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Kelli Cruciotti and Monterrey

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Kelli Cruciotti Wins Platinum Performance USEF Talent Search 2* at Kentucky Summer Horse Show

Written by: Lauren Baker
Client: Kentucky Horse Shows LLC
Release Date: 2015-05-08

Lexington, KY – May 8, 2015 – Kelli Cruciotti is a three-year veteran in the Platinum Performance USEF Talent Search, and today’s blue-ribbon performance further proved her excellence in the equitation ring.

The Talent Search classes showcase equitation basics over fences and on the flat, reinforcing the principle that form follows function. The class plays an instrumental role in preparing the next generation of professional American riders for the future.

Cruciotti and her horse, Monterrey, were the first on course, and the pair stepped confidently into the Walnut Ring at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, ready to face designer Scott Starnes’ 15-effort course.

Key technical elements included three double combinations, a liverpool and, Starnes’ personal favorite: an 11-foot water jump. The 2* ranking allowed for a fence height of 1.15m.

“It’ll be tough, but fine,” Starnes said of his course. “If they do qualify, they need to be ready for the Finals. I have the lines across the middle of the arena with four related distances in a row. There are numbers there, and they have to work them out and set up for the turns. They can get lost out there with the time, too. If they go all the way to the end of the ring, they’re going to get time faults.”

Overcoming the potentially tricky elements, Cruciotti smoothly navigated Monterrey around the course, while remaining comfortably under the time allowed of 99 seconds.

“I thought the course was fantastic, I thought it was really symmetrical off of both leads,” Cruciotti commented. “The time allowed was tight, so it really encouraged you to take the leave-out on all the lines and keep coming through the turns; it was nice. I loved the course. I have ridden under this course designer before, and I have always liked his courses; he did a great job today.”

With today’s win, Cruciotti and Monterrey have earned enough points to qualify for the USEF Talent Search Finals East in Gladstone, New Jersey.

“Monterrey is fantastic,” Cruciotti said with admiration. “He is the best horse I will ever ride for sure. He has scope, stride, and he loves to win; I think more than I do sometimes. We’ll give it our best shot at Finals.”

While Cruciotti made it look easy, some of the other young riders struggled with the course’s more technical elements. Second-place finisher Virginia Ingram and her mount Comanche, owned by Hilary Sapanski, had an unlucky rail and two time faults that separated her from the top spot.

Lucas Porter and Punch, owned by Sleepy P Ranch LLC out of Bartonville, Texas, had a clear round, but incurred eight time faults, which earned the duo third place.

The competitors’ equitation continued to shine on the flat, where riders were asked to show their horses at the working trot, sitting trot, extended trot, working canter, counter canter and extended canter.

In the end, it was Cruciotti’s well-executed over-fences round that vaulted her to the top of the leader board, ensuring the pair will continue to Finals.

Up next at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, the Claiborne will take center stage on Sunday for “Derby Day.” The highlight events will include $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby and the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.

To learn more about the Kentucky Spring Horse Show please visit


Entry #    Horse Name    Rider Name    Rank    
209    MONTERREY     KELLI CRUCIOTTI         1    
197    COMANCHE     BLYTHE MARANO         2    
157    PUNCH     LUCAS PORTER         3    
302    SANTORINI     DAISY FARISH         4    
359    ZORRO     ANNABEL REVERS         5    


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