Lexington, KY – July 31, 2011 – The final day of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show was filled with nothing but sunshine and a practically cloudless blue sky. The $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Classic witnessed talented horse and rider combinations striving to showcase their skills and claim the winning title in the Stonelea Ring. Stacey Arani and Bolero led the class from start to finish and eventually led the victory gallop after earning a total score of 185. Olivia Herbert and Capistrano finished second falling five points behind Arani and Bolero, while Abbygale Funk directed Enough Said to the third place award.
Today’s courses were designed by Bobby Murphy and simulated riding over a hunt country with all of the fences set to 3′ with four 3’5” high options and four handy options. Stacey Arani of Dover, MA, and Bolero took an early lead as the first rider of the Classic, scoring a 90 during the first round with three bonus options for a 93 total. Although they were the last to return during the handy round, the duo did not hold back. After executing a slice during an inside turn to an optional fence, they stayed consistent and smooth, receiving scores of 88 with four bonus points for a score of 92. Their two-round total of 185 points landed the pair the blue ribbon prize.
“I had so much fun out there with him,” Arani exclaimed as she patted Bolero’s neck. “He was great in both rounds and I feel as though everything went really smooth and flowed really nicely. The handy was slightly more difficult, but Bolero was so good, he turned back for me, I did a slice I wasn’t intending, but when I was out there and turned, the option presented itself and we took it.”
Since the introduction of the National Derby in 2010, the program has continued to grow and experience success. “The National Derby is a great option for people that don’t want to do the big derby classes,” Arani explained. “I haven’t been able to compete in a classic since I was a kid.” For Arani the USHJA National Hunter Classic provided a fun class with a course that has 3′ jumps with higher options,which make it so she can relax and enjoy the ride. According to the USHJA, the popularity of the International Hunter Derby Program prompted them to develop a separate series of competitions modeled after the Derby but geared toward the up and coming horses and riders. The National Hunter Classic Program was launched in 2010 to provide both horses and riders a place to gain experience in Derby competition at a lower height and difficulty level.