Lexington, KY - As excitement builds for the Bourbon International CSI 3*, Grand Prix riders Meagan Nusz and Denise Wilson joined Derek Braun, founder of the Split Rock Jumping Tour, to visit with patients at the University of Kentucky Children's Hospital. The kids and their families talked horses, hobbies and sports with the riders, and were happy to hear about a fun equestrian event happening in Lexington this weekend.
"It was really amazing to come out and spend some time with the kids," said Braun. "It's such an incredible experience to see how excited they get when we come to visit them."
With Lexington's strong ties to the world of horses, it is always rewarding to see their eyes light up when the subject is brought up. Several of the children had ties to horses - one had a grandfather that had helped train Secretariat, and another has been asking her parents for a horse to keep in their backyard.
With a father who is a blacksmith, and a Champion Tennessee Walker trainer, Caroline King, 11, had an even closer connection to horses. "My horse is named 'Bee'," she explained. "It stands for Miss Behavin', but that's too much to yell if you need to call her."
King and her mom regaled the Split Rock group with stories about everything from having horses at her birthday party, to all the medical challenges she has had to deal with over the past year. She looks forward to turning 12, putting this year behind her and taking a ride on 'Bee'.
The Split Rock group brought t-shirts, hats and event tickets to the children's families, as well as to hospital staff. King asked the riders to sign her hat, after checking with her mom first, and said she couldn't wait to show it to her classmates.
Everyone who attended were touched by their brief time at the UK Children's Hospital, commenting on how brave the children are and how rewarding it is to have a small impact on their day.
Taking time away from busy schedules for this visit, Nusz flew in after competing at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles CSI5* and Wilson returned from competing in Ontario at Angelstone's CSI3*. Both have farms in Lexington and are pleased to participate in a quality event close to home. Nusz heads back to the West Coast next week and will finish her season back in Lexington at the CN National Horse Show. Wilson will be spending two weeks at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. Braun has been busy preparing for an unparalleled experience for all who come to Split Rock this weekend.
Offering an "unparalleled show jumping experience" for competitors, sponsors and spectators, the Split Rock Jumping Tour made a smashing debut in May. The Tour's second event, the Bourbon International CSI 3*, is this week from October 9-11 and promises to be even bigger and better than the inaugural show.
In addition to the chance to see many of the sport's top horses and riders competing in world-class show jumping competition, spectators will also have the chance to enjoy a variety of boutique shops and food vendors, a Children & Family Festival, a Beer and Wine Garden with live music, as well as free raffles and cash giveaways.
Further information on the Split Rock Jumping Tour, including a detailed schedule and how to order tickets, is available on line at the Tour's website at SplitRockJumpingTour.com or by emailing info@SplitRockJumpingTour.com.