Friday was another chilly day at the Kentucky Horse Park north of Lexington, but by late afternoon, the sun had come out and it was almost warm enough to shed our heavy coats. The dressage phase concluded in both the CCI4*-S (four-star) and CCI5*-L (five-star) divisions of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.
U.S. rider Tamra Smith has had a very good two days and currently sits in second with Mai Baum (behind Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous) in the five-star, but only by 0.1 point. Although Smith and Mai Baum have had an electric partnership with reems of wins over the past number of years, this is their first five-star. Oliver Townend of Great Britain holds the third and fifth spots, respectively, in the five-star. Smith is also first and third in the CCI4* with Envogue and Danito.
Canada’s Colleen Loach claimed second in the standings after dressage in the four-star with Vermont. Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp riding Cooley Moonshine and Doug Payne on Starr Witness are tied with Smith for third in the four-star.
A Truly International Affair
Both U.S. and Canadian riders have been joined this year by competitors from Australia, Brazil, Germany, Great Britain, Mexico, New Zealand and Puerto Rico. Australian ex-pat Boyd Martin, who now rides for the U.S., has two horses in the top 10 of the five-star, with Tsetserleg in fourth and On Cue in seventh.
There are some very busy riders entered at Kentucky this year, with many competing in both divisions and on several horses. The five-star field includes the FEI top-rated event rider in the world, Great Britain’s Townend, as well as the world No. 2, Tim Price of New Zealand, with Martin currently ranked sixth in the world standings.
Saturday’s ominous forecast for cross-country day includes a 100 percent chance for rain from 11 a.m. onward, so the event’s ground jury opted to swap the two divisions in the order for cross-country with the five-star kicking off at 8:30 a.m. and the four-star now in the afternoon.
On a Personal Note
Our group of four “MacPhoto” associates has been meeting in Kentucky to photograph and provide coverage of this premier event for a good number of years now. My husband Allen and I attended our first Kentucky Three-Day in 1982, with Jen Emig joining us for the first time in 2005 and Sarah Miller in 2007. With quite a few of these events under our belts, we all have noted the differences the last two year’s pandemic have made to the 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day.
Jen shared her thoughts and photos today:
I confess the shopping is one of the highlights, as is the “energy” of the event, which is provided by thousands of spectators. It’s so foreign walking around the Horse Park this year. It’s quiet. That’s the best word to describe it. There are no vendor tents. The indoor trade fair arena is dark, quiet and cold. There are no spectators walking around with their dogs. It’s just quiet.
As we head into cross-country―which is truly the best day of the “Best Weekend All Year”―I ponder what the atmosphere will be like. There is nothing like standing along the gallop lanes, watching the riders clear the jumps, hearing the crowd cheer them on as they go.
We are packing our cameras, our rain gear and hoping for the best outcome for all entries on tomorrow’s cross-country!