Equines, riders prepare for liftoff at Colo. Horse Park

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A new event at the Colorado Horse Park will have equines and their riders hurdling their way to $15,000 in prize money

The inaugural Colorado Fall Classic II features four full days of hunter, jumper and equitation classes Aug. 29-Sept. 1. In the Grand Prix arena, spectators will witness awe-inspiring jumping ability and speedy turns. The hunter ring will host competitions based on “beautiful, even striding and perfectly executed jumps,” said Carrie Wirth, a communications specialist working on behalf of the Colorado Horse Park.

The A-rated show will have the nation’s top competitors going head-to-head on new footing that’s on par with that found at the best equestrian jumping venues on the European circuit, Wirth said. The horse park recently invested $1 million to upgrade footing in the pre-arena, hunter arena and schooling arenas.

“It makes a tremendous amount of difference in the way a horse can jump and land; there are only so many jumps in a horse,” she said. “It helps them perform at their very best.”

Jumping at heights greater than 1.5 meters, the horses are a sight to behold for those who have never seen them perform. Wirth also describes the obstacles and intricate course designs as a “unique art form.”

The estimated 300 to 400 visitors per day during the Colorado Fall Classic II will be treated to not only the finest hunter-jumper and equitation shows, but will also have the chance to enjoy the scenery from the elevated equestrian venue. The views of the Front Range, combined with a full season of events, prompted some riders to spend their summer in Colorado.

Attendance at the Colorado Horse Park was so good and demand was so high for more hunter-jumper shows that organizers added six weeks to the season, including four weekends that extend the show schedule into October.

It has been a decidedly exciting year. Kristen VanderVeen, a 24-year-old phenom from the Chicago area, won three grand prix out of the six-week Summer in the Rockies series, walking away with thousands of dollars in prize money and more accolades for her resume.

The Colorado Fall Classic II is poised to continue the summer 2013 tradition of success. Many riders are nearing the end of their seasons and are trying to rack up some last-minute points for their respective leagues, meaning some will pull out all the stops to nab a top-five finish, Wirth said.

For more information and a full competition schedule, visit www.coloradohorsepark.com.