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The Best Weekend Is Back: LRK3DE


2022/06/04


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Article & photos by Grace Netter

After a two-year hiatus, the Kentucky Horse Park welcomed back spectators to the 2022 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event (LRK3DE), April 27 – May 1, 2022. Having canceled completely in 2020 and having run with no spectators in 2021, it is needless to say that this weekend was packed with excitement. Like last year, the event hosted both a CCI5*-L competition and a CCI4*-S competition, bringing twice as many horse and rider combinations to the grounds. With the Tokyo Olympics behind us and the Herning World Equestrian Games ahead, the heavy-hitters were out in force to battle for these two champion titles.

Now boasting a total of four Rolex watches, Michael Jung again secured the victory in the CCI5*-L on FischerChipmunk FRH. Adding no penalties to his dressage score of 20.1, Jung broke the record of the lowest 5* finishing score of all time, on what was “Chipmunk’s” first time competing at the 5* level.

Second place in the 5* went to the youngest rider in the field, 25-year-old Yasmin Ingham of Great Britain, with a score of 31.8. Ingham, riding Banzai Du Loir, only added a handful of time penalties to her dressage score, 28.1, to finish with a score of 31.7.

You might say that Doug Payne made a “quantum leap” to rise from twenty-fifth to finish in third place on Quantum Leap, and was the highest-placing American rider. He only added 1.2 time penalties on cross-country to finish on a score of 38.4.

Right on Payne’s heels in the 5* with a final score of 38.5, fourth place went to fan-favorite Boyd Martin on equally fan-favorite Tsetserleg TSF. Unfortunately, Martin added 8 show jumping and 1.2 time penalties to his dressage score of 29.3, having gone double clear on cross country.

Just 0.1 point behind was Bruce Davidson, Jr. in fifth on Carlevo, with a score of 38.6. Davidson had 10 time penalties on cross country and 1.2 time penalties in show jumping.

In the CCI4*-S competition, Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver secured the victory, on 29.7, adding just 4 time penalties on cross country to their Dressage score of 25.7.

In the 4*, Phillip Dutton had great success aboard Quasi Cool, who came all the way from fifteenth place to second, to end on a score of 38.6. Californian James Alliston secured third aboard Nemesis, ending on a 43.4. Dan Kreitl secured the only double-clear in cross-country with Carmango to finish in fourth on score of 43.8.

Dubarry of Ireland sponsored the fourth annual Dubarry Team Challenge, a team competition during the individual CCI4* that awards $20,000 in prize money to help teams prepare to compete in international events. Team GER/IRL/NZL won on a score of 133.5. Not far behind them came Team Great Britain, with 141.2 in second, and then Team USA in third, with a 166.3. Team Canada came in fourth, with a score of 1,158.2, due to a rider fall penalty.

Dressage – April 28-29

A total of 45 five* horses were accepted in the Thursday morning (April 28) jog, with Will Coleman and Meghan O’Donoghue winning the Best Dressed award by Dubarry of Ireland.

 Once Thursday’s dressage portion kicked off, west-coast native Tamra Smith pulled into an early lead aboard Fleeceworks Royal, with a score of 32.9. Right behind her came Canadian Colleen Rutledge on Covert Rights, scoring 33.8. With this being his Olympic partner’s retirement from upper-level competition, Doug Payne piloted 18-year-old Vandiver into a 34.9 to sit in third.

Onto Friday, the leaderboard was all shook up when three new frontrunners rose to the occasion. Buck Davidson rode into third place on Carlevo, scoring 27.4. Sarah Bullimore scored 25.7 to bring her into second place on her homebred partner Corouet. And last, but not least, Michael Jung danced into first place aboard his partner since 2019, FischerChipmunk FRH, with a smashing score of 20.1.

Instead of a jog, the 4* riders opted for an in-barn horse inspection. On Thursday, Liz Halliday-Sharp rode into first and second place aboard her two horses, Cooley Quicksilver and Cooley Moonshine, scoring 25.7 and 26.8, respectively. Traveling all the way to Kentucky, California’s Helen Alliston secured an early third place aboard her own Ebay, with 28.7.
Come Friday, Halliday-Sharp would retain third place in the top-three on Cooley Quicksilver. Also competing in the 5*, Colleen Loach rode Vermont into second place in the 4* on a score of 24.5. Into first place went Doug Payne on the mare Starr Witness, earning a powerful 23.2.

The total attendance for dressage was 6,982 paid admissions on Thursday, and 12,755 on Friday.

Cross-Country – April 30

It turned out to be a wonderful Kentucky Saturday, as bouts of both sun and rain traveled across the bluegrass. Lauren Nicholson’s Vermiculus and James Alliston’s Paper Jam were withdrawn prior to cross-country, which left a field of 43 five* riders to leave the start box. This year’s course was, again, designed by Derek di Grazia, who created this course with the goal of getting both rider and horse to think on their feet. Optimum time was 11 minutes 4 seconds, over 28 fences.

