Central Ohio has a healthy equine industry; there’s no shortage of boarding barns, trainers, vets or farriers and we definitely have more than just a few horse shows available. But I have to admit, we’re not the hunter/jumper hub of the Buckeye state. I think if you took a poll of Ohio’s equestrian citizens, the majority would own and show Quarter Horses–which makes sense, considering the world’s largest single-breed horse show is literally in our backyard. So while it’s pretty cool to have so many horse-related options and activities, sometimes I feel like us hunter/jumpers get the short end of the stick. But we do, however, have a really cool Grand Prix event to drown our tears with.
The New Albany Classic is a $125,000 USEF/FEI Invitational Grand Prix held at the home of Abigail Wexner [owner of Beezie Madden’s Authentic, among others] right here in Central Ohio. The Grand Prix is coupled with a Family Day, complete with carnival rides, games and food trucks. All proceeds benefit the Columbus Coalition against Family Violence. Overall, it’s a pretty unique event, considering the entire horse show consists of just one class: the new Albany Classic Grand Prix. Plus, it’s an awesome opportunity to see some ridiculously phenomenal horsemen and women compete. This year Georgina Bloomberg, Kent Farrington, Brianne Goutal, Leslie Howard, Beezie Madden, Richard Spooner and McLain Ward were all competing and those are just the names I remember off the top of my head!
Anyways, Sam and I went to go watch this year, and we had a blast. The whole “family day” part isn’t really our thing, so we skipped that and just headed out in the afternoon to watch the Grand Prix. I really enjoyed watching such skilled equestrians navigate the course, as well as seeing such athletic and talented horses. I also cheered on two girls from New Albany, which I have a love/hate relationship with. I mean, of course I love that two women from Central Ohio are competing in Grand Prix, but when they’re 19 and 25 respectively, it kind of makes me feel like a failure! Neither made it to the jump-off, but just watching them show over such a tough course was really inspiring.
Seven riders made it to the jump-off, and it was thrilling to watch. You could see the riders who came out to win, and watching them slice a 5′ liverpool was incredible and gallop towards a 4′ wide oxer was breathtaking. The first rider in the jump-off, Molly Ashe-Cawley made everyone chase her and she didn’t lose the lead until Beezie Madden and Vanilla beat her by a second. And then the very last rider to go, Shane Sweetnam of Ireland, went all out for the win the New Albany Classic Grand Prix! It was pretty exciting stuff!!