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Penny Rowland Leads Indoor Eventing At The Royal
Toronto, ON, Canada
Penny Rowland and Roundabout
Three-time Champion of the Royal Horse Show's Good Crop Services Indoor Eventing, Waylon Roberts of Port-Perry, ON, sent the jumps flying tonight in the first round of this year's $10,000 contest, seriously jeopardizing his chances of claiming the title for a fourth consecutive year.

2003 Pan-American Games Team Silver medalist, Penny Rowland of Orangeville, ON, won this evening's initial leg and Roberts' coach, Oliver Townend of Great Britain finished second. Jean Rablat, riding for France, finished third.

"We were going for time tonight," explained Roberts following the class. "But I thought I had a more careful horse and that I could run him a little at the show jumps. He was brilliant when I rode him this afternoon, and the course tonight should have suited him well. He is a great galloper and it was a nice open design. Tomorrow I might be a little more steady to try and get him over the stadium jumps."

Rowland is known for getting the crowd pumped up and tonight was no exception - she rode into the ring waving her arms and encouraging the generous crowd to clap along. Although her horse, Roundabout, pulled a rail, her initial time was fast enough to add four penalty seconds to and still come out on top.

Described Rowland: "Many riders had fence six down tonight because we were all going for speed, but also thinking too soon about the turn coming up right after the jump. You gallop down to the oxer and on another night you would put seven strides between the two jumps but it's a speed class so you run for six. But at the same time you are sitting back in your saddle thinking about the roll-back turn you have to make to get from six to seven, and you get your horse flat a little and as a result the rail came down."

International eventing superstar Oliver Townend comes to Toronto following an incredible year, having won two of the world's most difficult three-day events: Badminton CCI**** and Burghley CCI****, both in England. No stranger to this type of modified event, he won the inaugural Express Eventing International Cup held in Cardiff, Wales, in 2008, taking home first prize of £100,000 in the process. His mount for this week is D'Jion, on loan from Ian Roberts and Kelly Plitz, whom he had ridden exactly once prior to competing tonight.

"I thought it was great of Waylon's family to give me such a nice horse to use!" laughed Townend, giving his student a bit of a ribbing. "It all went well tonight though; the course was nicely built and nicely presented, and kind - a lot kinder than those we've seen at this sport of event in England, which I think is good. It was very positive. Tomorrow night we will just try to go a bit quicker!"

The second and final round of the Good Crop Services Indoor Eventing runs Tuesday evening in The Royal Horse Show, before the International Jumpers and top level Dressage takes over for the remainder of the week. This evening's scores are carried forward to round two and the lowest cumulative score will decide the Champion.

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