Category Archives: National Horse Show

Schaefer Sisters Rule the Day with Grand Hunter Championships at National Horse Show

Samantha Schaefer and Trademark.

Lexington, KY – October 28, 2020 – Following Tuesday’s start to hunter divisions at the 137th National Horse Show, the first round of championship honors were awarded Wednesday within the Alltech Arena, which saw a series of awards go to the Schaefer sisters from Shadow Ridge Equestrian. Thanks to a series of winning performances that topped the field of talented contenders in the High Performance, Conformation and Green Hunter divisions, Samantha Schaefer and Take 3 LLC’S Trademark were honored with the title of Meralex Farm Grand Champion Professional Hunter, presented by Bryan Baldwin. Additionally, the Meralex Farm Leading Hunter Rider Award was also presented to Schaefer, for which she earned the Leading Hunter Rider Challenge Trophy presented by Bryan Baldwin, following her standout performances aboard both Trademark and In The Know over the initial days of the competition. In the Amateur-Owner 3’6” ranks, owner-rider Madeline Schaefer and Sutton Place received the “Ruxton & Scot To Do” Challenge Trophy for their Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter title.

The first set of major awards saw Samantha staying in the ring for one accolade after the next, starting with the championship honors in the Judith Murch High Performance Hunters. She and sister Madeline’s In The Know earned the tricolor ribbon thanks to first-place trips over fences and in the handy, as well as third position in the stake and fourth place under saddle. Though the horses swapped, Samantha maintained her place in the winner’s circle, now with Trademark, to accept the Meralex Farm Grand Champion Professional Hunter Award, presented by Bryan Baldwin. The flashy gelding carried his rider to a perfect score in the Goshen Hill Green 3’6” Hunters with four first-place results, as well as top-five placings in all five of the classes in the Mrs. Kenneth Garber Green Conformation Hunters. Considering her lengthy list of standout results, it came as no surprise that Samantha’s list of achievements culminated with her being named the Meralex Farm Leading Hunter Rider.

Samantha’s trophies are the culmination of a successful year for the rider that is based out of Maryland and Florida, who rode to success at Tryon, Kentucky Horse Shows, Traverse City Horse Shows, American Gold Cup, and Capital Challenge Horse Show during 2020. Aboard her two main hunter mounts In The Know and Trademark, the trainer from Shadow Ridge Equestrian topped scorecards all around the country, both in divisional competition as well as derbies.

The Schaefer family name continued to be represented well thanks to Madeline and Sutton Place, the partnership that competed in the Hunt LTD Amateur-Owner Hunters for the Under 35 age group. Much like their familial counterparts, Madeline and the chromey chestnut gelding impressively garnered the division championship due to a perfect 40-point score following four winning rides, which also propelled them to the head of the leaderboard for the overall Amateur-Owner honors as the best-performing Amateur-Owner partnership over the 3’6” fences. Though Madeline and Sutton Place have only been paired together since the summer, the duo has made quick work of show rings around the U.S. beginning with their first event together at Traverse City Horse Shows.

To learn more about the 2020 National Horse Show, click here.

National Horse Show Offering $213,300 in Prize Money for National Horse Show Grand Prix 4*

Brian Moggre and MTM Vivre Le Reve Winning the $225,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington CSI4*-W at National Horse Show.

Lexington, KY – October 26, 2020 – The 2020 National Horse Show is offering a purse of $213,300 for the National Horse Show Grand Prix 4* that is scheduled to be held on Saturday, October 31, 2020. Hosted in the Alltech Arena, located on the Kentucky Horse Park, the National Horse Show Grand Prix is one of the most recognized and revered Grand Prix’s in North America. The historic class has been won by the best equestrians from around the world including McLain Ward, Dennis Lynch, Beezie Madden, Darragh Kenny, and Kent Farringtion.

There are limited entries still available for the National Horse Show CSI4* which will feature a total of three FEI Ranking classes including the Grand Prix. If you are interested in submitting your entry, please email Cindy Bozan at cindy@nhs.org.

