Hunt Tosh and Bastogne [photo by Alison Hartwell Photography]
The highly anticipated $30,000 Green Hunter Classic, sponsored by Ariat and Friends of Ellen Veitch, took to the Olympic Arena at the Georgia International Horse Park and welcomed twenty-one finalists to the inaugural Classic championship.
Riders showed their horses in the Sidelines Green Hunter 3′ and 3’3″ Divisions all year hopeful to qualify for this inaugural Classic. The first round of the 3′ class had fourteen horse and rider teams and the 3’3″ saw seven horse and rider teams.
Bastogne, owned by Doug Wheeler and ridden by Hunt Tosh of Milton, Georgia, galloped away with the first place honors and their $9,000 share of the prize money, besting twenty other horse and rider teams. “Bastogne is five years old and we only started him in the Green Hunter Division in the Spring. He hasn’t even been doing this a full year! He is one of our greener horses but he went really well today. We went early in the first round and we turned in a really nice first round and his second round was more of a handy course for the Green Hunters and he did well in that too, turning in two solid, nice rounds,” commented Tosh.
Bastogne and Tosh’ s total score of 176 led the pack followed by Walkabout Investments, LLC’s Godric Gryffindor, ridden by Erin Mccabe Clayton of Zionsville, Indiana, with their overall score of 171. Daniel Geitner of Aiken, South Carolina in the irons of Liz Hudspeth’s Limelight, LTD earned an overall score of 169, awarding them a third place.
Tosh returned for a fourth place ribbon this time in the irons of Ceil Wheeler’s Lights Out with their overall score of 167. “He’s only six and we started him out in Florida last winter and he ended up winning the future hunter championships. He’s had a bit of a break but he went really nicely here. He had a little rub in the one round which kept him from placing higher, but we were happy with him,” commented Tosh. “This class was great for him and we’re excited about starting him the First Year Greens in 2018,” he added.
Kelly Sims’ Eleventh Hour, ridden by Michael Leon of West Hollywood, California, placed fifth with their overall score of 161.5, and Isabella Lafferty’s Argento, ridden by Carolyn Bell of Alpharetta, Georgia, placed sixth with their overall score of 160.
Tosh picked up a seventh with Douglas Wheeler’s Uptown for their overall score of 159.5. “Uptown is a six-year-old and has been really doing well and although we had a little mistake in the first round, we did well in the second round and overall went nicely. He’s a blast to ride!”
David Jennings of Franklin, Tennessee picked up eighth and ninth places with Belle Rolfe’s Boure [overall score 157.5] and Sabina Holtzman’s Jerez Mail [overall score 150].
Karen Lackinger’s Gratis, ridden by Elizabeth Boyd of Camden, South Carolina, placed tenth with their overall score of 145, and Eleese Shillingford’s Odyssey, ridden by Carolyn Bell, placed eleventh for their 126 overall score. Cypress, owned by Missy Nolen and ridden by Tim Maddrix of Leeds, Alabama, wrapped up the class with twelfth place and an overall score of 124.
“To get three nice checks was really great,” said Tosh. “Classes like this make you feel like you’re ready to move up to the 1st Year Greens. The Classic gives the owners, riders and trainers something to look forward to and to jump for $30,000 is really great.
“Our horses did well and everyone in the class did a great job,” Tosh continued. “I think it’s great that Bob offers the Green Hunters for $5 a division and gives everyone something to shoot for with this $30,000 Green Hunter Classic,” he added. “We have the Capital Challenge and then we’re finished. To have this class come later is perfect and Paul [Jewell] did a wonderful job with the course.
“Because of classes like these, we’re able to develop our horses and move them up next year. Now we have some new young ones to school and we’ll definitely be back to show in the Classic Company Green Hunters,” he added. Tosh also received a pair of Fabbri Boots from Susan Benson and Somerset Sport Equestrian Trading.
Bob Bell commented, “We are so pleased with the success of our inaugural $30,000 Green Hunter Classic. We are committed to the development of our hunter horses and feel that by offering the Division for only $5 and then producing a $30,000 Finals Classic helps the horses, owners and riders continue to produce quality hunters,” he said. “To dedicate this Classic to our dear friend Ellen Veitch makes it that more special,” he added. “We are appreciative to everyone who supported our efforts this year and would like to especially thank Ariat for its sponsorship.”
True Enough and Michael Leon Win the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Kruse Cushion Ride
Michael Leon of West Hollywood, California and Kelly Sim’s True Enough bested a field of twenty-five horse and rider teams to take the win in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Leon had four horses in the class and guided three of them to finish in the top twelve. “It was fun,” said Leon. “The course was nice and open and he [True Enough] jumped really bright which let me show off how scopey he is with a couple of nice long gallops to a single. In the handy, he was really on it – very bright and strong,” he said. “He’s one of those horses that just wants to win,” he added.
“True Enough is seven coming eight and I’ve been riding him since last June in the Green Divisions. This is our third National Derby win,” he commented.
Leon also picked up the second place ribbon with his own Nil Du Buffant Rouge, also known as ‘Frenchy’. “He is a veteran,” commented Leon. “He’s 15 years old and I’ve won more than ten National Derbies and three International Derbies with him. I did it for fun and to be competitive. I try equally on all of the horses I ride, whether they are mine or my clients’,” he said. “Frenchy jumped beautifully, but he had a little swap at the last jump which moved him down in the placing.”
Third place was awarded to Tim Maddrix and Missy Nolen’s Special, and Cassico, owned by Rebekah warren and ridden by Julie Curtin, finished in fourth place.
Sue Gibbs’ Gioia, ridden by Vick Russell of Columbus, North Carolina, earned a fifth place finish, and Leon returned with Kelly Sims’ True Story for a sixth place ribbon.
Kat Fuqua of Atlanta, Georgia and her won RS Levitation placed seventh, and Matt Martin of Petersburgh, Tennessee rode Jessica Dicampli’s Berlinka to an eighth place finish. Shane Powell of Sterling, Massachusetts rode Sydney Mannon’s One Love to a ninth place finish, and Kat Fuqua took home the tenth place ribbon with her own High Noon 3E. Curtin and her own Honey Badger finished in eleventh place, and Russell returned for the twelfth place ribbon, this time in the irons of Skipping Foal Sport Horses’ Corton Charlemagne.
“This is my first year here,” said Leon. “I showed here in June and then relocated to the area from California so this is the first time for me making it to all of these shows,” he said. “Bob does a fantastic job. It’s been a breath of fresh air for me to experience Classic Company shows and their team. The show management and staff all the way to the folks who work the in gate – everyone is nice, the show runs on time, and you can just feel how much this horse show cares about the horses, competitors and owners. It really makes a difference how the Classic Company really cares about the professionals and stays on top of everything. Bob is out at the rings, the staff is always eager to help you out and everyone is so nice,” he said. “We’ll be here next week too and I’m looking forward to riding four in the International.”