Colleen Loach and Vermont Go the Distance at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI 4*-S
Canadian Olympian Colleen Loach of Dunham, QC, cracked the CCI 4*-S top five at the legendary Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by MARS Equestrian. Held from April 21-25 in Lexington, KY, the 2021 edition featured rainy conditions that turned the already challenging competition into one for the ages, with just 22 of 45 CCI 4*-S entries making it across the final finish line.
It was Colleen’s third time attending the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event after appearances in 2018 and 2019; however, it was the first time that Peter Barry’s Vermont (Van Helsing x Heraldik XX), a nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding known as “Monty”, would have a chance to take on the famous terrain.
Canadian Olympian Colleen Loach of Dunham, QC, and Vermont secured fourth place at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by MARS Equestrian, held from April 21-25, 2021, in Lexington, KY.
Photo Credit: Shannon Brinkman Photo
Monty first caught Colleen’s eye as a four-year-old due to his presence – the chestnut clocks in at a sizeable 18.2 hands – and athletic ability. Not long after the pair began to work their way up the levels, Colleen’s intuition proved to be right.
“Probably the first time I realized what a big-time horse he could be was when we finished second in the CCI 3*-L at Fair Hill in 2019 when Monty was a seven-year-old,” commented Colleen. “It was becoming apparent that he could excel at all three phases.”
While Monty’s abilities were apparent to Colleen from the very start, some work had to be done to let his potential shine to the fullest in the ring. She explained, “Dressage is the most tricky with Monty, as it is sometimes hard to keep him calm and focused. I have been trying to build different tools or ways of riding him that help to relax and reassure him when he becomes agitated. When he is calm and relaxed, he is very competitive.”
All of Colleen and Monty’s training culminated in their performance at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event: on April 23, a calm and relaxed Monty took to the ring and executed a smooth dressage test, scoring a respectable score of 27.0 penalty points for second in the provisional standings.
On the next day’s cross-country course, masterfully planned by FEI Eventing Level 3 Course Designer, Derek di Grazia of the United States, not one combination was able to make the optimum time: Colleen and Monty added 14.8 time penalties to their score but jumped clear, dropping one position to third.
An unlucky rail in April 25’s show jumping phase bumped their final tally to 45.8 penalty points for a hard-won fourth-place finish.
Colleen’s name also popped up in 12th place after piloting her Lima 2019 Pan American Games partner, FE Golden Eye (Goldfever 3 x Contendro I), the nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding that she co-owns with Peter Barry and Amanda Bernhard, to a final score of 71.1 penalties.
Joining Colleen in the CCI 4*-S division was her teammate on the Equestrian Canada (EC) National Team Program (NTP) Eventing National Squad, Canadian Olympian Jessica Phoenix. The Cannington, ON, native maintained her reputation as the multi-horse master with three horses in the top 15. Jessica placed eighth (61.3 penalties) with Amara Hoppner’s 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Bogue Sound (Crafty Shaw x Victory Gallop); 10th (66.5 penalties) with Wabbit (Line of Departure x Great Gladiator), the 11-year-old Thoroughbred gelding she co-owns with Jim Phillips; and 11th (69.0 penalties) aboard the trusty Pavarotti (Pavarotti van de Helle x Foxiland XX), her 19-year-old Westphalian gelding.
NTP Eventing National Squad combination Lisa Marie Fergusson of Langley, BC, and her Tryon 2018 World Equestrian Games partner, the 15-year-old Welsh Sport Horse gelding sired by Brynarian Brenin, Honor Me, were the only Canadians to complete the challenging CCI 5*-L, finishing 37th on a final score of 72.7 penalties.
EC wishes to thank Sport Canada for its support of athletes through the Athlete Assistance Program.
For more information on the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, including live streams and results, visit https://kentuckythreedayevent.com. Visit the EC website for more information about eventing programs and services.