The 2020 National Horse Show is offering over $300,000 in prize money as an FEI CSI4*-W designated event. The National Horse Show $50,000 Hunter Classic along with the ASPCA Maclay Finals, The Hamel Foundation National Horse Show 3’3” Equitation Championship, and the Taylor Harris Insurance Services Adult Equitation Championship have made the National Horse Show a must-attend event for equestrians around the world as the finale to their summer equestrian seasons.

To learn more about the 2020 National Horse Show, click here.

Michael Britt-Leon, Samantha Schaefer, and Dorli Burke Ride to Early Hunters Leads at NHS

Michael Britt-Leon on Private I.

Lexington, KY – October 27, 2020 – Hunter competition commenced Tuesday at the 2020 National Horse Show, which is celebrating its 137th year, at its home in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. Professionals and amateurs vied for the leading positions in their respective divisions throughout the initial day of the competition, which concluded with the first set of frontrunners that will try to defend their status Wednesday. In the Green 3’9” Hunters, Michael Britt-Leon and Kelly Sims’ Private I jumped to the top of the overall scorecard, while Samantha Schaefer piloted Take 3 LLC’S Trademark to the head of the leaderboard in the Goshen Hill Green 3’6” Hunters. In the amateur-owner ranks, Charming carried owner-rider Dorli Burke to the early lead in the Suzanne Thoben Marquard Amateur-Owner Over 35 Hunters.

Over the lofty 3’9” fences, Geoffrey Hesslink and Shadowfax Equestrian LLC’s Bond nabbed the first win of the Green 3’9” Hunter division in the classic over fences round, which saw a pack of skilled partnerships tackle the track. Hot on their heels were Britt-Leon and Private I, who earned the red ribbon in the first class and were eager to show off their skills in the handy round in an attempt to overtake the early leaders. One-upping themselves, the duo of Britt-Leon and Private I put in a swift and effortless trip for which they were awarded first place in the second portion of the competition, pushing them to the top of the standings thanks to two top-two finishes. Britt-Leon and Sims’ 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding entered the National Horse Show hot off recent success at the Capital Challenge Horse Show, where they won the $10,000 World Champion Hunter Rider Professional Finals during their debut in the competition, and the pair will try to maintain momentum Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, a talented field that featured the likes of Daisy Farish, Greg Crolick, and Schaefer competed head-to-head over two jumping rounds, one of which was a handy, in the Goshen Hill Green 3’6” Hunter division. Taking home the first blue ribbon of the division was Schaefer aboard Trademark, a pair that has consistently turned in winning rounds at horse shows around the country. Well known for his striking markings and eye-catching way of going, the 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding returned for the handy round to again best the field of 17 horses, earning the lead headed into day two of competition.

Unlike their earlier Green counterparts, the Amateur-Owner competitors had three chances to demonstrate their abilities in front of the judges Tuesday, once over fences and in the handy, as well as under saddle. The first class was won by Burke on her own Charming, and the handy phase saw owner-rider Lynn Seithel at the top of the ranks with Walk The Moon, with Burke and Charming close behind in second position. Returning to the ring for the flat phase, Burke and Charming solidified their ranking as the frontrunners thanks to another top finish, claiming second place behind Michelle Gauchat and her own Le Diplomate.

To learn more about the 2020 National Horse Show, click here.

Caroline Tinsley Jumps Zonder Z Quattro to NHS 3’3” Equitation Championship Honors

Caroline Tinsley with Zonder Z Quattro

Lexington, KY – October 25, 2020 – The final day of the 2020 National Horse Show’s Opening Weekend continued to showcase equitation talent Sunday, with a substantial field of 174 junior contenders taking to the Alltech Arena to vie for the tricolor honors in the Hamel Foundation National Horse Show 3’3” Equitation Championship, the final contest of the weekend. Featuring the largest field of the weekend, the class celebrated its third year after a successful debut in 2018 and enhanced turnout in 2019. Thanks to three textbook rounds – twice over fences and once on the flat – Caroline Tinsley added her name to the list of winners of the prestigious class as the 2020 champion. The clear victor, Tinsley’s three rides aboard sister Abigail Tinsley’s Zonder Z Quattro were so exemplary that the judges panel did not feel the need to request a work-off due to the impression left by the leading pair, who never fell from the first spot following their first ride around the ring.

