Pollard and Mensa G Early Leaders At Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Presented by Land Rover

Posted in Rolex Kentucky 3 Day Event at 8:20 pm by EPR

Lexington, Ky., April 24, 2014 – Michael Pollard grabbed the early lead on the first day of dressage at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Land Rover, scoring 49.5 penalties on Mensa G.


That score just eclipsed the score of 49.8 penalties earned by Will Faudree on Pawlow. Doug Payne scored 51.2 on Crown Talisman to claim third place.


The dressage judges at this year’s Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event are Sandy Phillips of Great Britain, Gillian Rolton of Australia and Christina Klingspor of Sweden.


         “I like to say that, on dressage day, you can’t win the event, but you certainly can lose it. I’m probably not going to keep the lead tomorrow, but this is a good start,” said Pollard, 33, of Dalton, Ga. “I just tried not to panic before I went in the ring.”


         Mensa G is a 16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding by Colonial Affair-Fire The Secretary, Stop The Music, bred by Rutledge Farm in Middleburg, Va. Colonial Affair won the 1993 Belmont Stakes.  Pollard, wife Nathalie Pollard and father-in-law Carl Bouckaert have owned him for two years.


         Faudree ,32, of Southern Pines, N.C., said he thought that he “threw points away” with mistakes at the counter-canter and medium trot. But “all in all he stayed very rideable throughout the test, and overall I was happy.”


         Faudree added, “It’s a disadvantage to go on Thursday morning [when the crowd is the smallest] with a horse who benefits from atmosphere. The more atmosphere there is around the ring, the less I have to kick and the more I can show off what he can do.”


         Pawlow, 15, is an Irish-bred Thoroughbred gelding by Marcuzzi who finished sixth at the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event with Faudree aboard.


         But Payne, who celebrated his marriage just a few weeks ago, thought that going on the quieter Thursday was an advantage for him. “Crown Talisman is a little more excitable, so it was good for him to get this experience,” he said.


         Unlike the other leaders, Payne will not be starting on Saturday’s cross-country course, though. He’s received a Land Rover travel grant to compete Crown Talisman at the Saumur CCI4* in France later this year. Still, he had high praise for the cross-country course Derek di Grazia has created for this year’s event. Di Grazia has been designing the Rolex Kentucky course since 2011.


         “It’s a hell of a lot easier to comment on a course that you don’t have to ride,” he said with a smile. “But I think that Derek often doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves. The great thing with his course is that if you jump into the first element right, it generally works out. The horses really read his questions well and jump them well. I don’t think he penalizes the horses.”     


         Said Pollard, the father of four young children, “This course always looks big to me. I have yet to walk a four-star where it seems easy. It may be a little bit stiffer this year, because it’s a World Championship selection trial, but it’s always hard.”

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