Welcome to day one of competition at the 2022 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event! We’ve been enjoying a couple of hours of sizzling hot CCI4*-S dressage in the Rolex Stadium today, and now, we’re diving headlong into the CCI5*. Can’t watch along with the live stream? Keep our live thread bookmarked for all the updates you need, as they happen.
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Thanks for tuning in to today’s live updates! Keep it locked onto EN for the full report, plus images of all your favourite pairs, coming soon.
Here’s how the leaderboard is looking after the first day of dressage, which saw 21 of our total 45 combinations come forward:
4.32: A nice stretchy circle there and a conservative final change. She gives a tidy halt but a bit wide behind. It’ll be a 38.7 — which doesn’t feel reflective of the quality of work, but we’ve had a very high-scoring day. This is a pair we’ll be looking at to stay on their first-phase score over the weekend, so definitely don’t count them out.
4.31: A touch late in the first change. The canter half pass is tidy, though doesn’t cover a tonne of ground — but it wouldn’t, as this mare is barely 15.3hh. She’s efficient and correct in the movement, but it’s a shame that the extended canter is a bit underpowered and conservative.
4.29: If Dolly has had a weak spot previously, it’s been her balance and frame in this phase, which has historically been a little long, downhill and week. But Hallie has been quietly putting in the work over the winter, because we’re seeing some serious steps up in physical strength here, which translates to a purposeful, uphill shape. A recent bit of training with British trainer du jour Ian Woodhead has definitely helped them nail a few things here. But argh! Another sidestep in the second halt.
4.27: Our final pair of the day will be Hallie Coon and the diminutive grey Global Ex, who makes her five-star debut this week. They were seventh at Boekelo last autumn, and the only combination to finish on their dressage score. They start their test with a frustrating sidestep in the halt, but wow — ‘Dolly’ has really come a long way in the trot work. That medium trot is miles above what we’ve seen from her previously.
4.25: It’ll be a score of 46.1 for Zoe and Zara. Let’s check in with Colleen: “I was a little upset with my bobble; he was giving me everything he could give today. I thought he put in a very good consistent test, apart from a couple of things — but that’s why it’s a five-star. If the judges are going to be tough, I hope they stay tough all week!” He’s my first homebred at five-star, and you always want your kids to do great.”
4.23: Zoe might have gritted teeth right now but it’s hard not to smile at Zara’s spicy moments here — she’s fit and fresh and knows she’s at a big party. We understand the joie de vivre because it’s how we all feel to be back at a proper, packed Kentucky.
4.21: KEC Zara is looking stronger and more physically mature this year after her two educational five-star runs last season. After falling here in the spring, they returned to the level at Maryland and delivered a steady clear. This year’s all about consolidating what they learned and making it competitive, and they look committed to the cause in this test — though Zara does want to jog a bit in the walk.
4.19: Our penultimate combination will be Zoe Crawford with KEC Zara, who made their five-star debut here last year.
4.15: We’ve seen so few 8s today that I’m beginning to wonder if they’re an endangered species in Kentucky. Colleen and CR just one 8, and go into provisional second place on 33.8.
4.14: Ahh, bummer — the halt before the reinback isn’t immobile, and they get a 1, a 3, and a 5 for that. That’ll cost them. They get the reinback though, and get back onto the 6.5s and 7s for the rest of the test…until the second change, which earns them 4s.Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 60)
4.12: CR has plenty of power to play with in his trot, and the experience to know how to manage it. He’s a big horse, but Colleen is eking out those 8m circles. We’re seeing a sub-30 trending score at the moment — our first of the day.
4.10: With three left to go today, all eyes turn to Colleen Rutledge and her stalwart partner Covert Rights. This is 48th FEI start, and they could certainly give Tamie a run for her money in this test.
4.07: Ashlynn and Emporium are trending in the mid-30s currently — that’ll be a great score for them if they can maintain it. A little blip in the third change is a bit unfortunate but there’s a lot of good stuff going on here for this former horse and student of Tamie Smith.
4.05: Next in is Ashlynn Meuchel and Emporium, who made their five-star debut at Maryland in the autumn. It’ll be a huge moment for Ashlynn now to make her way down the Kentucky centre line.
