The final class on Friday in the Rolex Stadium during the Kentucky Summer Classic, the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers, saw a field of nine horse-and-rider combinations vye for the blue ribbon. As the only double-clear performance over Bobby Murphy’s 1.35-40m course, Ellie Ferrigno topped the leaderboard on Discovery-O, breaking through the timers in 42.904 seconds. Mallory Vale on Elusive and Lindsey Strafuss on Calmaro 12 finished in second and third place, respectively.
While the 14-effort course went smoothly for five of the athletes, the in-and-out combination proved troublesome for a handful of the competitors in both the first round and jump-off.The third pair in the order of go, Vale on Thanks Like A Horse’s Elusive, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, advanced to the immediate jump-off, but brought down a rail to finish on 4 faults in 45.335 seconds. Elusive has been a long-time partner with Vale as she’s developed the chestnut gelding up through the 6-year-old divisions with her husband and fellow-rider, Aaron.
Strafuss was the next rider to qualify for the jump-off after her clear first round aboard Calmaro 12, a 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Castle Point Farm LLC. Unfortunately for Strafuss, the second effort in the in-and-out combination came down, leaving her with 4 jumping faults and 1 time fault when she galloped through the timers in 48.383 seconds.
When Ferrigno rode into the ring, the door was wide open for the opportunity of the first double-clear to go into the lead aboard Discovery-O, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding she is leasing from Christina Serio. The pair confidently navigated the first round clear and crossed the finish line in the jump-off in 42.904 seconds with all rails still in their cups to win the class.
The 17-year-old from Newtown, Connecticut, currently trains with Val Renihan and her mother, Abbi Ferrigno, while preparing for her senior year of high school. Ferrigno has had a successful youth career, collecting many wins from the pony division up to representing the U.S. in the FEI Children’s Nations Cup CSIOCH. Most recently Ferrigno claimed the Overall Grand Championship in the 3’6” section at the 2019 USEF Junior Hunter National Championships – East Coast. She only recently started competing her jumper-mount Discovery-O at the end of June. The young rider has a bright future ahead of her as she committed to being a War Eagles athlete as a member of the Auburn University NCEA Team.
Show jumping competition will resume in the Rolex Stadium Saturday, Aug. 3 at 8 a.m. with the Low Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic and the $50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix will take place at 7 p.m. following the Leadline class.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Ellie Ferrigno – High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper winner
On her performance with Discovery-O:
“I was super happy with my ride today. I just recently started riding Discovery-O and I feel like today’s round was the first time I was able to go pretty fast while jumping clean. I’m totally ecstatic about it. I started showing him at the end of June. He’s really fun. I’ve never had a horse that has done it before — he knows exactly what he should be doing. He’s very smart and he jumps perfectly all the time, that’s what I love about him. I feel like he is so solid and I can count on him.”
On what’s next:
“For the rest of the year, we are trying to rack up money so we can qualify for indoors. I think he will be spectacular at indoors, that’s what we are hoping! Next year I’m hoping to do [North American Youth Championships] Young Riders division on him. Also, I verbally committed to Auburn University so when I graduate high school next year I’ll go there. I’m hoping to make a professional career out of it. There are times when my mom has her pony kids and I am able to help train a little and I love the idea of it. I love sharing the joy with your team when things go well.”
On the opportunity to ride:
“He is owned by Christina Serio and I want to thank her so much. She is an unbelievable person and she loves Discovery so much. I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to compete with him. She has had him since he was 4-years-old and she has developed him fully. I have leased him through this year and into next year.”
On competing at the Kentucky Horse Shows:
“In past years we usually only come for Pony Finals and Derby Finals, but this year we decided to come for these two weeks. It’s been beautiful. The venue is great and the horses love it because there is so much space. I go riding out in the fields of the cross country course most days and I’m able to relax. I love it here.”
High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers
Place / Horse / Rider / Round 1 Faults / Time / Round 2 Faults / Time
1. Discovery-O / Ellie Ferrigno / 0 / 79.561 / 0 / 42.904
2. Elusive / Mallory Vale / 0 / 78.29 / 4 / 45.335
3. Calmara 12 / Lindsey Strafuss / 0 / 83.402 / 5 / 48.383
4. Di Vadine / Diego Loria / 0 / 75.185 / 14 / 53.941
5. Thalie D’Anjou / Ashley Vogel / 0 / 76.724 / 17 / 56.624
6. Dublin / Skyler Fields / 4 / 79.461
7. Lucky Luke / Sedona Chamblee / 4 / 82.474
8. Donna VI / Clotilde Lewis / 7 / 87
9. Vigo Du Levant / Jaelynn Downing / 8 / 81.341