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Davidson and My Boy Bobby Win Again at The Fork
Norwood, NC, USA
by Amber Heintzberger
Buck Davidson and My Boy Bobby
It seems like Buck Davidson is the hottest thing in eventing these days, and his winning streak continued when he and Carl and Cassie Segal's Irish Sport Horse gelding My Boy Bobby clinched the win at The Fork CIC*** the second year in a row. Tied for the lead with Allison Springer and Arthur after dressage, Buck started out a little conservatively on cross-country and slipped into second place by 2.4 penalty points. Springer, who has worked hard on her show jumping with Katie Prudent this winter, was having a steady round when Arthur knocked a rail out of the cups, giving Davidson the win.

Phillip Dutton and Woodburn were third going into the final phase of the event but a rail down dropped them to sixth; Dutton still took the yellow ribbon riding Tru Luck, and also placed fifth with Inmidair. Will Faudree was fourth with Pawlow, who won at Southern Pines a couple of weeks ago. Davidson also finished eleventh with the Segals' other star and his personal favorite horse, Ballynoecastle RM, known as "Reggie" around the barn. At the same time that he celebrated his win, Davidson was kicking himself for having two rails down with the usually stellar show jumper.

"I'm so happy with the win," he said. Davidson dedicated the win to his recently deceased grandmother, whose cross-country colors he wore in her honor yesterday. "Gran would be happy. I've said many times before that a blind idiot could ride that horse, but he's really fantastic, he hasn't been beaten by an American horse in two years. He felt so much better this year as far as his fitness; I remember coming down to the water last year and [feeling how tired he was]; this year there was a lot more gas in the tank, even this morning he was bucking and playing and during the victory gallop he felt like he could go out and do it all again. He gets to rest now, he's not going to Kentucky; we'll save him for what we need to do this summer."

He continued, "Reggie felt good but I feel terrible about the rails. He also had rails here last year, and he never pulls rails. I didn't do my job well with him."
Hannah Sue Burnett and St Barths
Springer was pragmatic about the rail down, as the event was part of her preparations for the Rolex three-day event, and said, "If I'd made the time yesterday I'd have won, but I purposely didn't go as fast as I did at Southern Pines because it would have been stupid to gun around and have sore feet and ankles the next day."

Things really got interesting in the advanced division: following Boyd Martin's foot perfect round on Rock On Rose, a mare that he is riding for Bruce Davidson, all but Hannah Sue Burnett and Dick Thompson's St Barths had one or more rails down. That includes overnight leader Phillip Dutton on Waterfront, who ended up in fifth place after two rails down. Buck Davidson and Titanium could afford the one rail that he had down with Titanium and maintained second place, while Burnett won the division and Martin climbed from a tie for seventh into third place.

A student of Karen and David O'Connor, Burnett won the CCI** at the Fair Hill international with St Barths last fall and just moved up to advanced this spring. She had intended to compete in the three-star but found out on her way to the event that you have to have completed to advanced horse trials to compete at that level; since Southern Pines was their only advanced event she had to compete in the horse trials this weekend.

"[Before this year] I haven't done advanced since I rode at Kentucky in 2007, so it all looked large," she said. "The cross-country was quite technical but Mark did a good job of making it forward too, and I thought all those corners out there rode well."

Burnett was worried that the flying changes required in the dressage at this level would blow her horse's mind, and she has been working on keeping him quiet. "When I put my shadbelly on now he's down to business," she said. She plans to compete in the Jersey Fresh CIC*** next, with the Bromont CCI*** as her final goal.

"I feel that we're both confident and on the right track," she said.

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