Lauren Hester Rises to the Occasion, Winning $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic

Lauren Hester and Warinde B.

Sydney Shulman and Cosmeo Claim Grand Hunter Championship on Day Two of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show

Lexington, KY – July 28, 2016 – With only nine career grand prix wins under her belt, the pressure was on as Lauren Hester took the stage with Warinde B in the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. The only American rider to advance to the jump-off, hometown favorite Hester gave it her all to earn the win, besting veteran five-star riders Pablo Barrios and Shane Sweetnam.

“I’m on cloud nine, and I’m really happy,” Hester said of her win. “It was so exciting to be the only American and Lexington rider in the jump-off because I really had the crowd behind me.”

Out of a field of 46 entries, Sweetnam and the Blue Buckle Group LLC’s Cobolt were the first to go clear in 79.718 seconds over the Alan Wade-designed track. The course featured a tricky oxer-to-skinny combination that dashed many competitor’s hopes at a clear round.

After several more riders attempted Wade’s course, with many falling victim to the time allowed of 82 seconds, Venezuelan Olympian Barrios and his own A S D Farfala delivered the second clear round of the night with a time of 80.751 seconds, adding their names to the short list.

“The course was pretty tough, and I knew when I walked it that it was a good course,” Barrios said. “It was very delicate and the time allowed was perfect. It really made you ride quicker, which makes you susceptible to mistakes.”

Among the last to go, Hester piloted Hester Equestrian LLC’s Warinde B to the night’s third and final clear round in 78.785 seconds, much to the crowd’s delight.

“I thought I had the third to last rail down, and I thought ‘darn it,'” Hester said. “But then the crowd cheered. When I made it to the jump-off I laughed and thought, ‘This is not fair competing against these top five-star riders. I felt like an underdog with my tiny mare, who is 15.3 hands.”

The three riders returned for the jump-off, with Sweetnam and Cobolt attempting the short course first. Despite laying down a fast round in 44.142 seconds, Sweetnam pulled a rail in the combination coming to the final fence to take home third place.

Barrios and A S D Farfala returned next, and delivered a careful effort to finish clear in 47.234 seconds, unfortunately picking up one time fault along the way to finish in second.

“There were only three of us, and I didn’t want to go too fast,” Barrios said. “After seeing Shane have one down, I knew that if I had a clear round at least I’d be second. Farfala is a super mare, but Lauren really deserved the win tonight and showed really great, quick riding.”

The final pair to return, Hester and Warinde B came ready to win, equipped with a plan that would shave seconds off the previous times. Hester cut strides out of every line, expertly navigating the turns as tightly as possible to blaze through the timers in 43.043 seconds – a full four seconds faster than the second-place time.

“She’s a really fast horse,” Hester said. “She’s sensitive and spooky and can be all over the place, but she is so nice and I love her.”

Hester said she purchased Warinde B 5 years ago, when the mare was only 8 years old. Hester said the two have built a strong partnership over the years, with Thursday marking the duo’s fifth grand prix win together and Hester’s tenth career grand prix win.

“She is my favorite,” Hester concluded. “It took me a long time to get to know her, but now we are finally on it! Last year she got hurt and had a little bone bruise, so she came back in May of this year. She was going well, but now she is really great. I am just on cloud nine.”

The grand prix’s title sponsor, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, is one of the oldest and largest equine veterinary practices in the world. Founded in 1876, the institute offers a staff with qualifications unparalleled by any single non-university veterinary group in the equine industry, and Hagyard veterinarians have dedicated themselves to the health and wellbeing of the horse.

The facility at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute offers 13 digital radiology systems, 1.5 Tesla Siemens MRI, nuclear scintigraphy, an on-site laboratory, an on-site pharmacy, full medical and surgical services, 24-hour emergency services and hyperbaric medicine. The practice has performed veterinary medicine for more than 137 years and is currently composed of over 50 experienced veterinarians, with 13 board certifications in specialty areas of medicine, surgery and theriogenology. For more information on the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, please visit

Sydney Shulman and Cosmeo Claim Grand Hunter Championship on Day Two of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show

Sydney Shulman and Cosmeo, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by DK-USA Sporthorse, claimed the Visse Wedell Grand Hunter Championship at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show on Thursday. The duo dominated the High Performance Working Hunter division by earning blue ribbons in all the over fences rounds, the handy round and the under saddle class, which culminated in a perfect score of 50 points to win the High Performance Working Hunter Championship.

“It is great to win the Grand Hunter Championship at Kentucky,” Shulman said. “This is my first year having a really solid professional hunter horse to compete, so it’s awesome.

Sydney Shulman and Cosmeo
Sydney Shulman and Cosmeo

“Cosmeo was ten times better than yesterday, and I thought he was awesome yesterday, but he was in a different category today!” Shulman explained. “He is new at this job, so normally the more he goes the more relaxed he gets. The first day he seemed a bit tense to me, but today he was so soft, fluid and really calm. It made it so nice to ride!”

Shulman was delighted with her round on Cosmeo, who is out of the legendary sport horse stallion Contender. She noted that the handy is the pair’s favorite class because of his former experience has a jumper.

“To me, the handy is my time to really show his skill off because he is so scopey,” Shulman explained. “The height is smaller than what he was doing in Europe so it is easy for him. Today, I was bold with my turns and I was quite neat going into the double combinations.”

Shulman is based in Greenwich, Connecticut and she plans on competing Cosmeo in Week 2 of Kentucky Summer Horse Show and in Derby Finals in mid-August.

“I’d like to thank DK-USA Sporthorse for their continued support and allowing me to show him,” Shulman said. “Also, the offspring Cosmeo has produced as a stallion have been amazing and he has many on the ground here in the U.S and in Europe. He is one of the last Contender babies that is currently breeding!”

Visse Wedell, a real estate agent for Douglas Elliman in Wellington, Florida and Lexington, Kentucky, generously sponsored the grand championship prizes for the multiple hunter divisions for the Kentucky Summer Horse Show.

“My sponsorship is a way to acknowledge the hard work that goes into being the best of your division and reward the top in our sport,” Wedell explained. “I love to promote the hunters, especially since there are not a lot of horse shows that still award grand championships.

“Sidney [Shulman] actually used to ride a horse for me when she was a junior, so I love when someone I know wins it,” Wedell continued. “She is a talented young professional so it is great to see her go from winning with my junior hunter a few years ago to now when she is winning in the big professional classes. It’s fun to watch the progression of riders!”

The Green Hunter Championship also took place in the Stonelea Ring with the tricolored ribbon being awarded to Kelley Farmer and Jane Gaston’s 8-year-old gelding Because. The duo lead their division after day one with two blue ribbons in the over fences classes, and they earned two more blues in the handy and over fences class.

“Because is such a good horse and always tries really hard,” Farmer said. “He is very consistent and smooth in his rounds. I usually compete him in the First Years and his owner will compete him this weekend in the amateur divisions.”

Tim Goguen earned the Conformation Hunter Championship in a competitive division on Belhaven Stables LLC’s Splendid. One Wednesday, they won an over fences round and the under saddle, and also placed third in their first over fences round. On Thursday, they placed second in the over fences round and third in the handy, which helped the pair clinch the division championship.

The highlights of the week include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, the $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, and $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix.

To learn more about the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, please visit

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

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