The Kentucky Spring Horse Show commenced on Wednesday with the highlight of the day being the $35,000 Welcome Speed CSI3* held in the Rolex Stadium. The United States’ Kaitlin Campbell and her own Rocky W took home the blue ribbon and their first-ever FEI win to kick-off the week.
“[Rocky W’s] like my solid citizen,” said Campbell. “He loves Kentucky; he always jumps amazing in this ring especially at the beginning of the year when it’s fresh to him.”
Campbell has owned Rocky W, an 18-year-old Dutch Warmblood, for nine years and secured the first place prize with a fault-free round in 69.56 seconds.
Bernardo Costa Cabral posted a fast-paced, 13-jump track to challenge the 38 exhibitors in the one round speed class. Out of the 35, 17 were able to produce clear rounds.
Coming in to this class, Campbell decided to try something new with Rocky W that she has never tried before, which may have been the secret to their success.
“I had a frustrating week last week, so after that I just changed everything and let him go today and do his thing,” said Campbell. “I’ve had him for nine years and I’ve never changed anything tack-wise with him whatsoever. I just decided, because I keep wanting to pull on him, I was going to put no bit on him today so he could just ignore me and do his thing. When I started pulling, he just pulled right through me and did it himself and it seemed to work!
“I think I’ll keep riding him without the bit until I can figure out how to stop pulling,” continued Campbell. “He jumped amazing today and I just let him gallop everywhere. He doesn’t have a huge stride, so I can just let him keep galloping and he doesn’t get too strung out.”
David Beisel (USA) and Harlow Investment’s Call Me Hannes followed Campbell to clinch second place in 71.10 seconds.
“[Call Me Hannes] had a nice flow everywhere,” said Beisel. “It was nice to have a speed class for him to start out with and just get out there and gallop and go forward. It all kept coming up and away we went! He’s 10 now so he’s getting more experienced and he went great all of Florida. He loves Kentucky so I think he was really happy to be out here.
“I’m super thankful to have the FEI back here and get some world points and increased prize money, and I love having Bernardo Cabral designing,” continued Beisel.
With Beisel going 14 in the order-of-go, and entered on two separate mounts, Campbell was able to catch his time at the end by an impressive two full seconds as the 35 horse and rider combination to enter the ring.
“It was pretty fast out there to win,” said Campbell. “David’s horse beat me in a summer grand prix last year and it was the same type of course, really galloping all over, so this was our payback for him beating us last summer!”
Based in Lexington, Campbell was happy to return to Kentucky after competing in Florida all season as well as win her first-ever FEI class, which she’s been aiming for with Rocky W.
“Because he’s 18 now, I really try to aim for classes that I think he can be successful in,” said Campbell. “I’m not trying to over face him at this point. This is actually the first time I’ve won an international class so that was really kind of my final goal with him — to win a FEI class — so I’m pretty excited about that!
“I pretty much live in Kentucky,” continued Campbell. “This is my home base. I love everything about Kentucky. I’m so happy to leave Florida and come back here. I love everything about the Kentucky Horse Park. They’ve done a ton of renovations that have made it a lot more horse and exhibitor friendly. It’s just a really good atmosphere.”
Rounding out the top three of the class was Aaron Vale (USA) and Quidam’s Good Luck, owned by Troy Glaus, in 71.20 seconds.
Source: Taylor Renner / Kentucky Horse Shows