Michael Jung on top at Land Rover Kentucky Horse Trials following the dressage phase
In a surprise to absolutely no one, a familiar name, Germany’s Michael Jung, sits atop the leaderboard in the CCI5*-L at the conclusion of the dressage phase at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN.
Jung has already won this competition three times (in addition to collecting a plethora of Olympic and world championship medals along the way), so it felt familiar when he and fischerChipmunk FRH put in a characteristically near-perfect test to take the top spot on a score of 20.1. He has a healthy —but not insurmountable — lead over Great Britain’s Sarah Bullimore and Corouet (25.7) in second and USA’s Buck Davidson and Carlevo (27.4) in third.
I’m very happy to be back here in Kentucky, it’s a beautiful place. I really enjoy it and my horses enjoy it,”
It’s horse country, the stabling is nice, and it’s just super conditions for the horses to warm up and prepare them after their flight.”
He was also full of praise for his mount, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Sabine and Klaus Fischer, Hilmer Meyer-Kulenkampff and DOKR.
With fischerChipmunk I have real superstar, and I just enjoy riding (him),”
He was really powerful but also really relaxed and in a very good balance. I’m very happy to have him, very thankful to the fischer crew for this amazing horse and very happy to be here with him for his first (CCI5*-L).”
Bullimore has only made one previous trip to the Bluegrass, but is equally thrilled to be here.
It’s a privilege to be back here, it’s just such a hospitable place and such fun to come here,”
We don’t always get the opportunity to come here and I’m not getting younger so I grabbed this chance with both hands and I’m thrilled to be here. The park is fabulous, the track and everything, and everyone just bends over backwards to help you. It’s a lovely atmosphere and a lovely event.”
Bullimore is here aboard one of her own homebreds, the chestnut Corouet, who she bred from her own former upper level mount Lilly Corinne.
I had a fabulous mare that went to the European Championships in 2015, we had already started breeding with her. (Corouet) is our first born, and it was nothing we’d done before but she was a fantastic mare and we thought why not,”
Bullimore said, adding that she chose the sire Balou Du Rouet because she had another event horse sired by him.
I love what he produces … (and Corouet’s) got a mighty big attitude in a small package. But, we have continued breeding and have some lovely siblings coming behind him.”
Davidson’s mount Carlevo has been in his barn for a while, and Katherine O’Brien’s bay Holsteiner has long been good in the dressage, but Davidson admits he hasn’t always put an entire weekend together and he’s hoping some changes to his program will help him put in a top performance.
He’s been very consistent on the first day and he feels to me better than he ever has,”
I was training some racehorses this winter and started feeding and training him like a racehorse and I’m hoping it pays off tomorrow. He was great today, he’s usually good on the first day.
We added some more energy (and changed up his feeding),”
He’s been a difficult horse to train, because when he’s fit he withers away to nothing, and we’ve struggled with keeping him fit with weight. It’s no secret he’s not the fastest horse here (but) he looks as good as he’s ever looked and feels as good as he’s ever felt. I’m not sure his galloping has changed at all but the feed has set him up hopefully for success.”
With the first phase behind them, it’s time for the riders to prepare for Saturday’s cross country test.
Derek is very good at what he does,”
The fences are beautifully presented, it doesn’t look as big as it did last year … but it’s for sure tricky and the water at the end looks quite difficult. Maybe it doesn’t look as scary, but there is plenty to do and plenty of places to have a stupid, silly mistake.”
Can I just say I’m on a tiny pony and it looks quite big to me,”
It’s a beautiful track. All the jumps are out there to go and jump and have a fantastic ride. There are a few lines that take you slightly off the line, places they’re a little offset where you could have a silly mistake, in a an otherwise fantastic ride.”
It’s a really nice course, with beautifully built jumps,”
It’s a super valid track. In the beginning it’s more hilly and twisty, but we have super conditions at the moment.”
The cross country phase, the heart of an eventing competitions kicks off with the CCI4*-S at 9:00 a.m. and the CCI5*-L at 12:50.
Further information about the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event and the Kentucky CSI3* Invitational Grand Prix is available at www.kentuckythreedayevent.com.
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