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).
Vogg 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’m pretty happy, he did a good test,” Vogg said of his ride aboard the 11-year-old 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.”
Halliday-Sharp 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.”
Davidson 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.”
Forty-one horses moved forward to dressage, as one horse was not accepted at the first horse inspection. Ashley Johnson’s Tactical Maneuver, Hallie Coon’s Celien, and Erin Sylvester’s Paddy The Caddy were all held; Celien and Paddy the Caddy were both accepted upon re-inspection. Tactical Maneuver was sadly not being accepted.