Edited Press Release
The Split Rock Hunter Jumper Fall 1 CSI3* concluded competition on Sunday with the $110,000 Lugano Diamonds 1.50m FEI Grand Prix, presented by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. It was ultimately Peter Petschenig (AUT) and his own Ennebel Van Het Posthuijs (Numero Uno x Argentinus) who took the stand at the top of the podium after navigating Anderson Lima’s (BRA) jump-off track with ease.
Sunday’s feature competition saw 39 athletes from 11 different nations tackle the 16-effort course with a tight time-allowed of 80 seconds. The first clear in round one came from Friday’s $50,000 1.45m Welcome CSI3* winner, Shane Sweetnam (IRL), this time with his own and Voquest LLC’s RR Combella. Horse-and-rider combinations fell victim to various areas of the course, with the most trouble coming from the sailboat triple combination (vertical-oxer-vertical); the final combination (oxer-vertical); and the last jump, the Lugano oxer, with only five more combinations finding their way fault-free and within the time allowed.
The tie-breaking round was made up of eight jumping efforts with the addition of two new jumps, the Equestrian Closet oxer at fence 15 and the Lugano Diamonds vertical at fence 16. Sweetnam and RR Combella set a quick pace as the first to go out of six combinations in the jump-off, finishing clear and in 36.51 seconds. Lacey Gilbertson (USA) followed aboard Holliewood, owned by Seabrook LLC, putting in a great effort, crossing the timers in 36.98 seconds. The United States’ Spencer Smith and Lauren Tyree followed, with Smith proving the leading pace was beatable as he clocked in a time of 35.89 seconds, however both pairs would fall victim to the final fence, the delicate Lugano Diamonds vertical. Next to challenge the shortened course was Petschenig with his 14-year-old mare Ennebel van het Posthuijs. Petschenig utilized the mare’s large stride and quick footspeed to overtake Sweetnam’s lead with a clear finish in 36.09 seconds. The last to go was McKayla Langmeier (USA) aboard Rafferty Farm LLC’s Chadina, showcasing the fastest finish in round two as they ended in 35.12 seconds, but a heartbreaking four faults at the final fence would keep them just off the podium. While all gave the course a fair attempt, none could beat Petschenig’s quick time while also producing a clear effort. Sweetnam ended in second place, while Gilbertson settled for third.
“She’s always trying. If I don’t make a crazy mistake, she’s going to jump clear… I try to spare her and save her just for the grand prix [classes] – I think she deserves it,” Petschenig commented of his mare Ennebel van Het Posthuijs.
“With Split Rock, you know what you get – the quality is always there, and the clients love it. Having the shows here at the Kentucky Horse Park is just great. We’re all looking forward to going to Fort Worth as well since it’s a home show and Derek [Braun] does a beautiful job with it,” Petschenig concluded.
Competition at the Kentucky Horse Park will continue through next week as the Split Rock Hunter Jumper Fall 2 CSI3* takes place October 4 – 8, 2023. Feature classes will include the $50,000 Hagyard 1.45m Welcome, the $20,000 C. Jarvis Insurance 1.35m National Prix, the $110,000 Lugano 1.50m FEI Grand Prix, and the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby.