MATTHIAS HOLLBERG AND LAUREN HESTER SPEED TO TOP PLACINGS IN ROLEX STADIUM DURING KENTUCKY SUMMER CLASSIC
Matthias Hollberg and Lauren Hester both had blazing fast rounds in the Rolex Stadium Wednesday, helping them to win the 1.35m and 1.30m classes, respectively. Both professionals were showcasing the strong talents of the sales horses that they currently have in their programs. Many riders also used the classes as warm-ups for the $25,000 Hagyard Challenge Grand Prix that is set to take place Thursday evening in the Rolex Stadium.
Matthias Hollberg, who owns and operates Hollberg Equestrian with his wife Thaisa Erwin in Middleburg, Virginia, came to the United States from Germany. Since that time, he has competed successfully in shows up and down the East Coast. On Wednesday, Hollberg showcased his unique ability to successfully navigate a competitive course with a horse that he does not have much experience riding. The Kentucky Summer Classic marks the first horse show that he has competed Mr. Sydney Rocks. Although it was only their third class together, the pair have yet to knock a rail out of the cups. Hollberg attributes the 13-year-old Westphalian's talent to his training as an eventing horse. Previously shown by Allison Springer, the bay gelding is fast and fearless, allowing Hollberg to leave out strides that other riders could not in the day's 1.35m speed class. The pair topped a field of 31 competitors in a time of 72.492 seconds, a whole three seconds faster than the next fastest rider, Daniel Bedoya who was aboard Abracadabra.
Kentucky native, Lauren Hester, was also using the classes in the Rolex Stadium to help prove the talent of the sales horses that she currently has at her business, Hester Equestrian. Clueless P, whom Hester showed to double clear rounds in the 1.30m class, was previously a grand prix mount for Hester and is now hoping to find a new career as a successful junior jumper. Hester shows at the Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC frequently, as the Kentucky Horse Park is right around the corner from her farm. It is not uncommon for crowds who gather to watch Saturday night Grand Prix competition to cheer a little more enthusiastically for Hester as she is widely recognized as their hometown girl. Last week, Hester piloted her mare Warinda B to a seventh place finish in the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix. Hester is hoping to repeat and improve upon her performances in the grand prix ring, starting Thursday in the $25,000 Hagyard Grand Prix of Lexington and qualify for the $50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix on Saturday night, under the lights.
Thursday marks the return of the Hagyard Challenge Series to Rolex Stadium with the $25,000 Hagyard Grand Prix. The Hagyard Challenge Series consists of seven grand prix classes held during the 2017 show series at the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the final event, a cash prize of $50,000 will be awarded to the rider accumulating the most points throughout the series. Spectators are invited to enjoy all of the action by attending the class that will start promptly at 6:30pm.
Photo by Lenore Phillips