Canada’s Dana Cooke and Colleen Loach posted top-ten finishes at the 2022 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by MARS Equestrian. Held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY from April 28 – May 1, 2022, the famous event is a favourite for some of the world’s elite eventers and fans of the sport.

After its cancellation in 2020 and having no spectators in 2021, a reported 80,000 equestrian enthusiasts flocked to the grounds to catch some of the adrenaline-filled tests from this past Thursday to Sunday.

Excited fans watched Cooke finish in the top five, riding FE Mississippi (Cassini II x Leggat), a grey 12-year-old Württemberger mare owned by FE Mississippi Syndicate Inc., in the CCI4*-S division. A total of 46 entries contested the four-star division, with 29 completing the three-phase event including the cross-country course designed by Derek di Grazia.

“It has been a great week here at Kentucky!” Cooke said about her first time riding in the event. “We put in a consistent dressage test, and I was pretty happy with her,” Cooke said about the beloved mare, whose nickname is ‘Miss Perfect.’ “She has always been a very sweet, polite mare. She always tries hard and to be so good.”

Cooke, originally from Merritt, BC, now residing in Mooresville, NC, started in 24th after recording 32.9 penalty points in the opening dressage phase. The duo made a drastic change in the standings during the cross-country phase, moving up to fifth place, after incurring 7.6 time-faults.

“The cross-country proved to be quite influential!” she said referring to her big move up the leaderboard. “The brush and the skinny at 4ab and the coffin at 6abc were I think the toughest questions. Missi just got better and more confident as she went around. She looked for the flags and it really flowed.” The 35-year-old and her lovely German-bred mare held on to fifth position after just 4 penalty points in the jumping test and rounded out the top five with a score of 44.5.

Fellow Canadian Loach of Dunham, QC, finished right behind Cooke in sixth place, riding FE Golden Eye (Goldfever 3 x Contendro I), a nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding she co-owns with Maureen Lemay, Amanda Bernhard and Peter Barry. The pair started the three-phase event in 18th place after posting a 68.37% and scoring 31.7 penalty points in the dressage test. The two-time Olympian and FE Golden Eye moved up the rankings after completing the cross country with a time penalty of 12.8 to move into eighth place. In the final phase, they jumped clear to finish with a score of 44.5 in sixth.

The two-time Olympian competing in her third trip as a rider to the competition said, “Kentucky is always an amazing event to be a part of and I feel lucky every year I am able to compete here.” She said, “the course was very challenging, the coffin at 6 and 4ab was tough but the water jumps were the most fun.” The 39-year-old added, “Goldie is pretty good in all three phases but show jumping is his strongest phase.” The pair is set to compete in Tryon, North Carolina in two weeks.

Other notable Canadian performances in the CCI4*-S include Holly Jacks-Smither of Hillsburgh, ON, and Candy King, who finished 15th overall and Lindsay Traisnel of Maidstone, ON, and Bacyrouge, who placed 23rd in the standings.

In the challenging CCI5*-L event, Lisa Marie Fergusson of Langley, BC, and her own Honor Me, a 16-year-old Welsh Sport Horse gelding sired by Brynarian Bernin finished in 19th as the highest Canadian followed by Jessica Phoenix of Cannington, ON, and Bogue Sound finishing in 21st and Aldergrove, BC’s Hawley Bennett-Awad and JollyBo placed 27th.

For more information on Land Rover Three-Day Event in Lexington, Kentucky, please click here.