Germany’s Michael Jung said he’s been working on building a partnership with the fischerChipmunk FRH since getting the ride on him in 2019. The work paid off today with the pair producing a double-clear cross-country round to maintain their lead in the CCI5*-L at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.
“I think from last year, we get a very good partnership,” Jung said of the 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding who is competing in his first five-star competition this week. “Just [having] to know on a five-star level, how to ride him on a long course, on a tough course, how much time he needs on some fences to prepare him.”
Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF also produced a double clear cross-country ride to move move up from sixth place to second. And Great Britain’s 24-year-old Yasmin Ingham and Banzai Du Loir moved up one spot after dressage to third place.
Under mostly sunny skies, 43 horses and riders started over Derek di Grazia’s course of 28 questions with 45 jumping efforts. In addition to Jung and Martin, Phillip Dutton and Sea of Clouds rode a double-clear round to move up 24 places to seventh going into tomorrow’s show jumping. Of the starters, 32 pairs completed the course, 24 of them without jumping penalties, seven were eliminated, four were retired and two, Lauren Nicholson’s Vermiculus and James Alliston’s Paper Jam, were withdrawn before the cross country.
Jung was pleased with how his horse tackled the course. “I had just a really great rhythm on the last combination, [Fence 26AB],” he said. “I take a bit of time on the last water [Fence 23ABC]. But he’s so fast on the gallop track. It’s just amazing to feel this power.
“I’m just very proud of my horse today,” Jung continued. “He’s a great horse, a lot of talent, super quality, like yesterday in the dressage, and then today in the cross country. He’s so fast-running on the flat, great jumping everywhere with the brain always with me. It was just a great feeling and just to enjoy it.”
With their clear round, Jung and fischerChipmunk head into tomorrow’s show-jumping round on their dressage score of 20.1, with more than two rails to spare. Boyd Martin and “Thomas,” a 15-year-old Trakehner gelding, also finished the day on their dressage score of 29.3. Like Jung, Martin spoke of his partnership with Thomas. “He’s got a big heart. He’s experienced. He’s seasoned. Like I feel like I think something and he understands it. You know, it’s a really weird connection that we’ve got after all these years.”
Completing the course this year was a redemption for Martin after the pair fell close to the finish line on last year’s course. “I gave him a big pat after I went past this big dent in the ground where I crashed last time,” Martin quipped. “Yeah, I just eased up a bit last time mentally, and [this time] I just said to myself, ‘OK. Keep riding every step of the way until you cross that finish line.'”
The cross-country course was also Banzai Du Loir’s first five-star competition, and they incurred 2.8 time penalties. “I wanted to make sure that I was very clear with the lines and the distances,” Ingham said. “But he really picked up on everything really well and just really put his brave pants on. There are some really big fences out there, and he made them feel really small. He’s such a good jumper.”
As for the personality of the 11-year-old Selle Français, Ingham said, “He’s very much the main character in the yard, and he thinks he’s the most important person to walk the planet. So anything he demands, he sort of expects. So he’s quite funny, really. He lives by his routine. He loves going out in the paddock and fields and goes on hacks. He’s just a real true gentleman and an absolute pleasure to ride.” They go into tomorrow with 30.9 penalty points.
Buck Davidson and Carlevo dropped one place from dressage to finish cross country in fourth place. “He’s never jumped that well all the way around,” Davidson said. “He never gave me a funny moment, and look, he’s not a race car, but it’s about fast as we’re going to go.” They had 10 time penalties to finish to day with a score of 37.4.
Great Britain’s Sarah Bullimore and Corouet who were second after dressage incurred 20 penalty points at Fence 26A, a skinny brush table, which was part of the final combination on course. She said early on the course, Corouet was fantastic and jumping “ridiculously high over all the fence.” But “he got a little tired at the end, and it was one question too many.”
Two horses suffered injuries that required them to be transported to Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Fleeceworks Royal, ridden by Tamie Smith, sustained an injury to the left front foot at Fence 11C and was bandaged immediately. She will be assessed further to determine the problem and treatment options.
Emporium, ridden Ashlynn Meuchel, was injured navigating the water portion of the Head of the Lake. Emporium was anesthetized to aid in removal from the water and is currently under further evaluation at Hagyard.
CCI5*-L competition at the 2022 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event will resume tomorrow, May 1, at 2:30 p.m. EST with the show-jumping phase.
Thanks to Kent Nutrition Group, Mane ‘n Tail, and Cosequin® for our coverage of the 2022 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, including rider interviews, competition reports, horse spotlights, photos, videos and more.