Davidson back in the spotlight after two days of dressage at Foxhall

It's bee a while since Bruce Davidson, Sr. has won a three-day event. And you could only say that without being insulting to someone with his amazing credentials-Olympic gold medallist, world championship gold medallist, 1st American (and one of only two) to win the Badminton CCI**** in England. So to see him sitting atop the leader board with not one, but two horses after two days of dressage at the Foxhall CCI*** is a reminder that you can never count this guy out.It's bee a while since Bruce Davidson, Sr. has won a three-day event. And you could only say that without being insulting to someone with his amazing credentials-Olympic gold medallist, world championship gold medallist, 1st American (and one of only two) to win the Badminton CCI**** in England. So to see him sitting atop the leader board with not one, but two horses after two days of dressage at the Foxhall CCI*** is a reminder that you can never count this guy out.

Story originally posted by: Heather Bailey

It’s bee a while since Bruce Davidson, Sr. has won a three-day event. And you could only say that without being insulting to someone with his amazing credentials-Olympic gold medallist, world championship gold medallist, 1st American (and one of only two) to win the Badminton CCI**** in England. So to see him sitting atop the leader board with not one, but two horses after two days of dressage at the Foxhall CCI*** is a reminder that you can never count this guy out.

Mounted on Amy Ruth DeWind’s Welton Tangle, Davidson was the clear winner of the dressage phase, finishing with a score of 47.21. The bay gelding out of the world famous Welton Stud in England had been competing with his owner, but Davidson said after a few "hiccups" this spring, the horse came to Davidson for some sorting out. This will be only the third time Davidson’s been on the horse, but you couldn’t ask for a more veteran guide for a horse’s firs trip around a three star.

Davidson is also sitting third with Mr. and Mrs. Phelps Witter’s Squire’s Cap. The chestnut gelding has really come to hand in the dressage this winter, and looks to be a great addition to Davidson’s string.

Splitting Davidson’s two horses after dressage is Darren Chiacchia on Dr. Timothy Holekamp’s magnificent black stallion Windfall. The Trakehner stallion put in a flowing and brilliant test, showing off the excellent foundation he received in Germany under the tutelage of Ingrid Klimke, daughter of the immortal dressage champion Dr. Reiner Klimke.

Though the position is a familiar one, Chiacchia hopes history doesn’t repeat itself too much. He and Windfall were standing in 2nd last year at this time, and had a spectacular fall in the water which resulted in retirement for Windfall with a cut knee. However a year has gone by, and Chiacchia is confident he is in a different situation this time around.

"When you buy a horse that has had a career with someone else, it takes some time to get used to their style, and it takes them some time to go with your style, and you both have to change. The fact that he’s a stallion does add another element to all this, because they really are their own creatures, so you need to be very tactful in your approach.

"But, his confidence is high, he is in great shape physically, and he’s very keen about his job right now," finished Chiacchia.

The dressage phase wasn’t entirely without controversy though, as this is the first time in 2002 the new dressage tests have been ridden, and the new score calculation methods used. These were handed down from the FEI for use this year, and it appears there are some kinks to be worked out.

The more difficult dressage test caught several riders, with the counter canter to flying change section appearing to cause the most difficulty. In addition, when the scores were tallied, the final result has the riders incredibly closely bunched. The top 30 riders are within ten points of each other, the top 60 within 20 points. Making time on cross-country tomorrow will be critical to maintaining your placing or moving up. In addition, for many riders the scores from each of the three judges were often 20 or more points different from each other.

President of the Ground Jury and dressage judge at "C" Jack Le Goff acknowledged these issues. "We have this new test, and the riders must learn to ride it, the trainers must train the horses and riders to do it, and the judges must learn to judge it," he said. "There are some concerns about the relationship this new calculation makes between dressage and cross-country, but we have to wait and see in the long run what result it has on the final result.

In addition, Georgia is experiencing unseasonably warm weather, with temperatures on cross-country day threatening to soar in to the 90’s. As a result, Le Goff and head vet Cathy Kohn, in conjunction with the ground jury, have opted to make some alterations to the cross-country test as provided for in the new FEI rules. The new "C phase hold" will be expanded to it’s full ten minutes, and an additional 5 minute cooling hold will be placed on C. Misting fans will be available in the ten-minute box, and the path of C has been altered to keep more of it in the shade.

Eighty-seven horses and riders will go forward to confront Captain Mark Phillips’ stepped up cross-country course. They will find a slightly longer and twistier route, with all of the combinations a definite notch higher in difficulty. In particular, the second water jump now features double corners in the water. All the difficult combinations offer greener horses and riders a kinder alternate route, but they all live up to the term "long route" and are sure to cost you precious time winding through them.

One of those will be HorseCity.com’s own Road To Foxhall profile Paul Ebersole, who is currently standing 33rd with Connor II, 11 points out of first.

Foxhall Photo Gallery Dressage Day!

To see a report on cross-country day, click here.

To see a report on show jumping day, click here.