Category Archives: Kentucky Horse Shows

Irish Riders Sweetnam, Kelly Sweep $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix

Shane Sweetnam and Cobolt.

Emma Kurtz Dominates Junior Hunter Divisions at Kentucky Summer Horse Show

Lexington, KY – July 30, 2016 – The luck of the Irish certainly favored the winners of Saturday’s $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. Irish riders Shane Sweetnam and Christina Kelly rode away with the top three ribbons, with first and third won by Sweetnam and Kelly earning second.

The first round saw 30 entries over fellow Irishman Alan Wade’s course, with 14 horse-and-rider combinations eventually advancing to the short course. The spectators cheered from the stands, enjoying the top-quality show jumping during the Kentucky Horse Park’s 14th annual Hats Off Day.

Kelly and Andrea O’Brien’s Kingdom were among the first to turn in a clear round, securing their place in the jump-off early on in the class.

“Kingdom has come such a long way,” Kelly said. “He jumped his first grand prix in April in Aiken, and he has moved up slowly. He has been unbelievable, and this is the biggest venue he has competed at, especially with the crowds and the night class. He showed so much potential, and he is getting better and better.”

Sweetnam and the Blue Buckle Group LLC’s Cobolt jumped their clear effort shortly after, and later Sweetnam followed up with another jump-off-qualifying round aboard Main Road, owned by Sweet Oak Farm and Seabrook LLC.

“Cobolt is a lot of fun to ride,” Sweetnam said. “It’s taken me a little while to figure out the buttons, but we seem to have figured it out in the last couple months. He’s been very consistent, so I’m very happy with him. He’s a really quick horse, and he jumped really well here the other night.”

As the riders returned for the jump off, only five of the 14 qualified would repeat their clear efforts. Kelly returned with Kingdom to lay down a quick round, saving time by taking tight turns and opening up the 17.3-hand horse’s massive stride between the combinations. Kelly and Kingdom stopped the timers in 45.474 seconds, securing her hold on the lead.

“I was very happy with him,” Kelly said. “I was going into this hopeful that he was going to jump well. My strategy was just to go double clear, but he was jumping so well I figured I could push him a bit to go faster. The track rode fantastic; I love Alan Wade’s courses.”

Sweetnam entered the ring on Cobolt shortly after, taking his turns even tighter and using his smaller horse’s agility to its full potential to shave an impressive two seconds off of Kelly’s leading time, finishing the course in a mere 43.882 seconds to take over the top spot.

“Christina was really fast,” Sweetnam said. “I know she was really quick everywhere, but Christina’s horse is a big-strided horse, and I think my fellow may just be a bit niftier and quicker through the corners. He’s definitely more competitive that way; he’s bouncy, you can turn quicker, and he gets his eye on the jumps. I think he was excellent in the jump-off. He likes going fast; he’s a bit like his dad [Cyklon 1083], so it’s great that Cobolt is winning, too.”

During his career with Cyklon 1083, Sweetnam has experienced a lot of success. At 10 years old, Cobolt is one of Cyklon’s oldest sons and is following in his father’s footsteps. Sweetnam got the ride on the gelding in January, and has since won the $130,000 Ariat Grand Prix CSI3* at Tryon, among other successes at the 1.50m level.

The final rider to return to the ring, it was clear that Sweetnam would be taking home the blue ribbon, but it was a question of whether he could beat his earlier time on his next mount, Main Road. Despite coming close with their clear effort, Sweetnam and Main Road’s time of 46.444 seconds would earn them the third-place ribbon.

“Main Road is only an 8-year-old,” Sweetnam explained. “He’s had a bit of success already this summer, and he’s coming along all the time. He was pretty quick tonight, and I think if I had to, I could have been quicker, but I would have taken more risks. I was already happy with his round, and he did exactly what I wanted to do. He can be very, very quick, and I think he’ll have other days where he’ll win, too.”

Sweetnam concluded, “I love Kentucky, and we always have success here. It’s our home for the summer, so that makes it nicer. I also want to thank my sponsors, between Lisa Lourie, the Buckle Up Group, the Gilbertsons and Paul Tracey; I’m just lucky to have such great owners. I’ve been very lucky this year to have these horses.”

Also going double clear, Adrienne Sternlicht and Starlight Farms 1 LLC’s Toulago tripped the timers in 49.442 seconds to take home fourth place. Trailing very closely behind, Juan Ortiz and the Synchronicity Group’s D’ulien Van De Smeets ended up in fifth place with their time of 49.842 seconds. Despite having the second-fastest time at 44.372 seconds, Venezuela’s Pablo Barrios and A S D Farfala rounded out the top six after catching an unfortunate four faults for having a rail down.

The final highlights during the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby and the $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix. The action will resume next week during the Kentucky Summer Classic.

Emma Kurtz Dominates Junior Hunter Divisions

Emma Kurtz dominated the Stonelea Ring on Saturday at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show with wins on Dominik in the Small Junior Hunter division, as well as a clean sweep in the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division on Frederick.

“My rounds on Frederick went really well today,” Kurtz said. “He was amazing considering it was so late in the day due to the weather delay. He is very flashy with his white socks and blaze, and he has a great rhythm to his canter.”

Emma Kurtz and Frederick
Emma Kurtz and Frederick

Kurtz has had the ride on David Gochman’s chestnut gelding for over a year, and the pair are no strangers to winning blue ribbons and championship titles. In Saturday’s Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, Kurtz and Frederick won both over fences classes and the under saddle class.

“Frederick is a quiet horse. He is so fun to ride and I love him,” she continued. “He may be a bit looky at times, but he is usually on it and he was great today.”

Kurtz of Hudson, Ohio also impressed the judges on David Gochman’s gelding Dominik. This was the third show the duo has competed together and though they are a relatively new pair they were Grand Champions at Brandywine. On Saturday, they earned the blue ribbon in both over fences classes during the Small Junior Hunter division.

“Dominik was feeling great today,” Kurtz explained. “He was a bit frisky which was kind of good because he is usually too quiet, so the rides today were nice. He is very simple and sweet.”

She plans on riding him in next week’s Kentucky Summer Classic and then Sophie and Mimi Gochman will pick up the ride.

“I love Kentucky,” Kurtz explained. “I love to be back here! The show is always run so nicely. The jumps are beautiful and it’s just a really nice show to come to.”

Brett Burlington of Miami, Florida leads the way in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division on Popish Farms LLC’s Due West. The pair won an over fences class as well as placed second in the under saddle class.

“I thought my rounds went really well today,” Burlington said. “He is very easy and straightforward. I float the reins and everything usually works out well.  Basically the less I involve myself the easier it is. If I ride everything smooth and not change much, the distances come up nicely. The more adjustments I try to make, the distances can get a bit iffy.”

Burlington competed the 12-year-old gelding during the winter season at WEF and they were champions in Traverse City earlier in the summer.

“He is owned by a client at Sweet Oaks Farm and she is very nice to let me show him,” she explained. “I have been riding him on and off for a couple of years now. For the rest of the season we will work on having more consistent rounds and try my best.”

All junior hunter divisions will wrap up on Sunday morning at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show.

On Saturday morning, championships were awarded in the Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions. Jane Gaston won the Visse Wedell Grand Hunter Championship, as well as the Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship aboard Because. The KWPN gelding had also earned the Green Hunter Championship with Kelley Farmer earlier in the week.

Lisa Butzer earned the tricolored ribbon for the Amateur-Owner 3’3 18-35 division on Pure Imagination, while Didi Mackenzie and MTM Do Right was crowned champion in the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3 Over 35 division.

On Sunday, the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby will take place and it will be the third class in the $40,0000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series. The $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus will award a $10,000 cash prize to the professional rider accumulating the most points in the five classes that make up the 2016 Hallway Feeds series. The series-leading amateur and junior riders accumulating the most points will each receive a $2,500 cash prize. Riders will receive points only on their highest placed horse in each of the classes. The awards will be presented at the conclusion of the Hallway Feeds class at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show on August 21.

To learn more about the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Mavis Spencer Triumphs in Open Jumpers 1.40m at Kentucky Summer Horse Show

Mavis Spencer and Disco Lady.

