November 14, 2015 - Fifty-seven show jumpers raced against the clock in the $30,000 Las Vegas Speed Classic, presented by Walter Oil & Gas. Twelve went clean and eight of those entries tackled the track in less than sixty seconds. But it was German rider Christian Heineking on NKH Selena (owned by NKH, LLC) who took the top prize, including a beautiful Horseware award blanket and a Butet saddle from Beval Saddlery.
Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Germany designed a 1.35m course with options to leave out strides, take inside turns and also included one challenging tight rollback. Of the 14 obstacles, nearly half the class found faults either at fence 7, a skinny vertical placed in the corner that could be ridden in 5 or 6 strides, or after the rollback at fence 10, a grey vertical sitting perpendicular to the in-gate.
"I thought it was a really nice course that Olaf built," commented Heineking. "There were 12 clean, out of 57 horses, so it was the right number. It caught a lot of people who had rails somewhere because they tried to go a little too fast."
Twelfth in the ring, world-renowned Frenchman Eric Navet and ASB Conquistador (Signe Ostby, owner) set the tone for speed with a textbook round. Smooth and deceivingly fast, the pair covered the ground gracefully and finished with no faults in a time of 55.11. Navet held the lead without challenge until the thirty-seventh horse galloped into the ring, Heineking aboard NKH Selena.
Determined, Heineking went for broke, taking risks in order to take over the lead. After a daring ride that stopped the clock in 53.95, he successfully stole the top spot from Navet who finished second.
"Selena is a very fast horse to begin with, and she's experienced. Over this size, she is very comfortable and pretty quick," Heineking said of his winning mount.
On a roll, Heineking picked up third with his other mount, AJE Cluny (owned by AJE Equitation LLC) in a time of 55.98. Not a stranger to the dash for cash, Heineking sped to second place on AJE Cluny in Thursday night's $35,000 Las Vegas FEI Welcome Speed Classic, presented by Park Place Foundation.
Heineking will also compete aboard NKH Quanto in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Las Vegas, presented by Interactive Mortgage, this evening.
West Coast Equestrian Medal Finals Kicks Off
Junior and Amateur equitation riders had the spotlight in the South Point Arena on Friday afternoon as the CPHA Foundation WCE Medal Finals kicked off. Thirty entries were put to the test over course designer John Manning's track that featured long bending lines with a mix of short and long distances. Competitors were judged on their show jumping abilities in a 'power and speed' style format, with points deducted for time faults and rails. The questions asked illustrated the rider's capability to gauge their horse's stride, know when to add and when to open up the step, but also how to execute a tidy track in the speed phase.
A solid group of experienced junior riders came out on top after the first round. Emma Marlowe, with a rail coming out of the combination, was rewarded for her otherwise beautiful trip with an average score of 84.5. Finishing second and third, both with a score of 83.5, were Peyton Warren and Nina Vogel, respectively.
The WCE Medal Finals continue Saturday afternoon, directly before the evening event. Round Two will be judged under Table II, and will include at least one double and one triple combination (or three doubles), as well as a liverpool and a time allowed. Scores from Round Two will be averaged with Round One to determine the top ten, who will return to compete in the third and final round. Round Three, which will immediately follow Round Two, will be judged over a speed course also with a time allowed.
Special Awards Abound
The Las Vegas National introduced several new awards this year, one of them being the Romfh Leading Rider Awards which rewards riders who accumulate the most points in their respective section. Winners received a Leading Rider Sash and a gift certificate to Romfh Equestrian Apparel.
In the Jumper Ring, Lauren Anderson earned the Romfh Leading Children's Jumper Rider Award, while Dakoda Mower picked up the Romfh Leading Adult Jumper Rider Award. Mitchell Endicott was the Leading Junior Jumper Rider; Christi Israel and Katharin Gualtieri tied for the leading Amateur Owner Jumper Rider Award; and Professional Jamie Sailor earned the Leading Professional Jumper Rider Award.
McCool Photography captured great shots of these talented riders - please visit The Las Vegas National Facebook page to see photos of all the winners.
Congratulations to all, and best of luck to competitors in both the Priefert and South Point Arenas today and tomorrow as The Las Vegas National Horse Show presents a weekend full of classes for hunters and jumpers.