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Local rider Christina Kelly of Nicholasville has earned a debut in the junior championship competitions at the Alltech National Horse Show to be held November 2-6 for the first time in Kentucky.
Kelly is based out of her family’s Diamond Edge Farm in Nicholasville and will be competing in the $25,000 Junior Jumper Division, as well as the $50,000 SJHOF Junior/Amateur Championships, sponsored by Sleepy P Ranch, Chansonette and Deeridge Farm.
Although Kelly represents Ireland, she has been competing in the United States for a number of years and has taken the circuit by storm in 2011. She has won numerous Junior Jumper Classics aboard her three talented mounts: Camirage, Creata Van Ten Biesen, and HH Narcos Du Marais, which have all earned a spot on the qualification list for this year’s Alltech National Horse Show.
“This is my first year competing during the Alltech National Horse Show, and I love the Kentucky Horse Park so I think it’s going to be a great event,” commented Kelly. “There are a lot of European riders coming over for the other classes and I think it’s going to be a great horse show, especially because it will be in the Alltech Arena. It’s going to be focused on that main event and I think it will be amazing.
“I love the Kentucky Horse Park. We stay there for five weeks during the summer and the horses never seem to get tired of it. They jump so much better on that footing and they have the grass field to ride in, I think they really like it and they perform better there.”
The talented junior rider already has a leg up on the competition, having competed during the $50,000 CSI-W Lexington Grand Prix in the Alltech Arena earlier this year. “The Alltech Arena is awesome to ride in,” said Kelly. “Once you get used to being inside you have more control of your horse and it’s great.”
Kelly can only compete with two mounts during the event and is currently planning to show Camirage and HH Narcos Du Marais. The Alltech National Horse Show will also be Kelly’s last junior show. “It is kind of bittersweet,” she noted. “Obviously you want to grow up and ride in bigger classes but I’d love to have another junior year.”
During the Alltech National Horse Show, Kelly will also have the opportunity to watch her long-time trainer and Olympic veteran Margie Engle compete in Open Jumper division. “Margie has helped me so much this year and all the years that she has trained me,” she commented. “Margie has been such a big help and I just want to thank her very much for everything.”
This year’s show, designated CSI4*-W, will feature a complete schedule of ‘AA’-rated hunter divisions, including the Pony Lane Farm High Performance Hunter section. Also on the agenda, a big money Open Jumper division highlighted by the Sasco Creek Farm $50,000 Welcome Speed Class, the $75,000 Double H Farms Thursday’s Jump-Off class, the $60,000 Spy Coast Farm Faults Converted Speed class on Friday and of course, the $250,000 Alltech National Horse Show Grand Prix, an FEI World Cup qualifying event. $100,000 will be up for grabs for the Junior and Amateur Jumper divisions, including the $50,000 SJHOF Junior/Amateur Championships, sponsored by Sleepy P Ranch, Chansonette and Deeridge Farm. The final Sunday is highlighted by the signature event of the National Horse Show, the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Finals, presented by C.M. Hadfield’s Saddlery.
Founded in 1883 at the original Madison Square Garden, the National Horse Show is America’s oldest indoor horse show, firmly established as a major fixture on the national and international sports and social event calendars. The National Horse Show Association’s primary activity is the annual production of the National Horse Show and all ancillary events. Over the years, the National Horse Show has provided financial aid to many worthwhile charities.
For a video tour of the Alltech Arena – an inside look at where the competitions will be held – click here.
Top photo by Rebecca Walton. Inset photo by Kenneth Kraus/PhelpsSports.com.
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