4.01: Just as we get to the end of the canter work, we see a bit more tension creep in, and Paper Jam just looks to almost lose the rhythm a bit coming down the final centre line — but there’s been plenty to like here. Their 39.3 will be uncompetitive in this phase, but it’s still only six and a bit penalties away from the lead — so if the scores continue on like this, it’ll be plenty close to climb from.
3.59: This horse has some really sweet moments in his canter work. There’s a serious engine there that’ll really benefit this pair come Saturday.
3.56: Wow, Paper Jam really powers on in the medium and extended trots, but you can spot a little bit of tension in his slight tendency to overbend.
3.53: That’s a 36.2 for Pippa, so provisional fifth at this early stage. Next up is another Brit – well, originally, anyway! This time, it’s West Coast-based James Alliston and Paper Jam. James switched nationality over the off-season and now rides for the USA.
3.51: Some neat changes here, but the stretchy circle isn’t giving us enough of…anything, really. We’ll see Majas Hope revert to his mid-30s scores of old today.
3.50: Uh oh! That’ll be costly. Majas Hope spots something in the grandstand and spooks big-time in the halt and reinback.
3.47: Pippa’s riding very correctly here, though we’re seeing some minor bobbling on the contact from Majas Hope.
3.46: It’s a 41.1 for Leah and AP Prime. These judges really are making the riders work for it! Let’s see what Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope can do. This horse has become a real sub-30 horse over the last ten months or so after previously struggling a bit with this phase.
3.44: Like so many Thoroughbreds, AP finds the canter work a little bit easier to settle into and work with. There’s some really nice moments from this good running-and-jumping horse, who’ll be great fun to watch on Saturday.
3.43: AP looks just a bit more active behind than in front in the walk work, which is an indicator that he could be on the cusp of breaking into a jog. Leah will be glad to get into the canter work now and let him move on a bit.
3.41: Leah’s goal here will be to stay sub-40, which isn’t always easy on this big, rangy Thoroughbred who has to work extra hard in movements like the 8m circle to shoulder-in.
3.40: And we’re back for what will be the final session of today’s CCI5* dressage. The first of our final seven combinations in the ring will be Leah Lang-Gluscic and AP Prime, who come forward for their fifth five-star. Here’s how the leaderboard looks after the first fourteen riders:
3.13: Final change is clean but Jack chucks his head. Frustrating! But a super halt to finish the test — Alex looks thrilled, and she should be. She’s a five-star rider now, and she’s been working so hard to make this moment happen. They’ll carry a score of 40.9 into the jumping phases this weekend. And that takes us into our second judging break: we’ll be back at 3.40 with Leah Lang-Gluscic and AP Prime.
“I’m so proud of her — she was so awesome today,” says an emotional Tamie Smith, who currently leads with Fleeceworks Royal. “I have a great team behind me, and I’m very luck to have that — this is very difficult to do, and we couldn’t do it without them. This looks like a course that’ll suit [Rory], but then I’ve never found one that hasn’t!”
3.12: Like Rory, Jack wants to lead with his quarters in the canter half-pass. Second chance is also late, but the third looks okay from our admittedly tricky angle.
3.11: Nice reinback from Alex and Jack! He’s late behind in the first change, though.
3.09: Jack is another horse that is just a little bit fragile in the contact, and he’s long in the neck and back, too, which means that Alex has to work hard to try to package him without just holding on tight.
3.07: Our final rider before the break is the third rookie of the day, and our amateur hero: Alex MacLeod is an LA-based full-time veterinarian, and makes her debut with her own Newmarket Jack, who she produced from a feral five-year-old. Alex used to be a working student for Phillip Dutton, so she’s had some super training behind her to help her build a system for producing her horse that fits in with her busy life.
3.06: It’s a new leading score, but it won’t be sub-30: Tamie and Rory are awarded a 33 for their efforts.
3.05: Tamie’s able to ask for a bit more in the stretching circle because she’s prioritised relaxation in this test. It’s frustrating to see a trot step on the final centreline, but they finish a lovely test neatly.
3.04: Tamie’s working hard for the canter half-pass, because Rory wants to lead with her quarters. These changes are looking crisp.
3.02: ‘Rory’ has a lot of power in her trot, but that can contribute to a bit of a loss of balance, and the shoulder-in looks to wobble a tiny bit. She’s quite straight behind in the walk work, so we don’t see that real prowl we’re looking for, but Tamie is riding her very correctly, and the halt and reinback are nice.
