The Paso Park Oak Tree Classic kicked off the competition with the $5,000 1.40m Open Welcome Stakes. Finishing in first place was Carol Wright riding Excellent Van Kapel. On Friday morning, the Park hosted the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, with first place awarded to Robert Blanchette riding Valentina. Friday evening, competitors were treated to a Horseman’s Happy Hour, hosted by Equivont, featuring snacks and local sips from Lusso Della Terra wines and SLO Brew.
Locals and visitors alike gathered to the Park on Saturday, November 9, for the $40,000 Oak Tree Classic Grand Prix presented by Best Western Plus Black Oak and Adelaide Inn. A total of 20 horse and rider teams navigated the series of jumps and efforts designed by world-class course designer, Anthony D’Ambrosio. At the completion of the first round, seven competitors qualified for the “jump-off” finale. The jump-off kept audience members at the edge of their seats as they intensely observed the riveting competition.
In the heart of California horse country, the Grand Prix was one for the Danes. Bjorn Ikast riding Classini, owned by BBB Show Jumpers LLC, sped through the course to claim the blue ribbon. Second place went to Kenneth Vinther on his horse Colicchio, and third right back to Ikast on his horse Castino. These two compiling the top three finishes are both from Denmark.
“This show highlights top-level competition in an environment that reminds us all we are here for the passion of the sport and these horses,” commented Linda Starkman, chairwoman of the Paso Robles Horse Park Foundation. “It’s beyond the blue ribbon; it’s about the comradery and the fun!”
In its fourth year, the Paso Robles Horse Park has showcased a full schedule in 2019, featuring four schooling shows, three USEF B-Rated shows, and four weeks of Classic Series USEF-Rated shows. “As we round out the rest of our year at the Park, we look back so thankful for the trainers and competitors that have jumped into supporting our first year running these shows,” said Starkman. “We take our responsibility very seriously to treat riders and horses to an elite show experience. When we look keenly at 2020, we are excited to reflect on the possibilities ahead for the Park and the positive impact we can have on the sport and the local community.”