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.