On a day when the world seemed to be dominated by Brits, the Kentucky Horse Park was no exception.
Highlights of the royal wedding played on the big screens at lunchtime at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event while wedding fruitcake was served in the sponsors' tent. Earlier in the morning, perhaps inspired by the romance, a young couple got engaged in Rolex Stadium.
And British rider Mary King rode that momentum, moving into second place in dressage on Fernhill Urco with a score of 41.7 on Friday afternoon; she is also in fourth place on Kings Temptress with a score of 47.7. (Riders can compete on multiple horses at major eventing competitions such as Rolex Kentucky.)
King, who was on the gold-medal-winning British team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, was third last weekend at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, one of the world's top eventing contests, held in England.
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Eventing is often referred to as the triathlon of horse sports because it combines the control of dressage, the athleticism of cross-country jumping and the precision of show jumping.
Asked if she watched any of Friday's festivities taking place in London, King said, "I certainly did. I set my alarm for 5 a.m. and lay in bed and watched."
Although she's got two horses in top places to get around the muddy course Saturday, King, 49, said she's optimistic.
"I try not to do pressure," she said. "I feel I'm very fortunate to be at this level at this age."
Despite the British focus of the morning, American rider Tiana Coudray, riding the gorgeous gray Ringwood Magister, seized the lead going into Saturday's cross-country competition, the second phase of the event, with 40.8 points. Fellow American Allison Springer, on Arthur, was in third at 42.3.
Coudray said she was pleasantly surprised by how well her horse did after a bit of hi-jinks going into the ring. She said a big cheer from the crowd of 10,962 for the previous rider got her horse bucking.
"But he really put it together," she said. "He was really quite fresh getting down to the ring."
With the top 12 riders separated by less than 10 points, riding Saturday is likely to be aggressive. Any mistake will be costly; the first refusal of a horse to go over a jump costs 20 points.
Unlike the World Games, which had team as well as solo medals, the Rolex Kentucky is an individual event, so every rider will be out for him or herself.
Among contenders within striking distance of the lead, American Kim Severson, a four-time winner at Rolex Kentucky, sits in seventh place on Tipperary Liadhnan at 48.5, and fellow American Boyd Martin, on Remington XXV, is in ninth place at 49 points.
And Clayton Fredericks of Australia, who won the 2007 Rolex Kentucky, is in 10th with 50.2 points. His bay Thoroughbred mare, Be My Guest, gave one of the most relaxed performances in the dressage ring, with her ears flopping loosely as they put in a polished performance.
The one they will all be looking over their shoulders for is Mark Todd, on Grass Valley, who is coming off a win at Badminton, his fourth win at that event. Todd, who has won just about everything except the Rolex Kentucky, officially retired from the sport of eventing in 2000 after the Sydney Olympics.
But he was back with renewed zest in 2008 and last year helped the New Zealand eventing team win a team bronze at the World Games.
He is known for come-from-behind victories. Todd is currently tied for 17th place with fellow New Zealander Joe Meyer, on Snip, both at 51.8 points.
Last year's Rolex Kentucky winner, William Fox-Pitt, is just behind them in 19th place on Neuf des Coeurs, with 52.7 points.
And charging up from the back of the pack will be British rider Oliver Townend on ODT Sonas Rovatio, always a tough rider over big fences, who will be watching for any opening to move ahead from 26th place and his score of 55.8.
Townend said the cross-country course, which reversed direction from counter-clockwise to clockwise after last fall's World Games, looks challenging.
"There are lots and lots of corners where you could have a stupid mistake," Townend said.