Lexington, KY – August 18, 2011 – Although thunderstorms threatened the morning classes at the Kentucky Horse Park, diligent horse and rider combinations turned out to the Stonelea Ring for the second day of the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. Thankfully, the sun began to make its way through the clouds, and riders were blessed with beautiful weather yet again as they made their rounds. Today marked the conclusion of the professional hunters divisions, awarding top honors to riders in their respective divisions. Scott Stewart and Dedication took home the tricolor champion award in the First Year Green Working Hunters, while Hunt Tosh and Cold Harbor garnered the champion award in the Green Conformation Hunters. Patricia Griffith piloted Sienna to a strong conclusion in the Second Year Green Working Hunters earning the top honors. Elizabeth Boyd and Casallo swept the over fences and won the under saddle in the Regular Conformation Hunters. It was Havens Schatt aboard Valencia, who earned the championship prize in the High Performance Hunters, proving consistent with their past performances.
As seen by their previous performances, Havens Schatt and Valencia, owned by CH Farm, LLC of Delano, MN, seem to have the High Performance Hunters figured out. Yesterday, the talented duo claimed two second place ribbons during the over fences classes, narrowly missing the blues with scores of 84 and 86. However, Schatt and Valencia continued today with strong and consistent rounds, earning scores of 84 and 80 over fences and the first place position in the under saddle class, proving to be the Champions of the High Performance Hunters.
“I felt as though our rounds were really good today, although I did think that she was better yesterday in the Working Hunter classes,” Schatt admitted. “We are still trying to figure things out; Valencia sometimes forgets that the handy is not a jump-off. I think that some of her jumper instinct comes back to her and she gets a little worked up for that.”
The course today posed many interesting turns and inside options for the handy round. The riders were required to jump an oxer and then rollback to a trot jump during the handy. Other obstacles such as the two stride vertical-oxer combination caused a few rubs; however, the course rode as it was designed to, and challenged the horses and riders equally. “I liked the course today, the in-and-out was a little difficult to get to because it was on a blind turn, but it seemed to work out, the lines rode nicely, and the footing was perfect. Valencia did all of the turns very nicely,” Schatt commented proudly.
Earning the second and fourth place ribbons during yesterday’s classes and the second and first place ribbon today earned Carson, owned by Kristen Blomstrom of Southlake, TX the reserve championship honors with Courtney Calcagnini in the irons.
The first class in the Stonelea Ring, Scott Stewart and Dedication, owned by Fashion Farm of Philadelphia, PA, were the duo awarded the blue ribbon for a score of 85 in the handy course of the First Year Green Working Hunters. The pair also earned the first place ribbon in the under saddle class, garnering enough points to earn the championship award. Although Stewart says that Dedication is one of his greenest horses, he also admits that he is probably the easiest. “He has a big stride, is brave, very scopey and laid back,” Stewart described. “Our handy was great, he was fantastic. For a big horse he actually turns really well, we were able to take all of the inside turns which gave us the edge.”
Due to the help of Samantha Conroy back home, Dedication is ridden often and kept in peak shape for the horse shows. Stewart has not ridden him since Lake Placid, and even though six weeks is an extended amount of time, the duo has continued consistently winning championship honors during their time competing together. Stewart has several mounts entered in the upcoming USHJA International Derby; however, Dedication will not be one of them. “Dedication unfortunately did not make it into the Derby this year,” Stewart explained. “He will be showing, however, at the Hampton Classic and we’ll go from there. The course was still great practice for me, and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Claiming the reserve champion award aboard Best Foot Forward, owned by Paige Wilson of Charlotte, NC, was John French. Yesterday, the pair earned the second place and the third place ribbon over fences. They followed with a concrete round today, earning them the third place ribbon in the first class, as well as the First Year Green Working Hunter Reserve Championship honors.
The Green Conformation Hunters followed next in the ring, testing the horse and rider combinations over fences as well as judging their conformation for a final assessment of points. Hunt Tosh piloted Cold Harbor, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Wheeler of Keswick, VA, to the championship tricolor. Following his first place and third place ribbon in the over fences yesterday, Tosh and Cold Harbor continued with two consistent rounds today winning both of the over fences classes as well as the under saddle. Maria Rasmussen aboard Vosges Theobroma, owned by Katrina Markoff of Chicago, IL, claimed the reserve championship award for her strong rounds yesterday as well as her third place ribbon during the first round over fences and second place ribbon earned in the under saddle class today.
Tosh began riding Cold Harbor last fall, and the pair has been champion every time. The Bluegrass Festival happens to be only his eighth horse show. “He went beautifully today, as he always does, he is a fabulous horse,” said Tosh. “He still is green in the fact that he hasn’t competed at this level for very long, but he is one of those horses that has a great heart and even though he may not know what he’s doing yet, he tries to do his best. His style is fabulous; he wants to jump well naturally, which makes my job easier.”
Many of the riders who have been competing in the hunter classes this week have been preparing for the USHJA International Derby Finals this weekend. Patricia Griffith and Sienna, owned by Lexi Maounis of Jupiter, FL, were no exception. After sweeping the over fences classes yesterday in the Second Year Green Working Hunter Division, Griffith piloted Sienna to the second place ribbon during today’s handy round. Griffith and Sienna earned the championship award after riding the handy the way she would for the Hunter Derby Finals this weekend. “Our handy today was great! I think only two of us took the inside turn to the trot jump, and that was what gave us a little extra during the handy course. Sienna is so rideable, and she likes to really turn and take shots in the handy that may be hard on a horse that is not so well broke” Griffith described.
Following suit, Hope Glynn and Roccoco, owned by Avery Hellman of Kentfield, CA, earned the reserve championship honors. Due to his inside turns and solid round today, Roccoco, a seven-year-old gelding, took home the blue ribbon during the handy round eventually garnering enough points for the reserve championship prize. Roccoco won the $25,000 Franktown Meadows Derby in Reno, with John French. This weekend Hope Glynn will compete in the derby with Roccoco. “The handy was a really good warm-up for us for the derby,” Glynn explained. “Hopefully I’ll be able to make it into the third round and show off our skills there.”
Tommy Serio earned the reserve championship award aboard Banderas, owned by Friday’s Farm of Edina, MN, narrowly missing the first place ribbon during the first class of the Regular Conformation Hunters with a score of 85. Serio and Banderas had solid rounds both yesterday and today, earning two third place ribbons in yesterday’s classes, and three second place ribbons during today’s classes, including the under saddle.
The course posed no threat to Elizabeth Boyd and Casallo, owned by Erin McGuire of Cornelius, NC. The duo dominated the Regular Conformation Hunters and garnered the championship tricolor. “Our rounds today were great, even though the first round was good, Tommy Serio almost beat us, but Casallo really showed what he can do in the handy. He was exceptional!” Boyd exclaimed. “The handy trip was relaxed, focused, and really good. As long as you stay confident and show him the course, he will do everything else. He has been doing great in all of our classes, and if we keep going on this route, hopefully I will be able to compete next year in the Derby Finals with him.”
“It would be amazing to come back and compete here again, we absolutely love it here. Everyone is so nice, the facilities are amazing and the venue is beautiful. The question becomes: What else could you ask for?” Boyd concluded.
Tomorrow the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Final will kick off tomorrow morning at eight in the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park. The USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals will witness 75 of the top riders competing for the $100,000 purse. The Stonelea ring will begin the Amateur-Owner Hunter and Junior Hunter divisions where talented horse and rider combinations will compete for top honors in their respective divisions.
For more information, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
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