You never know what is going to happen at a horse show. After the first round of the $25,000 Hunter Classic at High Prairie Farms, it appeared the professionals were going to sweep the top ribbons. Of course, things changed in the second round.You never know what is going to happen at a horse show. After the first round of the $25,000 Hunter Classic at High Prairie Farms, it appeared the professionals were going to sweep the top ribbons. Of course, things changed in the second round.
You never know what is going to happen at a horse show. After the first round of the $25,000 Hunter Classic at High Prairie Farms, it appeared the professionals were going to sweep the top ribbons. Of course, things changed in the second round.
For the fourth year the High Prairie Farms Summer Circuit has hosted one of the most prestigious hunter classics in the country. The two round class pits professionals, amateurs, and junior riders equally against one another in pursuit of one of the largest purses in the nation. Last year, junior rider Kate Hart beat the professionals and the top amateurs to earn the victory.
This year, twenty-one entries tried their luck and the top fifteen horses returned for a second trip over the jumps. Each round counted equally and was scored on a scale of 100 by a panel of judges. Single jumps dominated the second course and favored the confident rider and bold jumper.
The pressure was on Holly Shepherd with Caldera. The pair had a breathtaking first trip and were tied going into the second round with Tracy Fenney and Feather in My Cap. Fenney’s trip was not quite perfect; all Shepherd had to do was jump around and she would win the class. But things did not go Shepherd’s way. She almost went off course and had to circle. The rest of the ride was magnificent, but the damage was done.
The blue ribbon went to the picture of consistency, amateur rider Charlie Dennehy, on his family’s Text Book. The pair received a score of 83 in both rounds.
Tracy Fenney finished second on Donchaknow and third with Feather in My Cap. Fenney and partner Mike McCormick brought more than 30 horses to the show and were busy in both the hunter and the jumper rings. Fenney’s successes included a win in the $75,000 AGA Grand Prix of Denver, and a second and a fourth in the $35,000 High Prairie Grand Prix.
Fenney barely made it from the jumper ring to the hunter ring for the classic, but she had no trouble switching gears between the rings. "I just got done with the derby, raced over and put the shadbelly on, and got ready real quick," she said. "I don’t think about whether it’s a hunter or jumper, I think about the individual horse."
Donchaknow has been a special horse for Fenney his entire life. He became an orphan when he was just two days old. Fenney and McCormick raised the striking chestnut and his success began early. He debuted in the jumpers and won the International Jumper Futurity before moving to the hunters.
Shane George, from Magnolia, Texas, catch rode Sir Walter in the classic and earned a respectable 77.75 in the first round. A stellar second round earned an 84 and the pair moved up to fourth place. George has been coming to the shows in Parker, Colorado for years. "We like being out here in the Rockies away from the humidity of Houston," he said.
Although defending champion Kate Hart had a lackluster first round performance, the junior rider was not disappointed. "We warmed up at 4’6". Piper was jumping great. I went to the in-gate and I could tell the moment we walked into the ring that Piper was distracted," Hart recalled. "It was nice to get that score of 77. We were still in it. Last year I would have just fallen apart." Hart’s second trip was nearly flawless and earned the high score of the final round. Although she didn’t win, Hart was pleased with her riding and fifth place. "The second round was fun—coming from behind, there was no pressure."
Text Book Charlie Dennehy
Donchaknow Tracy Fenney
Feather In My Cap Tracy Fenny
Sir Walter Shane George
Piper Kate Hart