Lexington, Ky – August 2, 2017 – Matthias Hollberg and Lauren Hester both had blazing fast rounds in the Rolex Stadium Wednesday, helping them to win the 1.35m and 1.30m classes, respectively. Both professionals were showcasing the strong talents of the sales horses that they currently have in their programs. Many riders also used the classes as warm-ups for the $25,000 Hagyard Challenge Grand Prix that is set to take place Thursday evening in the Rolex Stadium.
Matthias Hollberg, who owns and operates Hollberg Equestrian with his wife Thaisa Erwin in Middleburg, Virginia, came to the United States from Germany. Since that time, he has competed successfully in shows up and down the East Coast. On Wednesday, Hollberg showcased his unique ability to successfully navigate a competitive course with a horse that he does not have much experience riding. The Kentucky Summer Classic marks the first horse show that he has competed Mr. Sydney Rocks. Although it was only their third class together, the pair have yet to knock a rail out of the cups. Hollberg attributes the 13-year-old Westphalian’s talent to his training as an eventing horse. Previously shown by Allison Springer, the bay gelding is fast and fearless, allowing Hollberg to leave out strides that other riders could not in the day’s 1.35m speed class. The pair topped a field of 31 competitors in a time of 72.492 seconds, a whole three seconds faster than the next fastest rider, Daniel Bedoya who was aboard Abracadabra.
Kentucky native, Lauren Hester, was also using the classes in the Rolex Stadium to help prove the talent of the sales horses that she currently has at her business, Hester Equestrian. Clueless P, whom Hester showed to double clear rounds in the 1.30m class, was previously a grand prix mount for Hester and is now hoping to find a new career as a successful junior jumper. Hester shows at the Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC frequently, as the Kentucky Horse Park is right around the corner from her farm. It is not uncommon for crowds who gather to watch Saturday night Grand Prix competition to cheer a little more enthusiastically for Hester as she is widely recognized as their hometown girl. Last week, Hester piloted her mare Warinda B to a seventh place finish in the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix. Hester is hoping to repeat and improve upon her performances in the grand prix ring, starting Thursday in the $25,000 Hagyard Grand Prix of Lexington and qualify for the $50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix on Saturday night, under the lights.
Thursday marks the return of the Hagyard Challenge Series to Rolex Stadium with the $25,000 Hagyard Grand Prix. The Hagyard Challenge Series consists of seven grand prix classes held during the 2017 show series at the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the final event, a cash prize of $50,000 will be awarded to the rider accumulating the most points throughout the series. Spectators are invited to enjoy all of the action by attending the class that will start promptly at 6:30pm.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
On Mr. Sydney Rocks:
“He’s a new horse to me and this is the first horse show I jumped him in and only the third class actually, so I don’t really know him very well. But he’s been clear every day I’ve jumped him, so I am very happy with his performance.”
On Mr. Sydney Rocks unique background:
“He found his way to me from Allison Springer where he was competing as an eventer. He’s a great speed horse because he has no fear, so he can march directly to all the jumps with his big stride and he seems so much faster than other horses.”
On showing at Kentucky Horse Shows:
“The footing is always great here and the courses are always good. It’s always a very well run show and I wish I could come here more often throughout the year.”
On Clueless P:
“I call her Chloe and I have previously shown her in grand prix classes. It seemed to me that she had to work harder in the grand prix events, so we made the decision to turn her into a super junior jumper – and she is really excelling at this height.”
On Her Plan for the Course:
“Just to try to win! Because we are trying to sell Choe, I want people to see her winning and see just how competitive she really is.”
On Her Schedule for the Week:
“I have two horses that I am planning to show in the welcome class tomorrow as well as the grand prix on Saturday night. On Sunday, I’m leaving for Iceland to go on a cruise for vacation! We will see Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark and I am really excited about that!”
1. Clueless P / Lauren Hester / 70.959 / 0 / 32.616
2. Arena Du Pachis / Alejandro Karolyi / 68.768 / 0 / 34.398
3. Annabelle / Megan Shrader / 73.795 / 0 / 35.908
4. Vanita / Matthias Hollberg / 74.329 / 0 / 35.990
5. Caprice 463 / Isabelle Norton / 73.601 / 0 / 36.619
6. Knuffel / Marissa Denger / 71.220 / 0 / 36.639
1. Mr. Sydney Rocks / Matthias Hollberg / 0 / 72.492
2. Abracadabra WKT / Daniel Bedoya / 0 / 75.197
3. Alice / Katie Swindler / 0 / 75.345
4. Lincourt Gino / Alejandro Karolyi / 0 / 76.624
5. Cruz Z / Wendy Peralta / 0 / 78.770
6. VDL Elliott / Alejandro Karolyi / 84.979
Jaime Gibson Claims Grand Open Hunter Championship Two Weeks In a Row
Jaime Gibson made the long trip up from Ocala, Florida, to the Kentucky Horse Park worth it with Debbie Smith’s 9-year-old mare Cora. After claiming the Grand Open Hunter Championship last week at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, Gibson and Cora returned to Stonelea Ring to sweep the professional divisions during the Kentucky Summer Classic to win a back-to-back grand title. In the Conformation Hunter division, the pair dominated and won blue ribbons for all the over fences, the handy and the under saddle.
The owner, Debbie Smith, purchased the jumper mare from Wendy Peralta of Seabreeze Farm, and since she is an exceptional mover decided to transition her into the hunter ring. Gibson started riding the talented mare during the winter season and the pair competed in the Ocala circuit and at Devon before heading to the summer series at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Next up, Gibson plans on showing Cora throughout the indoor circuit and has her eyes set on moving up to the 3’9″ and derbies next season.
The Grand Open Hunter Championship is sponsored by Visse Wedell with Kirkpatrick & Companies. During the show, she noted, “I sponsor the Grand Hunter Champions because I feel it is important to support the hunters and I want to give something extra special to the people that exceed in their divisions whether it is the professionals or the amateurs or pony riders. I love to give a trophy because we all like to go home with something special other than a cooler or a backpack.”
Additional Grand Hunter Championships will be awarded later this week to the top Amateur-Owner, Junior and Children’s Hunters. Additional hunter highlights include the $5,000 World Equestrian Center/Kentucky Horse Shows USHJA National Hunter Derby on Saturday in the Stonelea Ring.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
On winning the Grand Open Hunter Championship back-to-back:
“I was not really expecting it! I thought it would be really nice to earn it two weeks in a row, but you never know! Cora jumped great yesterday and really good today. I think she was better this week being here for the second week. Last week, she wanted to rush the trot jump a little and this week she was really good and patient. She was just more comfortable in the ring and was fantastic!”
On what makes Cora special:
“Cora is gorgeous and she knows it! She likes being the center of attention, which is nice. She is very light, has a great mouth, a good lead change, and has a great style going around. She stays on one canter and it doesn’t change. As a rider, you don’t really have to worry about anything because she takes care of it. That’s really good for when she does the adults – you can let her do her job and she takes care of the rider.”
On developing young horses:
“It’s fun to bring them along. I’m lucky enough that Cora does the adults with the owner so that I get to do her in the conformation. It’s nice to bring them along and have a talented one. I’ve had a lot of help along the way with her, so it’s been great.”