Madison Sellman Wins ASPCA Maclay aboard Alvarez L

Lexington, KY – July 29, 2016 – Despite being her first show with Disco Lady, Mavis Spencer made winning look easy as she piloted the 8-year-old mare to victory in the Open Jumpers 1.40m on Friday at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show.

“I think Disco Lady is a super mare,” Spencer said. “She’s so talented; she’s so scopey and so brave and careful. I think she’s everything you would want; she has all the good qualities you want to have in a top horse.”

Spencer and Disco Lady were clear over the first eight fences in the power and speed class to advance to the speed portion, which they completed in a quick 33.483 seconds.

“I ended up doing 7 strides after the double where a lot of people had done 8, just because I know she’s so careful,” Spencer said. “She’s got such a big step as well, so I can kind of gallop up and challenge her a little bit to the fences and she jumps better for it. It all worked out well today; it was a good course for her.”

Spencer said she got the ride on the Neil Jones Equestrian entry last fall after George Whitaker and Denise Wilson had been showing the mare.

“Tim Collins bred her, and she’s owned by team Collins Strijk and Alfons de Vrindt, so she’s been going through their program,” Spencer explained. “I think it’s very nice for them to have bred her themselves and brought her along and now for her to start the big classes and be successful.”

The early leaders in the class, Shane Sweetnam and Sweet Oak Farm’s Cantero Da Lagoa, clocked a time of 34.194 seconds. Their time held the lead for the majority of the class until Spencer overtook them, leaving Sweetnam to settle for second. Third place went to Spencer Smith, who tripped the timers in 35.133 seconds with Azibantos.

Earlier in the day, the High Amateur Owner/Junior Jumper division took the stage in the Rolex arena. Emma Wujek and her own Ugaf took home the win with their effective round, going double clear and stopping the clock in 59.377 seconds.

Just a second behind the leading time, Benjamin Simpkins and Grindstone Farm LLC’s Vivaro B finished in second place with their time of 60.94 seconds. Third place went to Adrienne Sternlicht and Starlight Farms 1 LLC’s Helios and their time of 63.031 seconds.

Following shortly after, the Open Jumpers 1.35m got underway, and it was Manuel Lecuona and Golden Point Partners LLC’s Figaro D who bested the field to earn the blue ribbon.

Lecuona and Figaro D completed Alan Wade’s jump-off track in just 29.37 seconds, securing their lead by more than two seconds. Second place went to Blythe Marano, who completed the course in 35.518 seconds with Riverview Farm LLC’s Balade Du Ry Z.

“Alan [Wade] knows what he’s doing, and he makes us ride better and get a little bit more sharp,” Lecuona said. “You have to be precise, and I think that’s good. The horses learn so much. Figaro D is a very competitive horse. He goes in the ring and he wants to jump for you. I’m really happy with him because he always tries his best.”

Lecuona, who is based on a farm in Lexington for the summer, said he loves being located so close to the Kentucky Horse Park.

“The facility is great, the horsemen are great,” Lecuona explained. “We rent a farm here, and we have the turnout that the horses love. In Kentucky they can be horses again and go out and be happy. You feel it, too, when they start feeling happy and jumping really well.”

Madison Sellman Wins ASPCA Maclay at Kentucky Summer aboard Alvarez L

Eighteen-year-old Madison Sellman of New York, rose to the top of 18 entries in Friday’s ASPCA Maclay horsemanship class in the Stonelea Ring at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show aboard her own Alvarez L.

“It was my first round here in Kentucky this year and I thought it went pretty well,” Sellman said. “I have not been showing consistently this summer and it was my first time in the show ring since WEF.”

Madison Sellman and Alvarez L
Madison Sellman and Alvarez L

She has ridden Alvarez, a 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding, for two years since purchasing him in Europe with her mom. After he was imported, Sellman moved to train with Stacia Madden at Beacon Hill Show Stables in New Jersey.

“Alvarez is my only horse and he is my partner for life,” she said. “He is typically lazy, but once I get him going he has great self-carriage and is a simple ride. I’ve done equitation with him since we bought him and he really excels at it.”

The equitation course consisted of a challenging eight stride bending line, but Sellman impressed the judges with her fluid jumping round and flawless flat phase.

“Lately I’ve been working on my release over the jumps,” Sellman explained. “I feel like I have been consistent in my riding and I’m continuing to work on being stronger in the basics.”

The pair plans to compete at regionals in Kentucky later in the summer, and Sellman has her eyes set on qualifying for the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search finals, the WIHS Equitation Finals, and the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Championships.

“We have been working on consistency with Alvarez because he can get stiff,” Sellman explained. “I work on loosening him up, making sure he is really with me and allowing him to push off the ground over the jumps.”

The Washington International Horse Show hunter phase also took place in the afternoon at the Stonelea Ring with 30 entries. T. J. O’Mara of Rumson, New Jersey, impressed the judges with his ride on Walstib Stables LLC’s Kaskade and earned a score of 93.

“She was a little fresh in my lesson yesterday, so I was a bit skeptical about how her rideability was going to be today, but she was great,” O’Mara explained. “She really had an open stride, she felt great and I was confident throughout the course.”

O’Mara has been riding the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare for three years, and the WIHS hunter phase was their first class together at the 2016 Kentucky Summer Horse Show.

“I thought the long approach oxer and the last vertical in the course really tested how straight your horse was, so I had to focus on having an opening rein at those jumps with an outside leg,” O’Mara explained. “The lines rode a little easy for me and overall it was a straight forward course.”

O’Mara said he has been working on getting his lower leg stronger this season and not leaning too far forward with his body, as well as his release.

“She can be a bit strong, but I really try to be as soft as possible with my hands and support her with my leg,” he continued.

The incoming freshman at the University of Kentucky plans on balancing his studies for the agriculture economics major as well as competing in the indoor circuit during the fall semester.

“I plan on leaving my equitation and jumper horse with my trainer so they can continue to work with them while I focus on school,” O’Mara said. “I will be in school for about three weeks before going to Maclay regionals, the USEF Finals, and the rest of the indoor circuit.”

Emma Kurtz placed second in the large equitation class with Dr. Betsee Parker’s Patrick, and McKayla Langmeier, the 2015 ASPCA Maclay Finals Champion, placed third on Frake Van Der Meer’s Carrilou. The WIHS jumper phase will take place on Saturday morning.

Upcoming highlights during the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, the $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, and $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix.

To learn more about the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Lauren Hester Rises to the Occasion, Winning $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic

Lauren Hester and Warinde B.

Sydney Shulman and Cosmeo Claim Grand Hunter Championship on Day Two of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show

Lexington, KY – July 28, 2016 – With only nine career grand prix wins under her belt, the pressure was on as Lauren Hester took the stage with Warinde B in the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. The only American rider to advance to the jump-off, hometown favorite Hester gave it her all to earn the win, besting veteran five-star riders Pablo Barrios and Shane Sweetnam.

“I’m on cloud nine, and I’m really happy,” Hester said of her win. “It was so exciting to be the only American and Lexington rider in the jump-off because I really had the crowd behind me.”

Out of a field of 46 entries, Sweetnam and the Blue Buckle Group LLC’s Cobolt were the first to go clear in 79.718 seconds over the Alan Wade-designed track. The course featured a tricky oxer-to-skinny combination that dashed many competitor’s hopes at a clear round.

After several more riders attempted Wade’s course, with many falling victim to the time allowed of 82 seconds, Venezuelan Olympian Barrios and his own A S D Farfala delivered the second clear round of the night with a time of 80.751 seconds, adding their names to the short list.

“The course was pretty tough, and I knew when I walked it that it was a good course,” Barrios said. “It was very delicate and the time allowed was perfect. It really made you ride quicker, which makes you susceptible to mistakes.”

Among the last to go, Hester piloted Hester Equestrian LLC’s Warinde B to the night’s third and final clear round in 78.785 seconds, much to the crowd’s delight.

“I thought I had the third to last rail down, and I thought ‘darn it,'” Hester said. “But then the crowd cheered. When I made it to the jump-off I laughed and thought, ‘This is not fair competing against these top five-star riders. I felt like an underdog with my tiny mare, who is 15.3 hands.”

The three riders returned for the jump-off, with Sweetnam and Cobolt attempting the short course first. Despite laying down a fast round in 44.142 seconds, Sweetnam pulled a rail in the combination coming to the final fence to take home third place.

