The winning pair finished on a score of 28, ahead of Kim Severson (USA) aboard Cooley Cross Border who secured a final score of 32.10, followed by Sharon White (USA), piloting Cooley On Show, to collect third place after the three phases and finishing on a 32.90.
“You never quite know how tight the time is going to be,” said Dutton of the show-jumping course.
“It’s an advantage going at the end and realizing the lines you have to take to shave the time. My guy is not at his best if I open him up too much toward the jump, so I had to cut the turns, shorten him at the jumps, and rock him back just a bit. Everybody said they were worried that I wasn’t going to make the time, but here we are.”
Sharon White and Cooley On Show, her own 2007 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Ricardo Z x Jogantina) saw a positive shift in their overall placement, as they climbed up the ranks from eleventh to third by the end of the weekend. White, of Summit Point, WV, had nothing but praise for her competitive mount.
“He’s a fabulous horse and he’s strong in all phases,” commented White. “He’s definitely getting better. He loves the sport and he loves competing, so he’s definitely a good competitor no matter what. My job was to not get in the way and let him be who he wants to be. He really enjoys all three phases. His dressage is getting stronger, cross-country is fun with him. He’s got such a big stride and a lot of scope.”
“With the show jumping, I thought it was really interesting that the time was so tight and scores were tight. That was a bit of a challenge and we just wanted to see if we could do it.”
The week served as a WEG Test Event and riders caught a glimpse of what is to come this September. Dutton, who has competed successfully at six WEGs, is eyeing a spot on the United States Eventing Team in five short months. He concluded:
“I certainly think that there’s a home field advantage having the Games here, and for us to be here and know the venue and get comfortable with it. There are some disadvantages with having the Games at home, with distractions and what else, so we might as well make the most of being able to get use out of this venue ahead of time and feel comfortable when the team gets here for September.”
The Advanced-A Division saw Lynn Symansky of Middleburg, VA and Under Suspection return to the top position as the weekend came to a close, jumping out of second place to finish on a score of 37.50, while Leslie Law of Ocala, FL, achieved second place aboard Voltaire de Tre, scoring 38.60. Symansky also rounded out third place honors with 44.60 aboard Donner.
Lauren Kieffer of Middleburg, VA, and Veronica stole the Advanced-B Division, finishing their final show jumping phase on a score of 36.90. Leslie Law and The Apprentice earned second place honors after finishing with 47 penalties, and third place was awarded to Boyd Martin of Cochranville, PA, with Steady Eddie, on 47.10.