The New Albany Classic Grand Prix is a equestrian event featuring riders from throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, including three silver medal-winning members of the United States Show Jumping Olympic team, held on the estate of Leslie Wexner, the man who started the Limited stores.
We arrived and were directed to a large field quickly filling up with cars. Since I had purchased the tickets online we quickly passed through security and onto the grounds, where we were greeted by a 20′ high animatronics dinosaur. Nearby was a tent with a petting area with alpacas, sheep, and a couple of small ponies.
After a brief wait we entered a tent marked ‘Magic of Hollywood‘. Among the costumes there were virtually all of the Batman ones, Edward Scissorhands, Spiderman, Jurassic Park, and many others.
After passing more classic cars, we made our way into the equestrian grounds and found a seat in the shade, well worth the 30 minute wait to have a shady seat. We passed the time watching the color guards practice their routine 4 times, until they did it for real and the event started with a lengthy opening ceremony emceed by a reporter from WBNS TV whose delivery made you understand why they have writers prepare their words for them.
Finally the event began. The course was set out across a beautiful green field with a number of jumps. Each jump was decorated differently, and had different height and distance bars to challenge the contestants. Because each of the 25 contestants went the same path through the course, it was easy to know where they were going to provide the best shots, and they didn’t disappoint.
The horses are amazing in their strength and skill, and look fantastic going over the obstacles.
As noted previously the jumps had a variety of decorations, each sponsored by a different corporation.
After half of the riders had competed, the grounds crew came out and tamped down the take off and landing areas, providing a fair venue for all the riders.
After all 25 had gone, they narrowed it down to the top nine of the 25 riders going clear over the Richard Jeffery designed course. The grounds crew re-arranged the course slightly, and they had the finals. In the end McLain Ward claimed the Authentic Cup and his share of the $125,000 prize money
It was a beautiful day, and a great event. I would highly recommend the New Albany Classic.