Mary Lisa Leffler and Bling Bling are kicking off the spring show season in winning form at the Virginia Horse Center. After earning a win in Ocala and a win in Atlanta, the duo can now add winning the $30,000 Rockbridge Grand Prix during the Lexington Spring Premiere to their growing list of accomplishments.
Leffler and Bling Bling’s double clear performance in the Saturday night’s highlight event was strong enough to earn them the top honors. “We’re still a new partnership,” Leffler said. “I know she’s fast and she’s clever. She turns and burns, so for me, I could jump all those jumps on angles and not have to worry.”
The pair went fourth in the order, and Leffler did not have a chance to watch anyone go before her in the jump-off. She knew that the first few of riders had rails, and her quick wit combined with her horse’s agility sent them straight to the top of the leaderboard, while last year’s winners, Brooke Kemper and Classified, ended up in second place.
Leffler has been competing at the Virginia Horse Center for as long as she can remember. She said, “It’s just one of my favorite events. Their hospitality — they try so hard, the evening Grand Prix. They really put on a good horse show.”
“The best part of the whole thing was that my sister drove my parents down, so they got to see their horse finally go,” Leffler continued. “So having them there and winning was great!”
In the hunter ring, it was Joy Janouskovec that went home with top honors. Janouskovec and her mount Walk the Line won Friday night’s feature class, the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, besting a field of 21 competitors.
Joy Janouskovec and Walk the Line
Photo by: Teresa Ramsay Photography
The competition at the Virginia Horse Center continues this week, hosting the Lexington Spring Encore on Wednesday through Sunday, May 4-8. The Spring Encore will boast many exciting events, featuring both the $30,000 George L. Ohrstrom Grand Prix and the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.
The $30,000 George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Grand Prix will be held on Saturday, May 7, in the Anderson Coliseum arena. Along with the winning presentation, there will be a Groom’s award presentation to the groom of the winning mount. Guests are also invited to join the course designer, Mr. Anderson Lima of Sao Paulo, Brazil, for a course walk before the class.
The $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby will take place Friday, May 6, at 5 p.m. in the Hilltop arena. In honor of the Virginia Horse Center’s 30th Anniversary, there will be a “Celebrate 30” Wine & Cheese Party held at the Hilltop ring. The party will begin at 5:30 p.m. and run until the conclusion of the derby.