Swiss rider Felix Vogg marched out to an early lead following the first half of dressage at the 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN, taking the top spot on a score of 28 aboard Colero. Nipping at his heels are two Americans, Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp riding Deniro Z (30.9) and Buck Davidson on Park Trader (32.1) Davidson is also standing fifth on his second ride Jak My Style.
“I’m pretty happy, he did a good test,” Vogg said of his ride aboard the 11-year-old Westphalian gelding. “We tried something new, I didn’t warm him up too long, and it worked out quite well. He’s the kind of horse that just doesn’t take his atmosphere too seriously. He always puts in a good test and if I ride well, he does what I want.”
Vogg, 29, of Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, is competing in Kentucky for the first time, but he came as a spectator last year and entered with the encouragement of his good friend, Michael Jung, a three-time winner here.
“I really like it,” Vogg said of his trip to Kentucky. “Michael Jung, my friend, (has been here a lot), and he was always really positive about it.”
Halliday-Sharp, 40, who splits her time between Ocala, Florida and Sussex, England, was pleased with the performance from her 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood, despite a few bobbles in the flying changes.
“I was really pleased with him,” she said. “It’s his second five star and his first time at Kentucky. It’s never easy being third to go and I really felt he gave me everything he had. I was a little disappointed with the score, I’m not going to lie. He does struggle with his changes and he did today, but I’m thrilled with the horse. He gave me everything and pushed hard and did phenomenal trot work. And, once he understands the mechanics of the flying changes, he’ll get those too.”
Halliday-Sharp is currently leading the Land Rover/USEF CCI5*-L Championship as the highest-placed American.
Davidson, 43, of Unionville, Pennsylvania was very happy with his veteran Park Trader, but ecstatic with Jak My Style, a relatively new ride for him.
“Park Trader isn’t fantastic at this phase, but he is maturing and getting better, finally, at the age of 17,” he said with a laugh. “He did as well as he could possibly do, he did all the flying changes as well as he could do them. He did everything as well as he knows how.
“But Jak did it better than he knows how to do,” he continued. “Everything was better than he knows how, and he did it all in the ring. I’m very excited about my first time riding him here.”
Park Trader is a 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse, while Jak My Style is 14 year-old American-bred Thoroughbred.
All three riders are excited about the challenge course designer Derek di Grazia has set for them on his cross-country course, but they are not taking it for granted, especially the level of fitness it will require.
“Derek is a brilliant designer and he knows what he’s doing, but for my horse it will be quite challenging, the way it is all the time going up and down,” Vogg said. “It is more fitness work than some think and, as I saw last year, a fitter horse does better. Every five star is challenging, but especially here you need a fit horse. But I’m really looking forward to it, it’s a beautiful course and looks fun to ride.”
“Derek always loves to bring something different, he tries to keep us guessing a little bit,” said Halliday-Sharp. “He always builds a bold, forward-riding track. (Deniro’s) last five star was at Luhmuhlen (Germany) and that was very different track, very twisty and in the trees. This is a more open, galloping track and I hope it will reward a big, bold jumping horse, which he is. It’s a fair course, but there’s a lot of questions and a lot to do out there.”
“It’s deceivingly hilly here, there’s a long pull uphill from the start to the quarry, then you have a minute down to the Head of the Lake, but then it’s back up hill,” Davidson said. “It’s a course that lulls you in the beginning, but then it gets very technical at the end, so being smooth and having a very fit horse is the key. It will be interesting to find out how tired they get. There’s a lot of jumping at the end this year, almost more than the beginning.”
Davidson has three horses competing this weekend, his third and final mount Copper Beech will strut his stuff tomorrow during the second day of dressage. Saturday will see horses and riders competing in the heart of the test, the cross-country, with a nail-biting finish on Sunday in the show jumping.
About the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN
Now in its 41st year, the 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN (LRK3DE) is a thrilling competition featuring Olympic-level riders and horses from across the nation and around the world in what can best be described as an equestrian triathlon. Riders vie for their share of $400,000 in prize money, as well as a shot at the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, which is awarded to any rider who wins the LRK3DE, Mitsubishi Motors Badminton, and Land Rover Burghley Five Star Events in succession. Known as “The Best Weekend All Year,” the event also serves as the Land Rover/USEF CCI-5*-L Eventing National Championship presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN.
