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[Lexington, Ky.] Gripping performances from world-class show jumpers, the return of American Saddlebreds to the ring and a series of community festivities have defined the Alltech National Horse Show, Oct. 30-Nov.4, at the Alltech Arena in the Kentucky Horse Park.
Reserved for the year’s top performers in equestrian sport, the week-long show featured the inaugural $50,000 Alltech Puissance, the $250,000 Alltech National Horse Show Grand Prix and the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Championship for junior riders. For the first time since 1999, the show included classes of high-stepping American Saddlebreds. More than 300 riders and 500 horses from 13 countries competed in the classes during the show, which presented more than $600,000 in prize money.
On Friday, Great Britain’s Tim Gredley and his mount Unex Valente brought members of the crowd to their feet when they cleared the 7-foot Puissance Wall to win the first-ever $50,000 Alltech National Horse Show Puissance. The high jump of the equestrian world lured 2,000 to the arena Friday night, a 50 percent increase from show attendance in 2011.
On Saturday, an emotional arena of 5,000 spectators watched two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward clutch the $250,000 Alltech Grand Prix championship just a week after the passing of his father. More than 150 hopeful junior riders competed in Sunday’s ASPCA Maclay National Championship. Jacob Pope of Columbia, Md., claimed the title, which is considered the highest achievement attainable for teen equestrians.
Extending its reach beyond the equestrian world, a series of family friendly events drew members of the local community to the show. Cartoon characters greeted families on Halloween night, handing out candy in the warm and dry Alltech Arena. Alltech saluted local heroes on Thursday’s Military Day and encouraged healthy living on Fitness Friday. More than 60 runners and walkers participated in the inaugural Alltech Countryside Canter and 1-Mile Fun Run, part of Family Fun Day festivities on Saturday.
“The Alltech National Horse Show has once again brought the best in equestrian sport to the Horse Capital of the World,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech. “From the junior riders vying for the Maclay Championship to our Olympic-level riders clearing jumps in the Grand Prix, the show delivered emotion and excitement in every class and discipline. Proving to be more than a horse show, the show welcomed members of our community with entertainment for the entire family.”