It was the start of the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park, and talented horse and rider combinations gathered at the Rolex Stadium to showcase their speed and agility in the 1.35m and 1.40m Open Jumpers.
|Ilan Bluman and Quatro (Kendall Bierer/PMG)|
Wednesday was all about accuracy and tripping the timers with a blazing fast time. It was Shane Sweetnam and Kalle who delivered the 1.35m Open Jumper Victory, and later in the day Columbia’s Ilan Bluman rode to the top of the leaderboard in the 1.40 Open Jumpers.
The 1.40m Open Jumper class featured a one-round timed course, and gave competitors a real challenge with courses designed by Allen Rheinheimer. Twenty-one horse and rider combinations were challenged over a course that included an oxer-vertical double combination, open lines, tight turns, and an optional water jump.
Kim Farlinger and Caprice Van De Brouwerhoeve laid down a competitive time to beat after clearing the course in a speedy 83.693 seconds. Although their time seemed as though it would be hard to beat, while still keeping all rails intact, Jorge Verswyvel aboard Victoria, owned by Louis Garcia of Mexico, stepped up to the plate. The pair posted a clean round more than ten seconds faster than Farlinger’s, proving that Rheinheimer’s course was built to test the strengths of horse and rider alike. Verswyvel’s time of 73.400 seconds proved good enough for the second place.
Jill Knowles and Condesa Z were the next to try to beat the newly set target time; however, their time of 82.166 seconds earned them the fourth place finish. Hector Florentino and Wauw, owned by Stransky’s Mission Farms of Wellington, FL, rode to another dominating pace in only 74.836 seconds, picking up the third place prize.
It was Ilan Bluman of Columbia, who showed Quatro, owned by Daniel Bluman LLC of Weston, FL, to a blazing fast time of 68.478 seconds. His time stood alone, with no other competitors coming less than 10 seconds within his time.
“Quatro is 11 years old, and is really a fast horse,” Bluman elaborated. “This division is very good for him, and it is nice to be able to let him use his speed in this division and not have to caution him. The course rode really well, and it allowed you to add in lines and have the chance to let the horse really shine.”
Bluman added, “This is my first time showing in Kentucky, but I absolutely love it here. My horses really like the weather and the facility. This is a great place to begin working with younger horses, and I am hoping to prepare my horses for the Grand Prix.”
Earlier in the day, the Rolex Stadium saw 1.35m competitors gather for their chance to ride to the top in the Open Jumpers. It was a different course than the 1.40m Open Jumpers, but no less technical. The course proved to be an admirabal adversary, with daunting oxer, a technical vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination, standalone verticals, long lines, and tight turns. Riders needed to utilize the space of the arena to the best of their abilities, attempting to master the first round and move into the grueling jump-off.
Setting the bar was the first horse and rider duo, Megan Moshontz-Bash and Silver Spring, owned by Cleveland Equestrian of Chagrin Falls, OH. A clear first round took them to the jump-off and Bash’s smooth riding abilities resulted in each rail staying in its cups, as well as posting a time of 38.741 seconds, eventually earning the second place ribbon. Although it took 15 trips, Shane Sweetnam and Kalle, owned by Siboney Ranch of West Palm Beach, FL, were able to set a new target time and best the competition in a mere 38.056 seconds to take the blue ribbon.
“I was trying to give him a bit of a schooling ride today,” Sweetnam explained. “He is a very easy and straightforward horse, he is also a little bit competitive. I just wanted to get him around the ring in case he was a bit fresh. The course was tricky enough and it rode great for some of the younger horses. Allen did a great job with the design, and I think that it really was well done.”
Sweetnam also guided Elastique, owned by Sweet Oak Farm of Wellington, FL, to the third place for a double-clear effort and a time of 39.224 seconds. Katherine Newman and Dozent, owned by Mimi Abel Smith of Middleburg, VA, took home the fourth place award, with J.M. Lander and You Welcome, owned by Samuel Parot of Wellington, FL, riding to the fifth place honors.
“This was the first time that I had shown Elastique in the 1.35m Open Jumpers, but she has been getting better and better. We have only been a team for the last couple of weeks, so I was impressed with how she went today,” Sweetnam concluded.
The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show will continue through Sunday, August 19, 2012. Competition will resume tomorrow with the 7/8 Year Old Jumpers, as well as the continuation of the Open Jumpers. Friday night will see the highlight event, the $25,000 CSI-W Hagyard Lexington Classic, get underway at 7:30 p.m in the Rolex Stadium. The weeklong competition will conclude with the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix on Sunday.
For more information please visit http://www.KentuckyHorseShows.com