What a day! Everyone knew the course was big and challenging and that certainly was the case. The good riders and horses made it look easy though. The first rider on the course, Great Britain's Opposition Buzz stormed around clear and under the time - it was amazing to watch. The U.S. Team's first horse out Boyd's Neville Bardos jumped great for another clear and under the time. Nev is not easy and can get a bit strong, so Boyd's main job was to keep him focused on the jumps and his lines and striding, which he did beautifully. So, one clear and under time for the team! Buck was next to go with Regie. Regie was a bit sticky at the first water and again at the coffin, but Buck was riding him strongly and letting him know he meant business. Regie had another lucky moment at the big corner wall. Then he jumped the double corners perfectly and things were looking better until the sunken road. Regie said NO to the in and in that second had 20 penalties. It is heart renching, but Buck rode sensibly to get him home clear without any more jumping faults.
The pressure was then on for Karen and Mandiba. At Mandiba's last cross country run at the AEC's, he had a stop at the second fence. Not sure if Karen was thinking about that, but Mandiba looked a picture going around and Karen rode like I have not seen her ride for awhile. She was so determined and focused and gave Mandiba a perfect ride - they came in with no jumping penalties and only 2 seconds over optimimum time. The Team was now back in the hunt!
Becky and Courageous Comet were next on course as our individual rider and they went great for another clear jumping but with a few time faults. Unfortunately, I did not see this round as I was helping Phillip get ready for his ride.
After waiting and watching all day, it was now time for Phillip to go. As we walked down to the start, the timer said there was a hold on course. The hold dragged on and so Phillip got off Woodburn. As you can imagine, this is a tough position to be in - Woodburn was all warmed up and ready to go and then to have to wait, really can rattle the nerves and break your rythm. Finally, after about 20 minutes, he was off! I know this sounds crazy, but I did not watch his round. I get so nervous that I sort of pace around and listen to the announcer. I had my friend Joanie Morris watch the moniter and give me a thumbs up at each fence so I didn't miss anything. Clear and fast! Phillip and Woodburn were home and I think I was jumping out of my skin I was so excited. Everyone said that Woodburn never looked better and that Phillip rode masterfully!
So at the end the day the team standings have the Brits in first, the US in 2nd and the Canadians in 3rd and the New Zealand Team in 4th. It was a day of excitement and some disappointments. As we go into showjumping today we are less than a rail behind the Brits.