rider representative Kevin Babington and Carling King score
a major victory in the $100,000 Cosequin U.S. Open Jumper
Photo credit professionalsphoto.com
Ambassador Kevin Babington Claims $100,000 Cosequin Grand Prix
Wellington, Florida Irelands Kevin Babington,
a rider representative for JustWorld International, claimed
victory on March 14 in the $100,000 Cosequin U.S. Open Jumper
Championship, the final grand prix event held during the Winter
Equestrian Festival circuit in Wellington, FL.
was among just three of the original 31 riders who posted
clear rounds to advance to the jump-off over a challenging
track set by Jose Gamarra of Bolivia. Seven-time Canadian
Olympian Ian Millar was the first rider back for the jump-off
and went for a slow but steady clear with Promise Me, stopping
the clock at 47.62 seconds. Next to go, Babington went all
out, speeding over the jump-off track in a time of 42.70 seconds
with his partner of five years, Carling King. Last to challenge,
McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, had an early rail with his Olympic
hopeful, Sapphire, to hand victory to Babington.
saw Ians round and I knew if I gave it a shot, I could beat
him, explained Babington, 35, a native of Tipperary who currently
makes his home in Gwynedd Valley, PA, with his wife and daughter.
McLain was coming behind me so I knew if I went for a slow
clear, I was going to end up third. I gave it a shot and it paid
King has fantastic scope, and I think that is the fastest I have
ever gone with him, continued Babington in praise of his 13-year-old
chestnut Irish-bred gelding by Clover Hill. He jumped brilliantly,
and I felt so happy for the horse.
weeks earlier, Babington and Carling King had won the $75,000 PDP
Capital Masters Cup and have received the nod to represent Ireland
at the 2004 Athens Olympics in August.
have Babington involved with JustWorld International, a not-for-profit,
humanitarian organization whose mission is to prepare and empower
students to become visionary leaders and work for social justice,
was a natural fit. Respected on the international stage, Babington
is one of six JustWorld International rider representatives. Immediately
following his win in the $100,000 Cosequin U.S. Open Jumper Championship,
Babington generously donated ten percent of his $30,000 in prize
money to JustWorld International.
I was first approached about riding for a JustWorld, I thought it
was a great way for the sport to give something back, claims
Babington. When I was asked to play a part as a role model,
I was honoured. I thought it was a good way to encourage kids to
get involved, and there are many in this sport that need guidance
and can benefit from seeing the top riders come together to support
a good cause.
Ireland, I used to teach a riding program for the handicapped every
Wednesday and I really enjoyed that experience, I found it very
rewarding, continued Babington. For me to be involved
in JustWorld and to give ten percent of my prize money is only a
small gift back. My owner, Sally Glassman, is happy to do it, she
thinks the JustWorld initiative is very exciting and wants to be
a part of it. All of the customers in my barn are very enthusiastic
and are looking for ways to be involved, which is what I hoped to
encourage by being involved myself.
International Executive Director Jessica Newman could not have been
more thrilled by Babingtons victory.
am ecstatic that Kevin won, especially on the same day of our presentation,
noted Newman in reference to the JustWorld presentation held immediately
prior to the grand prix to recognize the riders who have supported
the JustWorld initiative. I am honoured that Kevin and his
owner believe in our cause and, even in the excitement of their
victory, their first thought was to donate ten percent of their
prize money to JustWorld International.
believes in JustWorld, and wants to make a personal difference and
also encourage youth to follow in his footsteps, get involved, and
give something back, continued Newman, 28, who, after working
with street children in Honduras, sacrificed her own grand prix
riding career in order to concentrate on the formation and development
of JustWorld International. It is amazing to have a rider
of his quality and integrity representing JustWorld International
as a spokesperson. I was so touched by his generous donation. It
inspires me and I feel very privileged to work with such great people.
Babington, having Newman at the helm was an added incentive to become
a JustWorld International rider representative.
think that what Jessica has accomplished in such a short amount
on time is truly remarkable, notes Babington. She is
such a positive person, she has positive energy and when people
meet her, they want to be a part of that. I think that the skys
the limit when it comes to ways the equestrian community can support
International offers fellowship programs for students from around
the globe to learn leadership skills, the tools that they can use
to make a positive difference in the world. With seven project sites
already located in such underprivileged nations as Cambodia, Rwanda
and Chile and several other project sites awaiting funding, students
have the opportunity to work for change in a wide variety of environments
on behalf of JustWorld International. For further information on
JustWorld International, please visit www.justworldinternational.org