September 4, 2014 -- The first day of dressage began at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials on Thursday at Burghley House, Stamford in Lincolnshire, England, with the first batch of U.S. riders coming down the centerline. In the CCI4*, a talented international field performed their tests in front of the judging panel of Christian Landolt, Ernst Topp, and Angela Tucker. Allison Springer (Upperville, Va.) and Arthur had a stellar dressage test, earning a 41.2 and putting them in third place, just one point behind the first-place score. Arthur Syndicate, LLC's 15-year-old Irish sport horse cross gelding performed brilliantly for Springer. She attributed that performance to their strong bond.
"I'm blessed that I have such a beautiful animal to ride," Springer said. "He's very, very spooky, so this is actually a difficult phase for him to get his most relaxed. He's 15 (years old), I've had him for 10 years now, so we do have a partnership."
Springer said she's walked Saturday's cross country course twice, and she believes Arthur is ready for the challenge.
"It's Burghley; it's big. Everyone says the same thing. Historically, that's been our least consistent phase, but I know he can do it and I have to go out and ride like I did a couple years ago here."
Marylyn Little (Frederick, Md.) performed a lovely test with Team Demeter, LLC's RF Demeter to earn a 47.5, putting them in fifth place. The Karen E. Stives High Performance Eventing Grant recipient and the12-year-old Oldenburg mare had a flowing test with quality trot work.
USEF Land Rover Competition Grant recipient Meghan O'Donoghue (Carbondale, Ill.) rounded out the U.S. effort on Thursday, riding her own Pirate to a score of 54.2. She and the 12-year-old thoroughbred gelding currently sit in 14th place.
Australia's Sam Griffiths and Happy Times lead the field with a score of 40.2 following the first day of dressage. Fellow countryman Andrew Hoy sits in second place with Rutherglen on a score of 40.8.
Hannah Sue Burnett, who also received a Karen E. Stives High Performance Eventing Grant, will perform her dressage test tomorrow with long-time partner Harbour Pilot, an 11-year-old Irish sport horse gelding owned by Jacqueline Mars.
For more information on the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, click here.
To view live scores, go to http://www.bdwp.co.uk/bur/14/.
Follow the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team here.