Last weekend, I attended the Charlotte Jumper Classic. It was stunning. Charlotteans have a lot to be proud of in hosting this annual event that welcomes Olympic and Olympic-hopeful horses and riders. Bob Johnson’s vision and work in organizing the Jumper Classic has resulted in Charlotte’s becoming a world-class attraction to equestrian competitors.
For those of us who could only wish to ride like those we watched, the Jumper Classic is the spring-time place where inspiration is sown and appreciation for athletic strength, character, and skill is cultivated. As a spectator (who is also a fierce ice hockey fan), the Jumper Class gets me as close to observing models of athletic perfection as I will ever be. I’m sure the competition is quite different for the participants, but to those of us watching, all of the horses and riders are winners. The results of each event are not what draws me to the Jumper Classic; it is, instead, the extraordinary opportunity and privilege to be near and to watch magnificent creatures and dedicated athletes as well as the harmony between them.
The highlights of last week’s competition include a 7′ jump by Michael Morrisey and Scaraberas to take the Puissance contest; Rodrigo Pessoa and Let’s Fly taking the $450,000 Gran Prix with 4 faults and a time of 41.93 with with McLain Ward and Rothchild taking second place along with Karen Cudmore and Southern Pride in third; and sisters Alexa and Whitney Weeks and their horses Madison and Subliem taking the Junior Classic. It was also Pessoa and Palouchin de Ligny claiming the prize for the $15,000 Accumulator Competition with Beezie Madden following in second place.
Also a highlight was course designer Steve Stephens whose ingenuity and expertise resulted in a short, but very tough indoor course for the riders. While most jumper contests are held outdoors, the Charlotte competition is held indoors in the Time Warner Arena downtown. The arena is tight. Stephens’ course design for the Grand Prix was especially challenging for the contestants and their rides. Jumps were pretty close with very tight turns prefacing fast combinations. Stevens was the course designer for the 2008 Olympics.
Altogether, it was a great show and quite an impressive list of competitors.
Read all about the Charlotte Jumper Classic at Hunter Jumper News.