Photo: Todd Minikus and Quality Girl.
Lexington, Ky. – May 9, 2018 – The first day of competition at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show kicked off in exciting fashion at the Kentucky Horse Park where the Rolex Stadium highlighted the $35,000 Welcome Speed 1.45m CSI3* with 27 entries contesting Alan Wade’s (IRL) 15-effort track resulting in 11 clear rounds. Racing to an impressive and unbeatable clear round, Todd Minikus (USA) and the Quality Group’s Quality Girl claimed the lead by over three seconds with a time of 65.24 seconds to earn the victory.
With an extensive list of accolades to her name including the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix in Saugerties in 2014, the Elm Rock Farm Trophy at the inaugural Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach in 2015 and a clean sweep with three FEI victories at the Kentucky Spring Classic in 2016, Quality Girl is a proven winner. After nearly a year off, Minikus took his time bringing the 15-year-old Oldenburg mare back to the show ring and it paid off.
Second place was awarded to Samuel Parot (CHI) and his own 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, Couscous Van Orti, with a clear round and a time of 68.85 seconds. Hot on Parot’s heels in 69.22 seconds was Kevin Babington (IRL) and his own Mark Q, a 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding.
Scott Stewart Shines with Playbook in the Green Hunter Incentive Program
Earlier in the day, the Green Hunter Incentive Program took place in the Stonelea Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park. Twenty-one horse and rider combinations competed in the 3’6” and 3’9” sections of the Green Hunters for top honors and it was Scott Stewart and Fashion Farm’s Playbook that executed a flawless round at the 3’6” fence height. Second place was claimed by another veteran hunter rider, Kelley Farmer and Exceptional, owned by Todd Minikus. Havens Schatt and Diatendro captured third place in the class.
Stewart is coming off of a successful season at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Fla. with consistent champion titles in the High Performance Hunters and the Green Conformation Hunters. Stewart has also had great success in the Green Incentive Program, having won the championship title three times, most recently in 2017 with Playbook.
The Green Hunter Incentive Program was created by the USHJA in the hopes of increasing participation at the Green level. This year, the program introduced the option for athletes to compete at the 3’6” and 3’9” height in order to attract even more entries. At the end of the year, the top placing horse and rider combinations will be invited to return to the Kentucky Horse Park to compete at the Green Hunter Incentive Championships in August at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show, which will include four fence height options upon adding the 3’6″ and 3’9″ to the existing 3′ and 3’3″ fence heights.