Lexington, Ky. – May 20, 2018 – The final day of the Kentucky Spring Classic concluded jumper competition in the Rolex Stadium with the $35,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington, to close out the spring horse show series. Course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) tested 31 athletes across his 16-efforts track, but Ireland’s Kevin Babington (IRL) was the only double-clear pathfinder with Mark Q to claim his second consecutive National Grand Prix victory of the series.
The technical track only saw four clear rounds consisting of just three different riders as Babington directed two mounts to the jump-off. Babington first entered the second round aboard his own Double O Seven 7, but with one rail the pair ended on four faults in a time of 43.260 seconds, to be overtaken and they finished in fourth place.
Next in the ring, Alex Granato (USA) and Moyer Farm LLC’s 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Beorn, followed to better their time in 41.221 seconds, but with one rail down they still left room for improvement. The duo once again claimed the third place prize, repeating their finish in last week’s $35,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix.
Todd Minikus (USA) returned next aboard Amex Z, the 9-year-old Zangersheide mare owned by the Bit By Bit Group, to fly to the speediest time of 39.168 seconds, but also misplaced one unfortunate rail and the 4 fault total placed the pair into the second position.
The last to enter the jump-off round, Babington knew all he needed was a clear, conservative round aboard Mark Q and the duo delivered as the only horse-and-rider combination to produce the long-awaited double-clear effort in a time of 47.272 seconds. He and the 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding claimed the win to repeat Babington’s victory in last week’s $35,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix with Super Chilled.
Earlier in the day, the $20,000 Under 25 Grand Prix saw 18 horse-and-rider combinations tackle the 16 effort track created by Guilherme Jorge (BRA). Six athletes jumped clear rounds to qualify for a competitive jump-off that saw each athlete pushing the time limit. Abigail McArdle and Plain Bay Sales LLC’s Fanta Light B were the fastest pair in the jump-off to stop the timers at 35.025 seconds.
The 8-year-old mare recently moved up the ranks during the Florida winter season with McArdle. The pair secured big wins at the Palm Beach Masters and a CSI2* at the Winter Equestrian Festival class. McArdle plans to continue to bring the young mare up the Grand Prix level ranks.
Lacey Gilbertson and her superstar mare, Baloppi, come in close for second at 35.037 seconds. Gabriela Reutter and Juan Reutter’s Atticus Diamant jumped to third with a time of 34.707 seconds.
Jordan Allen and Eclypse Eliminate Competition to Win $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
The final day of the Kentucky Spring Classic saw hunter competitors vying for the top prize in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by the World Equestrian Center and Kentucky Horse Shows. Twenty-five horse-and-rider combinations entered the Stonelea Ring with hopes of capturing the top prize, but no one could catch Jordan Allen and Eclypse, who claimed first place with a total score of 184.
The first round of competition asked athletes to demonstrate their skills over a lengthy course which involved bending lines and multiple combinations. After all 25 horse-and-rider teams completed their course, the top 12 athletes who scored an 80.5 or higher were asked to return for a second handy round. During the handy round riders demonstrated their horses’ handiness by executing tight turns and a trot fence was also added to the course.
Allen and Eclypse dominated both rounds of derby competition by scoring a 92 during round one and again during round two. Their scores could not be caught by any other competitor, which included veteran riders such as Jeff Gogul and David Beisel. Allen utilized all available opportunities for points, including all four high option fences during round one and round two. Allen and Eclypse, a 10-year-old Hanoverian mare owned by Holly Orlando, teamed up during Week 11 of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida where they placed consistently in the Junior Hunters.
Second place was earned by Samantha Cooper and Nandino, a 10-year-old Brandenberg Warmblood owned by Ellen Malson. The pair put in a first round score of 89 and a second handy round score of 93 for a combined total of 182.
Last week’s National Derby winner at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, Jeff Gogul and Quite Ruffy, captured third place with an 86 in round one and a 91 in round two for a 177-point total.
Lexington, Ky. – May 17, 2018 – Thursday evening at the Kentucky Horse Park once again welcomed the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3*, the second event in the seven-part series, sponsored by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. The audience of the Rolex Stadium watched 61 starters over Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) 16-effort course as an impressive 16 horse-and-rider combinations delivered clear rounds, but once again Andy Kocher (USA) and Kahlua could not be caught, and the pair captured their second consecutive win of the Kentucky Spring Classic.
