LEXINGTON - KY– Sept.. 18, 2019 - Wednesday morning kicked off the first day of competition for the Classic Champions Developing Jumper Finals as a featured event of the Kentucky National Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park. Wednesday’s format was used as a warmup for young horses ranging in ages from 4 to 7 and allowed them to become familiar with the expansive and beautiful setting in the Rolex Stadium.
Divisions were split into 4, 5, 6 and 7-year-old classes running consecutively on Wednesday and Thursday with a hiatus Friday and the finals taking place Saturday.
The 4-year-old Jumpers were the first to debut in the arena. The class was held as an exhibition format and the horses were judged and scored on style, rideability, quality of canter and overall potential for a future in the sport. The young mounts were encouraged to take their rounds as an opportunity to become familiar with the arena and to successfully get around a course in a relaxed manner
“This format is really great,” said Taylor Flury, who exhibited all the competing 4 year olds. “Young horses need opportunities here in the United States. They need to be tested but in situations where they can be successful so it builds their confidence.
“Cynthia [Hampton] has developed a great program that gives the horses a good experience,” Flury said. “It really sets them up for the future. I appreciate someone caring and giving us the opportunity to show and campaign young horses here in the States.”
“Most of the horses here won’t have been in this arena before,” said Tom Holden, course designer for the championships and vice president of Classic Champions.
“We wanted to give them a nice big tour of the arena, so from the first to second fence you had a nice long nine or 10-strides and keep it simple. We placed 10 fences, 11 efforts total, (for the 4-year-olds) but not too much because they are going to jump again on Thursday and Saturday. Our main goal is to educate these horses and get them into the arena where they are enjoying themselves and it feels good to them.”
Classic Champions Developing Jumper Finals will resume at the Kentucky Horse Park Thursday, Sept. 19 in the Rolex Stadium.
ABOUT CLASSIC CHAMPIONS
Classic Champions, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that brings European principles to course design for young jumpers. The goal of the organization is to focus on and facilitate the development young jumpers to become the future stars of the sport. Classic Champions supports competition opportunities that are both sporting and educational.
Founded in 2015 by Cynthia Hampton, the Classic Champions Tour is tailored for 5, 6 and 7-year-old jumpers. Hampton, who lived in Paris for 20 years, was impressed by how the European riders and breeders educate their young jumpers. When she returned to the U.S., she was inspired to influence improvements in the young jumper divisions. Classic Champions was founded with the desire to implement European practices for the young jumper competition in North America. It features courses created by experienced, specifically-trained designers and targeted toward the younger, less experienced horses. Courses include features aimed at developing jumpers from an early age with adapted heights, types of fences, lines and turns in venues with top-notch footing.
Hampton hopes that offering classes appropriate to young horses will help to educate riders, trainers, breeders, course designers, judges and officials. It will help to build a viable structure to identify, select and educate future high-level equine athletes capable of distinguishing themselves both at home and on international stage. Learn more on their website here.
Classic Champions is the title sponsor of the Developing Jumper Tour at the Kentucky Horse Park, which includes the series Finals Sept. 18-22.