This Lexington, Kentucky competition, the 8th of 14 events in the FEI World Cup™ Jumping, North American League was a course dominated early by ambitious young riders and fiery obedient mounts
The course designed by Michele Vaillan had difficult, yet vaguely familiar fences that were set in a challenging, high and wide track. It was a course each rider had to study and give their utmost attention.
After four heavily faulted riders, Sayre Happy had the first clear ride of the evening, but with one disappointing time fault. After a few more frustrated and faulty rounds, the young USA rider Jennifer Gates learned from previous mistakes and was first into the jump-off.
Right out of the gate, Jennifer had an air of confidence on her horse that seemed to magically glide over the 1m.60 verticals, a tricky triple, and the 2m.10 triple bar.
Spurred on by the challenge Jennifer Gates set, Emily Moffitt and her finely boned, flashy stallion Hilfiger van de Olmenhoeve bravely and successfully followed her fellow young rider into the jump-off.
The pattern of young horses continued as the moderately green 8-year-old gelding Eddie Blue was ridden masterfully by Devin Ryan who fought tooth and nail for the right to enter the arena again later in the evening.
Also to join the jump-off, for a total of nine riders, was Beat Mändli with a stylistic success on a big horse with an even bigger jump.