September 13, 2013--The first day of dressage began at the Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials in Woodstock, England, with the first batch of U.S. riders coming down the centerline on Thursday. In the CCI3*, a talented international field performed their dressage tests in front of the judging panel of Eric Lieby, Nick Burton, and Lindsay Jenkins. Clark Montgomery (Wiltshire, UK) and Loughan Glen, USEF Land Rover Competition Grant recipients, had a stellar dressage test earning a 42.7, putting them in first place following the first day of dressage. Jessica Montgomery, Kathryn Kraft, and Holly and William Becker's 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding performed brilliantly for Montgomery, producing a lovely, rhythmical test with excellent trot and canter work.
"He was good. He tends to drop a little bit behind my leg when he gets in the ring, but that's normal so we continue to work on it," Montgomery commented modestly, thinking of ways to improve upon his and Loughan Glen's performance in the future. "It was a little bit better today. We still need to work on fine-tuning the execution of the test I think a little bit more, but the quality was good."
When asked about how he felt coming into the event, Montgomery stated, "I think I have all my little points on the three phases that I want to improve on or get near, and if I can do that I will be happy with whatever place that ends up."
Click here to hear a brief interview with Montgomery following his dressage test.
Phillip Dutton (West Grove, PA) performed a lovely test with Team Rebecca, LLC's Ben to earn a 48.3, putting them in seventh place. He and the Holsteiner gelding had a flowing test with quality trot work and clean flying changes. Julian Stiller (Berkshire, UK) and her own Sintra BK scored 64.2 to sit in 39th place. The eight-year-old Warmblood mare struggled with some tension throughout the test but Stiller rode her new mount of only a few months well.
In the CIC3* for eight-and nine-year-old horses, Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (East Sussex, England) and her own HHS Cooley executed a solid test in front of the judging panel of Christoph Hess, Jane Tolley, and Nikki Herbert to receive a score of 49.8. With the flowing test with quality trot and canter work, she and the nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding currently sit in 12th place following the first day of dressage in the pair's first attempt at the CIC3* level.
Meghan O'Donoghue and Pirate, recipients of a Jacqueline B. Mars Competition and Training Grant from the USET Foundation, kick things off for the U.S. on Friday at 10:22am BST, followed by Cindy Rawson and Mocharabuiee at 11:22am BST. Stiller will ride her second mount, Pandora X, in the afternoon session at 2:52pm BST.
For more information on the Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials, click here.
To view the live scores, go to http://www.bdwp.co.uk/cgi-bin/3dif.pl?fn=ble13.csv&nav=left.
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