The 12-effort first round track, crafted by veteran designer Bobby Murphy, was fit for the occasion, offering exhibitors opportunities to shine while also serving as a useful tool to separate the top performers from the rest of the pack. In front of the judging panel of Keri Kampsen and Chance Arakelian, horse-and-rider combinations put their best foot forward, with 24 of them ultimately pegged to return for the flat phase of the contest as the highest point-earners thus far. Split into two sections, the qualified exhibitors displayed their prowess at all three gaits, plus the counter-canter, then advanced to the third phase of competition. Headed into the next portion of riding, Caroline Tinsley led the way, followed by Julia Nickl, Francesca Guidi, Jessica Carney, Christian Dominguez, and Taylor Cawley.

Returning to the ring for a second over fences trip, the list of remaining contenders once again aimed to impress the judges over Murphy’s newest track, which featured a fence jumped both directions as well as plenty of bending lines and changes of direction. The field rode in reverse order of the standings, giving Tinsley the advantage of riding last as the frontrunner. The top 24 duos aimed to inspire, collectively turning in a series of standout performances during what would turn out to be the final phase of the competition.

Though the judges had the opportunity to request further testing, Kampsen and Arakelian decided they had seen all they needed to determine the results of the top finalists. As the results were announced one by one, it became clear that Tinsley had succeeded at maintaining her grasp on the top spot on the leaderboard, a status she held ever since her first trip around the arena as the 97th in the starting list in the irons aboard Zonder Z Quattro. Making a jump from seventh place, Madison Olvert captured the reserve honors in her last-ever junior class on her own Green Book, a welcome addition to her division championship in the Pérez & Bennett 16-17 Equitation Over Fences earlier in the weekend. Nickl piloted her own Zurich to the final podium placing, and owner-rider Madison Sanders clinched fourth place with Calvandani Z, a substantial jump from 15th place after the under saddle phase.

To learn more about the 2020 National Horse Show, click here.

Madison Sellman and Clover Win THIS National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship

Madison Sellman aboard Clover.

Lexington, KY – October 24, 2020 – The 137th National Horse Show (NHS) continued Saturday, October 24, bringing top athletes to the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park for another day of historic sport. In addition to naming its first round of champions, day two of the 2020 National Horse Show featured the highly-anticipated Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship. Seventy-six adult equitation riders were called to order in the evening for the THIS National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship, which challenged them to show their best position and style over a three-phase contest. Ultimately, Madison Sellman outshone the rest to ride to a standout victory aboard Clover.

A hefty start list of 76 exhibitors navigated course designer Bobby Murphy’s 12-effort track for the first phase of competition. The flowing course featured a series of lines, including two bending lines to fences at the far end of the ring, a question that repeatedly posed a challenge to riders and their equine partners. Following the conclusion of the first round, judges Keri Kampsen and Chance Arakelian invited 24 contenders back to the arena for the final two phases of competition, which consisted of a flat class in addition to another trip over fences. Whittled down to the best performers, the flat portion of the class was split into two sections, which saw the remaining challenger demonstrate all three paces. Following that, all 24 eligible partnerships advanced to the final phase, one more over fences trip to demonstrate their skill.

A new pattern, Murphy’s second course featured some familiar elements from the first track, but offered riders a few new opportunities to showcase their abilities. With the 24 rounds completed, judges Kampsen and Arakalien invited four finalists – Jessica Stone, Madison Myro, Madison Sellman, and Ashton Alexander – back to the ring for one final test.

Riding in that order, Stone tackled the track first, which consisted of counter-cantering fence 1, cantering fence 2, a halt, cantering fences 4a and 4b, trotting fence 5, cantering fences 6a and 6b, then returning to the line. She and her mount put the pressure on with an expertly-navigated work-off to set the standard for the remaining contestants, and Myro followed suit, managing to halt her horse earlier than her peer. Not willing to be outdone, Sellman performed admirably with another expert trip, hoping to add further success to her division championship won earlier in the day, leaving Alexander for last. Also a division tricolor winner Saturday, Alexander piloted her equine partner to a seemingly flawless execution of the pattern, leaving a tough decision for the judges to order the quartet of talented riders.

