May 07, 2023

Five-Star Quirks: Get to Know the Horses of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

By Kaleigh Collett - USEA Staff
Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. USEA/Lindsay Berreth photo

While the five-star equine athletes that competed at last week’s Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event (LRK3DE) may seem larger than life, they're more akin to any other horse than one may think. Most owners, grooms, and riders have special attributes about their horses that they hold near and dear to their heart, and the LRK3DE competitors are no exception! Keep reading to hear from several top five-star athletes on the quirky things about their horses that bring a smile to their faces.

2023 LRK3DE Champion, Tamie Smith, on Mai Baum:

“His ears are on crooked. So, one ear is quite significantly off, like if he has his head straight, his ears are very crooked, which really sucks in the lateral movements, because it looks like one ear is pointed down. He also hates sprays! He dances and piaffes when he gets sprayed with anything, which he gets sprayed a lot. He’s just a very special horse and such a genuine animal. He’s a joy to be around all the time.”

Will Coleman on Off the Record:

“Timmy’s got a lot of quirks. He’s very food oriented, but he’s probably not the only horse here that’s like that. He loves Hailey [Burlock], his groom. Hailey is like his handler, like a hype man walking with a boxer to and from the ring. He doesn’t go anywhere without Hailey, because he can sort of act out a little bit when he gets excited, then it sort of just brings in more tension. All week, Hailey’s been walking back and forth from the barns with me with bits of apple just to keep him relaxed, because he can get into the sky pretty quick, but she’s like a security blanket for him. I wish we could have taken her in the ring with us!”

Yasmin Ingham on Banzai du Loir:

“He loves bananas! They’re his favorite snack, so he’ll be going back to the stables now to have a banana. He also has the nickname ‘The Hippo’ because he likes to whale around in the dust and the mud in the field, so that’s another thing he’ll be getting to do once he goes back to the stables. He’ll be having all of his tack off, having a wash, and then getting to have a good roll in the soil and the sand.”

Will Faudree on Mama’s Magic Way:

“There is not an ounce of malice in that horse’s body, but he is like a 3-year-old little kid on a sugar high at Disney World all the time, and when we go down the center line [in the dressage arena], he’s like trying to ride a daddy long legs on a sugar high at Disney World being chased by the 3-year-old.”

Boyd Martin on Tsetserleg TSF:

“He’s always got an itchy nose, and because he’s such a good boy, I am a bit lenient on him, so in training at home I let him just stop and scratch his nose. I get yelled at for that because they’re worried he’s going to do it in the [dressage] test, but I’ve sort of trained him that he’s not allowed to do it in the test. Right as we finish, we halt and salute, then he scratches his nose.”

Woods Baughman on C’est La Vie 135:

“He really wants to be left alone. He likes to stand in the back corner [of the stall]. If you bring a cookie, he’ll come running to the front, take it and then go back to his corner. If you try to give him a pat, he always picks up his head, backs away and looks down on you like you're filth. He just wants to be above everyone!”

Jessica Pheonix on Wabbit:

“He is hilarious. If he were a human, he would be your drinking buddy. He’s just so fun to be around, and he’s always up for a party. He wakes up in the morning like ‘Let’s go!’” He’s got a tremendous work ethic, like he will work all day long, every day and never complain about it.”

Zara Tindall on Class Affair:

“He hates people, so this situation is literally his worst thing ever. He’s just a tricky horse in his brain. You have to be a bit careful with him, because you’re not sure which side of the bed he’s going to come out on. He’s really talented, his brain just kind of interferes a bit.”

Emily Hamel on Corvett:

“He’s got lots of quirks. He doesn’t really like other people to catch him besides me in the field. So that’s fun for working students and grooms. If you have a carrot, your chances are better for sure. He’s just kind of a very particular horse. He’ll let you know what he likes and what he doesn’t. He’s not afraid to express his opinions.”

Liz Halliday-Sharp on Miks Master C:

“He’s just a really sweet horse. He’s very, very lovely. He’s honestly such a genuine and generous horse. I know I said that about Deniro too, but they are similar like that. He wants to do everything right, but he has a lot of blood and a lot of power, and sometimes his power nearly takes over, like he offers you more than he needs to. So, I’m all the time kind of saying ‘Come on boy, your knees don’t need to be that high. Let’s just put it all together,’ but he just wants to offer everything.”

Sandra Auffarth on Viamant du Matz:

“He’s really, really sensitive. He has his people that are able to come closer, but not everybody can come close to him. He’s really special. On the other hand, on the cross-country, he’s super bold and really going for it and eating the fences, so he’s a really special character.”

Phillip Dutton on Z:

“He’s a cool horse, but he’s a little on the nervous and anxious side. I think it’s because he just tries so hard. He gets a little bit wound up at the events in general. At home, he’s quite relaxed, which makes it a little bit harder to train. He’s very quiet, laid back, easy, and friendly. He’s growing into himself. When he first came over, he was pretty shy and would stand at the back of his stall. Now he enjoys watching what’s going on throughout the day.”

Maxime Livio on Carouzo Bois Marotin:

“When I first started to ride him, he was afraid of everything; a flower, the people, everything. Each time, he starts to understand that everything around him is not something that should put a matter in his mind, but then after, it’s totally finished.”

Allie Knowles on Moorswood:

“He’ll push you around and kind of drag you everywhere and look for treats all the time. If you don’t feed him fast enough, he’s pawing. You can watch him in his [dressage] tests, if he’s being naughty, his lip is sticking straight out, and it’s pointed. That’s how you know, and I guarantee if I rewatch that, his lip is pointed straight out. He comes by it honestly, and he’s such a wonderful horse to have in the barn. He’s all personality, and I love him. He comes out happy every single day. You walk into the barn and his ears are forward like ‘Hey! How’s it going? What are we doing today?’”

Erin Kanara on Campground:

“He’s extremely smart and has a ton of personality. He knows what he wants and always goes and does that thing. He’s funny to walk around and graze here because we’re walking, we’re in a line, and then all of the sudden he’ll just beeline behind me because he sees grass that he likes! I didn’t even know he left, but he’s over here now. He’s a neat horse."

Kirsty Chabert on Classic VI:

“The list [of quirks] is too long to even get started! Standing on her back legs is probably her favorite. She’s not a great fan of men, and she doesn’t particularly like rubber gloves. We’ve been together for a long while now, so we know each other inside and out.”

Buck Davidson on Sorocaima:

“He’ll be going along and then just pull himself up. He’ll see something and then go ‘Hey!’ and I mean come to a major stop. Then he’ll say ‘I’m good’ until he’s ready to go again. It doesn’t matter if we’re at home or away. Last year, it was the screen in warmup right before I went in [the stadium]. On the cross-country, it was that table before the last water. I thought I was on a good stride, then I thought ‘Oh my god’ the last five strides. I’m like ‘Oh boy, now maybe he won’t pick up,’ then he saw something in the crowd and stopped. That’s just kind of him, but it gets less and less.”

Sydney Solomon on Early Review CBF:

“She doesn’t always like to be caught in her stall. Really, it’s because she’s trained us that she needs a treat every day! She loves to work, but she really just does whatever she wants all the time.”

Zachary Brandt on Direct Advance:

“He’s such a character. He’s the closest thing to a human of any horse I’ve ever met. You’ll stand outside of his stall, and he’ll stick his neck out and turn his head sideways because he thinks you’re going to give him a treat, even if you’re 10 feet away. He loves people, so he’s just a total ham.”

Thank you to all of the competitors that shared their stories with the USEA, and congratulations on a fantastic week of sport at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event!

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