Liberty Hill world champion horse out jumps larger horses


by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News and photojournalist DOUG NAUGLE

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Posted on January 23, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 28 at 2:41 PM

LIBERTY HILL, Texas -- The owner of High Jumpers Stable in Liberty Hill call their home "a zoo."

Leo, a triple registered stallion with four world championships, co-exists with other horses, donkeys, a young Brahma bull and a zebra, but Leo is stealing the show.

Leo is the 2011 Pinto Amateur World Jumping Champion, the 2010 Spotted Saddle Horse High Jumping Champ and the 2009 Missouri Foxtrotter World Jumping Champion. He also won more USEF jumping competitions than any other Missouri Foxtrotter or Spotted Saddle horse in history.

Lexi Ferrar has been training with the 14.3 hand horse. Ferrar said Leo continues to win even after competing against larger, 15 to 17 hand thoroughbreds.

"We went to a double a show. I rode him. He did clear a round at 3-1, and he got a blue ribbon, with all the big horses," Ferrar said.

Leo is believed to have made history with his four world championships in three breed associations.

You might be surprised the foxtrotter is a competitive jumper. This type of horse is usually associated with trail riding.

"They won't jump over a stream. Whereas a lot of breeds will jump 20 feet over the tiniest little stream. They'll always put a foot in it, or just walk across it," said Leo's owner, Kirsten Klindworth.

"We started jumping them, sorta on a lark, and found out 'Wow, they really can jump,'" Klindworth said.

Leo can jump as high as four feet two inches.

Klindworth is in a wheelchair, but said her spinal cord injury 10 years ago wasn't around horses. She owns and competes several horses, but doesn't make money showing.

"It's the passion. It's something that I love to do. I don't think I'll ever not do it," Klindworth said.

Klindworth also said her history-making horse could be a prelude of what's to come for foxtrotters.

"I think they're the future of jumping," Klindworth said.

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