Clark Montgomery, who hails from the lone star state in the US, held on to control of Blenheim Horse Trials, and improved his hand going into the showjumping tomorrow after Sandra Auffarth’s fate was sealed with a slow round cross country. The likeable Texan went clear inside the time to finish cross country where he left off after dressage on 33.8, two rails ahead of Chris Burton in second on 42.0.
He is perhaps the most elegant male eventer I’ve seen on a horse, and could well be the best America has produced ever. I remember meeting him 5 years ago at his base in Chattahoochee Hills when on a road trip, and being very impressed by him then. I watched Clark go through the second Bladon water crossing which caused plenty of issues, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him ride so positively and well. He’s probably America’s best hope of challenging the likes of Michael Jung, Chris Burton, and all of the Kiwis or Brits that dare to stand in line. Whatever he’s been doing this year is working, he is on fire!
Here’s Clark’s thoughts after Cross Country:
Today’s course wasn’t perhaps as strong as it has been in the past, but delivered in every way you hope from a CCI***. 13 finished inside the time, and 10 of those finished in the top 20. The Bladon river crossing, looked to have the edge for course designer, Eric Winter, having set a good few adrift with run-outs or stops. When you look at this section from the approach, it’s probably very daunting for the horses, there’s a lot to take in as you drop down the hill.
I doubt there was any surprise to see Chris Burton & Tim Price holding 2nd & 3rd spots. These two have been in the top 5 most of the year in the big classes. They are joined in the top five by two of the greatest more mature riders, William Fox-Pitt (4th), and Andrew Hoy (5th).
Four British girls and another from the US raiding party, Lauren Kieffer, make up the top ten, and any of these could well pick up a better position after show jumping tomorrow as the margins for error for 2nd-10th place are slim.
My 7-y-old son joined me today and we had a great time together. Armed with a small pocket camera he took some great photos to help towards his Cubs photography badge. Fresh Pizza for lunch, Helter-Skelter rides, ice-cream also featured in our day so many thanks to Mandy Hervieu and everyone at Blenheim that make all this possible, it’s such a great day out for all ages.
I have plenty more photos but for now here’s a few more:
With blue skies forecast for tomorrow I’m looking forward to a a great day of cross country for the CIC*** 8/9-y-o class and show jumping for the the main CCI** class. If you’re within driving distance of Oxford I highly recommend joining us.
You can find out all you need to know on their website:
See you there!