Lexington, KY -The Split Rock Jumping Tour set out to create an "unparalleled show jumping experience", one not currently available in the U.S. A brand new concept, this event in "the Horse Capital of the World", Lexington, KY, offered riders, spectators and sponsors a European-style, boutique horse show, a much-needed and well-received idea that founder and president Derek Braun intends to continue.
Olympic veteran Pablo Barrios of Venezuela, who represented Hagyard Equine Medical Institute as part of the innovative All-Inclusive Sponsor Package, recognized and applauded the event. "For this to have been the first time for the horse show, I think it has been an amazing weekend. Everything from the food to the hospitality to the atmosphere, and I'm looking forward to coming again. This is the kind of horse show that we as riders would like to see here in America, and I'm very happy to be here."
That sentiment was echoed throughout the ranks of the top-level show jumpers at Split Rock. Kevin Babington, veteran Olympian from Ireland, said that "we went out of our way to be sure that we made it to the opening show at Split Rock", an effort that was duly rewarded with a win in the $100,000 CSI-3* Grand Prix.
"The whole experience - for me, the grooms, and my customers - my customers are having an absolute blast over here," said Babington. "One of them was second, and was able to get up on the podium - that just means so much to them, and it means so much to us as trainers and riders. They've set the bar here, and the other shows are going to have to follow."
From the moment that competitors arrived, the Split Rock staff ensured they had a world-class experience. Charlie Jayne, the recent winner of the $1,000,000 Great American Million Grand Prix, and first alternate to the 2012 Olympic and 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games U.S. teams, was impressed with the greeting he received. "There was a staff of ten people they made available to help unload. It's just the little things, the attention to detail, what this show is all about. I really think it's a fantastic first event."
Tara Corr, who brought two horses, was also impressed with the inaugural event. "It's really been a great experience - the competition, the grounds are incredible. I think the footing is great, all my horses have jumped really well on it."
Candice King, who has represented the U.S. on multiple Nations Cup and Super League Teams, also recognized and appreciated the hospitality. "The staff here has been more than accommodating in every way they can, from the office, the VIP and the food. The presentations - the ribbons, coolers, crystal trophies for every class - the ribbons are massive! Derek's done a great job of putting on a top-class show for us here."
USEF President Chrystine Tauber praised the event and the foresight it took to bring it to fruition. "It's been a great experience. We're really thrilled to have an event of this caliber on the calendar, and we're looking forward to having more events like this. We're very grateful to Derek Braun and Split Rock for doing this and for having the vision to create something this unique and special."
Tauber also appreciated the attention given to event broadcasting. "I'm thrilled to see that they're putting such an effort into the coverage of this, which is really important. They've made a big production out of the television side which is being fed to the USEF Network. I think that's really a great way to promote the sport and a special event like this."
Along with the innovative entry options and helpful staff, the Split Rock Jumping Tour featured over-sized ribbons from Ringside Ribbons, crystal trophies from L.V. Harkness, Kingsland Equestrian coolers, podium presentations, great prize money and a CSI-3* rating. The VIP tent featured gourmet catered meals throughout the day and parties each night, including Saturday night's black tie "Gala at The Rock", presented by Hoffman International Properties.
The athlete earning the most points from FEI classes during the event, Margie Engle, drove away in a brand new Chevy Equinox. Yet another partnership Split Rock developed with local auto dealer Dan Cummins Chevrolet.
Braun appreciates all the feedback and acknowledged where he looks to improve, footing was a primary goal. He looks forward to presenting the next event on the Split Rock Jumping Tour in October.
The Split Rock Jumping Tour partnered with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Foundation, and a portion of proceeds from all sales of Hospitality packages go directly to the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Foundation to support their programs.
For results and additional information, please visit: http://splitrockjumpingtour.com