Ingham Dominates Dressage Day 1 at Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5*

Great Britain's Yasmin Ingham easily takes over the top spot in Dressage Day 1 in the 2024 Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5*.
Ingham Dominates Dressage
Great Britain’s Yasmin Ingham dominates Dressage Day 1 at the 2024 Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event with Banzai Du Loir. ©Amy K. Dragoo

Reigning world champion eventer Yasmin Ingham (GBR) and Banzai Du Loir had a bobble down centerline. But that didn’t stop them from finishing on top of the 2024 Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5* leaderboard on Thursday, April 25. The pair’s score was 26.

“He slightly had a bit of waver on centerline, which is unlike him. But obviously we had to forget about that movement and focus on rest of the test,” Ingham said. “So, I tried to put it behind me very quickly and focus on the rest of test. But he was very obedient and super expressive, and he’s just a joy to ride.”

Kirsty Chabert (GBR) and Classic VI were second with a score of 31. Malin Hansen-Hotopp (GER) and Carlitos Quidditch K are in third with a score of 31.1. A total of 16 horse-and-rider combinations competed in the CCI5* dressage today. Dressage continues tomorrow with 19 CCI5* rides.

The 2024 Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5* and the Cosequin Lexington CCI4*-S are April 25-28, 2024, in Lexington at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Ingham and Banzai Du Loir

This is Ingham and Banzai’s third year at Kentucky. In 2022, they placed second. “It’s just such a treat to be back here, and to be able to perform dressage in the Rolex Stadium is very, very special,” she said. “He’s feeling really good and produced a brilliant score, and now I’m very excited for Saturday to tackle the cross country.”

Some riders are competing in the 2024 Cosequin Lexington CCI4*-S to save their horses for the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Paris. While Ingham wants to make an Olympic team, she said they thought the five star was a better option. “I feel like between myself, my team and my owners, we chose this route because we thought it was best for the horse and in preparation for the second half of the season for what we have planned,” she said. “We had a bit of a group discussion and thought we’d go the five-star route.”

But the Olympics are in her sights. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was very young. Equally, there are also lots of other exciting events that are in the second half of the season that I would also look forward to. I’m just taking each event as they come individually, and I’m focusing on here now.”

Banzai was held in the First Horse Inspection after he initially jogged. The ground jury passed him on the second jog. “I probably wasn’t fast enough maybe,” Ingham said. “Sometimes he’s a little bit too relaxed and doesn’t carry himself as well as he would in the dressage arena. So on the second trot it was much better.”

Chabert and Classic VI

Kirsty Chabert (GBR) and Classic VI sit in second place after Dressage Day 1 in the 2024 Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5*. ©Amy K. Dragoo

Chabert said Classic VI had a tense moment before even entering the dressage arena on Thursday. Going down the “chute”—a long walkway from the warm-up ring to Rolex Stadium—Classic VI got tense. “I didn’t have the easiest entrance to the chute, so then it got a little more tense than I was hoping for,” she said. “But let’s be quite honest, she held it together. We know she can be a little spooky, so the work that she gave me in there, I was very pleased with.”

She further explained: “It was a collection of people at the entrance. She wouldn’t be that fond of people. Not her humans. … She’s actually beautiful. She just happens to like her people. She is a darling. She’s something special.”

They returned to Kentucky after competing at the venue last year because they had such a great time. “Then, the opportunity arose to come again, so that was something I didn’t want to say no to. In England, we’ve had dire weather, so our run up to anything has been fairly interesting.” She said she and Classic VI have done two events in the lead-up to Kentucky.

Hansen-Hotopp and Carlitos Quidditch K

Malin Hansen-Hotopp (GER) and Carlitos Quidditch K sit in third in Dressage Day 1 in the 2024 Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5*. ©Amy K. Dragoo

Hansen-Hotopp said Carlitos was nervous heading into the dressage arena. “We rode in and I just tried to relax, and he just started to trot. And I though ‘Oooff. How did that happen in Kentucky?’ But OK. I really took a breath. And [thought] I will just give my best and relax and ride and try to get every point that I can get. And I think we did that. In trot, things were a little bit better at home. But in canter, he was just great. Great changes. And so I was happy we brought that to the end.”

One benefit to coming to Kentucky was a host family from Wisconsin whom she stayed with were able to come and watch her ride. “It’s a dream to come here.”

Kentucky will be Carlitos’ first five-star. But Hansen-Hotopp is confident in him. “He’s really nice. When you ride him, he’s always giving his best,” she said. “He’s really sensitive, but powerful. I love to train him. If I’m doing just right, he’s fine. It’s always my fault if something is wrong.”

She started riding Carlitos when he was 5 years old for a friend who bred him. The idea was to sell him. Hansen-Hotopp didn’t really want to ride him due to other commitments. But after two events, she changed her mind. “He was really scopey and loose and was really naughty and bucking all the time,” she said. “But I thought he was a great horse.” She ended up buying him.

Cross-Country Thoughts

“It looks brilliant,” Ingham said of cross-country course designer Derek di Grazia’s track. “Derek does such a brilliant job each year. He’s asking a lot of different questions. It’s a really true, big five-star track. The ground is just perfection. The way the course is being dressed is just beautiful. I’m very much looking forward to Saturday.”

Of challenges on the cross-country course, Chabert said, “The main water is the obvious one at the moment. It gives the appearance that it requires fairly accurate riding. The rest of it is really beautiful, very flowing, very clear to the horses.”

Similarly, Hansen-Hotopp loves the course. “I just think you have to pay attention all over. I have a really good jumper. So I’m not so afraid of the height. I just need to be very smart with riding and the technical stuff. I think it’s tough. But it’s really nice.”

For full results of the Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5* dressage day one, click here. CCI5* dressage continues tomorrow starting at 1 p.m. EST. Click here for ride times.

To see photos of the CCI5* First Horse Inspection on Wednesday, click here.

Thanks to Cosequin for our coverage of the 2024 Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event. It includes rider interviews, competition reports, horse spotlights, photos, videos and more.

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