Barrios and A S D Farfala returned next, and delivered a careful effort to finish clear in 47.234 seconds, unfortunately picking up one time fault along the way to finish in second.

“There were only three of us, and I didn’t want to go too fast,” Barrios said. “After seeing Shane have one down, I knew that if I had a clear round at least I’d be second. Farfala is a super mare, but Lauren really deserved the win tonight and showed really great, quick riding.”

The final pair to return, Hester and Warinde B came ready to win, equipped with a plan that would shave seconds off the previous times. Hester cut strides out of every line, expertly navigating the turns as tightly as possible to blaze through the timers in 43.043 seconds – a full four seconds faster than the second-place time.

“She’s a really fast horse,” Hester said. “She’s sensitive and spooky and can be all over the place, but she is so nice and I love her.”

Hester said she purchased Warinde B 5 years ago, when the mare was only 8 years old. Hester said the two have built a strong partnership over the years, with Thursday marking the duo’s fifth grand prix win together and Hester’s tenth career grand prix win.

“She is my favorite,” Hester concluded. “It took me a long time to get to know her, but now we are finally on it! Last year she got hurt and had a little bone bruise, so she came back in May of this year. She was going well, but now she is really great. I am just on cloud nine.”

The grand prix’s title sponsor, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, is one of the oldest and largest equine veterinary practices in the world. Founded in 1876, the institute offers a staff with qualifications unparalleled by any single non-university veterinary group in the equine industry, and Hagyard veterinarians have dedicated themselves to the health and wellbeing of the horse.

The facility at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute offers 13 digital radiology systems, 1.5 Tesla Siemens MRI, nuclear scintigraphy, an on-site laboratory, an on-site pharmacy, full medical and surgical services, 24-hour emergency services and hyperbaric medicine. The practice has performed veterinary medicine for more than 137 years and is currently composed of over 50 experienced veterinarians, with 13 board certifications in specialty areas of medicine, surgery and theriogenology. For more information on the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, please visit www.hagyard.com.

Sydney Shulman and Cosmeo Claim Grand Hunter Championship on Day Two of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show

Sydney Shulman and Cosmeo, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by DK-USA Sporthorse, claimed the Visse Wedell Grand Hunter Championship at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show on Thursday. The duo dominated the High Performance Working Hunter division by earning blue ribbons in all the over fences rounds, the handy round and the under saddle class, which culminated in a perfect score of 50 points to win the High Performance Working Hunter Championship.

“It is great to win the Grand Hunter Championship at Kentucky,” Shulman said. “This is my first year having a really solid professional hunter horse to compete, so it’s awesome.

Sydney Shulman and Cosmeo
Sydney Shulman and Cosmeo

“Cosmeo was ten times better than yesterday, and I thought he was awesome yesterday, but he was in a different category today!” Shulman explained. “He is new at this job, so normally the more he goes the more relaxed he gets. The first day he seemed a bit tense to me, but today he was so soft, fluid and really calm. It made it so nice to ride!”

Shulman was delighted with her round on Cosmeo, who is out of the legendary sport horse stallion Contender. She noted that the handy is the pair’s favorite class because of his former experience has a jumper.

“To me, the handy is my time to really show his skill off because he is so scopey,” Shulman explained. “The height is smaller than what he was doing in Europe so it is easy for him. Today, I was bold with my turns and I was quite neat going into the double combinations.”

Shulman is based in Greenwich, Connecticut and she plans on competing Cosmeo in Week 2 of Kentucky Summer Horse Show and in Derby Finals in mid-August.

“I’d like to thank DK-USA Sporthorse for their continued support and allowing me to show him,” Shulman said. “Also, the offspring Cosmeo has produced as a stallion have been amazing and he has many on the ground here in the U.S and in Europe. He is one of the last Contender babies that is currently breeding!”

Visse Wedell, a real estate agent for Douglas Elliman in Wellington, Florida and Lexington, Kentucky, generously sponsored the grand championship prizes for the multiple hunter divisions for the Kentucky Summer Horse Show.

“My sponsorship is a way to acknowledge the hard work that goes into being the best of your division and reward the top in our sport,” Wedell explained. “I love to promote the hunters, especially since there are not a lot of horse shows that still award grand championships.

“Sidney [Shulman] actually used to ride a horse for me when she was a junior, so I love when someone I know wins it,” Wedell continued. “She is a talented young professional so it is great to see her go from winning with my junior hunter a few years ago to now when she is winning in the big professional classes. It’s fun to watch the progression of riders!”

The Green Hunter Championship also took place in the Stonelea Ring with the tricolored ribbon being awarded to Kelley Farmer and Jane Gaston’s 8-year-old gelding Because. The duo lead their division after day one with two blue ribbons in the over fences classes, and they earned two more blues in the handy and over fences class.

“Because is such a good horse and always tries really hard,” Farmer said. “He is very consistent and smooth in his rounds. I usually compete him in the First Years and his owner will compete him this weekend in the amateur divisions.”

Tim Goguen earned the Conformation Hunter Championship in a competitive division on Belhaven Stables LLC’s Splendid. One Wednesday, they won an over fences round and the under saddle, and also placed third in their first over fences round. On Thursday, they placed second in the over fences round and third in the handy, which helped the pair clinch the division championship.

The highlights of the week include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, the $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, and $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix.

To learn more about the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Barrios Brings Home the Blue in $5,000 Open Jumper 1.40m at Kentucky Summer Horse Show

Pablo Barrios and Stackfleth.

Professional Hunters Kick Off Kentucky Summer Horse Show

Lexington, KY – July 27, 2016 – Before heading to the Olympics with the Venezuelan team in less than a week, veteran show jumper Pablo Barrios brought his string to the Kentucky Summer Horse Show Series to jump his final classes in preparation for Rio.

Despite entering the 8-year-old Stackfleth in the $5,000 Open Jumper 1.40m without expectations to win, Alan Wade’s course proved challenging, producing only three clear rounds.

Barrios and Stackfleth were the first combination to go clear, tripping the timers with a blazing time of 62.319 seconds in the speed class. Their lead would hold out for the win, but not before Juan Ortiz and Mavis Spencer would attempt to challenge the quick time.

“Stackfleth is still green, but I think he has a lot of quality,” Barrios said. “There were a lot of rollbacks on the course, which could cause you to lose a little rideability if you didn’t pick the right pace in the first few jumps. He doesn’t like to have a rail down, and when he has a little rub, he really tries hard at the next one. He still is a horse that you need to take to the jump because he doesn’t go by himself yet, but he’s getting there.”

Barrios said he acquired full ownership of the horse two years ago after owning half of him because he liked him so much.

“I have big hopes for this horse for the future,” Barrios explained. “He already won a national grand prix, and when they’re 8 and they’re capable of doing that, it’s amazing. I think he will be a very nice horse. He has a beautiful back end, and I like him a lot.”

Ortiz and the Synchronicity Group’s D’ulien Van De Smeets delivered the second clear round, but were unable to catch the lead. The duo finished in second place after clocking a time of 70.312 seconds.

Spencer and Dubai, a Neil Jones Equestrian Inc. entry, were the third combination to go clear, ending on a time of 71.968 seconds to secure the third place ribbon.

After finishing two weeks at Kentucky Summer, Barrios will head to the Rio Olympics, where he will represent the Venezuelan team with his horse, Antares, and teammate Emanuel Andrade.

“It’s very nice to be back in Kentucky,” Barrios said. “I love it here, and I think the horses love this place. I have the great opportunity to keep my horses in the Kessler’s facility, so they love it there. This will be my last schooling opportunity before the Olympics, so I’m just going to do tomorrow’s grand prix with Antares, and he will leave [for Rio] on Tuesday.”

Earlier in the day, fellow Venezuelan rider Alejandro Karolyi piloted Vinitienne to a first-place finish in the 7-Year-Old Jumpers. Karolyi’s faultless jump-off round tripped the timers in just 34.646 seconds to overtake Manuel Lecuona’s early lead of 35.817 seconds.

“I think this course had plenty of questions, and to win you had to go fast,” Karolyi said. “Manuel is a very slick and fast rider. I was there when he went, so I counted all the strides he did, and I took two or three strides out from his track, and that’s how I ended up taking the lead.”

