World's top jumpers for Kentucky show

October 1, 2011

Nine Olympic showjumpers including several international are among the entries for this year's Alltech National Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park next month.

Laura Kraut is one of the headline riders for next month's Alltech National Horse Show.

Two-time Olympic Gold medalist McLain Ward, who is currently ranked second in the world, is also a starter at the show. © Erin Cowgill

This year's debut event in Kentucky from November 2 to 6, designated a CSI-W 4*, will feature an Open Jumper division with over $370,000 in prize money, including the main event, the $250,000 Alltech National Horse Show Grand Prix, an FEI World Cup qualifier, on Saturday night.

All in all, over $600,000 in prize money is up for grabs. "That brings this show on par or better than any show in North America, or any indoor show anywhere in the world," noted show manager Hugh Kincannon.

American Olympians McLain Ward, Laura Kraut, Lauren Hough, Joe Fargis, Margie Engle and Todd Minikus will lead a stellar field of riders, representing eight different nations at this year's show.

Currently ranked number two in the Rolex World Rankings, two-time Olympic Gold medalist McLain Ward will be joined by his Athens and Hong Kong teammate Laura Kraut. Joining this dynamic duo is veteran rider Joe Fargis, who secured Olympic Gold in Los Angeles in 1984. Margie Engle and Lauren Hough, members of the United States Olympic team at Sydney, Australia are also scheduled to compete in Lexington.

Engle and Ward are currently ranked one-two on the list of all time grand prix wins in North America.

Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa, the Individual Gold medalist at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, leads the international list that also includes Nick Skelton, a six-time Olympic veteran for his home country of Great Britain. Pessoa is a three-time World Cup Champion, while Skelton, also a former World Cup Champion, has won gold at the European Championships and just last month narrowly missed a second gold, but took home the bronze in this year's event.

Adding to the international flavor of this year's show are Harrie Smolders of the Netherlands, Pablo Barrios of Venezuela, Ireland's Shane Sweetnam, Richard Maloney and Jonathan McCrea and a strong contingent from Great Britain that includes Skelton, and up and coming stars, Scott Brash and Ben Maher. Barrios has represented his country at the Olympic Games, while Sweetnam, Maher and Brash have all just completed a successful summer on this year's FEI Nations Cup tour.

The US roster includes top riders Kent Farrington, Charlie Jayne, Christine McCrea, Richard Spooner and Ashlee Bond, all members of the United States FEI Nations Cup efforts over the past two seasons. Spooner is among the top five in all-time grand prix victories.

The stars of the future will be well represented at this year's Alltech National Horse Show. Led by Katie Dinan, the Individual Gold Medalist at this year's North American Young Riders Championships in Lexington, the starters also include Young Rider Team Gold Medalists Lucy Davis and Saer Coulter of California and Reed Kessler, one of the country's top junior riders, with multiple wins on the highly competitive European circuit this summer. Joining the group is Brianne Goutal, a former ASPCA Maclay national champion, and Kirsten Coe, a World Cup qualifier winner in California just a couple of weeks ago.

All in all, 35 of the world's best show jumpers will take center stage when the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition, gets under way. This year's show will also feature a complete schedule of 'AA'-rated hunter divisions, including the Pony Lane Farm High Performance Hunter section. Also on the agenda, an Open Jumper division highlighted by the Sasco Creek Farm $50,000 Welcome Speed Class, the $75,000 Double H Farms Thursday's Jump-Off class, the $60,000 Spy Coast Farm Faults Converted Speed class on Friday and of course, the $250,000 Alltech National Horse Show Grand Prix, an FEI World Cup qualifying event. $100,000 will be up for grabs for the Junior and Amateur Jumper divisions, including the $50,000 SJHOF Junior/Amateur Championships, sponsored by Sleepy P Ranch, Chansonette and Deeridge Farm. The final Sunday is highlighted by the signature event of the National Horse Show, the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Finals, presented by C.M. Hadfield's Saddlery.