May 22, 2015--On a beautiful Friday in May, The Split Rock Jumping Tour hosted its inaugural evening event on The Rock Jumping Field, the $40,000 Hollow Creek Farm CSI3* Grand Prix. An international field of twenty-four horse and rider combinations representing Argentina, Venezuela, Canada, Australia, Guatemala, Russia, Germany, New Zealand, Chile, Ireland and the United States competed over Brazilian Guilherme Jorge's course. Eight returned for the jump-off.
"It's an inviting first course, built so the horses and riders can get used to the ring. Twelve jumps, fifteen efforts, three doubles, but no triple," commented Jorge, who will be the course designer for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "We want them to have a good experience to prepare them for the Sunday Grand Prix."
As far as the technical details, Jorge said, "There's a little bit of everything, but not too much. The combination 5a-b to 6 is a little forward and 7 to 8a-b is a little short. The oxers are set at 1.45m and the verticals are at 1.50m."
Most of the riders with faults had just one down, though the jump-off featured the eight who rode the first round fault-free. First in the ring, Argentina's Ramiro Quintana rode the ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Versus (Michael Smith, owner) double clear, stopping the clock in 36.39. Olympic veteran Pablo Barrios of Venezuela, aboard the eleven-year-old Dutch mare Zara Leandra (owned by ZL Group, Inc), had the time, but also had the last jump down for four faults in 32.69.
The next two attempts, Canadian Brian Walker and American Meagan Nusz, each had the tall vertical going into the combination down, for four faults.
In galloped the young and talented American Ali Wolff. Riding the ten-year-old Dutch mare Brianda (John Wolff, owner), the hotshots were clean and shaved .16 seconds off the leading time, with 36.23. A short but sweet moment at the top, as next in, Andres Rodriguez from Venezuela, shaved almost three seconds off of that time, clocking in at 33.51 aboard his twelve-year-old Belgian gelding Darlon Van Groenhove.
The final two both made gallant efforts. American Margie Engle rode the eleven-year-old Oldenburg Royce (owned by Elm Rock Properties, LLC) clean in 34.67 for a second place finish. And David Beisel on the ten-year-old Dutch stallion Ammeretto could taste a top prize, but had a heartbreak rail at the last in a time of 33.56, ultimately sixth.
"I saw Ramiro's round. I knew that I had Margie and Beisel behind me. I maybe had one less stride in the last line," Rodriguez said. "This horse has been great after a few months of rest. We have big hopes for him." After Split Rock, Rodriguez will head to Calgary for several weeks at Spruce Meadows and then on to the Pan American Games in July.
On the podium: Andres Rodriguez took first place, Margie Engle placed second, and Ali Wolff finished third
Before the class commenced, Tara Corr's Catolina MB won the Equis Boutique Award for the Best Presented Horse at the FEI Horse Inspection on Thursday. "Equis is dedicated to promoting luxury style in horse sport, and we feel that the horse inspection is one of the best places to see this showcased," said Equis Boutique owner Cesar Hirsch.
Lexington auto dealer Dan Cummins Chevrolet has partnered with Split Rock to award a brand-new Chevrolet Equinox, valued at $31,000, to the rider who accumulates the most points in the CSI 3* classes. The Leading Athlete Award will be awarded immediately following the $100,000 CSI 3* Grand Prix on Sunday. After today, Rodriguez is one step closer to driving off with the new car.
The Lexington International boutique event is truly an "unparalleled" experience in a relaxed atmosphere. Dressed in linen Split Rock blazers and t-shirts, Split Rock staff can be found throughout the property, taking care of every detail. With ample space to ride, a catered VIP area, beautiful awards including Kingsland coolers, crystal trophies from L.V. Harkness, and gorgeous oversized ribbons from Ringside Ribbons, accentuate the ambiance.
In addition to watching horses and riders compete in a world-class show jumping event, spectators can enjoy a variety of boutique shops and food vendors, a Children & Family Festival, a Beer and Wine Garden with live music, as well as free raffles and cash giveaways.
The Split Rock Jumping Tour has partnered with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Foundation in which a portion of proceeds from all sales of Split Rock Jumping Tour Hospitality packages will go directly to the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Foundation to support their programs. Split Rock will also provide staff and patients of the Center with free tickets to attend both horse shows. For more information please visit https://ukmarkey.org.
Useful Split Rock Jumping Tour links:
Watch every horse live here: http://splitrockjumpingtour.com/live
What's happening each day: http://splitrockjumpingtour.com/spectator
Or by email at: info@SplitRockJumpingTour.com