#ERHOTY17 Contender #1: fischerRocana FST

fischerRocana FST returns as an #ERHOTY nominee for the second consecutive season and rightfully so. Taking her third victory in a row at Kentucky CCI4* with Michael Jung saw her become the second horse in history to win the event on three different occasions. Kim Severson and Winsome Adante’s wins in 2002, 2004 and 2005 were not consecutive, so Rocana’s hot streak at Kentucky is the new benchmark to beat at the American four-star.

The Kentucky win also made Rocana the second horse in history to win three consecutive times at the same CCI4* venue, matching Avebury’s three Burghley wins in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Rocana won Kentucky 2017 on a 1.9-penalty margin over Maxime Livio and Qalao des Mers, adding 1.6 cross country time penalties and one show jumping rail to complete on 42.7.

RocanaShe was just getting warmed up at Kentucky. At Luhmühlen CIC3* Rocana held her own in an elite field to finish 5th in the German National Championships on 39.3, adding 0.8 cross country time penalties to her dressage score. While three rails down in her next run at Jardy CIC3* pushed her down the leaderboard to finish 13th and seemingly off the radar for the German team at the European Championships, a last-minute injury for Lennox 364 saw her step in as Michael’s mount in the final hour.

Strzegom proved to be Rocana’s crowning achievement in 2017. A dressage score of 32.8 placed her in third position after the first phase, and it was on the cross country course where the mare truly rose to the occasion. Rüdiger Schwarz’s track turned the leaderboard upside down, with only 40% of the field jumping clear to make Strzegom the toughest Europeans course since Pratoni in 2007.

“And in the end, you have to work with the horse many years to get a good partnership — like fischerRocana — a lasting partnership to get better and better.” Michael Jung after Rocana’s 3rd Kentucky win

Not only did Rocana conquer the course at Strzegom, but she stormed around with a gutsy performance to deliver the fastest round of the day, coming home 15 seconds inside the time and move up to second place. A clear show jumping round on the final day saw her secure the individual silver medal on an FOD of 32.8, the best finishing score of her entire international career.

Looking to her 2017 season as a whole, Rocana’s dressage average of 36.4 is the second best of our 12 #ERHOTY17 nominees. Her average finishing score of 43.8 is also the second best in this star-studded group. She absolutely deserves to be on this list. Will she get your vote when the polls open ahead of Christmas?

Listen to the #ERHOTY2017 episode of the Horseware Eventing Podcast to hear how we finalized the list of 12 nominees. Keep checking back to the EquiRatings blog for analysis articles on all 12: fischerRocana FST, Nereo, Arctic Soul, Horseware Hale Bob, Ballaghmor Class, Bulana, Hunter Valley II, Donner, Cekatinka, Calle 44, Ivar Gooden and Foxwood High.

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