Rolex Three-Day Event: Tryon and Le Samurai Take the Lead After Dressage

Day Two of dressage during the 2007 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Farnam, welcomed much drier skies than the previous day, and it provided a much nicer environment in which to wrap up the dressage phase and head into cross country. At day's end, Amy Tryon (U.S.) aboard Le Samurai, a 12-year-old Holsteiner/Thoroughbred gelding, took the overall top spot on the leaderboard. The horse is fairly new to Tryon, but that really didn't show in today's dressage test as they scored a 47.0.

Coming in second was Britain's Polly Stockton aboard Tangleman (47.2). Third place went to Australia's Clayton Fredericks and Ben Along Time (47.4). In fact, it was one thin point that separated the top five riders.

Tryon said that she only had about 40% of the horse's attention when she went in the ring, and she admitted that she wasn't convinced it was a really good ride during the first half.

"Physically it is easy for him, but mentally it's challenging," said Tryon. "He was all lit up by the atmosphere."

However, that changed during the second portion of her test. "You try to go in so focused," said Tryon. "You don't have time to enjoy what's going on beneath you."

Focus is critical, and especially so in an arena like the one challenging these riders. Heavy on "atmosphere," it can present a downfall to even the most experienced pairing—even to an Olympic and FEI World Equestrian Games medalist like Tryon. "This arena is hard to ride in ... trotting down the strip is like being thrown to the lions."

A former firefighter, she retired from that job last summer to devote herself exclusively to riding. "Then, I was lucky to ride three days a week when I was firefighting. Now, I can spend seven days a week at the barn. That doesn't mean my life is any less hectic, but at least I can focus all my attention on the horses. I have a great team of horses and owners. Becky and Jerome Broussard who own Le Samurai are fantastic owners, and I am happy I have the time to put into it."

Stockton and Tangleman (a 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding) stand only two-tenths of a point of Tryon's lead going into the cross-country phase.

"This horse came here four years ago quite inexperienced," said Stockton. "He had a lower score today, but his dressage has actually gotten better, and I hope the jumping will go well, too." This pairing placed 22nd at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials last year.

Last year's leader going into the cross country phase, Becky Holder (U.S.) and Courageous Comet (an 11-year-old Thoroughbred gelding) are sitting in a tie for third after putting down a 47.4 to match the work done by Australia's Fredericks and the 12-year-old Irish gelding he is riding.

Holder was pleased with her dressage ride. Looking toward a challenging day of cross country, she admitted that she has one strategy when approaching a tough course like the one ahead. And, it is advice that she takes from her husband.

"My husband says the most important jump on-course is the next one," she said laughing. "If I take it one at a time, then I can probably look back and say I enjoyed it."

As for Fredericks, he hoped to approach Saturday's work with a calm head and steady hand. "I hope to give it the best ride I can," he said. "He's [Ben Along Time] doing good. The horse you have in the end is the main thing."

He said that one of the reasons he travels halfway around the world to come to the Rolex Kentucky event is that his fellow competitor, Stockton, has given it such high praise.

"Polly gave it a great reputation as a really good event, with really good footing," he said. "It's a big effort and expense to come all that way, but ever since I first spoke to Janie Atkinson [of Equestrian Events, Inc.], the organizers have done everything to make it a pleasure. It makes a difference to be in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. No doubt it gives us a good feeling to come here."

American Missy Ransehousen and Critical Decision (an 11-year-old Warmblood/Thoroughbred gelding) now sit in fifth place on their score of 47.8, sliding down a few spots after posting Day One's lead score.

Saturday's cross country phase begins under what is being forecast as a 30% chance of showers and overcast afternoon skies.

The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Farnam, is the only four-star event in the Western hemisphere. Riders compete in this competition for their share of $200,000 in prize money, with the winning owner receiving $65,000. The winning rider gets to sport a new Rolex watch. The USET Pinnacle Trophy is presented to the top American rider, who is also named the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) National CCI**** Eventing National Champion. This year celebrates the 10th year the prestigious award is being given.

Highlights from the event will be broadcast by NBC Sports in a one-hour special on Sunday, May 6, from 5:00-6:00 p.m. EDT. In addition, fans that aren't able to make it to the Kentucky Horse Park for the event can still catch the action live through's daily webcast, available at These webcasts were made possible through the joint efforts of NBC; Equestrian Events, Inc., the producer of the event; and the USEF.--Brian Sosby

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from Learn More