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Kyle Carter Top Canadian Following Cross-Country
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Photo: Anthony Trollope/StockImageServices.com

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Kyle Cater (CAN) and Madison Park
Kyle Carter of Calgary, AB, is the top Canadian following cross-country at the 2008 Olympic Games. Carter is in 32nd position individually while the Canadian Eventing Team is in ninth position overall.

Carter, who had been sitting in 61st position following the opening phase of dressage, made an impressive leap up the leader board following Monday's cross-country phase. Riding Madison Park, a 10-year-old thoroughbred gelding owned by Carter and Nicole Shinton, Carter was only the second rider to tackle the course designed by Great Britain's Michael Etherington-Smith. The pair successfully negotiated the 39 jumping efforts placed over a total distance of 4,560 meters but, as did all competitors, incurred time faults for exceeding the time allowed of eight minutes. Adding 18.40 time penalties to his dressage score, Carter currently has a two-day provisional score of 81.90 penalty points.

"It went right to plan. I would have liked to be faster, but I am sure everyone would have today!" said Carter, 39. "I did not have a fence out there that was bad. He is a hell of a horse, and he finished strong. As far as cross-country goes, he is as good as any horse out there."

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Sandra Donnelly (CAN) and Buenos Aires
Sandra Donnelly, 38, also of Calgary, AB, was the second Canadian rider. With Buenos Aires, an 11-year-old Canadian Warmblood gelding, Donnelly completed the cross-country course with no jumping penalties and 24 time penalties. Her two-day total of 84.20 penalty points puts her in 34th position in the overall standings. Donnelly had been ranked 58th following dressage.

In her Olympic debut, Selena O'Hanlon, 27, of Elgin, ON, was the highest-placed Canadian, ranked 20th, following the opening phase of dressage. During the cross-country phase, she had refusals at fences 18 and 28 to incur 40 jumping penalties in addition to 36.80 time penalties. Her two-day total of 120.90 penalty points puts O'Hanlon in 51st position riding Colombo, a 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding owned by Elaine and Michael Davies.

Michael Winter, 33, of Toronto, ON, was the victim of bad luck when he lost his stirrup leather at fence nine. His mount, Kingpin, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by The Kingpin Syndicate, jumped very big over fence nine, a drop fence to a skinny brush. Although Winter tried to keep Kingpin straight to the skinny brush, the horse ran out and Winter caught his leg on the flag.

"When I jumped down that first part of nine ‘a' quite big, I did the best job I could to get a good line to ‘b', but he jumped to the side, and I caught my leg on the flag and it pulled my stirrup leather off," explained Winter, who incurred 20 jumping penalties for the run-out and 56.80 time penalties. "It was still on my foot, so I was able to reattach it, but it was extremely time-consuming. But my horse was still great, I was confident enough to take most of the straight routes. I wanted to keep the time penalties as minimal as possible in case my score was ever needed for some reason towards the team result."

With a two-day total of 125.70 penalties, Winter is currently in 53rd position. Samantha Taylor, 25, of Richmond, BC, incurred 40 jumping penalties and 69.90 time penalties to end the day in 60th position with a total of 180.30 penalty points. In her Olympic debut, Taylor is riding Livewire, a 10-year-old thoroughbred gelding bred in British Columbia.

Counting the best three scores from the five team members, Canada is currently ranked ninth overall among the 11 nations competing with a two-day total of 287 penalty points.

"I would be the first to admit that we fell short of our expectations," said Winter of Canada's cross-country performance. "There is disappointment, especially among those of us that did not have clean rounds. We feel that we did not contribute to the Team what we were hoping for. But all of our horses and riders stayed upright, and that is an important thing to remember in this sport."

Carter added, "I thought we really had a chance. I thought the door opened, and we all had possibilities. I would have liked a better result."

Heading into Tuesday's third and final phase of show jumping, Germany currently leads the standings with a total of 158.10 penalties but, less than one show jumping rail behind, is Australia with 162.00 penalties. Great Britain is currently ranked third with 173.70 followed by Italy with 198.40 penalties.

The cross-country phase produced a shake-up on the individual leader board as well. Hinrich Romeike of Germany moved from seventh following dressage into top spot with a two-day total of 50.20 riding Marius. He is followed closely by fellow German Ingrid Klimke with 50.70 riding Abraxxas while Australia's Megan Jones is just behind with 51.00 riding Irish Jester.


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