On the first night of the Kentucky CSI3* a different kind of sport horse came out to play over some big jumps and basked in the atmosphere of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. The spectators were largely eventing fans, but they had nothing but love for the show jumpers who contested the Kentucky CSI3* Invitational Welcome Speed Cup.
Andrew Ramsay and California 62 took the blue with a speedy time of 59.72 seconds. Margie Goldstein-Engle and Dicas were second (61.63), with Chile’s Samuel Parot in third (62.88).
Completing tonight’s speed class was compulsory for entrance into tomorrow’s big class, the $225,000 Kentucky CSI*** Invitational Grand Prix, and some riders played it safe in preparation for tomorrow’s class. But, there were plenty who wanted a piece of the $35,000 prize money for the Welcome Speed Cup.
Charlie Jayne and Tou La Moon took an early lead, but were unseated by former World Champion Eric Navet of France and Catypso who spent quite a bit of time atop the standings, until Goldstein-Engle took a commanding lead with a blistering time.
“He’s a young horse, kind of a green horse,” said Goldstein-Engle. “I just wanted to see how he did going fast.”
Parot snuck into an initial second behind Goldstein-Engle, who seemed unbeatable until Ramsey cantered in aboard California 62 and flew to the lead, shaving more than a second off her time.
“Margie was very fast,” said Ramsay. “I just tried to ride my plan. The only change was that we did the last line in one more stride.”
Many of the eventing competitors took time out of their preparation to take in the show, including Buck Davidson who will ride three horses around the cross-country tomorrow. “This is so cool,” said Davidson. “What a great addition to the weekend.”
“The Kentucky CSI3* Invitational is a great addition to the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event,” said Stewart Perry, President of Equestrian Events, Inc. “The atmosphere that we had here tonight was electric and this bodes really well for what this event is going to become.”
“The idea of hosting FEI show jumping at one of the world’s premier eventing competitions has generated excitement since it was first announced,” said Derek Braun, founder of the Split Rock Jumping Tour, who is producing the Kentucky CSI3* Invitational for EEI. “Tonight was the beginning of what we know will very quickly become one of the biggest show jumping events in the country.”
It was clear the show jumping competitors loved their time in front of the eventing fans at the Kentucky Horse Park.
“I love being here, this is so much fun,” Goldstein-Engle said. “It’s great to see so many people here for the three-day and for this. It’s great exposure for both sports.”
“It’s great fun being here at the three-day event,” agreed Ramsay. “I hope we can do it again. It’s a wonderful crowd and a great venue and the horses jumped great the first day.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” he continued. “The crowd was wonderful tonight and I’m sure they will be tomorrow.”
Saturday’s Invitational kicks off at 4:30 p.m. All the horses and riders completed this class, so all 30 will line up for their shot at the $225,000 prize money.