May 23, 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 its 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."
Results: $50,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix
1 561 WINN WINN ANDREW RAMSAY 64.293 38.078
2 738 WHITNEY RAMIRO QUINTANA 65.780 38.459
3 1459 HYAKARI ANDREW BOURNS 66.286 40.498
4 355 CAYA ALI WOLFF 64.643 42.603
5 404 MERQUSIO RICHIE MOLONEY 66.917 43.712
6 472 ZEPHIRE HAYLEY BARNHILL 67.533 4 42.308
7 858 EMINEM MICHAEL TOKARUK 68.085 8 42.781
8 67 BELMONT ALISE OKEN 65.322 13 52.135
9 767 TEMBLA KARL COOK 67.970 WD
10 307 CHANEL B 2 VICTORIA COLVIN 4 63.878
11 1405 CARLO AARON VALE 4 65.731
12 938 COBOLT SHANE SWEETNAM 4 65.745
Results: $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix
1 622 BIALLON TINA YATES 70.347 4 44.913
2 1229 NATIF DES ROCHES EMANUEL ANDRADE 69.415 8 39.334
3 620 ZELOTE VDL TINA YATES 70.231 EL
4 684 QUITE DARK 2 HALEY GASSEL 2 73.353
5 68 TEIRRA ALISE OKEN 2 73.510
6 1249 VDL BRAVO S HUNTER HOLLOWAY 4 69.334
7 623 BOWMORE VDL TINA YATES 4 69.795
8 1230 RUFUS DE VIOLAINES EMANUEL ANDRADE 4 70.326
9 501 BARBOU DE RUET OLIVIA CHOWDRY 4 70.724
10 481 TWISTHER REID PATTON 4 71.921
11 1538 CAPRISIO CAROLINE MCLEESE 4 71.923
12 1033 WAUW DANIELA STRANSKY 5 72.566
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 Eclype, 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 today, 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-July 31 and the Kentucky Summer Classic running August 2-August 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.