Lexington, KY – May 23, 2021 – The final day of the Kentucky Spring Classic and the conclusion to Kentucky Horse Shows’ spring series saw a day full of exciting show jumping competition Sunday, May 23. A total of 39 rising young talents gathered for the $15,000 U25 Grand Prix CSI3* in the famed Rolex Arena, hopeful to close out competition in Lexington with a win. In the end, it was 15-year-old Caroline Mawhinney and her own Stella Levista who emerged victorious, claiming their first U25 win together.
Course designer Ken Krome (USA) built out a challenging 13-obstacle first round track, with just five of the young athletes navigating clear efforts. Among them included the first-round pathfinder, Mawhinney, as well as Daisy Farish, Alex Matz with two mounts and Daneli Miron. Though seven total athletes left all of the rails intact, Hunter Holloway and Stella Stinnett were left out of contention for the jump-off due to time faults on the clock.
Returning to the Rolex Arena for the 8-effort jump-off, Mawhinney laid down a valiant effort aboard her 13-year-old Hannoverian mare to set the pace for the remaining four competitors. The pair left all of the rails in the cups and crossed the finish line in 37.77 seconds, setting the bar high for those to follow. Farish with RMF Retro, Matz and Jasmijn Van De Renthoeve and Miron riding Vox Dei would all notch faults on course, maintaining Mawhinney’s top spot. As the final horse-and-rider combination, Matz entered the arena with his second mount of the class, Davidson, owned by Five Star Partners, attempting to move themselves into the leading spot. However, the pair was not quite quick enough to do so, notching 39.22 seconds on the clock. In the end Mawhinney was awarded first place honors, with Matz and Davidson claiming second place and Farish finishing in third place aboard Rushy Marsh Farm, LLC’s RMF Retro.
Mawhinney’s top finish marked her first major win in a U25 grand prix, a great accomplishment for her first time ever competing in the division. Mawhinney and Stella Levista have only been partnered together for one year, but the already strong partnership was evident during their performance Sunday afternoon. The future is bright for Mawhinney and Stella Levista as they train under Great Britain’s Jessica Mendoza and look forward to continued success throughout future U25 competition.
Immediately following the $15,000 U25 Grand Prix CSI3*, 44 international athletes tried their shot at the $35,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix CSI3* and a chance to close out the week with a victory. Navigating a clear round through Krome’s 13-obstacle first round course and emerging through the jump-off round fault-free in 35.01 seconds, Rowan Willis and Ashton Dakota ultimately claimed first place. Seated in the second position was Nora Gray and Love, with Paul O’Shea and Hellcat rounding out the top three.
The 2021 Kentucky Horse Shows series will continue with the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, beginning July 28 and running through August 1. The Kentucky Summer Classic will run August 3-8, followed by the highly anticipated USEF Pony Finals, presented by Honor Hill Farm, the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show and the USHJA Green Hunter Incentive and International Hunter Derby Championships.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Caroline Mawhinney – $15,000 U25 Grand Prix CSI3* winner
On Stella Levista:
“I have had her for just over one year now, she’s a bit special but she’s unbelievable. This is my first U25 grand prix and she took me around, she was great. She’s a lot of blood but is bouncy and gets herself out of the way, and she’s really small.”
On the first round:
“I was just trying to have a nice round since it was my first U25 grand prix. I thought the first round was nice because it was challenging enough, especially with the time allowed. It was a bit tight but I didn’t really have to worry about that with her. I thought it was challenging enough for riders to have to back themselves off but the horses were able to do it.”
On the jump-off:
“I was debating on how quick I should go but because there were only five riders in it, I figured I would take a risk. I decided to do seven strides down the first line instead of six strides to give her a little bit more clearance to the vertical, and after that I just kept going. She’s naturally so quick that we were really fast.”
On her win:
“It’s really exciting to win. She was so good and I’m just really proud of [Stella Levista] for taking me around. She will be my U25 horse going forward.”
On her next plans:
“We go on a little vacation and then we come back here for the [Split Rock Jumping Tour].”
On Kentucky Horse Shows:
“The facility is amazing for the horses, they really like it. The ring is just a great size and has a great atmosphere, so I really like coming here. It’s an amazing show.”
$15,000 U25 Grand Prix
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults | R1 Time / R1 Faults | R2 Time
1. Stella Levista / Caroline Mawhinney / Caroline Mawhinney / 0 | 74.481 / 0 | 37.771
2. Davidson / Alex Matz / Five Star Partners / 0 | 76.498 / 0 | 39.228
3. RMF Retro / Daisy Farish / Rushy Marsh Farm, LLC / 0 | 77.748 / 4 | 40.745
4. Jasmijn Van De Renthoeve / Alex Matz / Horseshoe Trail Farm LLC / 0 | 76.437 / 8 | 39.501
5. Vox Dei / Daneli Miron / Miron Sporthorses LLC / 0 | 74.294 / 8 | 42.184
6. VDL Bravo S / Hunter Holloway / Hays Investment Corp. / 2 | 79.438
7. Copain Z / Stella Stinnett / Heathman Farm, LLC / 3 | 80.017
8. Cristall Colorado / Mckenna Norris / McKenna Norris / 4 | 76.531
9. Deauville S / Tanner Korotkin / Castlewood Farm, Inc. / 4 | 76.977
10. Manhattan / Natalie Jayne / Beyaert Farm Inc. / 4 | 77.222
11. Evita / Lea Rucker / Lea Rucker / 4 | 77.230
12. Valmont De Vizy / Kelly Arani / Marigot Bay Farm, LLC / 4 | 81.192