Lexington, Kentucky--This year's Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event is officially under way, as 42 horses were presented to the ground jury at the first horse inspection this afternoon.
Though the unseasonably warm temperatures didn't cause too much cheeky behavior in the horses, there was a bit of action to kick off the event. Ashley Johnson's Tactical Maneuver was sent to the holding area and did not pass upon second inspection. Hallie Coon's Celien and Erin Sylvester's Paddy The Caddy were also sent to the hold, but ultimately passed on their second attempt.
Last year's winners Oliver Townend of Great Britain and Cooley Master Class traveled across the Atlantic to try and defend their title. "Ollie Townend is my pick to win it again," said legendary eventing trainer Jim Wofford. "He's got a leg on the Rolex Grand Slam, so that's a motivator. He's won here before and he's won with this horse at another event." The Rolex Grand Slam consists of three of the top CCI5*-L events--to win, a rider must win three consecutively, though they can ride different horses at each competition.
Photo Gallery: First Horse Inspection
Other notable foreign riders have their eyes on a piece of the $400,000 prize money at this year's event. Piggy French made the trip from Great Britain with her 2018 WEG partner Quarrycrest Echo. Tim Price, partnered with Xavier Faer, is here representing New Zealand. "I tell all my students to please watch Tim Price ride all three phases," says Wofford. "He's just terrific."
Eventing fans will be thrilled to cheer on several of their favorites, including Will Coleman, Phillip Dutton, Lauren Kieffer and Boyd Martin, all of whom competed at last year's WEG. Sharon White, Doug Payne and Buck Davidson are also back with their top horses.
Who's Wofford's pick for the top U.S. rider? "Best of the Americans this year? I think Liz Halliday-Sharp," he says. "In the last six months, she's learned how to win. And that was always missing. She's always been a good rider and she's always had nice horses. But sooner or later you've got to break the glass ceiling."
Thirty-eight riders from eight different countries are competing at this year's event. This is the first year that the event is running as the newly formed CCI5*-L level, joining an esteemed club of only five other CCI5*-L in the world.
Dressage begins at 10:00AM tomorrow, as Caroline Martin and her CCI5* rookie Islandwood Captain Jack are the first pair to make their way down the centerline. Check out the full day's line-up here.
The popular cross-country course walk with Jim Wofford will be on Friday afternoon, thirty minutes after the last dressage ride of the day. Stay tuned for details on a meeting spot and get the inside scoop on Derek di Grazia's course.
Come see us at the Practical Horseman booth (AIM Equine Network) #8, across from the Bruce Davidson statue to grab some free swag!
You can watch the live stream of #LRK3DE 2019 on the USEF Network with a FREE fan membership. Click here: http://bit.ly/2Xtd9DV and use the PROMO CODE LRK3DE19 to redeem your free US Equestrian Fan Membership to watch all the action of the #BestWeekendAllYear live and on demand.
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