by Rachael Zilboorg
The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event (LRK3DE) is one of the most exciting equestrian events held in the United States each year. Most often held the last week of April, while the majority of the Thoroughbred industry is looking forward with anticipation to the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May, sport horse enthusiasts from across the country meet in Lexington, Kentucky, for one of only two top-level Eventing FEI-sanctioned competitions held in the United States each year.
Eventing, especially at the highest levels, requires that a horse and rider be in absolute harmony. All three phases of modern Eventing - Dressage, Cross Country, and Show Jumping - require a laundry list of qualities from horse and rider, including technical skill, precision, agility, strength, bravery, endurance, rapid problem-solving, and trust.
With a well-proven legacy of bravery, endurance, and intelligence, Thoroughbreds and part-Thoroughbred horses are common among the ranks of Eventers at all levels, and the LRK3DE and its sister event, the Cosequin Lexington 4*, are no exception.
While there are multiple Thoroughbred entries in the LRK3DE and Lexington 4*, the topic at hand is, as always, mares. Keep reading to learn about the pair of race-bred Thoroughbred mares competing in this week’s world-class event!
Explanation of Terms
Cosequin Lexington CCI-4*
First run in 2021, the Cosequin Lexington 4* is often colloquially referred to by competitors and fans alike as “mini Land Rover.” It represents a rare chance for horse and rider teams to tackle an environment and course similar to the 5*. This year’s entrants feature two race-bred Thoroughbred mares.
Lovely Assistant (Competitor #126)
Lovely Assistant will compete under Hanna Bundy for Canada. A daughter of multiple Grade 1 winner Colonel John, Lovely Assistant started 10 times at ages 2 and 3, winning once as a two-year-old at the now-closed Calder racecourse in Miami, Florida, on her way to earnings of $7,781. She was bred in New York by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, and offered by her breeder as a yearling in the 2012 New York Bred Yearlings sale, where she sold for $70,000. Now 12 years old, Lovely Assistant is owned by Juliana Hansen of Pennsylvania.
Lovely Assistant has started 11 times in FEI competition in Canada and the United States, twice with owner Hansen and the remainder with Bundy. The mare’s best overall effort was a second-place finish in the 2020 Bromont CCI3*-S under Bundy. Bundy (29) and Lovely Assistant (12) are both on the younger end of the spectrum for a pair at their level of competition. They have finished all nine of their starts together, meaning that they were not eliminated from the competition during any phase (elimination is not uncommon in Eventing, especially at the higher levels). The pair boasts four top-10 finishes, including two at the 4* level within the last year. Bundy and Lovely Assistant train and compete out of Toronto, Ontario.
In December of 2022, Equine Canada (the national governing body of equestrian sport in Canada) named Bundy and Lovely Assistant to the EC Development Squad, a program that is part of Canada’s organizational plan to improve results for national teams in international competition.
Fun fact: Lovely Assistant’s sire has a full brother who won the prestigious A.P. Smithwick Memorial Steeplechase S. (G1) at Saratoga. Steeplechase (and other forms of “jump racing”) and the cross country phase in Eventing originate from the same 18th century Ireland sporting practice of cross country Thoroughbred horse races in which the start and finish of each race were indicated by the presence of a designated church steeple. In short, Lovely Assistant may just have Eventing’s physically demanding cross country phase in her blood!
Cecelia (Competitor #135)
Cecelia will compete under Daniela Moguel for Mexico. Registered with The Jockey Club as Constock, Cecelia is a daughter of Connecticut, who won 10 times in lower level company but earned $138,575. Bred in Iowa by Timber Creek Farm, Cecelia was never offered at public auction and did not start or record an official workout as a racehorse. Now 20 years old, Cecelia is owned by Paloma Garcia and Jorge Eduardo Martínez Castrejón.
Cecelia has an extensive record as an Event horse, with 24 of her 47 career starts coming at the 4* level. She and Moguel have competed together 35 times. Their highlights together include a 28th-place finish in the Rolex K3DE CCI4* in 2016 (when 4* was the highest level of international Eventing competition), in which only 54 of 72 finished all three phases. Also among their achievements are appearances at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games (essentially the international equestrian community’s Olympics) in Tryon, North Carolina; 2015 PanAm Games in Toronto, Ontario; and 2022 World Championship Pratoni in Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy. Moguel and Cecelia train and compete out of Ocala, Florida.
Fun fact: Cecelia’s rider Daniela Moguel is the first rider to represent Mexico at Eventing’s highest level!
Thursday, April 27
11:31 a.m. - Lovely Assistant (#126) competes in Dressage
Friday, April 28
8:49 a.m. - Cecelia (#135) competes in Dressage
Saturday, April 29
10:30 a.m. - Lovely Assistant (#126) competes in Cross Country
10:54 a.m. - Cecelia (#135) competes in Cross Country
Sunday, April 30
11:00 a.m. - Show Jumping begins. Competitors will compete in reverse ranked order (meaning the competitor in last after the Dressage and Cross Country phases will jump first, while the competitor in first after the two finished phases will jump last.)
Headed to the Horse Park?
Did you make it to the end? Good!
Mareworthy Charities Founders, Kyle and Sean, will be out and about on Saturday during the Cross Country phase, and they may have a little Mareworthy swag to give out! Look for them to get some swag for yourself.
Nope, Not Going to the Horse Park
You can watch LRK3DE and the Lexington 4* live online. (You’ll have to provide your email and create a free fan account if you’re not already a member of USEF/US Equestrian or ClipMyHorse.TV.)
Support Mareworthy Charities.
Mareworthy Charities is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Its tax identification number is 88-4420958
Kyle Rothfus (aka Kyle the OTTB Mare Guy)