Image Copyright © 2009 Diana De Rosa.
After Lucinda Fredericks went clear over the Show Jumping course she pumped a fist in the air knowing that she had just won the 2009 Rolex Three-Day Event. Looking back Lucinda recalls that it was because of her husband Clayton, the 2007 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Champion, that she was competing at this Rolex. “Clayton pushed me to come. It would have been easier to nick down the road to Badminton. I was quite stressed all month trying to make a decision, but he encouraged me to come here and experience this amazing place. We don’t have anything like this in Europe. When Clayton won here in 2007 he went to Badminton and I won there and that sort of overshadowed his victory. This time it’s great for Clayton to be here. It’s just nice to have the help and support of everybody that is involved. It is not just Brit and I and the groom. It was also good to come where next year the World Games will be.” Not only had Lucinda won Badminton but also Burghley and only Rolex was left of the big three. The title sponsor, Rolex has been a part of the Three-Day for 25 years now. While Lucinda and Headley Brittannia were the winners of this event, it was Bettina Hoy who placed second but because she had to make her airline departure she was unable to be at the press conference. However, she sent word through Press Chief Mary Bauman making sure that she let us know that she couldn’t be prouder of her horse Ringwood Cockatoo who has taken Bettina to numerous victories. Bettina also passed along that for years she has heard from so many of the European riders including her husband Andrew Hoy how wonderful Rolex is and finally she had the chance to see for herself and noted that it lived up to its reputation and she looks forward to returning. Upon arriving to Rolex Lucinda was focused. Normally she goes to an event and has students and others to worry about but not this time. “This week has really been down to Brit and myself. I walked it myself and talked it over with Clayton because he knows the horse. It helps to talk with someone that knows the horse. Before doing the cross country I did four cross poles, an upright and an oxer and that was it. I turned to Clayton and said she feels great. What a feeling to have that trust for the horse. I think Brit and I we just wind each other up. She annoys me sometimes and I her but we cope with each other.” Before heading out Clayton said to Lucinda to just go out, do your job and really enjoy it and off she went. “The ground was super and I have to say I have never been that fast in all my life. I really went for it after the Head of the Lake.” Clayton was there at the press conference and passed along his observances. “It shows Lucinda’s tenacity and grit. She never let me get away with anything. At one point I was the only won to win Rolex. Now the pressure has reverted back to me to win Badminton.” While Lucinda and Bettina took first and second, it was Buck Davidson on My Boy Bobby who impressed everyone with his third place finish. “Buck might be a bit of a contender for the Gold Medal next year so we are going to really have to look out,” said Lucinda, who along with her husband had won the Olympic Silver in Hong Kong. Both Buck and Bettina’s horses are Irish-bred. “I’ve ridden a few Irish horses before,” commented Buck. “The ones that I have had have been very good jumpers.” Buck was competing on both Bobby and a second horse Ballynoe Castle RM. “Both those horses tried their heart out yesterday and today,” he commented. Buck wanted to say something before talking more about his go. “What an unbelievable feat it is that Lucinda with her mare has won all three four-star competitions. These two are always the friendly faces that come up and welcome you,” he commented of Lucinda and Clayton. “Maybe the next time it will be my turn.” Lucinda’s groom Emily Young-Jamison was also recognized for her part with with gifts and money. Lucinda won the Perpetual Trophy and the Carimati Cup as the top foreign rider. Bettina was the winner of the Bank One Trophy for the highest placed owner-rider. Buck won the Pinnacle Cup as the Leading U.S. rider. The J.P. Reeves Trophy for the highest placed Young Rider went to Madeline Blackman aboard Gordonstown. Opposition Buzz ridden by Nicola Wilson of Great Britain received the Best Conditioned Award. The Zappa International Trophy for the best presentation went to Allison Springer riding Arthur. The William C. Coleman Trophy for the breeder of the winning horse went to Mr. and Mrs. Mike Townsell.
Show Jumping Course
Lucinda spoke about the show jumping course which many felt was easier than in past years. “I think it was up to height. It was a very visual course with different looking jumps. The #3 jump was quite a lucky fence because quite a few people rubbed it. “
That fence was a green panel fence on flat cups with a hole in the center. “It was a technical enough course,” she continued, “but I think the ground has really made a difference and the horses love jumping off that ground. That is great footing.”
Buck agreed, “The ground was fantastic. When I walked the course it looked a little bit easier than it has in years past and I wasn’t sure if that was the case or not. It was fairly solid looking and not too airy. I think the ground had everything to do with it. Also the horses seemed to relax in the stadium quite well.”
On Buck’s first horse he took some time. “He is such a careful jumper so I just wanted to make sure I gave myself enough time and sort of toured the arena and it to work out.”
When asked about whether they were nervous both riders seemed to be calmer than expected. While Buck was nervous on cross country, that was not the case in the show jumping. “I wasn’t nervous at all. I was a bit nervous that I wasn’t nervous today.”
Lucinda doesn’t “get nervous for the dressage. I’ve ridden and won at grand prix level because you know a few more tricks of the trade. Today for the show jumping I was controlled and nervous and also excited. ”
The biggest problem Lucinda has is keeping Brit from getting bored. “Brit is so good in her head provided I can vary her. She gets quite bored and there are just so many flying changes I can do. For the cross country I get nervous because I don’t want to mess up. Today I had so many people wishing me luck because she’s become a little bit of a household name now. No one here has ever seen her in the flesh.”
Just before the close of the Press Conference the riders pulled out some little ponies with fortune cookie type comments that were given to them at the Rider’s Meeting. Buck recalls his thoughts when he read his. “Winning is the result of generations at work,” he read, “and I thought that was okay.” Now with his victory added to his dad’s there are two generations of U.S. National Champions.
Lucinda’s said, “Disappointments are disguised blessings.”
It wasn’t just the fortune ponies but also Lucinda recalled that someone “came up this morning with a four leaf clover and I kept that in my pocket too.”
Apparently these riders have other superstitions as well. Buck keeps a dollar bill in his pocket. Lucinda wears pink socks and makes sure her now 5 year old daughter is asleep or at least not watching when she competes. So far she’s slept through all her major victories and Lucinda figures she’s going to do whatever it takes to keep her away from the Tele.
They may believe in dollar bills, fortune cookie sayings, pink socks and sleeping kids but the real truth is that these horses and riders earned their victory with hard work, a strong support team, talented horses and equally talented riders.