Germany’s Michael Jung made his return to the Kentucky Horse Park for the first time since 2018 to compete in the 2022 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, and he showed up with as much style as he left with. “It feels very great to be back here in Kentucky,” said Jung about his return to “horse country.” Jung won the event in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and was second in 2018, and now, he’s starting off this year’s event at the top of the leaderboard as well. He and fischerChipmunk FRH wowed 12,755 spectators in the Rolex Stadium as well as the judges as they danced their way to a score of 20.1.
“I’m very happy. I think that was, from my feeling, the best test I’ve had ever,” Jung commented about his 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding “Chipmunk’s” efforts. Jung noted that he thought today’s ride was even better than his test at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021. “I think he is bit more powerful, more spectacular. …But also on the other side really relaxed and really nice to work through the test.”
Jung decided to make the journey from Germany to Kentucky for the duo’s first five-star together, not only because he has great memories at the Horse Park, but he feels the horses like it as well. “They feel [good] in the stable and you have perfect conditions with the all-weather arena, a nice stadium and the cross-country track is very beautiful. I think [that is all] a big help for the horses to compete first five-star.”
As for Derek di Grazia’s cross-country course, Jung acknowledged, “Tomorrow is a big challenge for us. It’s our first five-star. It’s a tough course I think, big fences to jump, a long track to gallop, very hilly in the beginning, a little bit twisty.” He added that he and fischerChipmunk FRH “have to concentrate everywhere.”
At the end of the day with just four rides left, Great Britain’s Sarah Bullimore and her home-bred Oldenburg gelding, Corouet, soared up the leaderboard to second place with a 25.7. “He was fantastic,” Bullimore commented about the 11-year-old’s first five-star outing. “This horse so capable, but he’s got time on his side.” She added that “Elfie” usually plays up to the atmosphere, but today, he got a little tight rather than really showing off like she knows he can. “It’s just polishing those last little rough edges. It’s all there. He’s so talented.”
Immediately following Bullimore was Buck Davidson aboard Carlevo, who put in a test that landed the USA in podium position. The duo earned a 27.4 to put them into third place ahead of cross-country. “He pretty much always delivers on the first day,” Davidson said of the 15-year-old Holsteiner gelding. “I actually just rode him with two fingers, I left three fingers off the reins.”
Going into cross-country, Davidson admits that Carlevo might not be the fastest horse out there, but “He feels better than he has in his life.” Davidson added that he changed Carlevo’s feed over the winter, which likely contributed to his great condition. “I trained a few racehorses this winter, so Carlevo is on the racehorse feed.”
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CCI5*-L competition at the 2022 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event will resume tomorrow, April 30, at 12:50 p.m. EST with the cross-country 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.