Kocher and Top Line Sporthorse International, LLC’s Kahlua are on a roll after just claiming Wednesday’s highlight event, the $35,000 Welcome Speed CSI3*. The dynamic duo was second to enter the ring in the jump-off and they put forth a speedy, clear round in 42.72 seconds that would be closely challenged by the 12 remaining entries, but could never be caught. With the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood in top form, Kocher now aims for Saturday’s $131,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3*.
Last week’s Hagyard Classic winner, Darragh Kenny (IRL), claimed the second place finish, this time with Ann Thompson’s Balou Du Reventon. Kenny and the 12-year-old Oldenburg stallion challenged Kocher’s quick time, but just fell short as they completed a clear round in 43.31 seconds.
Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Volage Du Val Henry, the 9-year-old Selle Français mare owned by BTR LLC, finished in a close third with a time of 43.61 seconds and a clear round.
Chris Payne and Truman Take Grand Hunter Champion Title
Day two of hunter competition at the Kentucky Spring Classic continued earlier in the day with the Grand Hunter Champion award being presented to the rider that accumulated the most points throughout Wednesday and Thursday’s professional divisions. The Grand Hunter Champion award is presented by Visse Wedel. It was Chris Payne and Maypine Farm’s Truman that dominated in the High Performance Confirmation Hunters to claim the championship title.
Payne and Truman secured their championship award by placing first in all four over fences classes during Wednesday and Thursday. They continued to dominate in the under saddle class as well, placing first once again. The long time partners often found themselves in top placings in the High Confirmation Hunters during the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida. The pair will head to the Devon Horse Show.
Lexington, Ky. – May 16, 2018 – The second week of CSI3* competition at the Kentucky Horse Park kicked off during the Kentucky Spring Classic with the $35,000 1.45m Welcome Speed in the Rolex Stadium where 36 horse-and-rider combinations raced ahead of the rain, contesting Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) 14-effort track. The speed class saw eleven clear rounds, but Andy Kocher (USA) was uncatchable as he raced to the victory aboard Christian Rogge of Top Line Sporthorse International, LLC’s Kahlua with over two seconds separating him at the top.
Kocher intends to jump the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood in Saturday’s $131,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3*, so his initial plan was to use Wednesday’s class as training, but with identical prize money to Thursday night’s $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* and a careful mare, Kocher decided to go for it and his last-minute decision paid off. He flew through the timers with a quick, clear round in 61.11 seconds to capture and maintain the lead.
Mexico’s Santiago Lambre and his own 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, Doloris, chased Kocher’s time, but fell short, finishing a clear round in 63.68 seconds to settle for second place. Alejandro Karolyi (VEN) and Lincourt Gino, the 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Monica Carrera, captured the third place prize with a clear time of 64.07 seconds.
Chris Payne Places on Top with Ovo in Green Hunter Incentive Stake
Earlier in the day, in the Stonelea Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park, hunter competition began with 10 competitors vying for the Green Hunter Incentive Stake’s top prize. Horse-and-rider combinations competed in the 3’6” and 3’9” sections of the Green Hunters, with one round being designated toward the stake’s final results. It was Chris Payne and Ovo who claimed Wednesday’s top ride after putting in a near flawless round that would earn them a winning score of 88.
Ovo, an 8-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, was purchased by Melissa Jacobs in November of 2017 from The Hunt, a European hunter auction organized by Chris Sorenson. Payne took over the reins during the start of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida. Payne and Ovo have had a successful partnership, finding themselves in top placings consistently throughout the WEF circuit.
Second place was captured by Havens Schatt and Diantendro with a score of 85. Tim Goguen and Just A Cobbler secured third place with a score of 83.
Lexington, KY (May 23, 2017) – It was a rewind of the previous week at the Kentucky Horse Park with Todd Minikus in the money and in the top ribbons again on multiple mounts at the 2017 Kentucky Spring Classic, May 17-22. Minikus again started early with an impressive first place win after an outstanding go on Alex Verlooy’s Carvelo Z in the 135m class.
