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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If you’re like most riders you’ve probably heard someone say something like, “Your last mistake is your best teacher,” or “if you’re doing everything right you’re doing something wrong because you’re in your comfort zone.” While I agree whole-heartedly with these sentiments, I actually prefer, “Equestrians don’t make mistakes. Mistakes make equestrians.” They make us bolder, braver, and brighter; but only when we develop a positive relationship with our mistakes and respond to them in productive ways.
Up-and-coming eventing athlete Tommy Greengard of Malibu, California, was named the recipient of the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation’s Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant for 2024. A current competitor on the U.S. Equestrian Federation's (USEF) Eventing Emerging Program List, Greengard has aspirations of representing the United States internationally.
Bethany Hutchins-Kristen headed into 2023 with hopes of earning the SmartPak USEA Stallion of the Year award for a second year in a row on her homebred Geluk HVF, and after a stellar season, including a top-10 finish at the TerraNova CCI2*-L (Myakka City, Florida), she took home the top prize with an 18-point lead.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.