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Advertisement; Split Rock Jumping Tour Raises Bar For Next Leg of World-Class Event

Monday, 31 August 2015
Split Rock Jumping Tour 2015

New footing from ESI Installed and Ready for October’s Bourbon International CSI 3*

Aerial view
Aerial view og the venue.

The Split Rock Jumping Tour, the new international show jumping series modeled after successful European shows that set out to create an "unparalleled show jumping experience" in the U.S., has done just that, garnering rave reviews from their premiere May event, the Lexington International CSI 3*. However, Founder and President Derek Braun, an international show jumper himself, isn’t done yet. Big improvements have already been made, including new top of the line footing from ESI, which has been installed and is ready for their next world-class event, the Bourbon International CSI 3*, October 9-11.

Both legs of the Split Rock Jumping Tour are held at Braun’s own Split Rock Farm in Lexington, KY, the “Horse Capital of the World,” and are sanctioned by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) as a 3* international competitions which allows riders to earn FEI world ranking points. The unique boutique-style horse shows offer European flair and five-star hospitality that is unlike any other horse show in the nation.

“It’s my dream come true to create a series of this caliber and bring the European show jumping experience to the U.S.,”said Braun, who has been riding since childhood and was one of the nation’s top junior jumper riders before turning professional and competing at the Grand Prix level both nationally and internationally. He gained insight and inspiration when he competed on the European circuit which was like nothing he had seen before in the U.S.

“I’ve always wanted to revolutionize the sport of show jumping in the U.S. and how competitors, sponsors and spectators can benefit from it while creating a truly entertaining sporting event and also increase exposure for the sport itself,” said Braun. “Our inaugural May event was fantastic and the feedback has been truly amazing. It’s so exciting to see your vision come to fruition, and I’m even more excited about our next event!”

The Split Rock Jumping Tour goes above and beyond a world-class venue. Attention is paid to every detail, and Braun does not leave anything to chance, which is why he decided to install new footing before their next event. “Our vision was to hold the featured classes in a grass Grand Prix field, but that can get difficult to keep perfect in all conditions. We want to be world-class and unparalleled in all aspects, hence the decision to immediately move forward and install the best footing possible, which is why we chose to work with Equestrian Services International (ESI). They have installed footing at some of the nation’s and world’s leading horse shows and have a proven track record of
excellence. The footing they have created is specifically suited for our arena at Split Rock. The riders are going to love it and we can’t wait to unveil it at our October event!”

The Split Rock Jumping Tour offers unique and innovative “All-Inclusive” entry options which can be done online. There is even a concierge service to help get the horses settled into their stalls and unpack the trailers upon arrival! There are over-sized ribbons, crystal trophies from L.V. Harkness, Kingsland Equestrian coolers, podium presentations, and great prize money. No details are spared.

"There was a staff of ten people they made available to help unload. It's just the little things, the attention to detail, what this show is all about,” said Charlie Jayne, the recent winner of the $1,000,000 Great American Million Grand Prix, and first alternate to the 2012 Olympic and 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games U.S. teams. “I really think it was a fantastic first event."

Braun also made sure that if fans were unable to be at the Split Rock Jumping Festival in person, they didn’t miss out. The competition was broadcast on

“We're really thrilled to have an event of this caliber on the U.S. calendar, and we're looking forward to having more events like this,” said USEF President Chrystine Tauber. "We're very grateful to Derek Braun and Split Rock for doing this and for having the vision to create something this unique and special. I'm thrilled to see that they put such an effort into the coverage of the event, which is really important. They made a big production out of the television side which was fed to the USEF Network. I think that's really a great way to promote the sport and a special event like this. It was a great experience."

The “VIP Hospitality Experience” at Split Rock also created a truly “Unforgettable Social Experience”. The five-star VIP tent featured gourmet catered meals throughout the day in a relaxing setting with comfortable couches and chairs from which to watch the top-class jumping action. There were parties each night, including Saturday night's special black tie "Gala at The Rock." Members shopped in exclusive VIP boutiques and could even indulge in the VIP Spa Indulge Zone with a relaxing massage afterwards.

Candice King, who has represented the U.S. on multiple Nations Cup and Super League Teams, was also impressed with the Split Rock hospitality. "The staff here has been more than accommodating in every way they can, from the office, the VIP and the food. The presentations - the ribbons, coolers, crystal trophies for every class - the ribbons are massive! Derek's done a great job of putting on a top-class show for us here."

The atmosphere for spectators was also second to none and they also enjoyed an “Unparalleled Experience.” In addition to watching many of the sport’s top horses and riders competing in world-class show jumping competition, visitors enjoyed a variety of boutique shops and food vendors, a Children & Family Festival, a Beer and Wine Garden with live music, as well as raffles!

What made the competition even more exciting was the addition of a unique Leading Athlete Award for    rider who accumulated the most points in the CSI 3* classes. Olympic veteran Margie Engle drove away in a brand new Chevy Equinox valued at over $31,000 from local auto dealer Dan Cummins Chevrolet.

Split Rock VIP Hospitality (c) Jackie McFarland
Split Rock VIP Hospitality (c) Jackie McFarland

Braun is passionate about supporting the local “Bluegrass” community and charities. The Split Rock Jumping Tour has partnered with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Foundation and a portion of proceeds will go directly to the Foundation to support their programs. Split Rock is also providing staff and patients of the Center with free tickets to attend the shows.

  Olympic veteran Kevin Babington of Ireland, winner of the event’s $100,000 CSI 3* Grand Prix, was very impressed with Split Rock’s inaugural event. "When we heard what Derek had planned, we went out of our way to be sure that we made it to his opening show. The whole experience was outstanding – for me, the grooms, and my customers. My customers had an absolute blast. One of them was second, and was able to get up on the podium – that just means so much to them, and it means so much to us as trainers and riders. They've set the bar very high here, and the other shows are going to have to follow."

“The Split Rock mission is to provide everyone involved – riders, owners, sponsors, grooms and spectators - an unparalleled experience and I think we are doing just that,” said Braun. “We had a fantastic first event with amazing support from the riders and we look forward to welcoming them at the next event which will be even better.”

Further information on the Split Rock Jumping Tour is available on line at the Tour's website at or by emailing [email protected]

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