October 25, 2015--An influential show jumping day closed out Les Étoiles de Pau CCI4*. Yann Royant’s challenging track saw few clear rounds to bring the competition to an exciting conclusion. U.S. combination Katie Ruppel and Houdini concluded their European debut with a 33rd-place finish.
Ruppel (Anthony, Fla.) and her own Houdini began the competition with a nice dressage test to receive a score of49.3 from the Ground Jury of Joachim Dimmek (GER), Eric Lieby (FRA), and Les Smith (GBR). She and the 2004 Thoroughbred gelding gained valuable experience on cross-country day, completing Pierre Michelet’s challenging track that caused a fair amount of problems. The pair collected 67.6 time penalties and 40 jumping penalties for refusals at 6C, an angled house following a drop, and 16A, a bullfinch, but finished strongly. Ruppel and Houdini laid down a solid show jumping round aside from a single rail and three time penalties for seven faults, finishing on a score of 163.9.
USEF Land Rover Competition Grant recipient Jennie Brannigan (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Nina Gardner's Cambalda started off Pau with an excellent dressage test earning a score of 42.6 to put them in an impressive ninth place following the first phase. She and the 2002 Irish Thoroughbred gelding started out determinedly on the cross-country course but an unfortunate sticky moment at 15, the racecourse hedge, resulted in a fall, but both horse and rider were fine.
Lillian Heard (Poolesville, Md.) and her own Share Option performed an accurate test but showed a bit of tension in the beginning to score 53.5. She and the 2002 Thoroughbred Cross gelding started off well on cross-country but had refusals at 8B, a narrow wedge at the first water complex, and 13A, a cottage, where they elected to retire. Barbara Crabo (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and her own Eveready had a respectable dressage test in their overseas debut to receive a score of 54.2. She and the 1999 Swedish Warmblood gelding were having a great cross-country round until a large effort at 24A, a table into the final water complex, popped Crabo loose, resulting in a rider fall, between the A and B elements, but was she unharmed.
Astier Nicolas (FRA) and Piaf de B’Neville moved up the leaderboard to claim top honors after finishing on their dressage score of 38.5. Michael Jung (GER) and fischerRocana knocked a rail to finish second with a score of 39.4, while Tim Price (NZL) and Wesko came in third on their dressage score of 40.0.
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