Once again Minikus was on the move riding a bevy of horses. He piloted Elarina owned by the CoverBoy Group to top placings in both the 7-year-old jumping classes. Minikus wrapped up the weekend with a series of successes on clients’ horses as well as a few of his own, including the 8-year-old bay mare JuJu VDM and 9-year-old I Dottori VD Richter owned in partnership with Brems Sport Horses, the striking bay gelding, VDL Excel owned by the CoverBoy Group, and Alice Lawaetz’s chestnut gelding Incitatus — all finishing in the money for their primo performances in the jumper ring.
And Minikus’ own bay gelding Exceptional continued demonstrate his promise in the hunter ring by earning three second place ribbons in Green Hunter 3’3’ classes. “He is going to make someone an outstanding hunter mount,” Minikus said of Exceptional. “He really lives up to his name and he just a fun horse to show.”
Next Team Minikus heads south to Tryon International Equestrian Center, North Carolina, to get the jump on summer circuit.
When not competing nationally and internationally, Todd Minikus offers sales and training services in Wellington, Florida. Minikus, a FEI Nations Cup veteran, is also a U.S. Pan American Games Team Bronze Medalist. Be a part of the action by following Team Minikus on Facebook and Instagram @Todd_Minikus, or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.
Lexington, KY – May 21, 2017 – The Kentucky Spring Classic came to a close with a full day of Grand Prix show jumping action in the Rolex Stadium. The final day of competition held not only the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by Hollow Creek Farm, but also the $40,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, presented by Audi of Lexington as well as the jump off round for the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy CSI3* Grand Pix. Alex Granato was the quickest ride in the jump off class, earning him the win in the event that was originally scheduled to be held on Saturday evening after the Preakness Stakes. Eugenio Garza took home the blue ribbon in the Under 25 Grand Prix and Santiago Lambre stole the win in the Bluegrass Grand Prix to finish two weeks of top notch hunter and jumper competition. Lambre was also awarded the Kentucky Spring Classic Leading Rider Award, presented by Envisian Products, LLC.
D’Artagnan, the 9-year-old KWPN gelding who helped Lambre fly to the win in the $40,000 1.45m Grand Prix with a time of 30.592, is part of a newer string of horses for the Brazilian athlete. The pair has previously won several 1.40m and 1.45m classes during the Winter Equestrian Festival as well as at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, before making their way to the Kentucky Horse Park. Lambre, who has spent a good portion of his career competing in Europe, recently transitioned to the United States full time to live in Wellington, Fla. The 2017 Kentucky Spring Series marked the first time Lambre had competed at the Kentucky Horse Park and after his numerous successful rounds of the past two weeks, the Brazilian athlete is looking forward to more trips to the area.
With a full roster of thirty-nine horses, the $40,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix only saw eight clear rounds to return for the jump-off. Although French National Champion Eric Navet held the early lead on Basimodo with a clear time of 31.661, Luis Biraben and Colorado 210 eventually stole the second place honors by putting in a faultless effort and time of 31.557, sending Navet home to California with a third place ribbon.
Earlier in the afternoon, Eugenio Garza piloted his own Barino to the top of the leader board in the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by Hollow Creek Farms, with a double clear ride and jump off time of 41.675. Garza, who won big on Friday night in the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix on Armani SL Z, was the fastest of twenty-two starters in the class. Mavis Spencer and Chacco were second with a double clear effort and a jump off time of 41.834.
The highlight event of the Kentucky Spring Classic, the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3*, was won by American rider, Alex Granato and Carlchen W with faultless jump off round and a time of 41.73. Granato competed against forty-eight other riders during a class that was split between Saturday night and Sunday morning due to unexpected storms. Aaron Vale and Finou 4 finished just off the lead time in 42.36 and Michael Morrissey and Chance Ste. Hermelle rounded out the top three spots with a clear round and time of 43.45.
The Kentucky Spring Horse Show Series saw awards go to athletes from all over the world who gathered in the Kentucky Horse Park for the annual event. Professionals and amateurs alike were able to compete in top level hunter and jumper classes, all while enjoying the world class facilities at the of the Kentucky Horse Park. Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC is looking forward to hosting their competitors again during their Summer Series that will take place from July 26, 2017 – August 6, 2017.
