The first day of competition at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show kicked off on Wednesday, with competition in the Rolex Stadium highlighted by the $36,000 Welcome Speed 1.45m CSI3*. At the end of a class filled with top FEI competitors from around the world, it was Andrew Ramsay and California 62, owned by the California Group who would walk away with the win.
Fifty horse-and-rider combinations set off over Anderson Lima’s (BRA) technical course, which utilized the spacious Rolex Stadium. The class, operating under a one-round speed based format, challenged athletes to a 14-effort course including multiple varying double combinations (vertical-vertical to oxer-vertical). An impressive 21 competitors would put in a clear round, but speed was the number one factor at play in Wednesday’s round.
Andy Kocher (USA), took an early lead in the class aboard Eye Candy Jumpers’ Fashion V. The pair sped around fault-free with a time of 64.670 seconds, which would hold onto first place for ten trips. Next to take the lead would be Ramsay, whose time of 62.820 seconds held strong for the remainder of the class. Ramsay and California 62, a 15-year-old grey Holsteiner mare, have been partnered together for three years and most recently were campaigning throughout Europe. The mare’s naturally quick stride led them to hold their competitive time, despite the 29 athletes who would try their hand afterwards.
Shane Sweetnam (IRL), as 28th to go in the order, would come close to beating Ramsay’s time, stopping the clock at 63.950 seconds. Sweetnam and Sweet Oak Farm’s Palina De L’Escaut could not quite catch the leaders time despite his quick round and would settle in second place for the time being. Sweetnam and the 10-year-old Hanoverian mare are a competitive pair to watch, having dominated the $35,000 Dover Saddlery Holiday & Horses Opener CSI4* in Wellington, Florida in 2018 after only being partnered together for only a few months.
With Kocher still holding on to third place and Sweetnam resting in second place at the halfway point in the class, Sharn Wordley (NZL) entered the ring after the drag break prepared to change the leaderboard. Wordley, with a time of 62.990 seconds, pushed the two accomplished athletes down to ultimately finish in second place with his own Gatsby. The pair have seen recent success together in Tryon, North Carolina, winning multiple ranking classes in the previous week.
Jumper competition will continue in the Rolex Stadium on Thursday with the Open Jumper 1.35m at 8 a.m. and the day will highlight the $36,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* which is now set to start at 4:30 p.m., an hour earlier than it’s previously scheduled time of 5:30 p.m.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Andrew Ramsay – $36,000 Welcome Speed CSI3* winner
On his round:
“It’s [California 62]’s first show back in the states – we were in Europe for almost a year and we just finished up quarantine in Florida. The horses came up here and had a week or two to get settled before we started showing so she’s fresh and eager. She hasn’t shown in about five weeks, so we knew that we had a lot of horse. She’s naturally a fast horse, so we are aiming for the grand prix, but we thought today was a good opening class and we wanted to take advantage of her being fresh. She has a nice medium sized stride, so where some people could do big leave outs, she doesn’t need to be fast because that just gets her flat. We rode our plan which was keeping pace, keeping shape to the track and keeping shape in her so that we have a good horse for Saturday. She tried really hard for me and she really came through. Her natural quickness worked out. She’s fast across the ground and she looks where she’s going so as a rider, you just need to think ahead and look to your next fence and she takes you there. She lets you be fast without having to push her and rush and that keeps her careful and quality. It really worked out for us today and it was a great start.”
On California 62:
“I’ve had her for close to three years. I’ve been lucky to jump all over with her. Up in Calgary she had great results in the 1.60m classes and in Europe she won a grand prix so she’s a fun, game horse. She likes to go out there and really give it a go. She’s my natural type. She’s quick and medium sized so I think we’re a good combination.”
On his plan:
“We’ll show again tomorrow in the qualifier and tone things down a little bit. We’ll reel her in and let her take a breath and take her time. She’ll jump the grand prix on Saturday. Stranger is the other FEI horse that I have here and we’re letting him build up. Next we will go to Calgary.”
On Kentucky Horse Shows:
“I absolutely love it here. I’ve been fortunate enough to show here a few times. I’m originally a West-coaster, so I didn’t make it out this direction until about 4 or 5 years ago. I love it here at the [Kentucky] Horse Park. There’s not many facilities that are naturally horse facilities and this is. It’s an amazing venue. I can say this is my favorite sand ring to jump in. It rides like a grass field and for us and our planning, Calgary is our big peak for the summer and this is a great way to set up. I love showing here and I’m glad I could get here.”