Lexington, KY - May 10, 2012 - It was a great day for the team from Plain Bay Farm as student Reed Kessler won the 1.40m Open Jumper class, and trainer Katie Prudent placed second, as well as claiming her own victory in the 1.35m Open Jumpers. In the 1.40m Power and Speed event at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, Kessler piloted her talented mount Onisha to the blue ribbon prize with quick speed. Prudent placed second with V, who was also very fast during the speed phase. Earlier in the day, Prudent won the 1.35m Open Jumpers with a double-clear effort aboard V, which was just as speedy and good enough for the blue.
Kessler, now of Lexington, KY, is currently atop the Long List for the U.S. Show Jumping Team, and hopes to make a bid for the 2012 London Olympics. Tomorrow, the Kentucky Horse Park and the Rolex Stadium will host the first of their Observation Events with the $50,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, and the events will continue on Sunday with the $75,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix.
Although Kessler was not aboard one of her Long Listed mounts (Cylana and Mika), the victory in today's 1.40m Power and Speed class with Onisha proved that the talented young rider is still in top form. The pair jumped easily over the power track, which included a double combination, a triple combination, and a liverpool oxer. They quickly changed gears for the speed round and galloped handily over the obstacles, crossing the finish line in a blazing 32.525 seconds, which jumped to the top of the leaderboard and eventually heard the winning title.
"Our plan worked out pretty well today," said Kessler. "It was mainly right turns and Onisha is so great at turning. She is so fast across the ground too, which was how I think I made a lot of time. She was lightening fast all the way across the ring. I think I did a lot of the same numbers that the other people did, but she's just a fast horse."
Kessler continued, "Onisha's an unbelievable speed horse. I've had her for a while and I've done her in a lot of bigger classes. I've been really lacking a speed horse in my string right now, so she's been doing some easier stuff and this is a breeze for her. Normally she does the 1.50m classes, but she's been the speedy one in the bunch. She can run everyday and not lose carefulness. She loves it, she loves going fast."
In regards to tomorrow's first Observation Event, Kessler thinks she is prepared, but does not want to jump the gun. "We'll see," she commented. "I think I've prepared well. There was a lot of no stirrups riding going on at home, so hopefully we're ready. Both of my horses showed yesterday, went around slowly and jumped two beautiful clear rounds. We'll see, I don't want to make any predictions yet, but keep your fingers crossed for me!"
The apple does not fall far from the tree, and picking up the second place award in the 1.40m Open Jumpers was Kessler's trainer, Katie Prudent. She rode V, owned by Mike Smith of Winchester, VA, to a very quick time of 33.199 seconds. Nineteen of today's entries were clear in both the power and speed phases of the class, so riders really had to race to be in the money.
Just prior to that class, Prudent defended her victory in yesterday's 1.35m Open Jumper class with V, winning today's class with a double-clear effort. They topped Venezuela's Andres Rodriguez and Elatrice, owned by Arao Enterprises, by almost a full second in the jump-off, clocking in at 34.313 with all the rails intact.
"V gone very well here," smiled Prudent. "He was good yesterday, he was very good today. He's a horse that I've had for about six months, and I'm still learning about him. He's a strong horse and I've been fooling with different bridles and different training things and it's all starting to come together. This is the best show I've had with him. He's very careful, very powerful, and when he'll let me ride him I think he'll be great, I'm very excited about him."
Prudent added, "Today, I think one to two I did less strides than anyone, and then galloped between the jumps because he can stay very careful off of a very fast pace. I decided to stay low this week and work on his rideability and my speed, and move up next week to do the grand prix events."
Commenting on her student as Kessler prepares for tomorrow afternoon's class Prudent said, "She had a great Florida. The horses came off of Florida in very good condition, very sound. She came to my farm in Virginia for a week before we came here and it went very well. We feel confident, so now let the chips fall where they may."
Also earning a top finish in the 1.40m Open Jumpers was Ashlee Bond with Wistful, owned by Little Valley Farms of Hidden Hills, CA, who set a quick pace early in the class for third, and Jessica Springsteen with Temmie, owned by Stone Hill Farm of Los Angeles, CA, who placed fifth. The fourth place honors went to Prudent, for her ride aboard Psychee D'Amour, owned by Sleepy P Ranch of Bartonville, TX, as the Plain Bay Team continued their domination of the day.
In the 1.35m Open Jumpers, fellow Venezuelan Pablo Barrios picked up the third place honors with Zara Leandra, while Paige Johnson of The Plains, VA, and Monopoly placed fourth for their fault free rounds.
The $50,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic will be tomorrow's main event, beginning at 4 p.m. in the Rolex Stadium. In addition to being part of the U.S. Show Jumping Team Observation Events, it will also kick off the summer-long Hagyard Challenge Series, where riders vie for top honors and a shot at the Leading Rider Bonus.
For more information about the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, please visit www.KentuckyHorseShows.com.
Photo Credit: Reed Kessler and Onisha won the 1.40m Open Jumper Power and Speed at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.