It’s the moment eventing enthusiasts from across the country have been waiting for: the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS Equestrian is just days away and will welcome spectators once again for the first time since 2019. With over 80,000 people anticipated in attendance, tickets hit record sales after the event was canceled in 2020 and then ran without spectators in 2021. Whether you will be tuning in from the livestream at home or will be front row ready at the Kentucky Horse Park, here are some fun and important facts regarding this year’s event.
The CCI5* Field:
There are 50 horse and rider pairs set to compete in Kentucky representing six different countries: the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, and New Zealand.
Last year there were 63 starters in the CCI5*, but the field is larger than in 2019 (41 starters) and 2018 (47 starters). The largest start list in the last decade was in 2015 when Michael Jung and FischerRocana FST bested a group of 74 horses.
U.S. riders make up 67% of the five-star field this year, each hoping to break the dry spell and bring home a U.S. victory in Kentucky for the first time since 2008.
Boyd Martin has won the USEF National Five-Star Championship for the Roger Haller Trophy the last two runnings (with On Cue in 2021 and Tsetserleg in 2019), will he make it three in a row?
There have only been two winners of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing and they will both be competing – Michael Jung, the three-time Olympic gold medalist from Germany who was the first rider to win the Kentucky Three-Day Event three consecutive years (2015-2017) and was Grand Slam winner in 2016, and Pippa Funnell of Great Britain, a three-time Olympic medalist who was the Kentucky winner and Grand Slam winner in 2003.
Three previous Kentucky winners are in the field: Phillip Dutton, Pippa Funnell, and Michael Jung.
A female rider hasn’t stood atop the podium since 2011 when Mary King won with Kings Temptress. With 20 males and 30 females entered, will a woman best the boys this year?
The Irish Sport Horse is defending its 2021 title of most popular breed on the five-star entry list with 11 horses of Irish blood entered.
There are eight Off the Track Thoroughbreds entered with Sorocaima being the most successful racehorse. The OTTBs entered and the money they earned on the track are: Bogue Sound ($11,358), Sea of Clouds ($200), Let It Be Lee (JC: Leerider - $12,913), AP Prime ($20,175), Sorocaima ($82,396), Palm Crescent ($9,462), Wabbit (JC: Molinaro Kissing- $2,217), and Steady Eddie (JC: Big Jet - $19,852).
Seven horses are coming to Kentucky off of a recent win. Dondante won the Advanced at The Fork in April as well as the CCI4*-S at the Carolina International in March, Fernhill Wishes won the Advanced/Intermediate at the Ocala International Festival of Eventing in April, Harbour Pilot won the Intermediate at Chattahoochee Hills in April, Leamore Master Plan won the CCI4*-S at Fair Hill in April, Mai Baum won the Advanced at the Fork in April, Vandiver won the CCI4*-S at The Fork, and Fischerchipmunk FRH won the CCI3*-S at Kronenberg in the Netherlands.
The U.S. riders competing represent Areas I (New York), II (Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina), III (Florida), IV (Illinois), V (Louisiana), VI (California), VII (Washington), and VIII (Kentucky).
Geldings dominate the field (in fact every horse coming in from outside of North America to compete are geldings), but there are six mares set to compete: Fleeceworks Royal, Fortuna, Galloway Sunrise, Global Ex, Jollybo, and K.E.C. Zara.
Six U.S. riders have made their way to the Bluegrass to compete in Kentucky for the first time. Get to know them better here.
There are two 19-year-old horses on the roster, Hannah Sue Burnett’s entry Harbour Pilotowned by Jacqueline Mars, and Michael Pendleton’s entry Steady Eddie owned by Denise Lahey, Pierre Colin, Gretchen and George Wintersteen.
A total of 17 horses will attempt their first five-star in Lexington: Wabbit, Corouet, Maybach, Banzai Du Loir, Paper Jam, C’est La Vie 135, Capitol HIM, Global Ex, Sorocaima, Campari FFF, Newmarket Jack, Fortuna, Chico's Man VDF Z, Millfield Lancando, Fleeceworks Royal, Let it Be Lee, and FischerChipmunk FRH.
Philip Surl (GBR) is the CCI5* technical delegate with Andrew Temkin (USA) assisting. Andrew is also serving as the CCI4*-S technical delegate with the assistance of Sharyn Antico (USA).
Nick Burton (GBR) is the president of the ground jury of the CCI5* and will be assisted by Gretchen Butts (USA) and Christian Steiner (AUT). In the CCI4*-S, the president of the ground jury will be Peter Gray (CAN) assisted by Bea di Grazia (USA).
Derek di Grazia (USA) is the cross-country course designer.
Steve Stephens (USA) is the show jumping course designer.
Did you know that there are over 53,000 wild mustangs in holding facilities across the United States? My mustang journey began in February 2018 after losing my heart horse whom I had just shy of 20 years. I wanted another horse of color, and my friend sent me the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) internet adoption link. I was amazed at all of the horses available on the internet auction, but I quickly fell in love with Woodrow. I learned that he was a popular band stallion in Wyoming and had been followed by photographers for close to three years.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the addition of the Modified Rider division beginning at the 2023 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC), presented by Nutrena Feeds. The USEA AEC will move back to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky August 29–September 3, 2023.
Are you interested in competing in the sport of eventing but aren’t quite sure how to get started? Do you have a horse that is looking for a new career? Consider participating in a USEA New Event Horse (NEH) competition in 2023! The USEA NEH Program was created to be an introduction to the sport of eventing for both horse and rider, and the 2023 NEH Calendar is now available here.
Will Coleman had a huge 2022 with his string of horses, including a team silver medal at the FEI World Eventing Championship in Italy on Off The Record and top four-star placings with Chin Tonic HS, but it was Dondante whose consistency paid off to earn the Standlee Premium Western Forage USEA Horse of the Year title.
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