FOR DECADES, LAND ROVER HAS SUPPORTED EQUESTRIAN ATHLETES AS THEY ACHIEVE GREATNESS
"US Equestrian and Land Rover have cultivated an incredible partnership over the past decade. Land Rover has become synonymous with equestrianism and we’re proud to have the opportunity to continue building and expanding the relationship into the future."
Vicki Lowell, Chief Marketing and Content Officer of US Equestrian.
The United States Equestrian Federation serves as the national governing body for equestrian sport in the U.S., uniting a community of athletes and enthusiasts. Licensing more than 2,300 equestrian events across the country each year, the federation prepares its members for the highest level of international competition, including the Olympic and Paralympic games. Land Rover has proudly acted as the official sponsor and vehicle of the USEF for over a decade, as well as title sponsor of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.
As a dedicated partner, Land Rover offers a member PIN program, contributes to USEF member benefits and, in 2017, founded the Land Rover Eventing Grants program. These grants are awarded annually to those on the USEF High Performance Training List and provide funding for distinguished athletes to travel to 5* competitions throughout the world. In 2020, grant recipients included Tamie Smith, Body Martin and Phillip Dutton. Though international travel was not possible in 2020, this funding allowed them to attend USEF 4* and 3* Eventing National Championships.
The longstanding support Land Rover has offered to the equestrian eventing world has made the brand synonymous with the sport. Underpinning the relationship between Land Rover and the USEF is a deep understanding that horse and rider combinations are unique and specific, just as each driver deserves a unique and specific vehicle tailored to their needs.
THE LAND ROVER KENTUCKY THREE-DAY EVENT
Founded in 1978, the Kentucky Three-Day Event is presented each year at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY, during the last weekend in April. It is ranked CC15*-L, the highest level of competition in the sport, and draws the world’s preeminent horses and riders. The star level attributed to a competition indicates its level of difficulty. In addition to the Olympics and the FEI World Equestrian Games, there are only six annual 5* events in the world, and the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event is the only competition of this caliber in the U.S.
Upon the 40th anniversary of the event in 2018, Land Rover became its title sponsor. The competition has expanded to four days to allow a growing number of athletes to compete, showcasing their skills through dressage, cross-country and show-jumping tests. As a qualifying event for the Olympics, World Championships and the World Equestrian Games, The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event highlights the best and brightest equestrians the sport has to offer, thrilling audiences each year.
The Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team demonstrate their precision and endurance through a triathlon of dressage, cross-country and show jumping. Eventing typically takes place over the course of three days, focusing on one category of competition each day. During the dressage portion of the event, rider and horse must perform a sequence of rehearsed movements on the flat to exhibit the depth of their training. Cross-country tests showcase stamina as the equestrians take on a series of solid obstacles and varied terrain. Finally, show jumping allows the team to display their precision by clearing a course of fences.
The Land Rover U.S. Driving Team, much like the eventing team, complete three tests during a competition: driven dressage, cross-country marathon and cones. Competitors ride in a carriage drawn by one, two or four horses, proving their harmony and agility while navigating obstacle courses. As in eventing, penalty points are accumulated during combined driving tests, and the equestrian with the fewest points at the end of the competition places first.
Compared to eventing and driving, hunter competitions are judged subjectively. The horses are evaluated on disposition, manners, gait, jumping ability and grace—qualities vital to Jacobean Era fox hunters as they traversed English countryside terrain. Horses must display the skill it takes to clear obstacles they might have encountered while hunting, such as negotiating creeks, ditches, walls and fences. A broad discipline, hunter classes exist for nearly every breed of horse and riders at any level.
Jim Fairclough has spent decades racing horses through all types of course conditions. The carriages that he uses are equipped with the technology and special features that enable him to conquer anything he may face. When he’s not holding the reins, he’s behind the wheel of his Range Rover. As a lifelong Land Rover enthusiast, he recognizes the vehicles’ unparalleled capability both on- and off-road. Watch as he takes us through the features of his carriages that allow him to bring home the gold.
Equestrian show jacket designer Charles Ancona knows that form always follows function, and no detail should be spared when crafting something exceptional. This is why he arrives at equestrian events in his Range Rover Sport Dynamic—not only is it equipped with the tow pack he needs, but it also it exemplifies his brand and image. Watch as he explains the parallel between Land Rover design and his work for the US Equestrian team.
In January 2020, Land Rover celebrated the arrival of the new Defender in the U.S. with the 4xFAR festival: a weekend of live music, culinary experiences and outdoor adventure. US Equestrian joined the action by setting up an interactive stable and providing live demonstrations. Watch as the team enjoys their time at the inaugural 4xFAR.