Townend Back on Top at 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

©Equine Journal/Terisé Cole

A blustery day two of dressage at the 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN found last year’s winners, Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class, on top at the Kentucky Horse Park. Fellow countrywoman Piggy French sits in second aboard Quarrycrest Echo, and Boyd Martin is in the third place slot with Tsetserleg.

The current number one on the FEI Eventing World Ranking list, Townend and the Irish Sport Horse gelding finished their test to roaring applause of the crowd. A 24.1 put the team from Great Britain on top in the sandbox. “Cooley Master Class was very good and it’s very nice to be in the lead after dressage,” he said. “In the weather he was slightly looky, but that worked out better because he went in there and went to sleep on me. But, he got woken up by flowers in the corner before the flying change. I was happy with his performance. I’ve had the horse since he was four years old. He knows me and I know him and how to go have a clear round and press the right buttons, and he did a very good test today.”

©Equine Journal/Terisé Cole

Currently sitting in second is French aboard Quarrycrest Echo, an Irish Sport Horse gelding, with a 27.1. “He came out and it felt a bit like his tail was clamped and he was cold and tight and spooky. The wind felt really stormy, so I was so proud of him how he did his best work in the arena and felt very professional.”

©Equine Journal/Terisé Cole

As the top placed American rider currently leading the Land Rover/USEF CCI5*-L Championship, Martin rode the Trakehner gelding to a 27.9 to finish the first phase in third by 0.1. “Dressage is always frustrating because you always wish you could go back and do it better. But, last year he was very green, and it felt like we scraped through all the phases. This year, he’s more seasoned and confirmed at the level and working very well,” Martin said. “He’s a quiet horse and pretty relaxed, but he got a little stirred up in the warm-up, but we had time to get him relaxed.”

With the first of three phases complete, this year’s cross-country course, designed by Derek di Grazia, is sure to shake things up with its tough terrain and new elements. “This course is, I think, as tough as I’ve seen here and I think you need to be switched on every step of the way. You could have an easy blip without doing much wrong. It’s a true five-star test, and definitely not a dressage competition,” said Townend.

See all of Equine Journal‘s photos from dressage here and stay tuned for all of EJ’s coverage.

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