Venitienne is a fairly new ride for Karolyi, as he acquired the mare at the Winter Equestrian Festival in March. Karolyi cited the mare’s talent and breeding as two of her best qualities.

“She has an amazing way of jumping,” Karolyi explained. “She has talent. I think she’s for sure one of the most talented young horses I’ve ever owned, so that’s very exciting. Not only does she ride like tiny horse, but she also has the scope and carefulness of a big horse. She’s a very modern type.”

In addition to his victory in the 7-Year-Olds, Karolyi also placed third in the 1.35m Open Jumper division with Isibelle, another talented, up-and-coming mare. The duo was just .2 seconds off the leading time in the tight race for the blue.

“She’s a chestnut mare, so she goes a bit her own way,” Karolyi explained, laughing. “You always have to make them think it’s their idea. She’s evolved amazingly, and she is a gun. She really puts her heart into it, and I think in the end that’s what’s going to make her such a successful horse.”

The victory in the 1.35m Open Jumpers went to Grace Long and Badger Hill Farm LLC’s Gelati, whose time of 37.35 proved unbeatable, despite the top four finishers coming within hundredths of a second of the lead. Second place went to Blythe Marano and Urban, who finished just one-tenth of a second behind Long and Gelati.

The jumper action will continue on Thursday with the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, while other highlights of the week include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, the $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, and $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix.

Professional Hunters Kick Off Kentucky Summer Horse Show

The professional hunter riders enjoyed a beautiful opening day in the Stonelea Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park. To kick off the day, veteran hunter rider Kelley Farmer took home blue ribbons in both over fences rounds of the Green Working Hunter Division.

Farmer was aboard Jane Gaston’s KWPN gelding, Because. Though their partnership is relatively new, the duo had a successful winter season in Wellington and have been racking up wins ever since.

Kelley Farmer and Because
Kelley Farmer and Because

“I thought he went around lovely today,” Farmer explained. “He always tries hard and goes so smooth. He is such a good horse, and if I stay out of his way, I think tomorrow will be great! As usual, this horse show is run well with beautiful jumps and perfect footing.”

As the day continued, Tim Goguen topped the leaderboard in the Conformation Hunter Division on Belhaven Stables LLC’s Splendid. The pair won an over fences round and the under saddle, and also placed third in their first over fences round. Goguen, who is based in Lexington, Kentucky for the summer, also placed second in an over fences round with Garland Alban’s Category.

“Splendid has had a good summer,” Goguen said. “She did well in Florida and has been having nice results coming out of the winter season. She is easy every day and such a nice mare. There are no tricks with her, and she is very steady.”

The day wrapped up with the High Performance Working Hunters where Sydney Shulman dominated the division by earning blue ribbons in both over fences classes and the under saddle class. Shulman, who is based in Greenwich, Connecticut, rode Cosmeo, who is owned by DK-USA Sporthorse.

“I thought my rounds were consistent and he was jumping amazing,” Shulman said. “We have been working on making him more hunter-y as he was previously a jumper in Europe. Every time he goes in the ring he gets better and better.”

Cosmeo left quarantine in March, and this is both Shulman and Cosmeo’s third time competing in a high performance division.

“He is so powerful and scopey when he jumps. It’s really the coolest feeling ever!” she continued. “I cannot imagine not doing this division with him because he is such an amazing athlete.”

This is Shulman’s eleventh year competing at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show and she enjoys showing all her horses at the Kentucky Horse Park.

“I love this show,” Shulman explained. “It is a very well run show with great management, footing and jumps. I bring all of my horses and clients here.”

The professional hunter divisions will wrap up Thursday in the Stonelea Ring, with equitation taking place on Friday.

The highlights of the week include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, the $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, and $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix.

To learn more about the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Minikus Wins Three FEI Grand Prixs at 2016 Kentucky Spring Classic

Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography.

Lexington, KY (May 24, 2016) – Todd Minikus made sure that the second week of the 2016 Kentucky Spring Classic was a memorable one. After Minikus and his outstanding mare Quality Girl won the opening $35,000 Welcome Speed CSI3* class and $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix CSI3* during week one, they returned to claim first place in the show’s main event, the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy CSI3* Grand Prix, during week two. After earning these three wins, the veteran show jumper will head back to Europe, where he is making his bid to be a part of the United States Show Jumping Team that will compete in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this summer.

Minikus and Quality Girl have a long history of success together. The pair has won many Grand Prix classes, including several at the Kentucky Spring Classic at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky in previous years. The 13-year-old Oldenburg mare (Quidams Rubin x Dobrock), owned by the Quality Group, has had a fairly light competition schedule this spring due to Minikus’ travel back and forth across the Atlantic for the Team USA Olympic Observation Trials held in Europe. In Europe, Minikus is working towards qualifying Babalou 41, owned by Two Swans Farm of Wellington, Florida. Meanwhile, he has left Quality Girl in the capable hands of his wife and manager, Amanda Minikus.

“I have got to thank my wife Amanda, who has been very diligent at working Quality Girl at home and giving her a couple of schools before we came to the Kentucky Spring Classic,” said Minikus.

There were 41 total entries in the Saturday night $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy CSI3* Grand Prix, held in the renowned Rolex Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. The course, designed by Olaf Petersen, was a challenging track with a tight time limit. Only three horse and rider combinations made it to the jump-off – Shane Sweetnam with Chaqui Z, Danielle Stransky with HH Donatella, and Minikus with Quality Girl.

“I was 19th in the original order and no one had gone clear. The course rode tricky between her and me, but we’re not short on experience. She went great and luckily for us it worked out in our favor,” commented Minikus.

Winning this particular Grand Prix also carried special significance for Minikus, as it was held in memory of the late Mary Rena Murphy, who was a strong supporter of Minikus during the early stages of his show jumping career. “Mary Rena was putting on shows at the Kentucky Horse Park when I first started coming here. She used to help me along quite a bit. She was an awesome lady and it makes me happy to win the Grand Prix with her name attached to it,” said Minikus.

Next, Minikus will catch a flight to Switzerland, where he will meet up with two more of his equine teammates, Babalou 41 and Vita 24, to compete in the CSIO5* St. Gallen horse show. Minikus and fellow American teammates, Margie Engle, Lucy Davis, Lauren Hough, and Reed Kessler, will all be vying for the opportunity to be a part of the Olympic team at the 2016 Summer Games. Quality Girl and Team Minikus’ American string of horses will meanwhile head to the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina, where they will compete in the $380,000 Tryon Grand Prix CSI5* when Minikus returns.

Minikus is quick to recognize that the success of his career is a team effort. “I want to thank my wonderful groom Shannon McDonald for all the care and effort she puts into making sure Quality Girl is always at her best,” said Minikus. “It really does take a village to make everything work like it should, and I am surrounded by an outstanding group of professionals who take top notch care of all of my horses.”

Todd Minikus Show Stables offers sales and training services just minutes from Wellington, Florida’s Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) show grounds. To learn about the services Minikus offers or to follow the action as Team Minikus competes around the globe, check out Todd Minikus on Facebook and Instagram, or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.

Contact: Amanda Minikus
amandajl16@aol.com
562-762-3762
www.toddminikus.com

Vale Widens Hagyard Challenge Series Leads, Hesslink Tops Hallway Feeds Standings

Aaron Vale and Quidam’s Good Luck.

Lexington, Ky. – May 23, 2016 – Aaron Vale has widened his early lead in the 2016 Hagyard Challenge Series by claiming the second place prize for the second week in a row during Thursday’s $34,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3*. Vale, who has been competing at the Kentucky Horse Shows for 28 years, piloted Quidam’s Good Luck to a double-clear round, finishing just shy of the winner, Todd Minikus and Quality Girl. The Kentucky Spring Classic also featured the second event for the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series, where Geoffrey Hesslink earned the second place prize to further his lead in the standings.

During the first event of the Hagyard Challenge Series Vale placed second and third to claim the early lead. Pablo Barrios of Venezuela continues to hold the second place position in the standings after claiming the victory in the first leg of the Series aboard ASD Farfala. Todd Minikus and Quality Girl are just 30 points behind Barrios after winning Thursday’s highlight event.

