Show jumping competition at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show (KSHS) returned to the famed Rolex Arena Thursday, May 13, to welcome international athletes for the $37,000 1.45m Spring Classic. As the concluding class of the day, 72 horse-and-rider combinations entered hopeful to close out Thursday’s competition with a win. Just 12 pairs managed clear rounds over the tactful course, and it was ultimately Daniel Coyle and Legacy to gallop away with the first-place honors.
Portugal’s Bernardo Costa Cabral set forth a 13-obstacle track to challenge the field athletes, all hailing from 12 different nations. Kicking off the class with an early clear was Chile’s Samuel Parot riding Dubai, and five additional athletes would clear Costa Cobral’s course to join Parot for a jump-off before the first drag break. By the conclusion of the first round, six additional athletes managed to leave all of the rails intact without incurring any time faults, bringing the jump-off total to 12 horse-and-rider pairs.
In a race against the clock, the win was anyone’s for the taking. As the third pair to enter the arena and try their hand at the shortened 7-obstacle track, the United States’ Taylor St. Jaques entered the arena aboard her own Upsilon de La Liniere, determined to post a clear round. She managed to leave all of the rails in the cups, setting the pace for athletes to follow in 39.94 seconds. The lead immediately changed hands when fellow American Bliss Heers and Goodbye, owned by Bridgeside Farms, shaved over three seconds off of St. Jaques’ time, stopping the clocks in 37.60 seconds. Next in the arena and hungry for a win, a third American athlete would slide into the top spot as Allison Robitaille rode Bertram Firestone’s Ginger Pop to finish in 36.16 seconds.
Ireland’s Daniel Coyle stepped up to the plate aboard Ariel Grange’s Legacy. Coyle and the 11-year-old Zangersheide mare took out one stride in the first line, slicing and dicing their way around the Rolex Arena to save time around the course. They managed to shave yet another second off of the leading time, crossing the timers in 35.50 seconds to move into the first place spot. For the remainder of the class, the five contenders to follow could not match Coyle’s impressive time, ultimately lending him top honors. Cara Raether Carey (USA) and Trelawney Farm, LLC’s Cedric claimed the second place position posting a time of 35.53 seconds, with Alex Matz (USA) and Cashew CR, owned by Dorothy Matz, following close behind to finish in third place with a jump-off time of 35.57 seconds.
Coyle and Legacy are no stranger to the winner’s circle. During the recent winter season at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), the pair notched several top finishes in CSI3*, CSI4* and CSI5* competition. Coyle looks forward to campaigning the talented mare in the $137,000 Hagyard Lexington Grand Prix CSI3* Saturday, hopeful to claim another win. Following the Kentucky Horse Shows spring series, Coyle and Legacy will head to Europe for the remainder of the summer season.
Show jumping competition will continue at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show Friday, May 14, featuring the High Junior / Amateur-Owner 1.40m Jumper in the Rolex arena beginning at 9:30 a.m.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Daniel Coyle – $37,000 1.4.5m Spring Classic CSI3* winner
On his plan for the jump-off:
“There were 12 in the jump-off and it was not going so well in the beginning. [Legacy] is my best horse and I knew that I could be fast and really leaving everything out there. As you could see with the times, it was really really close at the end. But I am really happy with the way that she jumped them and I think she is really well set up for Saturday’s [$137,000 Hagyard Lexington Grand Prix CSI3*].”
On where he made up the time:
“I believe I was the only one to do five strides from jump one to jump two. And then near the end I took the gas off a little bit and nearly paid the price. I would say at jump one, two and three is where I was really fast. The rest I tried to make her good for Saturday’s grand prix.”
On his first round:
“I was lucky enough that my first horse was third to go and I knew after that round that the time was really tight. I mean when the horses are jumping that well, it just means that you have to be mindful of the time. My horses are in good shape.”
On his plans moving forward:
“We will be doing the [$137,000 Hagyard Lexington Grand Prix CSI3*] here Saturday with Legacy and then we will jump next week again and then go to Europe after that.”
On Kentucky Horse Shows:
“I always come for the [Kentucky Invitational CSI3*] but, I really like it here and the horses really like it here with the grass and fresh air. I love being here.”