Apr 27, 2018

Burton is Best of the Morning at the 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

By Leslie Mintz - USEA Staff
Christopher Burton and Nobilis 18. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

There isn’t a new name on the top of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event leaderboard at the lunch break of day two, but it isn’t for lack of trying by Christopher Burton and Nobilis 18 who scored a 27.9 to claim the second spot at the lunch break.

“It was a really cute thing at the end that the crowd was saying “oh” when he went into second place,” said Burton after his test aboard Sue Lawson, Carolyn Townsend, and Burton’s own 13-year-old Hanoverian Gelding (Nobre XX x Lilli). “I thought that was sweet.”

So is it enviable to be sitting behind Michael Jung? “No! I have been doing it my whole life,” continued Burton. “It isn’t enviable at all. There is a long way to go yet, this is just the dressage. We always love watching [Jung] ride on the flat.”

Burton explained that there were just a few bobbles in his test – crooked into one of the flying changes and stepping back in the halt which prevented Nobilis from matching his personal best score of 20.1. “I am very happy with him. He really stayed with me and let me ride him. There are always things that can be better however with horses there are always things that can be easily worse so I am happy.”

Burton’s only trip to Kentucky came in 2010 to compete at the World Equestrian Games, so why did he decide to return eight years later? “Some very supportive owners allowed us to come. It has been on our bucket list so we thought we would give Nobilis a try.”

“I found Derek di Grazia, who I don’t know very well, and I congratulated him,” continued Burton. “I have been telling my Australian friends and people back home that this is the best event in the world no question. The course is beautiful.”

The other two names in the top five are Lauren Kieffer and Oliver Townend. Riding, Jacqueline Mars’ Vermiculus, an 11-year-old Anglo-Arabian gelding (Sazeram x Wake Me Gently), Kieffer scored a 31.2 for equal third.

Lauren Kieffer and Vermiculus. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

“Hopefully this a trend for him – that he pulls it out when it matters,” said Kieffer. “He was great in there. He was actually a bit cheeky in the warm-up. I was just pony trotting around trying to get him in gear, but then he goes in there and puts his head down and does his job so I am really happy with him.”

Kieffer doesn’t even think this is the best Vermiculus can do. “I think just as he gets stronger – he isn’t even 11 yet – his trot work will just get bigger and better. Right now it is just learning the tricks and the trade at these big events.”

Both of Kieffer’s mounts this weekend (she goes this afternoon with Landmark’s Monte Carlo) are U.S. bred horses who she has started. “I am super lucky that both horses I have here I have had forever. I broke them and everything else so I have had them from the start. It does make it really special when you have had them their whole lives.”

Townend is just behind Kieffer and Boyd Martin on a 31.1 riding his first horse, MHS King Joules, a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Ghareeb x Gowran Lady) owned by Tom Joule.

Oliver Townend and MHS King Joules. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Dressage resumes at 1:00 PM with Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Click here for full scores.

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