Summer in the Rockies VII: Caroline Donnally and Always Me Win the 1.35m Open Welcome Classic

Caroline Donnally and Always Me Official Photos by Captured Moment Photography


PARKER, Colo.— LEG Shows & Events got underway with its second week of summer shows at The Colorado Horse Park with Summer in the Rockies VII (July 15-19). On Thursday, Caroline Donnally topped the 1.35m Open Welcome Classic aboard her Dutch Warmblood mare, Always Me.

“It’s exciting to finally be here,” she expressed. “I haven’t shown since January and it was great to be back in the show ring.”

Caroline found the key to a course designed by Peter Grant of Canada, sealing the win with two clear rounds and jump-off time of 44.902. “The course was perfect – it had a nice flow. There were six people who jumped off, which was a good number. My mare is so quick in the air and across the ground.”

Just one second slower than Caroline with a jump-off time of 45.912 seconds, amateur rider Katharin Gualtieri and her Castalano took home the second place ribbon. Last week, this pair clinched both the Open Welcome Classic as well as the SIR Grand Prix. “My horse was great, I rode the track I wanted to ride, and I can’t complain,” Katharin said. “Caroline was just faster than me. She left out some strides, which made up time. The course was very nice with some bending lines and rollbacks. It felt challenging enough but not too crazy. I’m feeling great and excited about doing the grand prix on Saturday.”

Caroline is also looking forward to riding in the $35,000 LEG Grand Prix on Saturday. “It should be a great class with a lot of great riders,” she commented. “My mare is feeling good and I will just give it my best shot. Hopefully, we will get lucky.”

It’s been an exciting month for Caroline who got married just three weeks ago to fellow professional, Nico Van Der Merwe. “My husband and I had to postpone our wedding ceremony, but we are excited to be officially married,” she shared. “Being at horse show is definitely a great way to celebrate.”

“Charlotte has been doing an excellent job managing the shows,” Caroline added. “I see everyone walking around with masks on. They are being strict on enforcing protocols but saying it nicely. Given the circumstances, they are doing a great job and we are having a wonderful time. It’s a top-notch facility with lovely footing and beautiful jumps.”

Stay tuned for more highlights from Summer in the Rockies VII, including tomorrow’s USHJA National Hunter Derby presented by Littleton Equine Medical Center and Saturday’s $35,000 LEG Grand Prix.

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Open Welcome Results