Lexington, KY – As a 6-year-old, Dr. John Stutts peeked through the fence at a Louisville, KY, riding club to watch the horses warm up. That little boy fell in love with American Saddlebreds, and today, as a grown man, he turned a childhood Saddlebred dream into reality.
Stutts and a dozen other qualified riders displayed their competitive ability within the adult amateur equitation division, trotting and cantering Friday on the historic Red Mile Race Track in Lexington, KY. The 2011 USEF Saddle Seat Adult Amateur Medal Final was particularly exceptional because it was the 75th anniversary of the Lexington Junior League Charity Horse Show.
Stutts, a pediatric gastroenterologist from Louisville, KY, rode CF Cool Night Out to the title of Champion. Reserve champion honors went to Joel Dorignac of New Orleans, LA. The bronze medal winner, Casey Morgan Tibolet of Charleston, WV, rounded out the top three.
“I am very excited,” Stutts said of his first-place win. “It sounds corny, but people talk about dreams coming true. A dream came true for me today.”
That early childhood aspiration began at Rock Creek Riding Club, where Stutts had a real seat to a show at age 7. The following year, he pleaded for riding lessons. They never came, but he did get a riding magazine, and continue to watch in amazement the Saddlebred show world.