The Hagyard Challenge Series consists of seven grand prix classes to be held during the 2016 show series at the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the final event, a cash prize of $50,000 will be awarded to the rider accumulating the most points throughout the series as well as a $10,000 prize for the reserve champion.

The series concludes with the $65,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic held during the Kentucky National Horse Show. Following that exciting competition, the winner of the $50,000 Leading Rider Bonus will be announced and presented with the cash prize by the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. New this year is the $200 Best Turned Out award, sponsored by Bob Mickler’s, which will go to a well-deserving groom following each grand prix. In addition, a Hagyard’s Handsomest Hound contest will also be held at each grand prix, sponsored by MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets.

Hagyard Equine Medical Institute is one of the oldest and largest equine veterinary practices in the world. Founded in 1876, the institute offers a staff with qualifications unparalleled by any single non-university veterinary group in the equine industry, and Hagyard veterinarians have dedicated themselves to the health and well-being of the horse.

The facility at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute offers 13 digital radiology systems, 1.5 Tesla Siemens MRI, nuclear scintigraphy, an on-site laboratory, an on-site pharmacy, full medical and surgical services, 24-hour emergency services and hyperbaric medicine. The practice has performed veterinary medicine for more than 137 years and is currently composed of over 50 experienced veterinarians, with 13 board certifications in specialty areas of medicine, surgery and theriogenology.

For more information on the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, please visit www.hagyard.com.

Several generous sponsors have helped m

Geoffrey Hesslink and Esco
Geoffrey Hesslink and Esco

ake this exciting series event happen. These gracious supporters include title sponsor MWI Animal Health and presenting sponsor Zoetis as well as Dean Dorton Allen Ford, PLLC, Hallway Feeds, Audi of Lexington, Pike & Preston, Sallee Horse Vans and Hagyard Pharmacy. Additional sponsors include Equine Therapy and FooteWorks.

The Kentucky Spring Classic also featured the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, the second event in the 2016 Hallway Feeds series. Hesslink took home the second place honors with Esco, which was combined with his first and third place ribbons during the first week to take over the lead in the standings. Aaron Vale earned the victory during the Kentucky Spring Classic with Madewell to move into the second place position, while Hunter Holloway rounds out the top three and is the leading junior competitor.

The five-part series will feature a $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby throughout the spring and summer, and at the conclusion of the series the Leading Rider Bonus will be presented.  The $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus will award a $10,000 cash prize to the professional rider accumulating the most points in the five classes that make up the 2016 Hallway Feeds series. The series-leading amateur and junior riders accumulating the most points will each receive a $2,500 cash prize. Riders will receive points only on their highest placed horse in each of the classes. The awards will be presented at the conclusion of the Hallway Feeds class at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show on August 21.

Hallway Feeds’ close proximity to the Kentucky Horse Park provides ample opportunity to utilize the freshest feed, manufactured with time-honored commitments to high standards of quality and the latest scientific advancements. Combining a premium nutrition package with a professional level of dedication in horsemen and women provides equine athletes with the formula for success.

For more information on Hallway Feeds, please visit www.hallwayfeeds.com.

The Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series would not be possible without many generous sponsors including Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Fenwick Equestrian Products, EquiVision, Inc., Caddel Equine Therapy Center, Bauer Hay & Straw, Alfagreen Supreme, Trouw Nutrition, The Andersons, Mark Fischer Inc., Double S Liquid Feed Services, Inc., Agri-Business Insurance Services and Sweet PDZ Horse Stall Refresher.

For more information on Kentucky Horse Shows LLC and the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Andrew Ramsay and Winn Winn Conquer $50k Bluegrass Grand Prix at Kentucky Spring Classic

Andrew Ramsay and Winn Winn.

Smith and Chartier Conclude Kentucky Spring Classic with Wins in Children’s Hunter Division

Lexington, Ky. – May 22, 2016 – The Kentucky Spring Classic, the second week of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series, concluded on Sunday with Andrew Ramsay taking home the blue ribbon in the finale event, the $50,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington, aboard a mount aptly named Winn Winn.

Ramsay has consistently finished with top placings on all of his mounts throughout the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series and placed second in the Kentucky Spring Horse Show’s $50,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix, behind Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Eternal, with Cocq A Doodle.

“It’s very exciting,” said Ramsay. “I feel great. It’s really a wonderful way to finish. It’s nice, actually – all of the horses all had results. Throughout the two weeks they all had good placings, top three placings, so it’s really nice. Winn Winn was very consistent this week. She was fourth the first day in the speed class, and then with this placement today it’s a wonderful way to finish up!”

Ramsay, of Shalanno Farms, piloted the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, owned by the The Winn Winn Group, past a starting field of 36 and a jump-off field of nine to claim the top spot on the leaderboard. They tackled both Olaf Petersen-designed courses effortlessly and produced a double-clear finish in a jump-off time of 38.078 seconds.

“I’ve had Winn Winn for just under two years now,” said Ramsay. “She’s an eager competitor. In the first round she was rideable; we were able to get the lines we wanted and kind of stayed on plan. In the jump-off, I just tried to stay out of her way and keep her a little bit in check because she gets quite eager to get out there and play, but I was very pleased with the rounds. She gave some great efforts and everything just came up nice. It was a good jump-off for her.”

Ramsay also gave credit to his trainer, legendary horseman George Morris, for his win on Sunday.

“George gives me a lot of tips,” said Ramsay. “I get very good advice from him. He’s an amazing coach to have, and it’s a great opportunity to have his help here.

“The big thing in our plan was just, in the jump-off, that we start off with our pace, keep our eyes up and get to the next fence,” continued Ramsay. “It was just all about trying to get home and keep all the poles up and she did a good job of that! I can’t say I had too much to do with it. She did a good job.”

Following closely behind Ramsay, just 4/10ths of a second slower, was Ramiro Quintana and Whitney, owned by St. Bride’s Farm, who tripped the timers in 38.459 seconds. The pair went on to claim second place honors, while Andrew Bourns and his own Hyakari rounded out the top three of the class in 40.498 seconds.

Ramsay was thrilled to not only wrap up a stellar two weeks of showing at the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series, but also his first time ever competing at the Kentucky Horse Park with a win.

“It’s my first time showing here at the Kentucky Horse Park,” said Ramsay. “I came in 2010, when WEG was here, and that was my first time here to see a competition. When we made the summer schedule and decided to stay in the U.S. for the summer, it was either Old Salem or Kentucky and I wanted to come back here and we’ve had a great time.

“The facility is very unique,” continued Ramsay. “Unique is the best way to describe it. It’s huge and there are just so many wonderful places to ride. There are big facilities out there, but you can’t ride everywhere. Here I feel as though the oddity is where you can’t ride. Coming from California, which is very dry and you can’t really ride on grass like you have here, or Europe, which is very small, it’s such a unique experience where you can go and ride out on the hills in the grass. It’s fantastic. I don’t know if I enjoyed showing more or if I enjoyed riding out in the fields more, but it was really a great two weeks.”

Ramsay will remain in Kentucky through next week to compete at the Split Rock Jumping Tour and will head to Spruce Meadows in Calgary next.

“A big thank you to all of those who help out,” said Ramsay. “It’s a big team that makes it happen, and it’s wonderful to finish up these two weeks in this way.”

Earlier in the day, the Under 25 Grand Prix was held in the Rolex Stadium and the first place prize went to Tina Yates and High Point Farm’s Biallon. Yates had three different mounts entered in the class and qualified both Biallon and Zelote VDL for the jump-off before any other horse and rider combinations, out of the 20 starters, had also advanced to the jump-off.

“The first round I went second on Zelote and really my strategy was to go and have a nice round and just ride exactly what I walked,” said Yates. “On my second one, I had the exact same plan. I knew the time allowed was a bit tight so I had to keep going around the turns, but I think it definitely presented some challenges. It just required a little bit of smart riding and riding a smooth track.

“Zelote VDL I’ve had for about four years,” continued Yates. “I showed him a bit at WEF and he was double clear in the 5* there. I just thought here I’d build him up a bit before we go to Spruce Meadows for four weeks. He’s spunky – one of the spunkiest ones I’ve ever owned but he’s great, he’s like my child, so I have a great partnership with him. Biallon is one that I’ve had since she was 6 or 7. I’ve brought her up through the ranks and right now she’s just staying at this level. Maybe we will try to move up, but again I’m just trying to get them confident before we go to Spruce.”