As the results were announced in reverse order, Sellman’s efforts over four phases were ultimately rewarded as the judges named her the 2020 Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Horse Show Adult Equitation champion. Alexander was awarded reserve honors, followed by Stone in third place, while Myro rounded out the top four.

From Honeoye Falls, N.Y., Sellman is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina, where she was named the 2019-2020 SEC Equestrian Scholar Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive year. In the competition arena, Sellman excelled as well, earning NCEA All-America Second Team and All-SEC honors as a senior for her work on the flat. Her catch-riding skills from collegiate equestrian came in handy Saturday, as the young rider navigated Clover, a horse that she does not normally ride, to a prestigious victory.

To learn more about the 2020 National Horse Show, click here.

Madison Olvert and Kennedy Duke Lead Pérez & Bennett 16-17 Equitation Division at NHS

Kennedy Duke and Galan.

Lexington, KY – October 23, 2020 – The 2020 National Horse Show (NHS) began Friday, October 23, returning to its home in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park for its 137th year of top competition. As the oldest indoor horse show in America, the National Horse Show is a major fixture on the national and international equestrian sports calendar. Now in its third year, the Opening Weekend highlights age-group equitation classes and two championship events, the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship and the Hamel Foundation National Horse Show 3’3″ Equitation Championship, over the course of three days. In the Pérez & Bennett 16-17 Equitation division, Madison Olvert stood out as the big winner of the day, riding to back-to-back blue ribbons in Section A of the split division aboard her own Green Book. In Section B, Kennedy Duke and her own Galan led the way thanks to two top-three results.

Friday brought the first over fences round of divisions ranging in height from 2’6”-3’3” and under saddle classes, with a number of exhibitors earning coveted ribbons from judges Keri Kampsen and Chance Arakelian for equitation excellence. Kicking off the Pérez & Anne Bennett 16-17 Equitation division, Section A competitors took center stage following the Pérez & Bennett Under 14 and 14-15 Equitation divisions earlier in the morning. Olvert and Green Book jumped to the top of the leaderboard as the early frontrunners ahead of 30 competitors thanks to a stellar over fences round that earned them a first-place prize, and the partnership later returned to the ring to add to their success. Under saddle, Olvert and Green Book once again shone the brightest, nabbing the top honors ahead of a hotly-contested flat class to kick off the horse show on a high note and conclude the day as the division leaders.

In Section B, 29 entries attempted to demonstrate accuracy and precision over the 10-fence course, and in the end Duke bested the pack with the ride on Galan following an exemplary trip that kept them at the head of the talented class to earn invaluable points towards the division championship. Duke and Galan once again impressed with a third-place finish under saddle, but were bested by Courtney Craver and her own Kentucky Ter Doorns, who walked, trotted, and cantered straight to first place in the class. Duke and Galan will aim to maintain their status as the division frontrunners Thursday with the final over fences class.

The National Horse Show will return for its second day of riding Saturday, Oct. 24, and will highlight the championship crowning of the age group equitation divisions, as well as the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship.

To learn more about the 2020 National Horse Show, click here.

2020 National Horse Show COVID-19 Protocols Released

Lexington, KY – Sept. 14, 2020 – The COVID-19 Protocols for the 2020 National Horse Show are now available for review. Scheduled to be held at the Kentucky Horse Park from October 23 – November 1, the National Horse Show is looking forward to hosting top equestrian sport in a safe environment for all competitors. This year, strict COVID-19 protocols will be enforced for all participants. The COVID-19 Protocols are based on the best practices from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).

To make sure everyone is still able to be with us safely from home, The National Horse Show will be offering free live streaming coverage of the event via ShowNet and ClipMyHorse TV.

In addition to the COVID-19 protocols, the 2020 National Horse Show will not be offering any VIP seating or Rider’s Lounge. These adjustments are for the safety of our members, competition organizers, staff, parents, and all involved.

To maintain social distancing standards, the 2020 event will not exceed 25% capacity in the Alltech Arena at any time.

Please check the nhs.org website regularly for event updates. Any questions regarding the event and changes to rules and regulations may be addressed to Cindy@nhs.org.

Ava Stearns Wins ASPCA Maclay National Championship at National Horse Show

Ava Stearns on Acer K.

Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 3, 2019 – On the final day of its 136th anniversary, the National Horse Show welcomed junior equitation riders to the Alltech Arena for the ASPCA Maclay National Championship, presented by Chansonette Farm, the last of the four major equitation finals held each fall season. The National Horse Show has come to be known as one of America’s premier indoor equestrian events thanks to its rich history and classical traditions, one of which is the prestigious championship that is regarded as one of the most coveted equitation distinctions in the sport. Since 1933, an elite junior rider’s name has been etched into history as the annual champion, and this year the deserving victor was 18-year-old Ava Stearns, who topped the scorecard during her final junior year ahead of 175 athletes to capture the tricolor honors as the 2019 ASPCA Maclay National Champion and winner of the esteemed ASPCA Horsemanship Trophy.

Throughout the majority of the day, entries contested designer Bobby Murphy’s course one-by-one in attempts to showcase their abilities over the expertly created 14-effort pattern. The efficient course featured a diverse collection of fence types ranging from sturdy to airy, with the majority of the jumps not implementing standards, and was a nod to popular obstacles of the past as Murphy incorporated a series of fences that were reminiscent of those seen in previous generations. Exhibitors were offered fair opportunities to shine or fall short, with a forward 5-stride line, a collected 6-stride line, two in-and-outs, and an obstacle jumped twice both directions all integrated into the course.

Faced with the task of whittling down the initial start list of 176 pairs to only the top 25 performers, judges Jimmy Torano and Tamara Provost ranked the collection of participants who had earned a callback into the next rounds of competition. As the 92nd to ride in the original order-of-go, Stearns, riding Acer K, proved to answer Murphy’s questions the best as they exemplified the pinnacle of equitation, completing a textbook trip to jump to the head of the standby list following the first phase of competition. Headed into the under saddle and second over fences portions of riding, Stearns, Isabelle Song, Breanna Bunevacz, Emma Fletcher, Alexa Aureliano, Juliette Joseph, Catalina Peralta, Jordan Toering, and Savannah Hemby were pegged as the frontrunners, all riding head-to-head in the same flat section.

During the under saddle phase, riders’ balance and strength, as well as their horses’ adjustability, were put to the test through a series of directives from the judges, which included lengthening of stride, flying changes, and changes of gait, most of which was done without stirrups. Thanks to impeccable showings, both Bunevacz and Fletcher managed to usurp the early leader to claim the first and second positions, respectively, ahead of the final over fences phase. Hemby, Casas, Pielet, and Griffiths also performed well and leapfrogged up the ranks to inch that much closer to the top spot.

Returning in reverse order of the standings for their last chance to display their skills, all of the top 25 contenders navigated the Alltech Arena once more in an effort to either win the competition or force a work-off. With the points too close to make a championship decision yet following the second jumping phase, the judges requested a final test for six riders, which included highest-placed Stearns, Fletcher, Casas, Hannah Hoch, Sophie Gochman, and Elli Yeager. Originally outside of the top six, Hoch, Gochman, and Yeager were each able to maneuver their way up the leaderboard to keep them in contention.

For their final ride-off, competitors were asked to canter directly to fence one, counter-canter fence 11, canter fences 12a and 12b, canter to fence 13 in six strides, halt, canter fence eight, hand gallop fence five, and exit at the walk. The first five partnerships each turned in solid performances with no major errors, keeping the competition tight as the final entry walked through the arch for the last over fences trip of more than 200 throughout the day. As the ultimate challenger to ride, and with the lead to lose, Stearns jockeyed Acer K to an exemplary and seemingly effortless round, concluding the day’s activities on a high note with her precision, correct form, and aid effectiveness. After waiting through the nerve-wracking announcement of results, Stearns was rewarded for her superior efforts with Acer K as the 2019 ASPCA Maclay National Champion.

As the 2019 victor, Stearns’ name now sits amongst some of the sport’s greatest athletes and icons, including past winners such as Bill Steinkraus, Frank Chapot, Lillie Keenan, Victoria Colvin, and 2018 winner Sam Walker. Even more impressive is the fact that the junior rider claimed the championship aboard 8-year-old Acer K, North Run’s gelding who has just completed his first indoor season competing in the equitation finals. Though their partnership is relatively new, Stearns and Acer K have already achieved an incredible amount of success together, earning the reserve champion honors in both the 2019 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East as well as 2019 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation Final, in addition to topping the inaugural Dudley B. Smith Equitation Championship at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival during the summer. As the trainers of the winning rider, Missy Clark and John Brennan of North Run were also awarded a one-year lease of an Audi, courtesy of Audi of Lexington.

