Allison Springer Rides to Lead at 2014 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event

Lexington, Ky., April 25, 2014 -With a score of 39.5 penalties, Allison Springer, riding Arthur, emphatically took over the lead in the Kentucky Three-Day Event. Two-time Rolex Kentucky winner William Fox-Pitt is second, on Bay My Hero (44.0), and Lauren Kieffer is third on Veronica (46.7).

Three riders are tied for fourth with a score of 49.5: Thursday’s leader Michael Pollard on Mensa G, Phillip Dutton on Mr. Medicott, and Jan Byyny on Inmidair. Will Faudree, who stood second on Thursday with Pawlow, is now seventh (49.8).

Some 13,760 spectators watched the second half of the 60-horse field perform their dressage tests today, the precursor to Saturday’s cross-country phase.

Springer, 39, of Upperville, Va., and Arthur also won the Rolex Kentucky dressage phase in 2012. “I think I liked this one better because I was a bit more emotional. But he went into the ring a much more confident horse. I think maybe we’re both maturing a little bit, and I do think this one was a bit better,” said Springer of Arthur, a 15-year-old U.S.-bred Irish Sporthorse.
Springer is also in 44th place on Copycat Chloe.

Fox-Pitt, 45, a member of Britain’s gold-medal team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park, thought that Bay My Hero did some of his best work too.

“I was very happy with him today. He couldn’t have gone very much better,” said Fox-Pitt, noting that the weather had become dark and blustery by the time he and Springer rode, at mid-afternoon. “He can be quite easily distracted, because he likes to look at everything. But he really held it together well.”

Fox-Pitt is also in 10th place on Seacookie TSF.

Kieffer, 26, of Middleburg, Va., is riding at Rolex Kentucky for the second time, and this will also be Veronica’s second Rolex start. In 2012 Karen O’Connor fell off her at a water complex. Kieffer has been a student of Karen and David O’Connor’s for nine years and has been riding Veronica for about a year.

“There is a lot to do tomorrow, and I don’t think this will be a dressage show,” said Kieffer.

With dressage completed, the riders are now focusing their attention on Derek di Grazia’s cross-country course, which winds its way around the Kentucky Horse Park. Competition begins at 11 a.m.

The jump that’s grabbing their attention the most is a new creation, fences 16AB, the Angled Brushes.

“I think the angled hedges are about the most severe angle I’ve ever jumped,” said Springer. “But I really trust Derek as a course designer, and I have a lot of faith in Arthur.”

Said Fox-Pitt about the Angled Brushes: “We’ve all been squinting at them to try to make them look better. The horses will need to be really on the ball there and all around the course. It’s a tough track, but I think the horses should finish well. It’s going to take some jumping.”

Kieffer called di Grazia “a genius as a course designer.”

She added, “The horses can see all the lines at the combinations if you ride them well. There are no tricks. But if you make a mistake, it will punish the rider, not the horse.”

The effect of the cross-country course will likely be substantial, as the horses placed from eighth to 34th have penalties between 51.2 and 59. 8.

In the new Dubarry of Ireland Nations Team Challenge, the United States is in the lead, thanks to Springer and Kieffer. By adding Pollard’s score, the U.S. total is 135.7 penalties.

Fox-Pitt is two-thirds of the British team, and when combined with Sarah Bullimore’s 52.7 on Reve Du Rouet, the British team’s second-placed score is 148.2.

Canada, with a 54.7 from Jessica Phoenix on Pavarotti and two scores from Selena O’Hanlon, is third with 168.5.

The Kentucky Three-Day Event, Presented by Land Rover, April 24-27 at the Kentucky Horse Park, is one of the world’s most prestigious equestrian competitions and features the world’s best horses and riders vying for their share of $250,000 in prize money, as well as a shot at the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, which is awarded to any rider who wins the Rolex Kentucky, Mitsubishi Motors Badminton and Land Rover Burghley four-star Events in succession.

The 2014 Kentucky Three-Day Event is a selection trial for the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games and will crown the 17th Rolex/USEF National CCI4* Champion. The only four-star event in the Western Hemisphere, Rolex Kentucky draws an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 spectators and is seen by millions more on worldwide telecasts.

This year, for the first time ever, Rolex Kentucky includes a team challenge. The Dubarry of Ireland Nations Team Challenge will award $20,000 in prize money, while helping national teams prepare for the team competition at the World Equestrian Games this summer. The winning nation will be the nation with the fewest penalties after adding together the final scores of the three highest-placed individuals from that nation.

Rolex Kentucky is a fun time for all in attendance. Aside from the competition, the event features exquisite shopping in the Sponsor Village; an International Trade Fair with almost 200 booths and tents displaying designer clothing, artwork, gifts, sport clothing, horse-related items, and event souvenir items; and the brand-new “Kentucky Uncovered,” which highlights products unique to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Rolex Kentucky also features a variety of other entertaining attractions. General admission to the Kentucky Horse Park, America’s only theme park dedicated to horses, is included with each Rolex Kentucky ticket.

Coverage of America’s only Four Star Event includes an NBC broadcast – the Rolex Equestrian Championships presented by Land Rover – which will air on Sunday, May 4. All four days of the competition is being streamed online LIVE on USEFNetwork.com, presented by SmartPak, beginning on Thursday, April 24.

For equestrian fans throughout the rest of the world, FEI TV is airing LIVE coverage of Saturday’s cross-country and Sunday’s show jumping competitions. To sign up for FEI TV, visit www.feitv.org.

The broadcast schedule is listed below, and is also available on the USEF Network coverage page, www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2014Rolex/. All broadcast times are subject to change.

*April 24: LIVE Dressage on USEFNetwork.com, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EDT

*April 25: LIVE Dressage on USEFNetwork.com, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EDT

*April 26: LIVE Cross-Country on USEFNetwork.com, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EDT

*April 27: LIVE Show Jumping on USEFNetwork.com, 1:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT

Awards Ceremony on USEFNetwork.com, 3:00 p.m. EDT

*May 4: Rolex Equestrian Championships on NBC, 2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT