Christopher Paris' win on Hale Bopp in the $2,500 North American League Adult Jumper Classic was particularly special to the horse's owners, Charlie and Hilary Carrel of Sheridan, WY. Hale Bopp was previously owned by Don Gerlach, a friend of theirs and a well-known figure in the eventing community who had competed in show jumping and eventing at the Colorado Horse Park. Gerlach passed away in January.
Gerlach raised Hale Bopp, a surprise foal whom he nicknamed Baby, and evented him through the intermediate level. The 16-year-old unregistered Appaloosa/Quarter Horse cross may not have fashionable looks or bloodlines, but he has the ability and heart to get the job done.
"Don did everything with him - elk hunting, lessons for 4H kids, eventing," Charlie Carrel said. "Baby has tons of character. He's a little freak of nature."
Paris is leasing Hale Bopp from the Carrels and benefiting from the horse's experience.
"This was the rider's first show ever jumping this height," Carrel said. "Baby just takes him where he needs to go and gives him a lot of confidence."
Sunday marked the close of Summer in the Rockies I. The Colorado Horse Park's popular six-week summer circuit continues June 11-15 with Summer in the Rockies II, featuring the $25,000 Littleton Equine Medical Center and Platinum Performance Grand Prix.
Click here for full results from Summer in the Rockies I.