As the competitors stormed the course, you would never know that this was Jung’s horse’s first time navigating a 5* track. He didn’t bat an eye, coming home with no jump penalties, and a whopping eleven seconds under the time. Sarah Bullimore picked up a 20 penalties on course, which took her out of the leaderboard, allowing Boyd Martin to rise to the second-place spot after a clear round. Third-place after dressage, Buck Davidson counted 10 time penalties, knocking him into fourth behind Yasmin Ingham, now in third.

The 4* riders tackled a different, yet equally difficult Derek di Grazia course of their own. Overnight leader Doug Payne fell victim to the coffin element and was eliminated with a rider fall. Colleen Loach ran into trouble early in the course; after picking up a refusal and breaking a frangible pin, she decided to retire Vermont. Olympian Phillip Dutton went clear, with 6.4 time penalties, to catapult him into third place. Liz Halliday-Sharp rode foot-perfect, only adding 4 time-penalties, which brought her into second place with Cooley Quicksilver. Dan Kreitl went double-clear to bring him from eleventh to first place on Carmango going into stadium jumping.

Only three 5* riders completed the cross country course with no jumping penalties and finishing inside the time. In the 4*, only one rider, Dan Kreitl, finished the course with no jumping penalties and was the only rider to make the time.

This year there were no rider injuries, but two horses required medical aid after sustaining injuries on the 5* course. Early dressage leader, Tamra Smith, retired on course after Fleeceworks Royal mis-stepped and sustained an injury to her left front pastern. She was transported to Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, where she underwent surgery, which was deemed a success. Land Rover first-timer Ashlynn Meuchel and her horse Emporium fell at the Head of the Lake, when Emporium scrambled over a jump and got tangled in his tack. He was also transported to Hagyard, where he was able to rest and recover.

Saturday’s cross country brought the most crowds, with 35,794 tickets purchased.

Stadium Jumping – May 1

The 5* Sunday morning jog was a nail-biter, with two horses spun and three held. Leah Lang-Gluscic’s AP Prime, and Zoe Crawford's K.E.C. Zara were not accepted, while Hawley Bennett-Awad’s Jollybo, Colleen Rutledge's Covert Rights, and Lexi Scovil's Chico’s Man VDF Z were all held but later accepted. Following the jog, thirty pairs advanced to tackle Steve Stephens’s stadium jumping course.

Jung had a comfortable lead of two rails between him (20.1) and second-placed Boyd Martin (29.3) But when Martin knocked two rails and added 1.2 time penalties to his score, it solidified Jung’s victory, and allowed Yasmin Ingham and Doug Payne to move ahead of him into second and third place, respectively. Payne rode a clear round, which brought him up from fifth into third (38.4). Ingham was only two seconds over time, but still landed in second place (31.7) in her first appearance at Land Rover Kentucky. To the roar of the crowd, Jung blasted away any doubt when he crossed the finish markers completely clear. There is now only wonder if he will return next year to defend his title once again.

After the 4* jog, twenty-nine competitors continued on to the final phase in the competition. Two combinations were held, Ryleigh Leavitt with Moonlight Crush and Erin Kanara with Campground. Ryleigh withdrew Moonlight Crush from the hold box, while Campground was accepted on second presentation.

In the show jumping phase, Dan Kreitl’s luck on cross-country did not reach as far as hoped, as he collected 12 jump penalties and 2.8 time penalties, dropping him from first place into fourth on Carmango (43.8). This allowed James Alliston and Nemesis to edge onto the podium, finishing in third with 0.4 added time penalties (43.4). Phillip Dutton and Quasi Cool rose into second place, also adding 1.2 time penalties to their score (38.6). Liz Halliday-Sharp held on to ride a double-clear round to secure the first-place victory on Cooley Quicksilver (29.7).

Along with the competition, there were plenty of other activities to welcome spectators back to the event. The $225,000 Kentucky CSI3* Invitational Grand Prix presented by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute was back to provide the evening entertainment, with the 1.45 meter Friday Ranking Class, and the Saturday 1.65 meter Grand Prix. This was the inaugural year that a scavenger hunt was hosted, via the Goose Chase app. Open to all in attendance on the Kentucky Horse Park grounds, trivia questions, location check-ins, and photo prompts were just some of the tasks faced in the weekend-long hunt. Those who completed all of the challenges were entered into a drawing to win one of three fabulous prizes: a 2023 4-Star Trailers two-horse trailer, a custom Bates saddle, and a HERO PEMF Technology system. Of course, the trade fair hosted merchants from all over the world with all varieties of horse-related merchandise for sale.

One activity that was missing this year was the Land Rover Test-Drive course, which let spectators take various Land Rover car models for a spin around tricky terrain.

Full results and further information on the 2022 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event is available at its official website, www.kentuckythreedayevent.com, and all official social media platforms. Tickets for 2023’s event are now available for purchase.

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