Lexington, KY - After a cool start on Thursday, the weather took a turn to picture perfect for the opening day of competition in the inaugural Split Rock Jumping Tour. Under blue skies in the lush Lexington countryside where Split Rock Farm sits, three classes kicked off a gorgeous Friday in the Limestone Jumping Arena and three in The Rock Jumping Field. The three-day show jumping schedule in The Rock Jumping Field included the $5,000 L.V. Harkness 1.40m Speed Class, the Brook Ledge High Junior/Amateur 1.20m class and the UltrOz Low Junior/Amateur-Owner class. Twenty-four entries competed in the first event on The Rock Jumping Field, the $5,000 L.V. Harkness 1.40m Speed Class. Almost last to go, David Beisel and Call Me Hannes cruised to the win in 56.44, almost two seconds faster than second-place finisher New Zealander Sharn Wordley and Popstar Lozonias. Beisel also brought home third place riding Rumorosa.
Beisel had a plan. "I was fortunate enough to go on another horse and have the lead, then I watched Sharn Wordley go before me and take that lead. Call Me Hannes has a bigger stride, so I left one out on the way from one to two, then again fence ten to eleven. And I knew if I kept up the pace otherwise I could take it."
Tara Corr and Boy Blue won the Brook Ledge High Amateur Owner Class. She was happy with the young mount. "He's an eight-year-old, so I wasn't sure how he would be on the field, but he was really brave. I rode it to give him confidence and he really covered the ground well."
In a field of twenty-nine riders, second to go Charlise Casas on her new mare Alaika set a blazing time of 48.85 that could not be beat in the UltrOZ Low Junior-Amateur Class. Casas has ridden the mare for three weeks, and Split Rock Jumping Tour is their second show together. Certain to be a competitive pair in the future, Casas topped Andre Mershad on two horses. Mershad, who went first but earned second, had a time of 53.00 on Man In Black and with a time of 53.39, Mershad was third on Cavilito. She's naturally a very fast horse, so I just let her go," Casas explained.
Three classes kicked off the competition in the Limestone Arena today. Leigh Lander and Doc Holiday P picked up the blue ribbon in the 1.10m Jumper Class. Argentinean Federico Sztyrle riding Zarate 2 won the Kingsland Equestrian 1.20m Jumper Class. And the Four Points by Sheraton 1.30m Jumper Class win went to Irishman Kevin Babington riding Super Chilled.
Course designer Guilherme Jorge and his crew then got to work setting the course for the evening event the $40,000 Hollow Creek Farm Grand Prix.
In addition to watching horses and riders compete in a world-class show jumping event, spectators can 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.
The boutique event is truly an "unparalleled" experience in a relaxed atmosphere. Dressed in linen Split Rock blazers and t-shirts, Split Rock staff can be found throughout the property, taking care of every detail. With ample space to ride, a catered VIP area, beautiful awards including victory gallops, podium presentations and TV interviews, the aura is excellence.