Great Britain’s Yasmin Ingham is a force to be reckoned with—and she proved it on day two of CCI5* dressage at the 2023 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. The 26-year-old World Champion piloted Banzai Du Loir to a score of 22.1, edging out her teammate Tom McEwen for the top spot.
USA’s Will Coleman (USA) and Chin Tonic are newcomers to the top five having earned a 25.0 to soar into fourth place. And though overnight third place leaders Liz Halliday-Sharp (USA) and Deniro Z were bumped down to 8th, Halliday-Sharp made up for it with her ride aboard Miks Master C. The duo earned a 26.9 to move into fifth place.
Yasmin Ingham and Banzai Du Loir
Ingham and her 12-year-old Selle Français gelding are no strangers to the top of the leaderboard. This time last year, the dynamic duo made their Kentucky Three-Day debut and claimed second place. Also in 2022, Ingham and Bonzai Du Loir earned the individual World Champion title at the 2022 FEI Eventing World Championships in Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy.
As for her return to Kentucky, Ingham says Bonzai Du Loir “loves this place” and that he’s been “super chilled all week.” Her mount’s attitude was certainly reflected in his dressage test.
About Bonzai’ Du Loir’s performance, Ingham said, “He felt absolutely amazing.” “He did absolutely everything I asked of him. He had such a presence; he just felt like he was flicking his toes, and he was super accurate. I really could not have asked for any more of him today.”
In preparation for Derek di Grazia’s cross-country course, Ingham has “been on a couple of walks” to acquaint herself with the track, and she likes what she sees. “The more I look at it, the more I like it,” she remarked.
“I’m just focusing on my minute markers, all the combinations and the different elements and making sure I know which lines I’m taking and what stride patterns and things. It’s looking good. I’m looking forward to tackling it tomorrow.”
Will Coleman and Chin Tonic
Chin Tonic rose to the occasion in his CCI5* debut. “It’s his first five star. So for this level, first time, I’m very happy,” said Coleman of his mount’s efforts.
He noted, though, that the 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding was a little overwhelmed by the 13,252 spectators and electric atmosphere in the Rolex Arena. “He definitely shrunk on me a little bit in there. He’s been a lot of places, but there’s not many that feel quite like that on a Friday afternoon.”
But more than anything, Coleman is proud that “Chin” held it together. “To his credit, he kept trying to listen to me. Even when he was a little bit upside down, he was still trying to do the right thing. The highlight for me is the character of the horse. I think he’s very high quality animal.”
Coleman will pilot Chin around his first CCI5* cross-country track on Saturday afternoon. He feels that his mount is “ready to go and give it a crack.” And though he can’t predict how Chin will react out on course, Coleman is confident in his fitness level. “He’s as fit as he’s ever been—that I feel very sure about. Now, whether or not he’s going to have enough stamina for a five-star, that’s why we’re here—to answer that question.”
As for di Grazia’s cross-country track, “I think the course is sort of sneaky hard,” said Coleman. “There’s stuff the whole way around where one little moment, if you don’t react well, it could cause trouble.”
Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C
Halliday-Sharp’s Miks Master C is in the same boat as Chin Tonic. This year’s Kentucky Three-Day is his five-star debut as well. And the energy in the arena took him by surprise, too. “Certainly Mikki was feeling the atmosphere today. He was pretty amped up and he is a very big, powerful horse.”
Halliday-Sharp noted that Mikki was “a little bit tricky in the mouth today,” which she believes affected their score. “I think with a bit of nerves from being in that atmosphere and everything, … I think [the judges] definitely marked him down for that, which is a shame.”
“This is his first five-star, the biggest atmosphere he’s been in, and we haven’t even been together a year yet,” she continued. “We’re still still learning some things, but his potential as an absolute world class horse is undoubtable and I believe in him and think the world of him.”
In 2022, Halliday-Sharp piloted Mikki to a fifth place finish at the Boekelo CCIO4*-L. She believes it was good preparation for Kentucky. “That’s partly why I wanted him to go to Boekelo last year—was to see the big crowd.” With that under his belt, Halliday-Sharp is hopeful that Mikki will be “right in the groove from early on” on Saturday.
“He absolutely loves cross-country. He loves the job; he loves to gallop; he loves to jump. So I think he’s going to fight for me because he’s a fighter. He’s a good boy and he wants to do it.”
Like Coleman, Halliday-Sharp anticipates di Garzia’s course to be a tricky one. “It’s a bit twistier than I’ve seen it here before, so I think the time will be tight. There’s some very influential questions near the end when the horses are getting tired, so I think that’s something to be very conscious of.”
CCI5* competition at the 2023 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event resumes Saturday, April 29, at 1:20 p.m. EST with cross-country.
For full results from dressage, click here.
Thanks to Kent Nutrition Group and Blue Seal for our coverage of the 2023 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, including rider interviews, competition reports, horse spotlights, photos, videos and more!