Also featured as a part of the competition is the Dubarry of Ireland Nations Cup Team Challenge, with each team vying for $20,000 in prize money. Four teams will line up for their share of the winnings.
LRK3DE also hosts the second annual $225,000 Kentucky CSI3* Invitational Grand Prix presented by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute on Saturday afternoon, April 27, after the cross-country portion of the LRK3DE. Stadium seating tickets for the Grand Prix are only $5 each – with $1 going to Land Rover Kentucky’s 2019 Official Charity, Bluegrass Land Conservancy. As part of the competition there is also a $36,000 Welcome Speed Cup Ranking Class on Friday in the Rolex Stadium, after the day’s LRK3DE dressage competition. No stadium seat ticket is required for Friday’s Ranking Class.
All grounds admission tickets to the LRK3DE include general parking and admission to the Kentucky Horse Park and International Trade Fair, but do not include seats for the competition in Rolex Stadium on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Reserved stadium seating is sold separately from grounds admission.
The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN will be broadcast on NBC on Sunday, May 5, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT. It will also be broadcast on NBC Sports Network on June 23, from 1:00-2:00 p.m. EDT. USEFNetwork.com will livestream the competition in its entirety – including the two CSI jumping classes – in the U.S. and abroad. Competition will also be archived and available on demand.
Further information on the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN is available at www.KentuckyThreeDayEvent.com.
About Equestrian Events, Inc.
EEI is a non-profit charitable Kentucky corporation that was established initially to produce the 1978 World Three-Day Event Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the success of those championships, EEI established an annual event that evolved into the world-renowned Kentucky Three-Day Event, which draws more than 80,000 spectators to the Kentucky Horse Park each year. In 2018, EEI organized and produced the new Kentucky CSI3* Invitational Grand Prix and will be managing the 2019 and 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships. All three competitions are held at the Kentucky Horse Park. For more information, please visit www.eq-events.com.
About Land Rover
Founded in 1948, Land Rover designs, engineers, and manufactures its vehicles in the United Kingdom. For almost 70 years the brand has built a reputation for providing its clientele with some of the most luxurious and capable vehicles in the world; whether driving through the heart of the city or traversing the countryside on- and off-road. Today’s Land Rover lineup includes the Discovery and Discovery Sport; Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Velar and Range Rover Evoque. Land Rover is fully engaged with sustainability initiatives and social concerns with continuous involvement in environmental and community programs. For more information, visit the official Land Rover website at www.landroverusa.com.
About Jaguar Land Rover
Jaguar Land Rover is the UK’s largest automotive manufacturer, built around two iconic British car brands: Land Rover, the world’s leading manufacturer of premium all-wheel-drive vehicles; and Jaguar, one of the world’s premier luxury sports sedan and sports car brands.
At Jaguar Land Rover, we are driven by a desire to deliver class-leading vehicles, which will provide experiences our customers will love, for life. Our products are in demand around the globe. In 2017/18 Jaguar Land Rover sold 614,309 vehicles in 129 countries, with more than 80 percent of our vehicles being sold abroad.
We support around 260,000 people through our retailer network, suppliers and local businesses. Manufacturing is centered in the UK, with additional plants in China, Brazil, Austria and Slovakia.
Our innovation is continuous: we will spend in the region of £4 billion this year on new product creation and capital expenditure.
From 2020 all new Jaguar Land Rover vehicles will be electrified, giving our customers even more choice. We will introduce a portfolio of electrified products across our model range, embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles as well as continuing to offer the latest diesel and gasoline engines.
About MARS EQUESTRIAN
MARS EQUESTRIAN, a brand and sponsorship division within MARS INCORPORATED, is the link between our iconic brands and the equestrian community. For generations, MARS has celebrated a rich equestrian heritage, and through purposeful partnerships, MARS EQUESTRIAN is committed to the sport and building an enduring legacy. From world-class competitions across all equestrian disciplines, to stewarding the power of horses on society and sustainability, MARS EQUESTRIAN is dedicated to our purpose to improve the lives of horses, pets, and the people who love them.
For more information about MARS EQUESTRIAN, please visit www.marsequestrian.com.