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Hunter Action Amps Up on the Gulf Coast

By on February 27, 2017

Julie Curtin and Fairfax [Photos: Alison Hartwell Photography]

The action kicked off with the overwhelmingly popular Sidelines Green Hunter 3′ and 3’3″ Divisions, which are offered for only $5, thanks to sponsor Sidelines Magazine.

Twenty-two horse and rider teams competed in the 3′ Division and eight in the 3’3″ Division. Tom Brennan and Olivia Falkenberry’s Notes from the Underground took the Championship in the 3’3″ Division and Julie Curtin of Woodstock, Georgia and Rebekah Warren’s Cassico were Reserve.

Courtney Calcagnini and Lori Mathews’ Sidenote were champions in the 3′ Division and Tom Brennan and Riley King’s Refined were awarded Reserve Champion.

Trainer Tom Brennan commented, “The division formerly known as Pre-Green, now currently Green, are the most important divisions for horse shows to pay attention to. The pressure in our sport is to focus on the age of our horses, the young horses, when in fact we need to focus on good horses. They need a place to develop and this development process costs money. If you can ‘incentivize’ the people with a $5 entry fee, this is good for the future Juniors and Amateurs who will own these horses.” Brennan continued, “All of the owners I’ve had have noticed the discounted entry fee and it hasn’t gone unappreciated. If the class doesn’t go well, it’s easy to laugh it off and say, ‘Well, it was only a dollar,'” he laughed.

“My mission is to save the Green Hunters,” said Brennan. “The best thing about the Green Hunters is that those divisions allow the trainers of the horses the flexibility to decide what the horse is ready for. Maybe this is a second career horse, maybe it hadn’t been discovered, and maybe it was doing dressage. The pace we bring them along is more important than some specification in a division like age or something that dictates what height they should be jumping,” he said. “It’s the trainer’s job to decide what that horse is ready to do and the Green Hunters provide that flexibility,” he said.

Julie Curtin commented, “The $5 Sidelines Green Hunter Division is awesome. I have a couple of sale horses and it can get really expensive campaigning them. This Division gives me the opportunity to get them mileage.”

The hunter action continued Friday with the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Kruse Cushion Ride [KCR] on Friday and thirty three horse and rider teams went on the hunt for the blue.

Julie Curtin and Liz Hudspeth’s Fairfax bested the field of 33 and took the win. “I actually wasn’t even going to ride him that day,” she said. “Liz was going to ride him, but the scores were really high and last minute I ended up riding. There were a lot of single jumps and I thought the judges were looking for a bold ride. So I just picked up a gallop and approached them that way,” she said.

Curtin and Fairfax earned a first round score of 90 and a Handy score of 93 for a combined 181 which won the class. Second place finisher Jade, owned by Shaw Johnson Price and ridden by Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, Alabama, earned a first round score of 91 and a second round score of 87.5 for a combined 178.5. G.K Cassio, owned by Erin Mulloy and ridden by Megan Young of Jacksonville, Florida, was awarded a third place ribbon after earning a first round score of 88 and Handy score of 89 for a combined score of 177.

Shepherd picked up a fourth place ribbon in the irons of Micaela Kennedy’s Magnus Jaque Mate Mail for their combined score of 176 and fifth place went to Helen Gilbert’s Primera, ridden by Sarah Young of Spring Hill, Kansas, for their score of 174.5.

Curtin returned for a sixth place ribbon in the irons of Wesley Wilson’s Whitny for their combined score of 173.25. Shepherd and Belle Rolfe’s Boure placed seventh with their overall score of 172.75 and Paige Parker of Southampton, New Jersey rode Jane Gaston’s Taken to an eighth place finish with their overall score of 170.5. Ninth was awarded to Riley King’s Refined, ridden by Thomas Brennan of Charles Town, West Virginia, for their total score of 154. Lee Cesery’s Candidate placed tenth and Curtin returned for an eleventh place ribbon in the irons of Rebekah Warren’s Cassico. Whiskey Tango, owned by Lee Cesery and ridden by Jason Berry of Verona, Virginia, wrapped up the class with twelfth place.

“The footing is great in this arena,” said Curtin. “The horses go very well and land just beautifully with this footing,” she said. “Although the weather here has been great, if it rains, the footing is seriously all weather, holds really well and there’s no slipping at all,” she added. “The size of the main hunter arena is great. It’s really large and so nice to ride in,” she added.

Brennan commented, “We love this show circuit. It improves every year, every time. I like the Hunter Arena and I think the best thing about it is that they religiously work the footing. We had some rain earlier in the week and then some dry weather and the footing was fine,” he said.

Lauren Reid and Good Reason

The pony rings expanded and the course was built for the $1,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Week III and Lauren Reid of Nazareth, Pennsylvania brought home both the first and second ribbons with Good Reason, owned by Capstone Farm, LLC and Annabelle Brown’s Sunbeam.

Third place was awarded to David Dowler’s Cherrybrook Deblue, ridden by Kaitlyn Williams of Wayne, Pennsylvania, and fourth and fifth was awarded to Stars Above and Cherrybrook Just Blue In, respectively, both owned and ridden by Erica Van Dyken of Moorestown, New Jersey.

Mr. Hollywood, owned and ridden by Nicolette Perry of Milford, New Jersey, placed sixth and Competition Equstrian’s Ontario, ridden by Valerie Staniloff of Setauket, New York, earned a seventh place ribbon. Eighth was awarded to Hidden Springs Woodstar, owned and ridden by Gabrielle Roderick of Spring Hill, Kansas, and ninth went to Tangled Up in Blue, owned and ridden by Hailey Hurst of Zionsville, Indiana.

Brownland Miss Kimmy, owned and ridden by Calder Trotz of Memphis, Tennessee, placed tenth and Wind Haven Farm’s Brownland’s Millennium, ridden by James Rheinheimer of Zionsville, Indiana, earned eleventh place. Ever After, owned and ridden by Gabrielle Sokolow of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, wrapped up the class with twelfth place.

For complete results, please visit horseshowsonline.com.

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Post Office Box 1311, Johns Island, SC 29457

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