You may want to sit down for this.
Eventing cyborg Michael “the Machine” Jung did not execute a clean cross country course at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in Lexington on Saturday.
As in, he made a mistake.
And it was a scary!
For almost three seconds.
Jung added a stride to the big brush corner at 18B in the Land Rover Head of the Lake. Jumping out of water from a deep spot, his mount, fisherRocana FST got hung up on the corner with her hind end and had to scramble to extract herself. The 13-year-old German Sporthorse still managed to jump clean.
Skip to the 7:13 mark for the dramatic moment.
While their trip may not have been perfect, Jung’s response in the press conference after certainly was.
“On jump 18 in the water, I would have liked to do four (strides) and I missed it in the end,” said the double Olympic gold medalist. “She tried to keep straight in front of the fence, and she tried not to jump but just to go over.
“But, this is what you need in a partnership,” he continued.
“That the other half is fighting for you, and she was really fighting for me. It makes me proud, she never gives up and every chance she has she fights for me. We lost a few seconds, we were good in time up to there, but then had to go really fast after that. It’s a nice feeling when a horse had such great fun on a tough course like this.”
Even with the hiccup, Jung and fischerRocana jumped clean, finishing just one second over the optimum time allowed to add 0.4 penalties to their score.
The defending champions move back into the lead with 27.5.
Hot on his heels are Australia’s Chris Burton and Nobilis 18 with 27.9 and Oliver Townend of Great Britain on Cooley Master Class on 28.7. Townend is also tied for fourth aboard MHS King Joules with Lynn Symansky and Donner—both sit on 31.3 penalties.
Less than a rail separates the top five as they head into the Sunday’s show jumping finale.
As the highest-placed Americans, Symansky and Donner have taken over the lead the Land Rover/USEF CCI4* National Championship from overnight leader Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous, who added 8 time penalties in today’s cross country. They now drop to sixth overall, and second in the national championship.