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LEXINGTON, Ky. — On the heels of last fall’s popular Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, reining and the first-ever World Championship Freestyle will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park, April 28-May 1.

One of the world’s most prestigious equestrian competitions and the only CCI**** in the Western Hemisphere, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Presented by Bridgestone, annually attracts 50-100,000 spectators and millions of viewers on international telecasts including a 60-minute domestic broadcast on NBC.

The Kentucky Reining Cup competition, currently pending final approval by the FEI (International Equestrian Federation), will be managed by HorsePower, Inc., reining’s leading event production firm, and will include a Five Star Reining competition, known as a CRI5* (Concours de Reining International), the sport’s highest level, as well as the first-ever World Championship Freestyle. The CRI5* will offer $50,000US in prize money and will be the only Five Star Reining event in the western hemisphere in 2011.

The World Championship Freestyle, expected to draw competitors from around the world, will mark the first time that the title of “World Champion” will be awarded in Freestyle Reining, a consistent crowd favorite. The event’s $25,000US prize money will also mark the largest purse for a Reining Freestyle anywhere in the world.

“It was always our belief that one of the legacies of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games would be that new international events would come to Kentucky,” said Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear. “It is with great pride that we welcome this elite competition to Kentucky and host it alongside what is already one of our favorite events, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.

“Lexington has long been recognized as the ‘Horse Capital of the World’ and the addition of this new elite Reining competition is sure to reinforce that position,” Lexington Mayor Jim Gray added. “Kentucky’s investment in new facilities at the Kentucky Horse Park were excellent venues for last year’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. This investment is paying off in attracting new events here that bring new tourism dollars to our city. This is great news for Lexington.”

The reining events during Rolex Kentucky will build on the momentum of two highly-successful reining events held at the Kentucky Horse Park in the last two years—the 2009 World Equestrian Games (WEG) Test Event and the overwhelmingly successful reining competition at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Running during what is regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious equestrian events is sure to help Reining solidify its place as a major FEI discipline on the international scene.

Reining events will be integrated into the schedule of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event at times that will allow equestrian fans to enjoy both eventing and reining during a single trip to the Kentucky Horse Park.

Selected to produce the reining events, HorsePower, Inc. is based in Denver, Colo., and is led by veteran FEI reining show manager Brad Ettleman, who also served as director for the 2010 FEI Reining World Championships at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

“The 2011 Kentucky Reining Cup will be a major addition to the FEI Reining schedule and we at HorsePower, Inc. are thrilled to be part of this exciting event running concurrently with the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event,” said Ettleman. “After the WEG test event in 2009 and the WEG Championship in 2010, competitors will once again travel to the Kentucky Horse Park to compete in the fantastic Alltech Arena, where so many fond memories were made last year – it is sure to become a long lasting tradition.”

The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is part of the HSBC FEI ClassicsTM and features the Rolex USEF CCI**** Championship for the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation Pinnacle Cup. The world’s best horses and riders compete for their share of $250,000 in prize money as well as a shot at the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing which is awarded to any rider who wins theRolex Kentucky, Mitsubishi Motors Badminton and Land Rover Burghley Four Star Events in succession.

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