Lexington, Ky. – The second day of dressage at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS Equestrian™ saw strong performances from the remaining 33 athlete-and-horse combinations. Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous remain at the top of the leaderboard with a score of 21.7, but Tamie Smith and Mai Baum are only one-tenth of a penalty point behind on a score of 21.8.
Smith (Murrieta, Calif.) and Mai Baum went later in Friday’s order and delivered an excellent test. Despite it being the LRK3DE debut for Mai Baum, the 15-year-old German Sport Horse gelding owned by Alexandra Ahearn, Ellen Ahearn, and Eric Markell was all class for Smith.
“That was definitely his best performance. He just was such a showman. He knew,” said Smith. “He was actually really nervous. It was kind of cute because normally he doesn’t get nervous. I think he knew it was a big day. He went in and he was just absolutely stunning. I almost cried. It was so nice to have him in there and have such a good performance.”
Smith carefully planned Mai Baum’s competition schedule after taking over the ride from Alexandra Ahearn, former working student and part owner of Mai Baum, in 2015 with hopes of peaking at the right time. The planning worked, as Smith and Mai Baum helped the U.S. team earn gold at the 2019 Pan American Games, and now Mai Baum is making his LRK3DE debut. While Smith wishes she would have competed in a CCI5*-L sooner with her horse of a lifetime, she is thankful to be in Kentucky in 2021.
“It took me some time to have a partnership with him because he was very much Alex’s horse,” explained Smith. “I feel like he is a hand in a glove now. We are such good friends and kind of think alike, and I am really excited about tomorrow.”
Smith was intimidated with some parts of Derek di Grazia’s cross-country course when she first walked it, but another walk around has her feeling ready and confident in her plan.
“It is very much a course that suits him,” said Smith. “He is a big, galloping-type horse. He is also quick, naturally fast, and rideable. I feel very prepared.”
Great Britain’s Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class are in third place on a score of 24.1 Townend and Angela Hislop's 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding are eyeing their third consecutive LRK3DE title.
Land Rover/USEF CCI5* Eventing National Championship presented by MARS Equestrian™
Little and RF Scandalous, the 16-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Jacqueline Mars and Phoebe and Michael Manders, lead the Land Rover/USEF CCI5* Eventing National Championship presented by MARS Equestrian as the top U.S. combination. The pair is in a solid position to take home a second national champion title, but Smith and Mai Baum will be hot on their heels.
Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF sit in third place among the U.S. competitors and fourth overall on a score of 25.4. Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and Christine, Thomas, and Tommie Turner’s 14-year-old Trakehner gelding delivered a lovely test to put them within striking distance of defending their 2019 national champion title.
The cross-country phase for the CCI5*-L is scheduled to begin on Saturday, April 24, at 8:30 a.m. ET. Visit the LRK3DE website for the latest ride times, schedule of events, and scoring.
Watch the USEF Network for wall-to-wall coverage of the LRK3DE. The live stream will broadcast to North America. Not a US Equestrian member? Sign up for a free fan membership using promo code LRK3DE21 to access the stream.
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