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The Laurels At Landhope – Friday Recap

Suzy Stafford of Bear, DE, has a commanding lead in the Advanced Single Pony Championship after dressage, scoring a 73.1% from the five judges for a total of just 43.01 penalty points. That puts Stafford at the top of the ten competitors by nearly ten points over second place Miranda Cadwell at 52.86, and Mary Mott-Kocsis in third with 53.63.

That commanding lead is important to Stafford, who doesn’t not want to have to push for time on the marathon Saturday if predicted storms make footing slippery. “I’m really happy I have such a big lead. If it’s slippery, I’m going slow.” Stafford said.

Stafford does not want to take chances with her pony, Courage to Lead, owned by Bev Lesher and David Forney, which is just recently back in competition. Back in 2005, the mare was qualified for the World Championship, but suffered a severe muscle tear in her hip just before she was to be shipped to Europe. “After a year off, last year we had her all legged up to come here (to The Laurels) when she was kicked in the field and had a chipped splint bone.”

As it turned out, the second injury did not take as long for recovery as the first, and the 11 year old Morgan is now back in action. “I think she’s gotten better. It could be that I’ve gotten better,” Stafford said.

The advanced dressage test this year includes canter work, which is new for the pony. “I’ve been doing a lot of canter work at home. She was phenomenal yesterday in warm up,” Stafford said. “I did this test at Garden State and it was a little tense. It really makes you drive and shows when you’re not prepared.”

In the Advanced Pair Horse Championship, Lisa Singer of Unionville, PA scored 47.36 penalty points in dressage, giving her a slim lead over Larry Poulin at 48.90 and Keady Cadwell at 51.07. Alan Aulson rounds out the small but competitive class in fourth place with a score of 58.24.

Singer was in Europe until three days ago, but Mimi Thorington’s Morgans were being driven at home while she was away. Count on Me (Count) and LR Ami Bengali (Gally) were the two in harness for dressage, and Singer expects to stick with them throughout the weekend unless she has to add in her spare, Tilba for the cones. “She can do it, she’s just new at it,” Singer said, adding that she plans to use the five year old Tilba at Gladstone.

With a dry summer the ground at The Laurels has been hard, so Singer would not mind some rain if tropical storm Hannah appears during the marathon phase. “I’ll go for it unless it gets sloppy,” she said, commenting about the course. “I like the new hazard. I think that one’s good. I like the way the first one just flows. It’s a good first hazard.”

National Championships are also being contested at The Laurels at Landhope in Advanced Pony Fours and Pairs. In the four-in-hand class, Allison Stroud has a large lead over Elizabeth Keathley, and Tracey Morgan has the only advanced pony pair entry of the event.

Preliminary and Intermediate divisions are also being contested at The Laurels at Landhope. In the Preliminary Single Pony class, Kirsten Brunner and Janelle Marshall will go into the marathon tied for the lead after they both drove exceptional dressage tests for scores of 75.4% for 39.33 penalty points.

Preliminary Single Horse is the largest class of the weekend and it has a local leader, with Susie Buchanan of nearby Unionville,PA leading the group of 12 after dressage with a score of 48.00 penalty points.

For more information visit http://www.laurelscde.org.

 

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