Christian Heineking rode NKH Caruso to victory in the $100,000 RFD-TV InIt2WinIt Speed Jumping Championship at the International Omaha on April 13 in Omaha Nebraska. Heineking topped a 22-horse field in winning the Midwest series final at the CenturyLink Center Omaha, site of the 2017 FEI World Cup Finals.
“I thought that this was a great class, and the crowd really was into it,” said Heineking, dubbed the “Heineking of Omaha” for his four grand prix wins in the first five years of the International Omaha. “The InIt2WinIt Series has been great for the Midwest, and the speed format makes it very exciting for the crowd.”
Heineking’s time of 52.16 seconds was nearly 2 seconds faster than the 54.06 turned in by Michael Burnett, who placed second on Iron ahead of Lisa Goldman on Hindsight.
“Iron is really fast, and I mostly just try to stay out of his way,” Burnett said of his partner of the last 11 years. “He is a great horse, and I am very lucky to have him.”
Only four of the 22 horses rode fault-free over the course designed by Bernardo Cabral of Portugal, but with just 2 seconds added for each rail, riders with rails never felt out of contention. “I think this format makes it so much more exciting for the spectators,” said Goldman, “and the riders keep going because we know that we’re never out of it. It makes the whole class faster.”
As part of its commitment to developing jumping in the Midwest following its successful production of the 2017 FEI World Cup Finals, the Omaha Equestrian Foundation created the InIt2WinIt Speed Jumping Series. The series of 1.40-meter speed jumping events sanctioned by the U.S. Equestrian Federation, culminated with the $100,000 championship at 1.45 meters.
“Part of our strategic plan is to create opportunities for high performance athletes from the Midwest and also to develop young riders by providing them with a clear path to higher levels in the sport,” said Lisa Roskens, chairman of the Omaha Equestrian Foundation. “We are also committed to changing the way the sport is presented in this country, and I believe the InIt2WinIt Series is doing just that.”