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Buck Davidson Takes Double Lead at The Fork
Norwood, NC, USA
by Amber Heintzberger
Photo: Anthony Trollope/
Buck Davidson (USA) and My Boy Bobby
Clean and fast cross-country rounds on his two top horses placed Buck Davidson in the lead in the CIC*** and the advanced horse trials at The Fork CIC*** in Norwood, North Carolina today. Both, My Boy Bobby, Davidson's three-star partner, Ballynoecastle RN, leading the advanced, are Irish geldings owned by Davidson's longtime friends and horse owners Carl and Cassie Segal.

My Boy Bobby was fifth after dressage, but overnight leader Clark Montgomery took an unlucky tumble from Up Spirit over the Trakehner early in the course, resulting in elimination from the competition. Corinne Ashton and Dobbin were in a three-way tie for second but dropped to 16th after racking up 18.4 time faults. Leslie Law on Mystere du Val and Michael Pollard on Tia Lusso shared the tie, and are now standing second and third, respectively, based on time faults. Kim Severson and Tipperary Liadhnan are fourth.

With time playing a major factor, clear and fast rounds paid off. Peter Atkins and Phillip Dutton moved up to fifth and sixth place from dressage standings in the 20s, and Sara Dierks and Somerset II, with the only double clear round of the day, catapulted from a tie for 44th into 11th place following cross-country.

In the advanced division Becky Holder and Rejuvenate had an unlucky runout at the corner coming out of the main water complex, just glancing off the narrow approach and dropping to an unlucky 13th place. Davidson took the lead when Phillip Dutton, who was tied for second after dressage, withdrew Woodburn from the competition. Stephen Bradley is second on Brandenburg's Joshua and again the only double clear of the division paid off, this time for Kelly Sult and Hollywood, who moved into third place from 17th. Davidson's student Laine Ashker, fully recovered from her dramatic fall at Rolex Kentucky last spring, was back in competitive form as she rode Anthony Patch to a fourth place standing.

Davidson is thrilled with both his lead horses. "Reggie and Bobby are both fantastic horses," he said. "My job is just to stay out of the way. I have had Reggie since he was a baby and got the ride on Bobby last year after Jessica Kiener had been riding him. Both horses keep pushing me to get better. They're both terrific and I feel like I'm competing on a level playing field when I ride them - the Segals have provided me with the horse power and I'm really grateful to them. It's a lot of fun."

Davidson is also riding Titanium (34th) and May I Tell Ya (38th) in the CIC***.

His legendary father Bruce Davidson, Sr. took an unfortunate fall from Cruise Lion in the advanced today, injuring his face, but the veteran returned later to pilot Jam around the course and into fourteenth place as they head into show jumping tomorrow.

In all it was a gorgeous day for cross-country at the beautiful Fork Farm, with the footing in good shape and the temperatures warm but temperate. There were a few falls on course but no major injuries and mostly smiling faces from riders who enjoyed the day's competition. The event concludes tomorrow with the show jumping phase, beginning with intermediate at 8:30 am.

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