3.00: Here’s a big gun to focus our attention on: Tamie Smith brings her debutant Fleeceworks Royal forward, ahead of her trip to Badminton next week with Mai Baum. This lovely mare has finished in the top ten at Boekelo CCIO4*-L in the Netherlands and won at Rebecca twice. She’s gone sub-25 at four-star, so we’ll be looking to see if Tamie can be our first competitor to break the 30 barrier today.
2.58: A very good final halt and a huge cheer for Elisa and Let It Be Lee! They earn a 35.1, which is about what we expected from this debut test. That puts them on even keel with Allie Knowles and Morswood, so they share second place at this early stage.
2.57: There’s some really nice moments in this test, and this horse is behaving very professionally. They’re definitely reading from the same hymnbook and it makes for a really pleasing overall picture.
2.55: Let it Be Lee has a lovely, prowling walk. His extension and medium walk are very nice, but the halt isn’t square behind.
2.53: Next in is Elisa Wallace and her debutant Let It Be Lee. We’ve all ridden along with this pair via Elisa’s YouTube channel, so it’s exciting to watch them on the main stage this week!
2.51: There was a lot to like in that test, but also some expensive moments of tension and crookedness. Woods scores a 39.4, which is much higher than the score around 30 they’d have been aiming for, but this is a great educational opportunity for them and they’ll have their chance to climb over the weekend.
2.47: C’est La Vie 135 is a beautiful mover naturally and his been produced to show that off: he was found by Germany’s Dirk Schrade, who Woods was based with for a year, and was initially produced by young German producer Ben Leuwer.
2.46: The next pair in the ring is another rookie duo: it’s the CCI4*-L USEF National Champions Woods Baughman and C’Est La Vie 135. Woods is a Lexington native and his horse shares a sire — Contendro I — with Michael Jung’s fischerChipmunk FRH. You can read Woods’s rookie profile here.
2.45: It looks like Booli won’t get penalised for coming in just a fraction of a second over that time allowed. They earn a 45.3 and can enjoy the fun parts of the weekend now!
2.43: Lance comes above the bridle in the extended canter, and Booli nurses him through the stretchy circle. She’s worked hard in this test and can now officially call herself a five-star rider!
2.41: The halt and reinback is such a tough movement on a tense horse, and Lance throws in an extra rushed step and hollows before transitioning out of the movement. Booli is riding really tactfully out there to try to give her horse a good experience, rather than fighting for marks at the expense of his confidence.
2.39: A sub-40 score will be the goal today for New York-based Booli and her 17.1hh gelding, who can be a bit of a bashful boy in new settings. There’s a huge atmosphere here for him to contend with and he does look a bit starstruck in that big old arena.
2.37: There’s a chance Booli just overshot the 45 seconds of allowed time from the bell, which would give her two penalties for an error of course. We’ll confirm once we’ve got her final scores.
2.35: We’ve got our first rookie of the week up now: it’s Booli Selmayr and her own Millfield Lancando. You can get to know this pair in their rookie profile here. They had a bit of a scary moment yesterday when they were sent to the holding box in the first horse inspection, but all’s well that ends well!
2.34: It’s a 38.7 for Phillip Dutton and Socs. Will we get a sub-30 score today?
2.33: The final change is clean but Socs does run into it a bit.
2.31: It’s in this canter work that we’ll see any tension creep through with this gelding. The first half pass looks stilted, but Phillip gently unwinds the horse before the second, which is much better. He’s had to compromise, though, and ride a conservative canter extension as a trade-off.
2.29: Socs doesn’t have the natural big movement in his trot half passes that a horse like Capitol HIM does, but Phillip knows that and focuses his attention on accuracy and relaxation, rather than flash. In the walk work, the gelding is inclined to almost do a bit of a Spanish walk in the extension — there’s purpose and a bit of toe-flicking. The halt is the best we’ve seen so far, which makes the reinback easy – but the transition into canter is hesitant.
2.28: Like Bogue Sound earlier, we see Socs just lengthen a bit too much through his body in that extended trot. This sweet horse finished thirteenth at Maryland in October, so we’re expecting him to put up a good fight this weekend. The first job will be to put a sub-35 score on the board.
2.26: That’ll be a 38.2 for Hawley and Jollybo, which is a bit higher than expected — but all our pairs so far are consistently scoring above their averages so far. Next in will be Phillip Dutton and the OTTB Sea of Clouds. Phillip remains the last US winner of this event — he took top honours back in 2008.
