Aussies suffer medal setbacks as ground conditions cause problems

 

Thrills and spills

Christopher Burton is obviously a cool customer, riding an early round in the evening cross country at Greenwich for Australia, and making it look easy. Inside the time, Christopher rode a really well-judged round with good, consistent speed. He needed to put his foot to the pedal to catch up on some of the riders who had lower penalty scores after the two days’ of dressage competition, and rode a classy, world-class round. His ride HP Leilani didn’t appear to tire at all, leaving Christopher to finish on their dressage score of 46.10, which put them into tenth place individually, at the end of the day.

Many riders today did have falls, refusals or trips (15 were eliminated), but the majority made it through unscathed. The twisty, turny course was perfectly designed to offer a tight time, with some very challenging ‘asks’; notably the steep gallop up the hill after fence 19, The Playground, up to number 20ab, Royal Greenwich Borough, which required a great deal of stamina, especially around early afternoon as the temperatures soared.

Jonelle Richards for NZ, usually a fast rider, set off with a purposeful expression on her face. Flintstar jumped brilliantly but Jonelle couldn’t make the time, picking up six times faults, despite some really positive riding. She ended the day on 56.70 in 31st place.

Third placed Mark Todd for New Zealand rode a positive, forward-going and determined round that had the crowds cheering – he finished on 39.10 on Campino, a horse which he disclosed came from Dirk Schrader’s yard – Dirk having been beaten to 17th place by Mark today.

Mark storms into third place.

The Fredericks for Australia had a less successful day than the Kiwis – Lucinda incurred penalty points when Flying Finish missed an obstacle. “I just didn’t keep his eye on the bank,” she explained afterwards. “Aside form that, I had a good ride – we didn’t slip at all. He never deviated from any of our lines. It [missing the obstacle] happened so fast and was just a genuine misunderstanding.”

Her husband Clayton unfortunately fell at fence number 20, the Royal Greenwich Borough, as Bendigo’s hindlegs slipped. To make matters worse, Sam Griffiths aboard Happy Times also fell as the horse slipped on a bend. Both riders looked devastated.

Andrew Hoy on Rutherglen had a much better ride, giving a ‘masterclass round’ according to the commentators, and finishing 15th.

Andrew gives a masterclass in XC riding.

It was a somewhat frustrating end to a day which featured multiple falls, slips, lost horse shoes and casualties. The grass simply did not have a great deal of cover, and yesterday’s rain made it very slippery. Some horses and riders were reportedly taken off in ambulance transport, but no details have yet been released on the circumstances.

Despite today’s Australian woes, Burton and Hoy are still in a good position to challenge the top riders in the showjumping section tomorrow.

The top team places are currently -

Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, New Zealand, USA, Australia, France, Ireland, Belgium and Brazil.

 

Comments

All for Burton in this, he has a good recent record and showed a great ride, he was the one showing the masterclass, not Hoy who did suffer some slips and was almost unseated on a couple of occasions. And in showjumping Burto also has a good record, come on BURTO!!!

15 eliminations ie 20% of field, all from falls but only half the falls were related to jumps. That's too big a figure. Was the problem the terrain or riders' lack of respect for it?

It was wonderful to watch you on xc Chris. Finally some (belated) coverage on tv. last night. All the best with jumping today.

GO CHRIS!! CHEERING FOR YOU FROM THE LANE!!!

It looked fairly slippery in places, inevitably, some combinations will fall, surely this is preventable. Some spots become mud. I don't understand why horses are allowed to keep going over the same muddy spots as the risk of slipping goes up. The risk of the horse sustaining torn and or strained ligaments, tendons, joints increases as ground conditions deteriorate. Rider injuries?. Why is this risk allowed? Surely a few loads of top up sand or whatever material could be organised. People justify their position by saying the ones that slipped rode badly. I would say that slippery ground is called slippery for a reason. It's not safe to allow slippery surfaces to prevail.