Hot off third place honors in Saturday’s Hollow Brook Wealth Management $25,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumper Grand Prix CSI4*, 18-year-old Casas continued her successful weekend with the reserve champion honors. The 2018 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation Final winner, 17-year-old Yeager added to her equitation reputation by earning the overall third place status. The 2019 Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final winner just weeks ago, Fletcher clinched fourth place, while Gochman earned fifth place and Hoch rounded out the top six.

Sunday’s competition concluded the 2019 National Horse Show, but the equestrian event will return in 2020 to once again host the ASPCA Maclay National Championship.

To learn more about the National Horse Show, click here.

Moggre Is Magnificent in Lexington

Brian Moggre and MTM Vivre le Reve. (FEI/Ashley Neuhof)

At just 18 years old, Brian Moggre (USA) recorded his second career World Cup victory in the $225,000 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington (USA).

Riding MTM Vivre le Reve, Moggre became the youngest rider to win the class in the event’s history. The duo topped an eight-horse jump-off that included the likes of Olympic gold medalist Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final Champion Beat Mändli (SUI) and others among the star-studded cast of competitors.

Opening up the stride to a full gallop, Moggre and his mount positively soared over the final fence, crossing the timers of Ken Krome’s (USA) shortened course in 34.22 seconds. Karen Polle (JPN) and Kino finished second, just two-tenths of a second behind them on a time of 34.44 seconds, while David Blake (IRL) and Keoki finished third. Their time was 36.87 seconds.

“That moment, for me, was something I never expected to feel, especially this year and where I am in my career. That horse is really special to me. He’s really taken me through the ranks. He was really on his game today, and luckily I was on mine!” — Brian Moggre (USA)

While Moggre only began competing at the World Cup level this year, his partnership with his mount extends back nearly four years.

“We were both young when I got him,” he explained. “I was 14, and he was seven, so we’ve grown a lot together. I jumped my first five star this year, and it was also his first five star. I really think this horse is a product of having a good relationship with your horse and excellent training. To grow with him is something that is very special to me. These major first victories — I wouldn’t want to do it with any other horse.”

After recording his first World Cup victory at the end of last season in Ocala, Moggre is out to earn his first trip to the Finals, set for April in Las Vegas (USA). His victory in Lexington moved him into second in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League, behind only two-time World Cup Final Champion Beezie Madden (USA). Madden boasts 48 points, while Moggre now has 41. Andrew Welles (USA) sits third in the standings with 26 points.

The North American League continues with a double-header of World Cup action in Thermal (USA) and Toronto (CAN) on 9 November 2019.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Darragh Kenny Wins $36k Free x Rein Int’l Jumper Welcome Speed CSI4* Costume Class at NHS

Darragh Kenny on Billy Dorito.

Lexington, Ky. – Oct. 30, 2019 – Donning festive costumes to celebrate the Halloween season, 57 horse-and-rider partnerships representing 10 nations tested their footspeed Wednesday evening in the $36,000 Free x Rein International Jumper Welcome Speed CSI4*, the first show jumping class of the 2019 National Horse Show. Ranked No. 9 in the world based on the Longines FEI standings, Darragh Kenny (IRL) proved why he deserves that distinction with a rapid navigation of the course with the reins on Vlock Show Stables LLC’s Billy Dorito, besting a field comprised of riders in guises such as the Flintstones, Toy Story characters and the Joker, among many other inventive outfits.

Operating under a one-round speed format, the class challenged exhibitors to be quick and careful over designer Ken Krome’s (USA) 13-effort track, which ultimately only saw a total of 26 clear rounds from the initial start list. Riding first in the order, Katie Dinan (USA) and Brego R’N B wasted no time as the first pair to successfully tackle the course without incurring any faults, serving as the trailblazers and setting the standard at 72.46 seconds. Just a few trips later still early in the order of go, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) substantially improved upon his peer’s time, slicing across the course and tripping the timers in 64.11 seconds aboard Karlin Van’t Vennehof to propel themselves to the early lead.

