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Kim Severson Maintains Lead Following Cross-Country
Equestrian Events Press Release
With a penalty-free cross-country performance, Kim Severson of Keene, VA, maintained her lead following the second of three phases at the CCI**** Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Bayer, running April 22-25, at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.
The winners in 2002, Severson and Winsome Andante, had posted a dressage score of 37 penalty points on Friday to put them well into the lead from a starting field of 44 entries. A perfect cross-country performance meant nothing was added to it, allowing Severson to maintain her position atop the 33 horse-rider combinations that completed Saturday’s challenging test.
He handed all the questions so well, it was liking having my best friend back,” said an elated Severson, 30, of the 11-year-old English thoroughbred gelding owned by Plain Dealing Farm, Inc.
After contributing to the Team Gold Medal effort at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, Severson was unable to complete a three day event in 2003 with Winsome Andante when she broke her leg in the spring and then the horse underwent colic surgery in the fall.
Also completing 2000 Olympic Games course designer Michael Etherington-Smith’s test without penalty was Phillip Dutton of Australia. A member of the Gold Medal Team at the last two Olympic Games, Dutton is partnered with Nova Top, a 13-year-old English thoroughbred gelding owned by Shannon Stinson, and currently enjoys a score of 43 penalty points.
I was quite nervous because I didn’t have the best of luck the first time out,” commented Dutton, 40, who had a fall with his first ride of the day, Connaught. “This is Nova Top’s first four-star three day event, and I am so very proud of him. He’s a consistent horse, but he’s also a nervous horse, so the trick is finding that balance that allows him to keep calm while also maintaining his edge.”
Abigail Lufkin of Middleburg, VA, is enjoying a successful return to the sport following a four-year hiatus while she completed her graduate studies in California. In fourth position following dressage with a score of 45.8, Lufkin was another rider who finished on her dressage score riding Kildonan Tug, an 11-year-old Australian thoroughbred gelding.
My horse went so fast!” said Lufkin, 33, who thrilled the large crowds with a picture-perfect performance. “He never really goes according to my strategy, but I am thrilled with him!”
William Fox-Pitt is his own best competition, currently tied for fourth position with a score of 47.4. Riding Coastal Ties, an 11-year-old Australian-bred gelding, Fox-Pitt, 35, picked up four time penalties to drop from third to fourth. However, with his second mount, Ballincolla, he made an impressive move up the leader board from seventh position following dressage when he enjoyed one of the day’s six clear rounds.
I am just thrilled that they both handled this four-star course as well as they did,” noted Fox-Pitt who, in 2002, placed fourth riding Stunning while last year he did one better, finishing third aboard Moon Man. “The weather forecast for Sunday’s show jumping phase is not looking that good, so anything can happen!”
Offering $190,000 in prize money, the CCI**** Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is a qualifying competition for the 2004 Olympic Games and includes the seventh competition for the USET Foundation Pinnacle Cup.
In addition to the CCI**** division, this year’s Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event is also hosting a Modified Four Star Three-Day Event that is, in part, patterned after the format to be used for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Open only to U.S. Citizens and Foreign Riders residing in North America who have already qualified for the Olympic Games under FEI rules, the Bayer Modified Four Star division marks the first time ever that horses and riders had the opportunity to run the shortened distance prescribed for Athens.
Much like the regular CCI**** division, the Bayer Modified Four Star division saw little movement at the top of the leader board. Adding just 1.2 time points to her total for exceeding the 10 minute time allowed on cross-country, Nathalie Bouckaert of Chatsworth, GA, still holds the lead with a two-day total of 38.6 penalty points.
My horse was very tired at the end of the day, I think the modified format is just as hard as a full three-day,” noted Bouckaert who was aboard West Farthing, an 11-year-old English thoroughbred gelding. “However, the cross-country was unbelievable, it was exactly the way I had run it through my mind five times before I started out!”
Like Bouckaert, 2003 Pan American Champion Darren Chiacchia, of Springville, NY, also added 1.2 time penalties to his score but remains in second position with 41.2 penalty points riding Windfall II, an 11-year-old black Trakehner stallion owned by Timothy Holekamp.
I am just thrilled with this horse,” praised Chiacchia, 39, whose goal is to be named to the United States Equestrian Team for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. “People doubted whether he could jump around a course like this, but I never doubted him for a minute! He just ate it up! I am very proud of my horse.”
Amy Tryon of Redmond, WA, moved into third position after incurring 3.2 time penalties riding her long-time partner, My Beau, a 14-year-old Canadian thoroughbred gelding, while 2003 Pan American Championship Team Gold Medalist Stephen Bradley of Leesburg, VA, and the Russian thoroughbred, From, enjoyed one of six penalty-free rounds to move up into fourth position with a two-day score of 46.
John Williams of Middleburg, VA, and the 12-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding Carrick, members of the Gold Medal Team at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, also enjoyed a clear cross-country performance to round out the top five with their score of 46.2 penalty points.
Winners of both divisions will be crowned when the 2004 Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, presented by Bayer, concludes on Sunday with the third and final phase of stadium jumping.
NBC-TV will present a 90-minute telecast of the 2004 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Bayer, on Sunday, May 2, from 1:30-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. In addition, the Cross Country portion of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event will air on the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) on May 9 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. EDT and will re-air on Friday, May 14 from 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m. EDT. The Stadium Jumping portion of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, which will include a Cross-Country recap, will air on OLN on Sunday, May 16 from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. EDT and will re-air on Friday, May 21 from 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m. EDT. The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event also will be broadcast in Europe on CNBC Europe, which will air coverage on Sunday, May 2 at 10:00 pm (Central European Time).
The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is one of only four CCI**** events held in the world. The three other events are the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials and the Burghley Horse Trials in Great Britain and Adelaide in Australia. The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is also part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing that awards $250,000 to any rider who can win Rolex Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley in succession.
Along with the exciting equestrian action, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event features an international trade fair with more than 125 merchants, the United States Pony Clubs Prince Philip Cup and a variety of other fun family activities and entertaining attractions.