Emma Kurtz and Dedication Declared Grand Junior Hunter Champions
On the final day of the Kentucky Spring Classic, talented junior rider Emma Kurtz claimed the Large Junior Hunter division championship as well as the Grand Junior Hunter Champion title aboard Dr. Betsee Parker’s Dedication. Accumulating 46 points with the judges, Kurtz consistently placed at the top of the leaderboard on multiple mounts in the Stonelea ring and won the championship sponsored by Visse Wedell of Wedell Real Estate.
On Saturday, Emma Kurtz of Hudson, Ohio executed two precise rounds in the Large Junior Hunter classes, landing Dedication, a bay Holsteiner, in second place after the first day of competition. Showcasing his reliability to perform well in the show ring, the 12-year-old gelding returned on Sunday and jumped his way to second place in the over fences classes, coming in third in the under saddle class.
Although the pair had not shown together since the Winter Equestrian Festival where they regularly ribboned in the large junior hunter classes, the break between Florida and Kentucky did not prevent them from outshining the competition across the division. In addition to Kurtz, Dedication has also been shown by top hunter athletes Scott Stewart and Victoria Colvin in the professional and junior divisions.
Competitive National and International hunter and jumper competition will resume at the Kentucky Horse Park in July with the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, presented by Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC.
Lexington, KY – May 19, 2017 – Alma Bjorklund and her own S.I.E.C. Contessina sped past the competition in Friday’s High Junior/Amateur-Owner speed class during the Kentucky Spring Classic. Out of 33 total entries, Alma was one of only four riders able to navigate the speed course without accruing any faults. Her clear time of 61.477 seconds scored the blue ribbon for the day.
Lacey Gilbertson, who won this same class a week ago during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, showed Bizonder to the second place position with a time of 64.900 seconds. Nicole Bellissimo and VDL Bellefleur rounded out the top three spots with a clear round and time of 65.130 seconds.
Bjorklund, who hails from Sweden, has been competing with her brother Viggo at the Kentucky Horse Show, LLC events over the past two weeks under the watchful eye of Irish rider and trainer Eddie Macken. In much the same way as Macken has helped Mexico’s Eugenio Garza, the winner of the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Grand Prix CSI3*, develop his string of competitive horses, he has also guided the Bjorklund siblings to top placings. Bjorklund specifically appreciates Macken’s quiet support and humble demeanor.
The 23-year-old University of Miami student will enter the Rolex Stadium Saturday in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic on another of her talented horses. After the Kentucky Spring Classic wraps up, she will move on to the first event of the 2017 Split Rock Jumping Tour, also held in Kentucky.
FEI jumper competition continues with the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix, which will be held after the Preakness viewing Saturday evening in Rolex Stadium. Saturday will also feature “A Day in the Park” to honor Ellen Veitch, a beloved member of the Kentucky Horse Show, LLC family who unexpectedly passed away on February 9, 2017. Exhibitors are encouraged to braid with blue yarn and wear a blue ribbon in loving memory of Ellen. All material is available in the show office for competitors to participate including braiding yarn, ribbons, and pins. Running from noon until 2pm, there will be a Kids Korner children’s party that will be held at the end of vendor row adjacent to Murphy Ring. The entire family is invited for the afternoon featuring horseless show jumping, face painting, and an ice cream social. The $50,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix will finish out competition in this year’s edition of the Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC spring series on Sunday afternoon.
Lindsey Tomeu Captures Ariat National Adult Medal aboard Red Drum
Lindsey Tomeu returned to the Claiborne Ring prepared to win the Ariat National Adult Medal Friday morning of the Kentucky Spring Classic. During last week’s Kentucky Spring Horse Show, Tomeu of Wellington, Florida and Elm Creek Holdings, LLC’s sale horse Red Drum competed together for the first time in the same class, scoring third place honors. In the first round exhibitors were asked to show over an eight fence course designed by Danny Moore. The top four combinations scoring an 80 or above to advance for additional testing.
Tomeu executed a smooth first round, receiving a high score of 83, which put her into second position behind Lizzie Van Der Walde who scored an 85 aboard Sarah Turner’s Holsteiner gelding Cacadu just before the test. In reverse order, riders were instructed to step forward from the line and canter to fence eight, trot fence two, canter fence six, counter canter fence seven, and return to the line in sitting trot.
