to the EN Team, including Samantha, Abby, Ali, Leslie, and of course Visionaire for making this a great weekend on EN.
Now, more than ever, go eventing.

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