October 23, 2013 -- Seven talented U.S. horse-and-rider combinations are ready to compete in Les ?toiles de Pau CCI4*. Taking place October 23-27 in Pau, France, an elite field of 75 is ready to take on the challenging CCI4*. With all horses passing the first horse inspection, 11 nations will be represented on the first leg of the 2013/2014 FEI Classics?.
Competition grants have made it possible for the sizable U.S. contingent to attend the prestigious CCI4*. USEF Land Rover Competition grants have enabled Hannah Sue Burnett, Phillip Dutton, Marilyn Little, Clark Montgomery, Kristi Nunnink, and Michael Pollard to experience the highest level of competition abroad. Lynn Symansky was aided by the Jacqueline B. Mars Competition and Training Grant to compete in Europe for the first time.
Montgomery (Wiltshire, UK) and Universe will contest their second CCI4* of the year after finishing 27th at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in the horse's first attempt at the CCI4* level. With the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Jessica Montgomery, Carole Montgomery, Janet Higgins, and Elizabeth Smith, Montgomery finished seventh at the Belton CIC3* and gained valuable experience representing the U.S. at the Aachen CICO3*.
Burnett (The Plains, Va.) and Jacqueline Mars' Harbour Pilot will compete in their first CCI4* as a partnership at Pau. The pair already have experienced international competition representing the U.S. at the Saumur CCI3* earlier this year, as well as at the 2011 Pan American Games where they earned Team Gold and Individual Silver medals. Burnett and the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding finished third at the Jersey Fresh CIC3* in the spring and are coming off a third-place finish in an Advanced division at the Plantation Field Horse Trials.
Symansky (Middleburg, Va.) brings her own Donner to the pair's first CCI4* abroad. She and the 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding have been on the rise this year, winning The Fork CIC3* and placing fifth in the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover, thus garnering Reserve Champion honors in the Rolex/USEF National CCI4* Eventing Championship. The pair finished 10th at the Richland Park CIC3* and had a solid prep run at the Plantation Field CIC3*.
Pollard (Dalton, Ga.) and Mensa G have had solid performances leading up to Pau and hope to continue their success in their first CCI4* as a partnership. Pollard and Carl Bouckaert's 15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding earned second-place honors at the Richland Park CIC3* in August and recently finished fifth in the USEF National Open Horse Trial Championship held in conjunction with the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships presented by VTO Saddlery (AEC).
Nunnink (Auburn, Calif.) and her own R-Star will tackle Les ?toiles de Pau CCI4* for the first time, hoping to end their already successful season on a high note. She and the 12-year-old Holsteiner mare finished eighth at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover in April, then won the CIC3* at The Event at Rebecca Farm. The pair comes to Pau with Reserve Champion honors to its name, after finishing second in the USEF National Open Horse Trial Championship held in conjunction with the AEC.
Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) brings the Mr. Medicott Syndicate's Mr. Medicott to contest their first CCI4* as a partnership. Both are Olympic Games and FEI World Equestrian Games veterans and have been getting to know one another since June. Dutton and the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding had solid performances in an Advanced division at Millbrook Horse Trials and at the Richland Park CIC3* this summer. They are coming off a fifth-place finish at the Plantation Field CIC3* and plan to maintain their strong form.
Little (Frederick, Md.) and RF Demeter have been claiming top results across Europe since June. At the Luhm?hlen CCI4*, Little and the 11-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Raylyn Farms and Team Demeter finished seventh. The pair then finished fifth at the Blair Castle CIC3* and earned second-place honors at both the Breda CIC3* and the Schenefeld CIC3*. Little and RF Demeter seem to be at their peak performance and hope to make a showing at Pau.
Competition gets underway Thursday with the first day of dressage as Montgomery and Universe come down centerline at 3:20pm local time, followed by Burnett and Harbour Pilot at 4:08pm. The rest of the U.S. contingency will perform their dressage tests on Friday, beginning with Symansky and Donner at 9:46am local time. Pollard and Mensa G will go at 10:26am followed by Nunnink and R-Star at 11:14am. Dutton and Mr. Medicott will be the last to go in the morning session at 12:38pm, with Little and RF Demeter being the sole U.S. pair in the afternoon session at 2:16pm.
Learn more about the Les ?toiles de Pau CCI4*, visit www.event-pau.fr/en/homepage/.
For start times and results, click here.
Follow the 2013 Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team here.