2.25: The second change is a little hollow, and Jollybo engages her rage ears for the extended canter. The last couple of strides go a bit inverted, which is a shame.
2.23: The halt and reinback will be expensive. They overshoot the marker for the halt and then the halt itself isn’t square. Their transition out into canter is also hollow. First change is excellent, though.
2.21: Andddd we’re back! Hawley and Jollybo are in the ring; this eighteen-year-old mare really is looking super.
1.54: It’s a 37.5 for Hannah Sue and Capitol HIM, and that takes us neatly into the first judging break. We’ll be back at 2.20 with the experienced Canadian pair Hawley Bennet-Awad and Jollybo.
1.53: The hindend still isn’t quite active enough as they execute the extended canter, which looks conservative as a result. The final change is clean, but not expressive. Overall, though, a very sweet test and a great final halt for this gelding’s first outing at the level.
1.52: The first change is hoppy but clean enough, but Hannah will want to use this canter half-pass to really get his hind leg stepping underneath him if she wants to nail the next changes. Second is late behind from what we can see at this angle.
1.50: ‘Cheeto’s’ trot half-passes really feel like his party piece so far in this test. Now we’re into the walk work, and he’s got a nice prowl to this pace. I love to see a horse that stalks along like a hungry jaguar, and while he’s not quite that sultry in his steps, it’s getting there.
1.48: The first halt is neat but he parks up very narrow behind. This is a big, uphill gelding, and he executes a nicely uphill trot half-pass — but after riding out of the 8m circle into the shoulder-in, we see his haunches swing out for the first couple of steps. Hannah gets him back quickly, but they’ll lose a couple of marks for those early steps.
1.46: It’s a 39 for Jess and Bogie, with a five penalty discrepancy between judges. Our final pair in the ring before the judges’ break is Capitol HIM, ridden by Hannah Sue Burnett. This is the fifteen-year-old’s five-star debut.
1.44: The fourth and final change looks great. Tidy, and just expressive enough. They halt, salute, and Bogie has a good spook at the clapping audience. Bless him — he’s kept it together really well, considering his reaction there.
1.42: A sweet and sensible halt and reinback from Jessie and Bogie, and then they power on out into the canter. He throws his ribcage to the left a little in the first change across the diagonal which made him late behind, and hops behind in the second.
1.41: These Thoroughbreds are built and bred for speed, which means they tend to be a bit longer in their body and movement. That makes it hard to get them to sit and power on in movements like the extended trot, and we see that in action here with Bogie. He’s trying hard, but it’s easier for him to run on a bit in that movement.
1.40: Our first Canadian comes forward next: it’s Jessica Phoenix and the sweet ex-racehorse Bogue Sound. The fifteen-year-old was bought off the track by Dorothy Crowell and finished fifteenth in his debut here in 2019.
1.39: It’s a 36.4 for Lauren and Bug. Hopefully this will prove to have been a valuable schooling exercise ahead of their trip to Germany.
1.37: We have a score for Leslie Law and Voltaire de Tre now – their 40.7 isn’t what they’ll have wanted.Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 60)
1.36: “Okay, okay, if you say so,” says Bug, and puts his nose down and behaves in the stretch circle. Pony brains, eh?
1.35: The next change looks very professional, which makes that naughty one even more frustrating. It’s bumped them up to a trending score of nearly 38, which she’ll be able to pull back down a bit if Big behaves himself from here on out.
1.34: ‘Bug’ is marching along in his walk, but verges on looking a bit hurried in this movement. His tendency when he gets a bit fizzy is to lock his hocks a little bit and take peg-legged steps behind, which makes it hard to nail the halt and reinback that follows – but Lauren looks to scoop him up with her leg and makes it happen. Now, though, we see a little tantrum in the flying change.
1.32: Lauren Nicholson comes forward next with Vermiculus, though her plan is just to do a test with this little horse. He was meant to go to Badminton, but missed some fitness prep due to a minor knock, so she’s using this as practice before rerouting to Luhmühlen in Germany in June. He has an early, cheeky bobble and break in the medium trot, but looks super and swinging in the trot half pass.
1.30: It’s a 35.1 for Allie and Morswood. The ground jury – Nick Burton at C, Gretchen Butts at H, and Christian Steiner at B — are giving away no freebies here today. She slips in behind Doug and Vandiver.
