Lexington, Ky.—April 28—A year ago, Yasmin Ingham had never run a five-star event, but she impressed in her debut at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event with Banzai du Loir, finishing in second place.
What followed that fall was something she could hardly have imagined. Ingham headed to the FEI World Eventing Championship in Italy as an individual for Great Britain and came home World Champion with “Banzai.”
Now she’s back in the bluegrass for another shot at Kentucky, and she’s off to a good start. She and Banzai, a 12-year-old Selle Français gelding (Nouma d’Auzey x Gerboise du Cochet) owned by The Sue Davies Fund, leapt to the top of the leaderboard to take the lead after dressage on 22.1. Fellow British rider Tom McEwen and JL Dublin (Diarado x Zarinna), who led after Thursday’s dressage on 22.6 are now second, and Tamie Smith is the top U.S. rider on Mai Baum (Loredano x Ramira) with a 24.2.
“Coming here last year, I was very much a bit of a rookie; I was still finding my way, and it was our first five-star together for me and Banzai, so a lot was unknown. But coming here this year, there's obviously a little bit more pressure and expectation, but I'm just trying to do the best that I can and do the best that we can do together,” Ingham said. “It was kind of a fairy tale year last year, and I understand that doesn't happen very often, so I absolutely made the most of it. And I still look back even today. I mean, tomorrow morning, I'll be probably watching my round back from Pratoni to give me confidence going into the cross-country!”
Ingham said she’s always been self-critical but was but thrilled with her test today. “I'm always looking at areas that we can do better or improve," she said. "I think some of his canter work today was a real highlight. Really great changes, his half pass and medium and extended canters were excellent. So, I think just looking at little small areas to improve on always, but I think he was super relaxed, and he felt really at home in the arena, and he made it really nice for me to be able to ride and ask without him being sort of a bit standoffish because he can be quite sharp sometimes. He definitely let me ride him today, which was really important. I'm very happy with him.”
The 25-year-old hasn’t had the best preparation for Kentucky with record rainfall in England causing several events to cancel. She and Banzai were able to run a CCI4*-S at Thoresby Park at the end of March where they finished third. She decided to come to Kentucky in hopes that it will set her up well for her summer plans, which include a run at selection for this year’s FEI European Eventing Championship.
“A lot of our preparation was canceled, but I have a lot of belief in our partnership together, and I’m feeling like we can come into this event off the back of only just one run at Thoresby, and he was excellent there,” she said. “We've done a lot of training in the winter, especially with our dressage. We're very lucky to have a good cross-country schooling facility nearby. So, we've been visiting there a few times for training with Andrew Heffernan and then also my main trainer Chris Bartle helping me a lot.”
Will Coleman rode Hyperion Stud LLC’s Chin Tonic, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Chin Champ x Wildera), to the best U.S. score during Friday's second day of dressage. In the gelding’s five-star debut, the pair scored a 25.0 for fourth place.
“Chin” has been breaking records this spring, scoring as low as a 19.4 at the CCI4*-S level, but Coleman says the five-star test is a whole new challenge.
“It's definitely much higher level of technicality in the five-star test,” he said. “I would say he still has room to improve in that environment, just his strength and balance and his ability to manage some more technical instruments in this test. You pick up the walk, and you go straight into that medium canter in the first corner; everything just actually feels it becomes quite quick in this test. I wouldn't say you're necessarily changing anything at that level. You're just trying to make everything that you're doing be successful or a little bit better, a little bit sharper.”
Five-star cross-country starts tomorrow at 1:20 p.m.
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After not running in 2020 and 2021, the MARS Bromont CCI Three-Day Event returned to the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Center in Quebec, Canada, in 2022. America's Jennie Saville (née Brannigan) and Twilightslastgleam won the CCI4*-L, as the chestnut Thoroughbred gelding (National Anthem x Royal Child) bred and owned by Nina Gardner moved up from eighth after dressage into the lead after cross-country with the fastest round on wet ground over the tracks designed by Derek di Grazia. Canada's Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge, a bay Selle Français gelding (Mylord Carthago x Lelia) owned by Patricia Pearce, finished second, and they are among four from the top-10 in the CCI4*-L in 2022 that return in 2023.
Hannah Sue Hollberg of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, was on a winning streak at the Essex Horse Trials on Sunday, claiming victory in both the $10,000 Open Intermediate and Open Preliminary divisions with two horses that are fairly new to her. Some difficulty on cross-country did not stop her mount Hachi from claiming victory in the Open Intermediate with a score of 101.6, while Open Preliminary partner Rockster finished on his dressage score of 27.3.
The great football coach Vince Lombardi said, “We win our games in practice.” With the goal of having the most effective practices possible for horses, their riders, and their coaches, Cathy Wieschhoff explains some signs that can indicate when horse and rider should repeat an exercise, switch it up, or be done with that activity. Wieschhoff brings perspective as a five-star rider that has competed at the Kentucky Three-Day Event and Burghley Horse Trials, a USEF “R” Course Designer for eventing cross-country and show jumping, a former Area VIII chair and member of the USEA Board of Governors, and a Level V USEA ECP Certified Coach based out of Carriage Station Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.