Lexington, KY - July 29, 2011 - It was another scorcher at the Kentucky Horse Park for the third day of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. Today, riders had the opportunity to compete at the Walnut Ring during the High and Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper classes. Taking home the top prize in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class was Christina Kelly aboard Camirage after posting a very quick jump-off. Michael Murphy mimicked her effort during the Low Junior Jumper class with Ultrafox to score the blue ribbon.
Allen Rheinheimer used the same track to test both the High and Low classes today in the Walnut Ring. The obstacles included a liverpool, an oxer-vertical double combination, and a vertical-vertical double combination. For the jump-off, riders began with a single vertical followed by a sharp turn to a single oxer to the oxer-vertical double combination. Riders then made a bending line to a single vertical with a rollback to another tall vertical and finished over a wide oxer.
Nineteen horse and rider combination attempted the first round in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers, but only three were able to do so without fault and advance to the short course. Clementine Goutal was the first to do so with Wouter, owned by Cloverleaf Farm of New York, NY, and the pair posted a great effort, opting for all the inside turns while leaving all the fences intact and crossing the finish line in 33.534 seconds, which would be good enough for second place. Hallie Miller and Utopia H 2, owned by Erin Hickey of Cincinnati, OH, took home the third place honors after taking off the back rail of the last oxer for four faults in a time of 37.313 seconds.
The last in the class proved to be the best of the day. Christina Kelly and Diamond Edge Farm's Camirage easily made their way through the first round track to qualify for the jump-off. They picked up a very quick pace, and although they opted not to take the inside option after the first fence, they were well ahead of Goutal's time. The duo left every rail in place and blazed across the finish line in 31.749 seconds to score the winning prize for the day.
"When I walked the course I thought it was a nice, but it seemed to ride more difficult than it walked," noted Kelly. "Camirgae is an awesome mare. She was jumping a little high, because she hasn't jumped in five weeks, but after I got her in front of my leg again she was super."
Kelly added, "I thought the oxer to the vertical-vertical double was difficult because it was very much on a half stride and a lot of people didn't know if they should do the six or the seven. Camirage has a big enough stride, so I knew I could do six, and she's super careful at verticals."
The impressive duo have been paired together for four years, but Kelly was not sure that it was a match when she first tried Camirage. Kelly commented, "She needs a lot of leg, and I didn't really think she suited me when I first tried her because was very cold and backed-off, but we've grown to be best friends. She really trusts me and wants to do what I want, so she's stopped needing so much leg and trusts that pace a bit more."
During today's jump-off, the pair raced through the track, leaving the time to beat in the dust. "I didn't see Clementine's round, but she is a very fast horse and I was just planning on going smooth with her. She really likes jump-offs and as we got jumping she just went faster and faster. I try to keep her at the pace she likes and if she wants to go faster I let her because she's plenty careful. She's great at backing herself off at the fences, so if she's on her pace I just leave her alone."
Kelly is based in Nicholasville, KY, so the Kentucky Horse Park is one of her favorite venues. Later this year, she hopes to compete with her talented mare during the Alltech National Horse Show as it makes its debut at the Park, featuring a $50,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic.
During the Low Junior Jumpers it was all about speed, as 15 horses advanced to the jump-off and nine completed double clear rounds. Michael Murphy had the day's best round aboard Ultra Fox, owned by Hampton Farms of Wellington, FL. The duo completed and incredible fast round, leaving a stride out at the last vertical and breaking the beam at 28.689 seconds. Christina Kelly followed in second place with Corona after posting a fault-free round in 30.409 seconds. The third place award went to Katherine Strauss of Southampton, NY, for her ride aboard Chellando Z. The pair did not touch a fence stopped the clock at 31.033 seconds.
"Ultrafox is really mobile and we just kept going," said Murphy after the short course. "He's a very good horse, and I just started riding him this winter. He doesn't need much from me. I just get there and hold on, he does the rest. He'll compete again this weekend, and keep doing the Low Juniors until he sells."
The final class of the day was the Low Amateur-Owner Jumpers were once again, 15 horses showed over the short course and nine were clear. The fastest of the double clean efforts was Kenzie Donovan of River Hills, WI, with Volarnah, stopping the clock at 28.370 seconds. Courtney Frederick was right behind Donovan aboard Soulstice, owned by Equestrian Investments of Tulsa, OK, crossing the finish line in 29.795 seconds for the red ribbon. The third place honors went to Saree Kayne of Santa Monica, CA, and Saphir, who broke the beam at 32.077 seconds.
The Kentucky Summer Horse Show will continue throughout the weekend, and the highlight event will be the $40,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix on Sunday night in the Rolex Stadium. The nation's top riders will return to the Kentucky Horse Park next week for the Kentucky Summer Classic, which will be followed by the 2011 USEF Pony Finals, the Bluegrass Festival Classic, and the KHJA Horse Show.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
Photo Credit: Christina Kelly and Camirage won the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.