<p>Sara Gumbiner and her long-time partner Polaris. Read out <a href="https://practicalhorsemanmag.com/competitions/lexington-lead-up-get-to-know-sara-gumbiner-and-polaris">KY preview article</a> to learn more about how Sara and "Larry" prepared for their second trip to Kentucky. </p>
<p>Lauren Kieffer presents her half-Arabian Vermiculus, whom she placed 5th with in 2018. She is also competing Paramount Importance in his first CCI5*. </p>
<p>Caroline Martin is riding two CCI5* rookies this year, Danger Mouse (pictured) and Islandwood Captain Jack, who will be the first to compete tomorrow. </p>
<p>Hannah Sue Burnett is all smiles with her long-time partner Harbour Pilot. </p>
<p>Felix Vogg is the long Swiss rider, competing on Colero in the gelding's five-star debut. </p>
<p>Hallie Coon's Celien was sent to the hold box, but passed upon re-inspection. </p>
<p>Lillian Heard, looking very fashionable in her jog outfit, and LCC Barnaby. </p>
<p>Liz Halliday-Sharp's Deniro Z was feeling rather spicy this afternoon before his trip down the jog lane. </p>
<p>Erik Duvander, the Performance Director of U.S. Eventing, tried his best to wrangle Deniro Z. </p>
<p>Lisa Marie Fergusson and Honor Me are part of a strong Canadian contingent competing this week. </p>
<p>Hazel Shannon and Willingapark Clifford are the sole Australian competitors. She and the Thoroughbred gelding won the Adelaide CCI4* in 2016 and 2018, making them the first pair to win Australia's top event twice. </p>
<p>Brazilian Marcelo Tosi's Glenfly put on a show for the photographers. </p>
<p>Olympic gold medalist Leslie Law had his hands full with his CCI5* rookie Voltaire de Tre. </p>
<p>Kentucky first-time <a href="https://practicalhorsemanmag.com/competitions/lexington-lead-up-get-to-know-chris-talley-and-unmarked-bills">Chris Talley</a>, with his off-the-track Thoroughbred Unmarked Bills, looked sharp with his embroidered blazer, which also featured...</p>
<p>...a blue jay on the back. </p>
<p>Tim Price's Xavier Faer shows off his Kiwi quartermarks. </p>
<p>Dom Schramm's Bolytair B gets his first look at the view over the cross-country course. </p>
<p>Canadian Hawley Bennett-Awad shares a quiet moment with Jollybo. </p>
<p>This year is Matt Flynn's first trip to a CCI5* and he's competing Wizzerd. </p>
<p>The sunny skies and pristine bluegrass provided a stunning backdrop to today's first horse inspection. </p>
<p>Phillip Dutton's Z was a bit cheeky during his trip down the jog lane. </p>
<p>Last year's champion Ollie Townend of Great Britain is looking for a repeat win this year. </p>
<p>Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg looked in fine form this afternoon. </p>
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.
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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