Colorado’s premier competitive equestrian venue, The Colorado Horse Park (CHP), hosted the fifth week of the annual Summer in the Rockies (SIR) series from July 4 through July 8. The facility welcomed exhibitors from across the nation and boasted a roster that included some of the sport’s most decorated and well-known athletes.
Exhibitor numbers rose, as did spectator’s, for the prized Saturday-night Grand Prix that took place on July 7. The $60,000 Griffis Residential Grand Prix welcomed 30 horse-and-rider pairs. Derek Braun of Lexington, KY, topped the leader board after his dash through the jump-off timers in 44.867 seconds aboard mount, Lacarolus.
The jump-off saw five entries return and Pengrove, California’s Amanda Flint’s double-clear rides aboard her own Baltimore, in 48.567 seconds, earned her the second place finish. Shawn Casady of Harriman, TN, rode for Highpoint Farm and collected third place with the grey stallion, Durango VDL, obtained by a four-fault jump-off of 43.891 seconds.
Course designer, Ivan Tagle, set the track for the spotlight jumper class. “The course was a really nice course. It had a really nice flow,” said Braun. “When I walked it I thought it was quite big for this venue. I thought there wouldn’t be more than four clear.”
Braun and the fifteen-year-old gelding, Lacarolus, have been partnered together for almost ten years and it is apparent that success is derived from their bond and experience together. Braun spoke of the Split Rock Farm-owned entry, “I’ve had him since he was six. He’s been the best top horse I’ve ever had. He’s so good and so talented. He’s probably had over one hundred results in the past six or seven years. He’s consistent. Every round he always tries to jump clear.”
Braun continued, “He’s always been smart and careful, but I think he’s actually getting more sensitive with age. He’s become more clever, reactive and careful, if that’s possible. He’s just very consistent and I’m lucky that he’s still going.”
Braun and Split Rock Farm will remain at CHP for the conclusion of the series. “I came here last year, and honestly, I really like this show facility and tour. Everybody knows that I’m an advocate of good shows and I’m very outspoken about bad ones. I think that they do a great job here and that’s why I came back. The little things are here, the footing and good stabling. Marion (Maybank, CHP Director of Operations and CIR Competition Manager) does a good job managing. All of the classes have a nice number in them and they have great prize money. CHP is now my place to go for a mid-summer tour.”
The SIR hunter/jumper series will continue with SIR VI on July 11. The $80,000 Front Range Kubota Grand prix will be held at 5:00 p.m. MST on Saturday, July 14.