Lexington, KY – May 12, 2021 – The 2021 edition of the Kentucky Horse Shows series kicked off Wednesday, May 12, with the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Show jumping athletes from around the globe took to the Rolex Arena for the first week of the event’s spring series. A total of 44 hopeful contenders raced against the clock for their shot at the winner’s circle in the $37,000 1.45.m Welcome Speed CSI3* Wednesday afternoon. In the end, it was Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam who emerged victorious aboard his trusted speed mount Indra Van de Oude Heihoef, owned by the Blue Buckle Group.
Bernardo Costa Cabral’s 12-effort track set the pace at an 82 second time allowed, with various options on course for athletes to slice and dice on the turns. Starting the class on an early high note was the third pair in the order-of-go, United States’ Nicholas Dello Joio aboard Opium du Soufflet. Dello Joio and Rocking D Ranch’s gelding set the pace for the remainder of the class in a steady 72.16 seconds. His lead was quickly handed off to Canada’s Amy Millar riding Christiano who shaved five seconds off of Dello Joio’s time, finishing in 67.96 seconds.
Those that followed found their pace and cleared the track with ease, but it would take 23 horse-and-rider combinations before the lead would change hands again. United States’ Molly Ashe Cawley put down a swift round to snatch Millar’s leading position. Ashe Cawley and Berdien, a 10-year-old Zangersheide mare owned by Louisburg Farm, stopped the clocks in 66.99 seconds. Just five horse-and-rider combinations later, rising American star Bliss Heers gave Millar a run for her money to take over the lead, piloting Bridgeside Farms LLC’s Goodbye, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, to a 66.24 second finish.
A new leader soon emerged as Ireland’s Sweetnam entered the arena riding his longtime partner Indra Van de Oude Heihoef. The 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare is no stranger to a speedy finish, carrying Sweetnam to numerous CSI4* and CSI5* wins during the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) season. The pair slipped into the first place spot after making up extra time in their tight and efficient track, finishing in an impressive 64.73 seconds. In the end, the competitors to follow could not catch Sweetnam’s speedy lead, ultimately lending him the first place honors. Finishing in second place would be Heers and Goodbye, with Ashe Cawley and Berdien rounding out the top three.
Show jumping competition for the Kentucky Spring Horse Show continues at the Kentucky Horse Park Thursday, May 13, beginning at 8:00am. The Rolex Arena’s will feature the highlight class of the day, the $37,000 1.45m CSI3* Spring Classic.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Shane Sweetnam – $37,000 1.45m Welcome Speed CSI3* winner
On Indra Van de Oude Heihoef:
“Obviously I was later to go, so I had seen a good few go and I knew the lay of the land a little bit. I went in with a plan and executed the plan and she is naturally, as everyone knows, quite quick, and she was great. She left all the jumps up and luckily won the class!”
On where he made up the time:
“I think we made up the time everywhere a bit. Through the turns she can take the first distance. She is very careful so I can really trust her. On the back end of the triple combination, as I was coming around the track I could see I was on the inside of everyone’s track coming in so that seemed to help. A little bit everywhere. She’s experienced so I can do that with her.”
On his upcoming plans for Indra Van de Oude Heihoef:
“She has had a great year so far. I will jump her tomorrow night and then for her next show, if it’s going well, will be La Boule in France.“
On Kentucky Horse Shows:
“Kentucky is like our second home. We own a house here and we spent a lot of time here last year because of COVID-19. We have always been very comfortable here and it’s like a second home to us. They are doing a great job following protocols and it’s been a really good show so far.”
$37,000 1.45m Welcome Speed CSI3*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / Faults | Time
1. Indra Van de Oude Heihoef / Shane Sweetnam / IRL / Blue Buckle Group / 0 | 64.73
2. Goodbye / Bliss Heers / USA / Bridgeside Farms LLC / 0 | 66.24
3. Berdien / Molly Ashe Cawley / USA / Louisburg Farm / 0 | 66.99
4. Christiano / Amy Millar / CAN / Future Adventures / 0 | 67.96
5. Quatinka / Rene Dittmer / GER / SHL Farm / 0 | 68.53
6. Belladonna 42 / Mavis Spencer / USA / Georgy Sarah Maskrey-Segesman / 0 | 68.68
7. Gotcha / Simon McCarthy / IRL / Rock Ridge Farms / 0 | 68.75
8. Ericson / Amy Millar / CAN / Millar Brooke Farm and Partners / 0 | 69.71
9. Christos / Bliss Heers / USA / Bridgeside Farms LLC / 0 | 70.83
10. Lutz / Ali Ramsay / CAN / Ramsey Equestrian Inc. & Evergate Stables LLC / 0 | 71.76
11. Opium du Soufflet / Nicholas Dello Joio / USA / Rocking D Rach / 0 | 72.16
12. Menko VD Wellington / Andrew Bourns / IRL / BlackWatch Farm / 0 | 73.32