Lexington, KY - The rain stayed away for the third day of competition during the Kentucky Spring Classic at the Kentucky Horse Park. In the Main Stadium, the High Amateur-Owner Jumpers and the High Junior Jumpers rode for top prizes. Paige Johnson and Amagedon 3 were first in the ring during the High Amateur-Owner Jumpers, and they blazed the trail with a double -clear round in 35.064 seconds to take home the blue ribbon. This afternoon, Christina Kelly had an exciting one-two finish with Camirage and Creata in the High Junior Jumpers.
Today's classes featured courses designed by Conrad Homfeld and were held in the same ring that will host the show jumping events for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™. The first round had 15 jumping efforts, which included three double combinations, a liverpool, and an open water option. For the jump-off, riders began over a single vertical and made a right turn to the Hagyard vertical with a bending line to a large oxer. They then made a sharp right turn to an oxer-vertical double combination before making a right turn and galloping to a single oxer. Finally, riders made a left turn and came home over a single vertical.
Paige Johnson led the way during the High Amateur-Owner Jumpers with Amagedon 3. The pair have been partners for six years and Johnson was confident that her mount could complete the task at hand. They made their way through the first round without fault and advanced to the jump-off. Johnson picked up a quick pace to the first fence and let Amagedon open up. The duo dashed across the finish line in 35.064 seconds with all the rails in their cups to take an early lead an eventually win the class.
Stephanie Vijan and Unity were the next pair to move on to the short-course after a clear first round effort. They left all the fences standing and stopped the clock at 35.925 seconds, which held up for the third place award. Lauren Tisbo made a run for the top spot with Twister, but when they broke the beam at 35.622 seconds they moved into the second place position and secured Johnson's victory.
"It seems like you rarely go first and win in this sport because so many people watch you and know what to beat," commented Johnson after her win. "During the jump-off Nemo allowed me to open him up and he did everything I asked him to do perfectly."
Today's course featured a liverpool and an open water option, with Johnson choosing to take the oxer option. "He is a little bit of a sensitive horse," she explained. "He is actually very careful, but he is also very nervous so I was a little concerned about the liverpool and the option. He is so careful because he notices his surroundings. That can work for you or against you and the liverpool and the option water fence were two boogies."
Johnson and Amagedon 3's long partnership worked to their advantage today because Johnson can adjust to suit the sensitive mount. "The first round was a little bit rough because he rides like a green horse," she noted. "I know him really well and I know how to judge how he is feeling, so I can adapt my ride to that."
Earlier in the week Johnson showed Amagedon 3 in the 1.30m Open Jumpers to help boost his confidence. It was a plan that worked well, and she hopes to have continued success on Sunday when they compete in the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic.
This afternoon in the High Junior Jumpers, Christina Kelly was the first rider to complete the opening round without fault and advance to the jump-off aboard Camirage. The pair had an amazing double-clear effort in 33.100 seconds to lead the way. Jazz Mace tried to catch Kelly's time with Valentino. They also left all the jumps standing, but their time of 38.677 seconds would eventually earn them third place honors. Kelly finished another clear first round with her second mount Creata. She was able to duplicate her fault-free effort during the short course and stopped the clock at 34.142 seconds to take home the second place prize.
"They were great, the mares jumped absolutely super today," smiled Kelly. "Camirage has been a little bit iffy because it took a long time for her to trust me, but she is jumping amazing now and she was unbelievable."
Kelly admitted that she did not go all out with Creata because she is planning to take the talented mare to Europe this summer. "With Camirage we were planning on trying to have a go for it and it worked out," she said. "I did not want to go as fast with Create because hopefully we will be going to Europe and I wanted to set her up for that."
Kelly and Johnson both enjoy coming to the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows because of the lovely venue that the Kentucky Horse Park provides. Johnson noted, "The property is fantastic and it has a great atmosphere. Amagedon 3 loves riding in the field because it helps him relax. I work him out there before he shows and it helps takes the edge off."
The exciting jumper action at the Kentucky Horse Park will continue tomorrow during the $55,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington. The event will get underway at 6 p.m. in the Main Stadium with top riders competing for the winning title. On Sunday, the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic will be held at 8 a.m. as the Kentucky Spring Classic comes to a close.
For more information about the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
Class 245a, Amateur-Owner Jumper High II sec 2b
1 442 AMAGEDON 3 PAIGE JOHNSON 80.617 35.064
2 357 TWISTER LAUREN TISBO 82.756 35.622
3 384 UNITY STEPHANIE VIJAN 85.754 35.925
4 438 PIOLA WHITNEY WEEKS 85.192 36.128
5 563 FRISCO ALEX PARRISH 85.980 39.519
6 734 JERREMY MEGAN FELLOWS 80.913 8 34.094
7 362 U-2 MARLEY GOODMAN 84.413 WD
8 604 NAVARE D ORIOLLEFRANCIS TRESS ROI 4 83.019
9 296 ZENETTI JENNA THOMPSON 4 83.135
10 443 QUIBBLE N PAIGE JOHNSON 6 87.441
11 999 BARAGWAY FILIP AMRAM 7 88.475
12 164 PLAYBOY DU TRICHSUSAN HORN 9 86.617
Class 245, Junior Jumper High II sec 2b
1 963 CAMIRAGE CHRISTINA KELLY 77.712 33.100
2 688 CREATA CHRISTINA KELLY 81.504 34.142
3 643 VALENTINO JAZZ MACE 84.353 38.677
4 564 VIPER P. GREER HINDLE 83.738 4 36.767
5 14 MAYHEM CAITLIN ZIEGLER 4 82.106
6 90 FLIGHT REED KESSLER 4 82.526
7 40 H H CADANS Z GABRIELA MERSHAD 4 82.923
8 497 SIL MCCARTHY LUIS LARRAZABAL 8 80.874
9 806 NLF TRANSATLANTIEIRIN BRUHEIM 8 81.401
10 2 LAETITIA CAITLIN ZIEGLER 8 83.198
11 1008UTOPIA H 2 ERIN HICKEY 8 83.846
12 641 TARCO JAZZ MACE 13 86.718
Photo Credit: Paige Johnson and Amagedon 3 took an early lead in the High Amateur-Owner Jumpers at Kentucky Spring Classic. Photo: Rebecca Walton/PMG.