Tomeu was impressed with the ease in which the Hanoverian gelding Red Drum completed the lead change and the pair made an impression on judge Bobbie Reber, resulting in a favorable adjustment in the standings. With the impressive performance Red Drum and Tomeu claimed the blue ribbon while Van Der Walde placed second. Lyriss Jaeger of Georgetown, Kentucky piloting her own Catanova rounded out the top three.
Tomeu has competed in equitation for four years, and is an accomplished jumper athlete, training with Shane and Ali Sweetnam at Sweet Oak Farm in Wellington, Florida. She can be seen at world-class venues across the country including the Winter Equestrian Festival, the Longines Global Champions Tour, the Devon Horse Show and the American Gold Cup.
Lexington, Ky. – May 18, 2017 – The atmosphere at the Kentucky Horse Park was electric on Friday night as fans came out to watch the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* as part of the Kentucky Spring Classic Horse Show. Sixty-four riders competed their horses for a chance to not only win the 1.45m class, but also earn valuable points towards winning the Hagyard Challenge Series. Eugenio Garza, of Mexico, was victorious aboard Armani SL Z even though Roberto Teran of Colombia and Il Rubacuori held a seemly unbeatable lead until the very end. Santiago Lambre and Dingeman finished in a close third place.
Armani SL Z, a 9-year-old Zangersheide gelding, has been a part of Garza’s program for three years. Garza, who is trained by the famed Irish rider and coach, Eddie Macken, has been careful to bring the striking grey gelding along thoughtfully, in hopes of achieving the moment that came in the ring tonight. The class saw very few clear rounds in the first half of competition, but by the time Garza had entered the ring, eleven other riders were waiting to come back in the jump-off. Aaron Vale, of Ocala, Fla., had even qualified all three of his rides for the short course.
Teran was the first rider to produce a clear first round on Il Rubacuori and he came back for the short course, ready to win. Internationally recognized as a fast rider, he clocked in a time of 40.29. Santiago Lambre, also of Mexico, came the closest by producing a clear round in 40.570. While Garza was schooling for the jump off, he could hear the cheers and gasps from the crowd in the Rolex Stadium and knew that he would have to put in an incredibly fast round to overcome Teran’s early lead. Armani SL Z performed like a Grand Prix veteran and crossed the times in 39.330, giving Garza the definitive win.
Not only did Garza go home with the commemorative cooler and blue ribbon, but he also earned valuable points towards the Hagyard Challenge Series. The series consists of seven grand prix classes that are held during the 2017 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. Garza is now tied with Eve Jobs, who won the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show.
Tim Goguen Earns Grand Open Hunter Championship aboard Expression Z
After two days of competition in the Stonelea Ring to kick off the Kentucky Spring Classic, Tim Goguen beat out close competitor Kelley Farmer for the coveted title of Grand Open Hunter Champion on Thursday afternoon. Scoring four out of five blue ribbons in the High Performance Hunter Division, Goguen sealed two division championships, the High Performance and Green Hunter 3’6, and ultimately the Grand Championship aboard 6-year-old Dutch Warmblood, Expression Z.
Sponsored by Visse Wedell of Wedell Real Estate, the Grand Open Hunter Championship is awarded to the combination that receives the highest number of points in their respective division. Posing the greatest competition for Goguen’s chance at the title was Kelley Farmer who had top placings with Discretion in the Conformation Hunter and It’s Me in the Green Hunter 3’9.
Goguen and Belhaven Stables, LLC’s Expression Z both stood out and received praise from respected hunter judges Rob Bielefeild and Shane George for their consistency in the High Performance and Green Hunter 3’6 during the Kentucky Spring Classic. The pair produced memorable and beautiful performances in each round, capturing top honors throughout both divisions.
Goguen of Lexington, Kentucky has earned continual success in the hunter ring, particularly excelling in the High Performance Working Hunter division. Professional hunter riders will take to the Stonelea ring once again this Saturday for the greatly anticipated USHJA National Hunter Derby, the highlight of the week.
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.
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
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.
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
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.”
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
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