Yates was almost going to be only competing against herself in the second round until Venezuela’s Emanuel Andrade and his own Natif Des Roches added themselves to the good list with a faultless effort.

The courses in Sunday’s competition, once again designed by Olaf Petersen, proved to be technical and tricky with only two riders moving on to the jump-off. Yates returned to the ring first in the second round aboard Zelote VDL, but had an unfortunate fall after a refusal. However, even after her unexpected dismount, Yates was up next in the jump-off again with Biallon.

Yates proved her resilience and completed the jump-off course with Biallon, finishing on a 4-fault effort of 44.913 seconds. Andrade was the only contender to challenge Yates’ top spot, but pulled two rails resulting in an 8-fault finish in 39.334 seconds, garnering them second place.

“When I came back on Biallon after my fall with Zelote, I wasn’t so much nervous as I was a bit upset,” said Yates. “I had a really good start, and I just had a little bit of a bad angle to the jump. I just needed to sit behind him and squeeze, and unfortunately it happens sometimes, but you just have to brush it off your shoulder and shake yourself off and go get on the next one.

“Biallon’s not super-fast so again I just wanted to try to give her a really confident, smooth ride,” continued Yates. “There were only three clears so of course I would like to win but it was more important that I got her confident before Spruce.”

The U25 Grand Prix series continues to be a popular class among young riders who have aspirations to be more competitive in the higher-level international competitions in the future. It’s chance for young riders to showcase their talent in the show jumping sport and give them their first experience to learn how to compete at the 1.45m level under FEI regulations.

“I’ve been competing in the U25 series since I’ve been in Florida, and I was fifth overall in the U25 series at WEF, and I did it on another horse, but it’s a great series,” said Yates. “It’s great for building up the horses, especially because I’m no longer an amateur, but I’m under 25, and it enables me to go in these classes and develop those younger up-and-coming horses instead of jumping in the 1.40m/1.45m divisions. It’s really great and I think it helps build the horses a lot.”

Similar to Ramsay, the Kentucky Spring Horse Show series is also Yates’ first time competing at the world-class Kentucky Horse Park facility.

“I was here once in 2004 and it was a lot different so this is my first time and I have to say it’s been fantastic,” said Yates. “I love the grounds. It’s amazing for the horses to go out on the grass and kind of clear their head and the footing is absolutely fantastic – probably one of the best in the world. I think the horses jump great and feel great and it’s a great ring.”

Perseverance Pays Off for Catherine Chartier in NAL/WIHS Children’s Hunter Classic

The Kentucky Spring Classic concluded with picture perfect weather for Children’s Hunter riders in the Stonelea Ring on Sunday. Alexandra Smith and Eclypse took home the championship in the Children’s 14 and Under Hunter division as well as the overall grand champion children’s hunter prize sponsored by Visse Wedell at Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

Smith was thrilled with her rounds on Sunday aboard Eclypse, an 8-year-old Hanoverian mare.

“She was absolutely perfect,” Smith said. The addition of a brush fence used in Saturday’s $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby did not faze the pair at all. “She didn’t look at the brush fence at all, she made it easy,” Smith explained.

The pair swept the over fences classes, also winning an over fences class on Saturday, on their way to the grand champion award. Although Smith and Eclypse are a relatively new partnership, they already show a great deal of promise.

“I haven’t been riding her long, I’ve only shown her three times,” Smith said. “She’s a little bit of a princess, but she’s sweet. She’s nice to ride and she’s so fun.”

Smith was enthusiastic about her weekend at the Kentucky Spring Classic.

“We come here every year,” Smith said. “It’s so pretty and I like all of the rings, they’re really nice. I’ve been coming here forever and I love it.”

Wedell has been a great supporter of the Kentucky Horse Shows, sponsoring grand championship prizes in multiple divisions.

“I think that it’s fantastic to award the best of the best in each division,” said Wedell, who recently purchased a property nearby. “I love this facility so much. It’s such a pleasure to be here. I’ve officially decided to base myself here for the season so I’ve invested myself personally in the area because I love it here so much.”

Catherine Chartier and Notorious
Catherine Chartier and Notorious

Twelve-year-old Catherine Chartier and Notorious, an 18-year-old Warmblood gelding, captured the win in the NAL/WIHS Children’s Hunter Classic with an inauspicious beginning in the earlier first round of the Children’s 14 and Under Hunter over fences class. Chartier fell off after a refusal, but persevered to come back and score an 80 in the first round and an 81 in the second round for a final score of 161. Second place went to Vyla Carter and Skyfall with a score of 160.

“I fell off in my first round so I really didn’t expect to win after having such a rough weekend,” Chartier said.

Chartier showed impressive poise and maturity in analyzing what had gone wrong in the first round and coming back strong.

“I had to tell myself not to get mad at him,” Chartier said. “I had to remind myself that he is a horse and he is just as imperfect as I am – he’s not a machine. We’re going to have rough rounds like this and what’s one rough round out of hundreds of great rides.”

Chartier was happy with their two classic rounds.

“In the first classic round he was good,” Chartier said. “We went in again for the final round, and I was afraid after we were a little bit tight after one of the lines that the score wouldn’t be that great, but it ended up being really great in the end.”

Notorious is a seasoned partner for 12-year-old Chartier.

“He’s 18,” Chartier said. “He’s been doing this for a long time. His favorite treats are Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies. He’s just a really special and really great horse.”

With the conclusion of the Kentucky Spring Classic and the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series, Kentucky Horse Shows LLC will now be gearing up for the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows series with the Kentucky Summer Horse Show running July 27-31 and the Kentucky Summer Classic running August 2-7.

For more information on the Kentucky Horse Shows and to find a Kentucky Summer Horse Shows series prize list, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Three-Peat for Minikus and Quality Girl with $130k Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3* Win

Todd Minikus and Quality Girl.

Aaron Vale Demonstrates Skills in Hunter Ring with $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby Win

Lexington, Ky. – May 21, 2016 – The Kentucky Spring Classic’s main event, the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3*, was an unforgettable one as Todd Minikus (USA) and Quality Girl pulled off their third FEI win for the week. The win was extra meaningful to Minikus as it honored his dear friend and horsewoman Mary Rena Murphy.

“I’ve been coming to the horse park since before it was cool to come to the horse park,” said Minikus. “Mary Rena was putting on the horse shows here and she used to give me a lot of grief. At the same time, she was very nice and helped me along quite a bit. She was an awesome lady and did a lot for the sport. It makes me very happy to win the grand prix with her name attached to it. Her entire family has been instrumental to the horse park and this whole facility for decades now.”

“Todd was one of my mom’s bad boys and she loved him,” said Renie Murphy, daughter of Mary Rena Murphy. “He’s been trying for 17 years since she died to win this grand prix so the family is really happy. It’s happy and sad, but we’re glad that Todd won it – for our family.”

Forty-one exhibitors went head-to-head over the challenging 14-fence first round course, designed by Olaf Petersen, where horses and riders were tested to their limits. Only three were able pass the test and jump clear to advance to the jump-off.

Minikus and Quality Girl, owned by the Quality Group, were nineteenth in the order-of-go and the first to jump clear.

“Tonight this was a proper course,” said Minikus. “You had the time tight and some of those lines were very sophisticated. The combination rode scopey, and I think it ended up being a great class for the crowd.”

Shane Sweetnam (IRL) piloted Chaqui Z, owned by Spy Coast Farm, to a faultless effort five rounds later to challenge Minikus in a jump-off.

“The course was jumping difficult, but I got to watch a few so I had a plan,” said Sweetnam. “I wasn’t sure if I’d be inside the time because there weren’t so many options, but he can turn very tight. He jumped really well. I thought he was a little fresh tonight, maybe fresher than normal, but he still jumped very well.

“Olaf did a great job,” continued Sweetnam. “Time definitely played a factor and then you had a few tricky options. The lines got very tight coming home. I think the course tripped up people everywhere, but it was definitely a difficult last line.”

