Dan's Weekend

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May 1st, 05

The sun, which shines so bright on my old Kentucky home, also shone brightly on Kim Severson and Plain Dealing Farm's Winsome Adante. Kim and "Dan" were the last pair to enter the arena today at the Rolex CCI****, and she had an unprecedented 17 point lead over her nearest rival, Phillip Dutton (AUS) on Ann Jones's The Foreman. Kim rode a flawless round, giving her her third Four Star win in four years. Leslie Law (GBR), who had been standing in second place riding Mr.Keith Scott's Coup de Coeur, had a rail down and a single time penalty to incur 5 faults, leaving him with a final score of 55.4. Phillip also had a rail down, but was under the time allowed to move him into second place with a score of 55.2.

When queried about entering the show jumping with such a large lead, Kim said, "I just concentrated on not doing anything stupid, like missing a fence or falling off. I really didn't let up until I'd gone through the finish flags. He's a pretty amazing horse." To the delight of the crowd, Kim galloped around the arena waving to her fans as they gave her a standing ovation.

Phillip performed a bit of a hat trick when he tied himself for fourth place with Mr. Bruce Duchossois's Hannigan, and Shannon Stimson?s Nova Top. Phillip had two fences down with Nova top, and only one down with Hannigan. He finished on both horses with a score of 55.9 Both horses were well within in the time, and when asked what he thought of Richard Jefferies' show jumping course, he replied, "I thought it was a bit easier than the previous year's, but it was still a tough track. I just didn't ride it all that well."

Unfortunately, Leslie Law was unavailable to comment on his ride, as he'd been whisked off to the airport, where he was catching a plane back to the UK; he?s riding at Badminton, which begins this Wednesday. Leslie did take a second to comment on Kim?s ride, stating that, "Kim may be the current Olympic Silver Medallist, but she was golden today." And yes, golden she was.

Today's course may have been somewhat less demanding than last year's, but it still proved to be highly influential in the final placings. Karen O'Connor on Mr. and Mrs. Richard Thompson's Upstage, moved from eighth to seventh with one of the four double clear rounds. Poggio II and Amy Tryon moved from fourteenth to tenth with just a single rail down.

The "bogey" fence on the course was the Liverpool, fence number 5. It was a square oxer made of birch rails over florescent blue-colored water. Several horses had a look at the water, and in doing so dropped a rail. Adrian Iorio-Borden and Urban Legend were eliminated here. Urban Legend stopped at the fence, but momentum carried him forward through the rails, and into the water. Thinking that she'd gone through the jump's flags, Adrian galloped on to the next fence, where she had another stop. Because she'd presented her horse to the next obstacle without re-jumping the fence where she?d previously had a stop, she was sadly eliminated.

Rolex 2005 will be remembered for many things, the wonderful trade fair (where I spent too much money. Sorry mom) the huge, enthusiastic crowds, the beautifully designed and built cross-country fences, and a wonderful bay horse, who, in the words of his rider, Kim Severson, was "As close to perfect as a horse could be."

See you next year at the Horse Park!

Alden Murray

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