The U.S. Eventing Team better be careful because the U.S. Dressage Team might be tempted to scoop up Phillip Dutton and Mystery Whisper for this summer’s Olympic Games. The pair once again blew away the competition scoring a 32.6 for a seven point lead over second placed Karen O’Connor and Veronica. The judge at E, Ulrich Schmitz, even awarded Mystery Whisper a 79.6% which Jo Young at C following suit with a 78.8% and Susan White at M with a 76.4%.
Mystery Whisper, a 12-year-old Warmblood Gelding (Richmeed Medallion x Socialite) is owned by James and Arden Wildasin and was imported from Australia at the end of 2011. Since his arrival in America, “Whisper” has racked up quite an impressive record with Dutton in the tack with wins at The Fork CIC3* and Red Hills CIC3* on equally good dressage scores.
“It is great to have this horse,” said Phillip. “It has actually been somewhat of a fairy tale, and I hope it keeps going. It is good to go in there on a really trained horse and know that if I ride him correctly it is going to come off. I’d like to take a lot of the credit for it, but Heath Ryan is the one educated the horse and the Wildasins were good enough to buy him so it just great to be a part of it.
“It’s been great for me to feel what a really well-educated horse is,” continued Phillip. “It’s going to help me with my other horses as well, so it is a great experience to have him.”
Phillip and Mystery Whisper are still developing their partnership, so despite their incredible success it is still a work in progress. “He is very straight-forward; he is a quiet horse. I think this is just our fifth test together, so it is just a matter of tweaking the movements and trying to get a bit more out of him. How long to warm him up for, how many flying changes to do, how many medium trots to do before you go into the ring. We are getting to know each other pretty well.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s cross-country round, Phillip explained that he is just hoping for an uneventful day. “I am go to go at a speed that is comfortable for the horse – my main priority is to get him qualified for the Olympics. That’s number one so we will see how it all pans out tomorrow.”
Watch the slideshow above of the CCI3* or view all the photos here.
Watch the slideshow of the CIC3* above or view the gallery here.
While he is a pro in the dressage ring, Mystery Whisper is still learning the ropes of being an American horse and is currently suffering through multiple clip jobs in an effort to stave off his winter coat which is just coming in as Australia is headed into the colder months. However, Whisper is also experiencing the benefits of the country. “Australian horses don’t get fed too many treats, but he is starting to like carrots,” said Phillip. “He isn’t game to try peppermints or anything like that, but he is a very inquisitive horse. If you go to his stable he will look you in the eye and wants to see what is going on. I think he genuinely likes life.”
Sitting behind Phillip is Karen O’Connor and Team Rebecca LLC’s Veronica. The 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood/Thoroughbred re-routed to the Jersey Fresh CCI3* after an early dunking on the cross-country at the Rolex Kentucky CCI4* cut their trip short there. Karen and Veronica were the only other pair to break 40 – they scored a 39.6.
The final ride of the day, Michael Pollard and Jude’s Law, slipped into third on a 43.6. A small consolation after Michael’s other entry, Schoensgreen Hanni, was spun at the first Veterinary Inspection.
The CCI3* is the second division on cross-country tomorrow at 11:10 AM.
Clark Montgomery and Universe Rule the CIC3*
In the CIC3* there were no scores under 40, but Clark Montgomery came close with his wife Jessica Montgomery’s Dutch Warmblood/Thoroughbred gelding, Universe scoring a 40.8. The extravagantly moving 11-year-old old gelding earned 73.2, 74.8, and 70.4% from the judges at H, C, and B respectively.
“The test felt great,” said Clark. “I’ve been getting some help from Sandy Phillips; she really helps me out a ton because he can get a little tight, so she doesn’t let me ride too much from my hands, all from behind. He went in there and was really grown-up, the most grown-up he’s been all year. I was really happy with it.”
Universe has not been out much in the last year as he has been recovering from an injury that happened at this time last year. “He’s had almost a full year off rehabbing,” explained Clark. “He acts like he’s doing his first season… he’s a greener horse than if he had done Advanced all year, but he’s been good.”
Clark has had a few chances to walk around John Williams’ cross-country course which he will tackle tomorrow. “The questions all seem good. We have to twist around a little bit, but it is the ground we have to work with. We just don’t have all the acres, and we need to get the distance in.”
As for the footing, “It’s a touch on the firm side, but I’m really picky. It’s great compared to if it hadn’t rained. Mother Nature was on our side this year, and we got some moisture in the ground.”
Hot on Clark’s heels is Hannah Sue Burnett with her Pan Am double medalist, Harbour Pilot on a 44.6 while Buck Davidson and The Apprentice scored a 47.2 for third position.
The CCI2* and CIC2* divisions had their chance in the dressage arena yesterday and Boyd Martin on Crackerjack and Karen O’Connor with Mandiba are the overnight leaders for the two classes respectively.
Full scores are available on www.evententries.com.