It looked as if the two would go head-to-head for the top prize once again, after Sweetnam already placed second to Minikus in Thursday’s $35,000 Welcome Speed CSI3* with Cyklon 1083, but Daniela Stransky (VEN) added herself to the good list as the last contenders in the first round aboard Stransky’s Mission Farms’ HH Donnatella.

“I just wanted to take it jump by jump,” said Stransky. “It’s my first big class on her; I really wanted to take it slow, jump by jump and just have a nice, cool head – no emotions. It really paid off – every single ounce of effort this whole weekend. I love that mare, and she loves me, thank God!”

Minikus and Quality Girl entered the ring once again as the first to tackle the jump-off course. They set the pace for Sweetnam and Stransky, producing another double-clear round, in 40.70 seconds.

Sweetnam and Chaqui Z tried their luck next but pulled an unfortunate rail to earn them a 4-fault jump-off finish in 43.92 seconds, which would garner them second place honors.

“Luckily, or unfortunately, I got to see Todd go so I knew I really had to go,” said Sweetnam. “I think I did one less up the first line and then the second line it made me very flat and then that flattened the plank. I could maybe try all day to beat Todd’s time because that mare is very, very fast and he did everything right. He did a great job.”

“I was nineteenth in the original order and no one had gone clear,” said Minikus. “It rode tricky and, between her and me, we’re not short of experience. She went great and Shane is a very fast rider so I really thought I needed to go in the first part of that jump-off and put enough pressure on Shane. He tried to do the leave-out and got his horse undone just a little bit and had the plank down so it worked out for us.”

It was all up to Stransky to catch Minikus. However, the new pair could not match the seasoned partnership of Minikus and Quality Girl. They finished with a 4-fault effort in 44.66 seconds, claiming a very respectable third place.

“She’s a very new horse for me,” said Stransky. “I’ve had her for less than a year. This is my third grand prix on her ever – in my life, actually. I could not have been happier. I actually went against my favorite rider Todd Minikus, which is kind of funny, and I don’t like him anymore because he beat me. I’m beyond happy and – just wow!”

After winning both the $35,000 Welcome Speed CSI3* and the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3*, Minikus and Quality Girl wrap up a phenomenal Kentucky Spring Classic with their third win in a row.

“My mare was awesome this week,” said Minikus. “I was in Europe for the past couple of weeks and I haven’t really ridden her since the Ocala million. For a couple of months, I really didn’t ride her. I’ve got to thank my wife, Amanda, who was very diligent at home working her and giving her a couple of schools before we came here to the horse show.”

Next week Minikus heads back to Europe, where he will represent the U.S. next at CSIO5* St. Gallen in Switzerland along with teammates Lucy Davis, Margie Engle, Lauren Hough and Reed Kessler as he continues to compete for a spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team.

However, he will return to the U.S. in June to compete Quality Girl in the $380,000 Tryon Grand Prix CSI5*.

Aaron Vale Wins $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby

Hunter riders braved the rain Saturday in the Stonelea Ring to compete in the second leg of the $40,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series. Aaron Vale and Madewell were on top in the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, followed by last week’s winner Geoffrey Hesslink and Esco in second place and Ally Marrinan and At Last rounding out the top three.

Aaron Vale and Madewell
Aaron Vale and Madewell

The $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby is part of the $40,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series, which is returning for the fifth year in a row at the Kentucky Horse Park. The five-part series awards a $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus presented at the conclusion of the series.

Vale took the lead in the first round on Madewell, an 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, with a score of 90, taking all four high options on the Bobby Murphy-designed course.

“Last week I only took three high options,” Vale explained. “One option was ridiculously high last week so I skipped that. This week all the options were doable. It was just a nice, smooth course in spite of the weather. He was really settled and a bit more relaxed than last week so I was able to ride him around pretty smoothly. It was good fun.”

Vale returned in the handy round, again taking all four high options, scoring an 87.5 and a cumulative score of 177.5.

“My handy round plan was to take the inside turns, jump the high options and try not to get too greedy where you make a mistake,” Vale said. “I have to watch that. I want to get aggressive – I want to go fast. You have to just keep your patience, make the turns, be smooth and not try to overdo it.”

The derby course challenged horses and riders today even on fences that, at first glance, seemed inviting.

“It was kind of a hard turn to the brush on the end,” Vale said. “That was kind of tricky in both rounds. Even the first round horses didn’t jump this option fence really well. You’d think they would because it’s all brush and solid, but for whatever reason a few of them jumped a bit out of shape. Just being patient to that jump and making sure you got a distance so the horse didn’t make a mistake was important.”

Geoffrey Hesslink won last week’s $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby aboard Rookie, and he was the series’ leader coming into this week’s class with Esco, an 8-year-old Rhinelander gelding. Hesslink posted a score of 81 in the first round, taking all four of the handy options.

“I went second in the order and it was raining so I was a little conservative in round one,” Hesslink said.

Hesslink and Esco returned in the handy round to earn the score of 89, taking all four handy options again.

“For the handy course I thought he was on it,” Hesslink said. “I thought he executed it perfectly, and he did everything I asked him. We ended up second, and he was really good today. The rain didn’t bother him at all; I think it bothered me more than him.”

Hesslink was enthusiastic about continuing to compete in the $40,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series throughout the rest of the summer.

“That’s one of my goals for this year,” Hesslink said. “It wasn’t one that I was thinking, but after last week and this week, it is. I think it’s a great class and they do a great job with it so I’m pretty sure I’m going to continue with it because we are going to be here for all of the summer shows.”

Vale echoed Hesslink’s sentiments.

“Anything that has a bonus is nice,” said Vale. “Now we have more reasons to try to put Kentucky Horse Shows on our summer schedule because the Hallway shows are going to be the same shows that have the Hagyard classes, and I’m doing well in both of them.”

The Kentucky Spring Classic, running through May 22, features a FEI CSI3* rating. The featured national classes will be the $50,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, which counts towards the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List, and the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix to be held on Sunday, May 22, in the Rolex Stadium.

EQSportsNet will be streaming live webcasts throughout the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows. EQSportsNet Full Access subscribers can watch all rounds of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series on demand at www.eqsports.net.

For more information on Kentucky Horse Shows LLC and the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Holloway Wins Med. Jr. Jumpers and WIHS Equitation Hunter Phase at Kentucky Spring Classic

Hunter Holloway and Italia.

Annabel Revers and Quax Secure First Place in ASPCA Maclay for Second Year in a Row

Lexington, Ky. – May 20, 2016 – Hunter Holloway showed her skills in the Kentucky Spring Classic, bringing home wins in both the hunter and jumper rings.

In the Medium Junior Jumpers, Holloway took home the victory aboard Italia, a 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, with a time of 51.098 seconds, a full four seconds faster than second place finishers Ashley Hartman and Clear Lady.

It was a meaningful win for Holloway, who has done the majority of the training on the home-bred Italia.

“It was pretty exciting,” said Holloway. “He is 7 years old and we bred him. “Lisa Oliver broke him when she worked for us, but since then I’ve been the one on him. I did his first jumps, his first courses – everything. It’s pretty special now to have him moving up into the Medium Juniors. We were planning on having a nice, fast, smooth round. He stepped up to the plate great.”

After her win in the jumper ring, Holloway headed over to the Stonelea Ring and brought home a win in the WIHS Equitation Hunter Phase with Orion, a 12-year-old Westphalian gelding.

“The plan was just to have a nice round,” said Holloway. “We want to keep getting qualified for finals here. Orion is amazing; I don’t think he gets enough credit. He’s kind of the horse that does all the work, and then we pull Sunny out for finals. Everyone knows Sunny and I as such a good pair, but no one ever realizes how good Orion is.”

She continued, “He’s the one that gets me qualified every year – that does all the work – and he’s for sale this year. He’s a great horse. He’s a blast to ride.”

Holloway was enthusiastic about her first trip to the Kentucky Spring Classic.

“This is actually my first time being here during the spring shows,” Holloway said. “It’s a beautiful facility. They do a great job with the show and the management is great. The weather could be better but it’s been great.”

The Kentucky Spring Horse Shows allowed for Holloway to spend more time in the jumper ring as well as continuing with the hunters.

“This year our focus is more on the jumpers,” Holloway explained. “Mom and I both will hopefully be doing more of the FEI classes. We’re trying to do more World Cup qualifiers and more big classes.”

