October 11, 20134 -- The final two riders from the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team completed their dressage tests on Friday at the Military Boekelo CCIO3* in a deluge of rain. Lauren Kieffer and Veronica were the first pair in the ring for the U.S., earning a mark of 47.4, while Boyd Martin was the third-to-last competitor down centerline scoring a 46 with Trading Aces. The third pair of the U.S. effort in Boekelo, Elizabeth Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill by Night, performed its test on Thursday, scoring 51.8. Following the first phase of competition, the U.S. holds sixth place in the team standings on a total of 145.2, with the team from Germany heading the field on a score of 123.4. Sweden's Niklas Lindback and Cendrillon lead the individual standings on a score of 33.
Kieffer (Middleburg, Va.) and Team Rebecca LLC's 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare produced solid trot and canter work to slot into 41st individually following the first phase. The talented combination put forth a solid effort throughout the test despite the muddy and less than ideal conditions. Veronica became slightly unsettled in the walk, resulting in scores dipping for the halt and reinback in an otherwise professional European debut for the pair.
Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) leads the U.S. effort following the dressage after riding Trading Aces into 28th place. Trading Aces, LLC's nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding was ridden at the prestigious Dressage at Devon competition two weeks ago by Martin's wife, Silva, and benefitted from the experience as he produced consistent work on Friday to score 46. The Richland Park CIC3* winners were undeterred by declining ring conditions as one of the final pairs of the day and on Saturday will look to showcase the jumping form that has helped them secure numerous top finishes in North America.
"The conditions really deteriorated today, but I think they all rode exceptionally well," said USEF Eventing Team Coach David O'Connor, who believes the weather conditions will have a major effect on Saturday's cross country. "I think they will all attack the course in the same way. We'll see what the conditions are; a big thing will be the footing and weather. The horses are good mud horses and everyone plans to attack the course."
Halliday-Sharp, standing in 60th place, will be the first U.S. competitor to tackle Sue Benson's ten-and-a-half minute track on Saturday, setting off at 11:30am local time. Kieffer will head out at 2:10pm and Martin will anchor the U.S. effort, starting on the cross country at 3:54pm.
For more information on the Military Boekelo CCIO3*, visit http://www.rechenstelle.de/2013/boekelo/.
Follow the 2013 Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team here.