Lexington, Kentucky, USA – May 23, 2021 – The final day of the Kentucky Spring Classic and the conclusion to Kentucky Horse Shows’ spring series saw a day full of exciting show jumping competition Sunday, May 23. A total of 39 rising young talents gathered for the $15,000 Grand Prix CSI U-25 in the famed Rolex Arena, hopeful to close out competition in Lexington with a win. In the end, it was 15-year-old Caroline Mawhinney (USA) and her own Stella Levista who emerged victorious, claiming their first U25 win together.
Course designer Ken Krome (USA) built out a challenging 13-obstacle first round track, with just five of the young athletes navigating clear efforts. Among them included the first-round pathfinder, Mawhinney, as well as Daisy Farish (USA), Alex Matz (USA) with two mounts and Daneli Miron. Though seven total athletes left all of the rails intact, Hunter Holloway and Stella Stinnett were left out of contention for the jump-off due to time faults on the clock.
Returning to the Rolex Arena for the 8-effort jump-off, Mawhinney (USA) laid down a valiant effort aboard her 13-year-old Hannoverian mare to set the pace for the remaining four competitors. The pair left all of the rails in the cups and crossed the finish line in 37.77 seconds, setting the bar high for those to follow. Farish (USA) with RMF Retro, Matz and Jasmijn Van De Renthoeve and Miron riding Vox Dei would all notch faults on course, maintaining Mawhinney’s top spot.
As the final horse-and-rider combination, Alex Matz (USA) entered the arena with his second mount of the class, Davidson, owned by Five Star Partners, attempting to move themselves into the leading spot. However, the pair was not quite quick enough to do so, notching 39.22 seconds on the clock.
In the end Mawhinney was awarded first place honors, with Matz (USA) and Davidson claiming second place and Daisy Farish (USA) finishing in third place aboard Rushy Marsh Farm, LLC’s RMF Retro.
Mawhinney’s top finish marked her first major win in a U25 grand prix, a great accomplishment for her first time ever competing in the division. Mawhinney and Stella Levista have only been partnered together for one year, but the already strong partnership was evident during their performance Sunday afternoon. The future is bright for Mawhinney and Stella Levista as they train under Great Britain’s Jessica Mendoza (GBR) and look forward to continued success throughout future U25 competition.
Caroline Mawhinney – $15,000 Grand Prix CSI U-25 Winner
On Stella Levista:
“I have had her for just over one year now, she’s a bit special but she’s unbelievable. This is my first U25 grand prix and she took me around, she was great. She’s a lot of blood but is bouncy and gets herself out of the way, and she’s really small.”
On the first round:
“I was just trying to have a nice round since it was my first U25 grand prix. I thought the first round was nice because it was challenging enough, especially with the time allowed. It was a bit tight but I didn’t really have to worry about that with her. I thought it was challenging enough for riders to have to back themselves off but the horses were able to do it.”
On the jump-off:
“I was debating on how quick I should go but because there were only five riders in it, I figured I would take a risk. I decided to do seven strides down the first line instead of six strides to give her a little bit more clearance to the vertical, and after that I just kept going. She’s naturally so quick that we were really fast.”
On her win:
“It’s really exciting to win. She was so good and I’m just really proud of [Stella Levista] for taking me around. She will be my U25 horse going forward.”
On her next plans:
“We go on a little vacation and then we come back here for the [Split Rock Jumping Tour].”
On Kentucky Horse Shows:
“The facility is amazing for the horses, they really like it. The ring is just a great size and has a great atmosphere, so I really like coming here. It’s an amazing show.”
Final Results – $15,000 U25 Grand Prix
1) Caroline Mawhinney (USA) & Stella Levista – 0 / 0 – 37.77
2) Alex Matz (USA) & Davidson – 0 / 0 – 39.22
3) Daisy Farish (USA) & RMF Retro – 0 / 4 – 40.74
Source: Press release by Allyson Lagiovane / Phelps Media Group for Kentucky Horse Shows
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Allyson Lagiovane