Madison Dehaven and Chanel brought home the win in the Low Amateur-Owner Jumpers for the second week in a row with a time of 24.013 seconds, a full two seconds faster than second place Alexandra Duval and XM.

Dehaven was full of praise for Chanel, her 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare.

“I was very happy with her today,” Dehaven said. “Everything kind of came up like I wanted it to. I’m really learning to ride her on a nice rhythm. She wants to go forward and gallop, and for me that was really hard to get used to.”

From the start, Dehaven made a plan that paid off in time saved.

“I really liked the course,” said Dehaven. “There were a couple of challenging things for her. In the jump-off, there was a right rollback, and she’s a lot harder off the right. I would say that plank to the last fence was where I made up time. I had planned eight strides down the last line, but we were in a nice gallop and I caught the plank and the seven was just there. I left out to the last oxer and she was really good.”

The Kentucky Spring Classic, running through May 22, features a FEI CSI3* rating. On Saturday, May 21, riders will compete under the lights in the Rolex Stadium during the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix. All three FEI classes held during the Kentucky Spring Classic count for the Longines Ranking List and the Saturday classes will also count for the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List. In addition, the featured national classes will be the $50,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, which counts towards the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List, and the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix to be held on Sunday, May 22, in the Rolex Stadium.

Annabel Revers and Quax Secure First Place in ASPCA Maclay for Second Year in a Row

Sixteen-year-old Annabel Revers of Weston, Massachusetts, rose to the top of 16 entries in Friday’s ASPCA Maclay horsemanship class in the Stonelea Ring at the Kentucky Spring Classic aboard Beechwood Stables LLC’s Quax.

Revers and Quax are frequent blue ribbon holders in the equitation ring, and even won the same class together at the 2015 Kentucky Spring Classic.

Annabel Revers and Quax
Annabel Revers and Quax

“It was a really nice way to start the weekend and to start my first show back after the winter,” said Revers. “I just tried to ride it really smooth and relaxed. It wasn’t too technical.”

Revers piloted the 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding around the equitation course, made up of 10 fences, under the guidance of trainer and Olympic gold medalist Peter Wylde. The track consisted of challenging bending lines, single obstacles, an in-and-out and a large log wall fence leftover from the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show.

Despite the over fences test Revers was tasked to complete as well as the rainy weather seen during the class, she rode a flawless and fluid round that undoubtedly impressed the judges.

Revers’ equitation caught the judges’ attention once again during the flat portion of the class, where she secured the first place spot.

“I’ve had Quax for about a year and half now,” said Revers. “We got him as a jumper and over the past year and a half we’ve been turning him into an equitation horse. He was really good today. I was really happy that he stayed relaxed and was really good and did his job.

“The rain didn’t bother him at all,” continued Revers. “He was great and was super brave at the hunter derby fence; I was really happy with that.”

Revers has been coming to the Kentucky Horse Shows for years and always loves returning to the world-class facility at the Kentucky Horse Park.

“I love riding in the field when we’re not showing,” said Revers. “That’s one of my favorite parts about coming here. The grounds are really nice, and it’s just a really nice place to be!”

Second place honors went to 17-year-old Summer Hill and Poden Farm’ Aster De La Cense. Hill trains with Andrea Simpson and Ken and Emily Smith of Ashland Farms.

This class was only the second time Hill had ever ridden and shown the 6-year-old Selle Français gelding, but the pair proved to be top contenders in the competitive junior equitation ring.

“I didn’t really have a plan,” said Hill. “I’ve only ridden the horse twice so it was just kind of however it goes. He’s only 6 years old so I had to make up my plan as I went, but he was really good. He really showed himself in the ring so I’m really happy with him.

“He’s very brave,” continued Hill. “He used to do the jumpers a couple of months ago. He gets a little bit upset with the rain, but he held through it pretty well.”

Hill also recently moved from California to the Bluegrass State and enjoys being in close proximity to the Kentucky Horse Park in order to compete at the Kentucky Horse Shows.

“I moved here in June,” said Hill. “We bought a farm like ten minutes from here. I love showing in the Rolex Stadium on my jumpers. This is a great place to come!”

The Kentucky Spring Classic will continue through May 22 with the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby in the Stonelea Ring on Saturday, May 21, while also offering WIHS and NAL qualifiers plus $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Classics.

Kentucky Horse Shows is also pleased to host a book signing with George H. Morris for his newly released autobiography, Unrelenting: The Real Story: Horses, Bright Lights and My Pursuit of Excellence.

The book signing will be held on Saturday, May 21, during the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Stonelea Ring.

Come and meet legendary horseman George Morris, take a photo and purchase a signed copy of George’s autobiography, which illustrates the story of his life, from the very public to the incredibly private, while also enjoying hunter derby action from the second leg of the $40,0000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series!

EQSportsNet will be streaming live webcasts of the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3* during the Kentucky Spring Classic on Saturday, May 21. EQSportsNet Full Access subscribers can also watch all rounds of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series on demand at www.eqsports.net.

For more information on Kentucky Horse Shows LLC and the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Minikus and Quality Girl Win Two $35,000 Classes at Kentucky Spring Classic

Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography.

Lexington, KY (May 20, 2016) — Todd Minikus wasted no time making the most of his quick trip back to the United States from Europe while competing to qualify for the United States Show Jumping Team. During the first day of competition at the Kentucky Spring Classic at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, Minikus won the $35,000 Welcome Speed class in the Rolex Stadium with Quality Girl. He also had top finishes with two of his other horses throughout the week. Thursday, he and Quality Girl once again took top honors in the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3*.

Minikus and Quality Girl, a 13-year-old Oldenburg mare (Quidams Rubin x Dobrock) owned by the Quality Group, have a proven track record of success at the Kentucky Horse Park. Last year the pair won the $20,000 Blue Grass Classic at the show grounds, and went on to have several more impressive wins both nationally and internationally.

The $35,000 Welcome Speed course, designed by Olaf Petersen Jr., proved to be nothing the experienced pair couldn’t handle. Minikus said, “We had a fair course for a Welcome stakes, full of really fast horses, but I think where we won it was at the roll back to the vertical and the roll back to the oxer in the jump-off. Those two things made all the difference.”

In the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3*, Minikus and Quality Girl blazed through the course in 38.24 seconds, pulling ahead of Aaron Vale and Quidam’s Good Luck’s time of 39 seconds. “Aaron looked quite fast as always, but Quality Girl’s an extremely fast horse,” said Minikus. “She’s been a winner her whole career and the one thing you know about her is that at any given moment she could be the winner. She generally tries hard every day. She’s a professional show horse and that’s what I love about her.

“Quality Girl really hasn’t shown since Week 11 at WEF, so she was a little fresh today but was definitely on the top of her game,” Minikus added after his victory. Quality Girl is leading Minikus’ American string of horses, while his European string of horses are traveling to Switzerland to compete in the St. Gallen CSI 5*, which Minikus will compete in as part of the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Observation Trials as soon as he returns to Europe from Kentucky.

Quality Girl wasn’t the only member of Team Minikus that was ready to win during the first week of showing in Kentucky. Spring Girl, a daughter of Minikus’ famous mount Oh Star, finished third in the YJC Six Year Old division in the Walnut Arena. The mare only recently started showing during this year’s Winter Equestrian Festival, but jumped an impressive double clear in Kentucky. “This is her first ‘away’ horse show and she handled it really well, so I am happy with her progress,” said Minikus.

Minikus also piloted William Upton’s WEC L’AMI NOIR to an impressive double clear and sixth place finish out of 100 other horses in the 1.35m class.

Despite logging long hours in an airplane and traveling from cold and rainy conditions in France to cold and rainy conditions in Kentucky, Minikus is looking forward to hopping back on a plane and preparing for the competitions ahead. After the second week of the Kentucky Spring Classic concludes, Minikus will jet off to Europe for the final leg of Olympic observation trials. The Pan American athlete will then meet up with Quality Girl and the rest of his American string at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina.

When not competing nationally and internationally, Todd Minikus offers sales and training services just minutes from Wellington, Florida’s Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) show grounds. You can follow all the action from Team Minikus on Facebook and Instagram, or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.

Contact: Amanda Minikus
amandajl16@aol.com
562-762-3762
www.toddminikus.com