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Champagne Run at the Park


For most equestrians, getting to ride at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky is the thrill of a lifetime! Many young riders, two from the mid-south, got to enjoy that thrill at the Champagne Run at the Park Horse Trials, July 12-14, 2019. This USEF/USEA recognized event offered divisions from Intermediate/Preliminary through Starter.

By Peggy Hart

Two horses required seven humans, two dogs, three trucks, one trailer, and five days to complete the Champaign Run Horse Trails at the Kentucky Horse Park, July 11-14,, 2019 and it was worth every minute of it.  Alli Gill with Island Girl, aka Teagan, riding in Jr. Beginner Novice group C, and Ashley Evans with Splash of Class, aka Oliver, riding Sr. Beginner Novice group A, braved the heat to make their first trip to this event where 525 horses were competing at Intermediate/Preliminary through Starter levels.  For Ashley and Alli this was the biggest United States Eventing competition they had participated in. They brought their game plan and it paid off!

Dressage took up the first and second day with five rings going from 7:30 a.m. till late evening.  Luckily, there was plenty of room, as the warm up rings got a little dusty and the surrounding grass was a welcome area in which to work on the first loosening exercises before braving the dust.  Alli rode her test first at 7:30 a.m., getting a score of 34.0 which put her in first place, only to eventually be knocked back to third before the class was over.  Ashley had a wonderful 34.8 in her division with Oliver, once again proving that you do not need a fancy Warmblood to do well in dressage.

After a breather for riders and horses, it was off to the next phase – stadium jumping. The ring was located within sight of the huge outdoor arena where the Kentucky Three Day events take place, which both inspired and intimidated the riders. Starting with the Parakeet Jump, as Alli called it, the ten stadium jumps were maximum height, had tough questions that had to be answered, and offered opportunities to improve your time with short cuts if you and your horse were brave. A clear round for both girls was marred only by a technical fault which gave Alli four faults and lowered her placing. Oh, well, tomorrow the cross country was on.

Located  beyond the steeplechase course, the cross country consisted of 16 jumps over rolling terrain with downhill or uphill climbs to most of the solid cross country jumps, along with long gallops between them.  Riders had to rate the speed of their horses to come in without time faults, since riding over the maximum time was costly.  Not only that, but they also had to balance their horses to allow for the uneven terrain before and after the jumps, thus keeping the horses from flattening out. 

Riders and horses entered the water jump after a vertical of telephone poles, followed by a jump on the out side, which provided a refreshing cool down before the uphill climb to the next jump on the far side of the course.  Fly jumps designed to encourage horse and rider were interspersed with technically harder jumps where the horse had to listen to the directions of the rider and the rider had to believe that their horse was capable of figuring out the question. This included one that visually looked as if the horse should jump a perimeter fence, but instead needed to turn to the second element on the left. This is a team sport and both members must listen to the other.  For the girls and their horses, this was the best part and they both flew around the course clean and with smiles on their faces. 

Incidentally, while all this was going on, the Horse Park was also hosting BreyerFest, a weekend for those who collect these treasured replica horses; a Standardbred Horse Show; and the usual horse crazy tourists who flock to the Horse Park every summer. 
By Lisa Gill; photos by Xpress Foto
Allison Gill saw some Beginner Novice jumps while attending the 4-star Kentucky Three Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park (KHP) in 2018.  She set a goal to ride in an event at the KHP.  She set training and showing goals for dressage, show jumping, and cross country.  She worked hard, had lots of ups and downs, overcame challenges and this past weekend (15 months later) achieved her goal!  She competed on her horse Island Girl at Champagne Run at The Park in the Junior Beginner Novice Rider division.

She was a respectable third after dressage on a score of 34.0, had four jumping faults in show jumping, but went double clear in cross country, finishing on a score of 38.0. She placed fifth out of a competitive division of 15. She had determination, a work ethic, and never lost sight of her dream.
Full Results are posted at

Intermediate/Preliminary: Alexandra Knowles on Looks Like Lotte (39.9)
JYO Preliminary: Madeline O’Brien on Casarino (26.5)
Open Preliminary: Rebecca Hoos on Donnerstorm II (31.5) Rebecca finished on just her dressage score, with no cross county and no show jumping penalties.
Preliminary Rider: Maria Moraniec on Ditch (34.8)
Preliminary/Training: Nicole Aden on Illustratoe (30.8)
Junior Training Rider: Kate Kirchdorfer on Galway Bay Cooley (29.8)
Open Training: Alexa Ehlers on FE Clear The Calendar (24.2)
Senior Training Rider-A: Seth Cooley on CRMightyAbleZaneGrey (42.6)
Senior Training Rider-B: Nicole Kowalski on BallinAgore Knight (26.4)
Training Horse: Jennifer Coleman on SS Willow (26.1)
Training/Novice: Melanie Helms on R Pair A Dice (32.5)
Junior Novice Rider-A: Grace Fiedler on Fanfare VT (30.2)
Junior Novice Rider-B: Isabel Brunker on Allia (26.2)
Novice Horse-A: Erin Pullen on Koko Chanel (28.1)
Novice Horse-B: Megan Moore on Master Higgins (27.1)
Open Novice: Bonnie Bowman on Steel Driven Dreams (25.0)
Senior Novice Rider-A: Kelly Rover on Fifth Avenue (24.1)
Senior Novice Rider-B: Carla Jimmerson on Valley Creek Carlin LeBeau (23.3)
Junior BG Novice Rider-A: Macie Sykes on Delilah’s Boy (2.5)
Junior BG Novice Rider-B: Erin Buckner on Picassi (21.8)
Junior BG Novice Rider-C: Sally Smedley on Golden Ticket CR (30.8)
Open Beginner Novice-A: Hannah Reeser on Ltl Ireland Summer Soldier (22.0)
Open Beginner Novice-B: Erin Wages on Light the Lights (29.3)
Senior BG Novice Rider-A: Catherine Wunderlich on Concatulations (28.5)
Senior BG Novice Rider-B: Sherry Pound on Gestalt (22.2)
JR Starter: Hannah Tabor on Tator Chip (30.0)
SR Starter-A: Meriah Senogles on Wallador EVN (30.6)
SR Starter-B: Shannon Reed on Inherbiggirlpants (27.8)

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