Amazingly trimming even more time off the clock, Daniel Coyle (IRL) and CHS Krooze maneuvered the pattern at a breakneck pace, galloping across the finish line almost ten full seconds faster in 53.80 seconds. Their time would not hold for long though, as fellow Irishman Kenny jockeyed Billy Dorito to the slightly faster time of 53.74 seconds, capturing the lead by mere milliseconds as the 16th duo in the order. More than 40 subsequent contenders, which featured costumes such as jockeys, a judge, Mario and Luigi, multiple generations of Madonna and more, chased down the frontrunners over the remainder of the class, but the swift speed put forth by Kenny and Billy Dorito proved uncatchable, solidifying the Irish partnership as the 2019 winners of the $36,000 Free x Rein International Jumper Welcome Speed CSI4*. Dressed as a skeleton, Coyle retained second position with his own CHS Krooze, and Andy Kocher (USA) jumped to the final podium spot aboard Eye Candy Jumpers’ Fashion V, breaking the beam in 54.070 seconds as Freddie Mercury and his golden steed.

Appropriately outfitted for the Kentucky crowd, Sloane Coles (USA) dressed as a bottle of bourbon for her ride aboard Calisto 26. Going all out with a body suit and cut-out photos of the famous Kentucky liquor, she was awarded the Best Costume Award for her creative efforts.

Scott Stewart and Becky Gochman Reign Supreme

Wednesday morning at the 136th annual National Horse Show brought top hunter horse-and-rider combinations to the Alltech Arena of the Kentucky Horse Park. As the oldest indoor horse show in the United States, the National Horse Show has earned a permanent spot on the calendars of many elite professionals and amateurs who make the trip from far and wide to vie for the titles and perpetual trophies up for grabs each year. Following Tuesday’s start to the hunter divisions, the first round of championship honors was awarded for the 2019 National Horse Show on Wednesday. Of the contenders, it was Dr. Betsee Parker’s Lucador, piloted by Scott Stewart, who received the Grand Champion Professional Hunter title. Stewart also went on to claim the Leading Hunter Rider trophy for his 13th time, while Becky Gochman and Catch Me earned the Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter trophy, walking away with the iconic black cooler embroidered with the National Horse Show historic emblem.

Stewart and Lucador have a long-standing history of excellence together. After years of accumulating tricolor ribbons across the nation, the pair earned their final Grand Champion Professional Hunter title in their last show together. Stewart and the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding earned their points in the High Performance Hunter division, taking top three placings in all of the over fences classes and first in the under saddle class over the course of the two days, resulting in their championship honors in the division. Lucador’s name is already etched on the Grand Champion Hunter Trophy four times, adding his name once again to the coveted centerpiece in 2019 for the fifth time. The talented horse will go on to compete in the Junior 3’3” Hunters 15 and Under with Maddie Tosh, a transition that is bittersweet for Stewart as their successful partnership comes to a close.

During the awards ceremony, Stewart was once again invited back to the arena for the Meralex Farm Leading Hunter Rider Award for the Leading Hunter Rider Challenge Trophy. Phenomenally, this was Stewart’s thirteenth time placing his name on the Leading Hunter Rider Challenge Trophy, which was originally donated by Mr. and the late Mrs. Kenneth Wheeler. The well-known hunter rider accumulated his points towards the trophy with a whopping seven horses, including Everwonder, Cabrio, Critics’ Choice, Lucador, Private Life, Catch Me, and Cameo.

Also returning competitors to the National Horse Show, Gochman and Catch Me, owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC, clinched the Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter title for the “Ruxton & Scot To Do” Challenge Trophy. The pair made a clean sweep in the Amateur Owner 3’6” Hunter 36+ division, winning every single class for a perfect 40 points. This is Gochman and the 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding’s second year in a row securing the Ellen Van Dyke-donated trophy. With “Snoopy,” Gochman has found much success in the Amateur divisions across the country, most recently taking Grand Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter Champion at the Washington International Horse show.

To learn more about the National Horse Show, click here.