1.29: Allie definitely wants to be competitive this week. We see her sit deep and take a chance in the extended canter, and it pays off: Morswood looks at his straightest and most expressive in that movement. Still, she doesn’t look delighted at the final halt and salute – like so many riders at this level, she’ll be thinking of the tiny intricacies and nuances where she could have picked up more marks.
1.28: We miss out on seeing the first change because the cameraman is intent on zooming in on horse’s ears during the changes, but the second one is tidy.
1.26: This cool horse has a pretty storied history: he was originally piloted by Britain’s Piggy March before she handed the reins to her then-stable jockey, Ireland’s Susie Berry, who competed the gelding at the European Young Rider Championships. We’ll see Susie make her five-star debut at Badminton next week.
1.25: Morswood just clunks the boards behind as he prepares to lengthen along the diagonal, which is a sure sign that the hindend has slightly evaded outwards. Allie is quick to react, though, and reengages the hindend before the lateral movements.
1.24: Next in is Allie Knowles, who brings the exciting chestnut Irish Sport Horse Morswood forward for his second CCI5*. They finished 11th in Maryland last year — an enormously emotional result for the hard-working rider, who had recently given birth. This is a pair that will be aiming to go sub-30, which is a big goal, but an achievable one for them.
1.23: “Vandiver was excellent, really — it was probably his best test he’s done to date, so I couldn’t be happier with that,” says Doug, who praises Derek diGrazia’s course, which he says will require instinctive riding and will deliver some unpredictable results. Busy Doug is the only rider here with horses in all three international competitions — that includes the CSI3* showjumping.
1.20: Leslie knows when he just has to ride tactfully and keep everything together with this gelding, rather than pushing for more marks. We see that here in the stretchy circle, where he’s keeping the reins reasonably short and just asking Splash to keep on going, gently, gently. Phew! They make it to the final halt and salute. Onto the fun bits for them next.
1.18: Something that we see with a lot of French horses is a bit of fragility in the contact in this phase, though the good news is that we often see them push through that in their teens, because they’re mentally late bloomers in many cases. Splash isn’t the most straightforward ride in the world, and so it’s fair to imagine he’ll follow the same trajectory. For now, though, movements he finds tricky — such as the halt and reinback — tend to feed tension through to the movements that follow.
1.16: The first of our British contingent is up now: it’s US-based Leslie Law and the flashy Voltaire de Tre. This is a fourth five-star for ‘Splash’, who finished in tenth here on his debut in 2019 at just ten years old. He’s a spicy character, this one, and wouldn’t always find this phase the easiest — they’ll be aiming for a sub-35 score to put them on a par with their last two Kentucky runs.
1.14: A wistful grin from Doug as his score of 34.9 is revealed. It’ll put them out of the hunt by the end of this phase but they’ve got lots of experience in climbing from exactly that sort of mark.
1.12: The stretchy canter circle in this test tends to be very influential. That’s admittedly usually because riders forget to do it. When they do remember it, though, it’s one of those movements you can’t fake your way through at all – because you’re letting go of your horse’s head, you need to be confident that you’ve been riding him from your leg to your hand and encouraging relaxation. Only then can horses really lift their backs, stick their noses down and out, and take a deep breath into the movement. Quinn doesn’t quite show enough reach down, which tracks – he’s looked just a little behind the leg through the canter work today.
1.11: We’ve seen Doug and Vandiver go sub-30 several times at four-star, but they tend to be mid-30s scorers at five star. At this halfway point, that’s exactly where they’re trending again.
1.09: We’ve got Doug Payne and Vandiver in the ring now. This is a proper warhorse, and comes forward for his sixth start at this level. He’s also a horse we’ll be using to gauge the influence of the time on cross-country tomorrow, because he’s swift.
1.06: That’ll be a 37.4 for Will and DonDante to get the afternoon’s competition underway. Will’s likely a bit disappointed with that – this horse got a 32.6 in the five-star at Maryland last year.
1.03: We’re up and running after a slight technical hitch, and midway through his test is the first rider of the day — it’s Will Coleman and the 17.3hh gelding DonDante. This sweet gelding is giving a workmanlike performance, but it’s not totally without its wobbly moments. This horse looks like he sometimes tries a little bit too hard, and it’s hard to hold that against him.
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