It was a welcoming day for the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park show grounds where five divisions were set to display the top hunter horse and rider combinations.
|Hunt Tosh and Rosalynn (Ashley N. Williams/PMG)|
The morning started off with a variation of winners while the two divisions to emerge with double blue ribbons were Scott Stewart and Dedication for the Second Year Working Green Huntesr and Hunt Tosh and Rosalynn in the High Performance Hunters.
The course, designed by Patrick Rodes, was made up of nine fences signature of a traditional hunt field. Made of natural woods, the obstacles assorted of vertical oxer combinations, decorative stand alones and a grassy rolltop, all strategically arranged on a bed of freshly churned footing. The course lines ran smooth, with pleasant stride counts and thoughtful approaches, suggesting fine ingenuity.
The first division featured in the Stonelea Arena was the Green Conformation Hunters. Christopher Payne on his mount Lugano, owned by Susan Moriconi of St. Louis, MO, took home the first and sixth place ribbons after a show of beautiful horsemanship on the course. Kelley Farmer aboard Lightning Z, owned by Lochmoore Stables of Lebanon, OH, took two third place ribbons in the over fences classes in the division.
“He rode great,” Payne smiled. “Last week he had off, so he laid low. He had a fresh start with a happy appeal coming into it today,” Payne smiled. “He went out there enthusiastic and ready to jump. He really impressed everyone today.”
The Second Year Green Working Hunter division was next to show as the afternoon progressed. While Havens Schatt and Valencia, along with Gary Young and Gold Coast, put up outstanding performances, it was Scott Stewart and Dedication, owned by Fashion Farm, who swept the ring with an astonishing set of rounds, bringing home two first place awards.
“The course rode great,” Stewart shared. “It’s always nice to show in this ring. The jumps are beautiful and I was really happy with my horse, he went spot on.”
“For a big horse you really don’t have to leg him so much. He is very sensitive; you don’t really get in his way. He is capable of leading himself. The hardest part will be keeping him fresh for good rounds – Friday, for the Derby. Hopefully he won’t get too tired,” Stewart commented about his prized derby horse.
The Regular Conformation Hunters also saw consistent horses and determined riders. Cookie Beck and Last Call, owned by Lisa Cudahy, earned a first and second place for their notable efforts in the over fence classes. Following close behind came Hunt Tosh and Cold Harbor, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, Middleburg, VA, who scored high, taking the second and third awards.
“I’ve been riding him for three years,” Beck beamed as she watched the horse being escorted back to the stable. “He is a fabulous horse. He is a brilliant jumper, very scopey, great mover, I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s been like that his whole life.”
“I look forward to going into tomorrow and doing as well as I did today. To go in, to win,” Beck described.
A second sweep of the day’s classes was in the High Performance Hunter division. Hunt Tosh and mount, Rosalynn, also owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, demonstrated elegance and excellence, earning the duo the top call and awards in the two over fences rounds.
“Rosalynn is such a lady and so scopey,” Tosh charmingly described. “She is a classic hunter and is smooth to ride. She is coming off a break and she rides well when she’s refreshed and feels good. We’ll come back and try for another 95.”
“Overall, the classes went smoothly and the course rode good. The jumps were big enough and the horses rode well over them. Kentucky always does a great job and it’s always nice to come here,” Tosh explained as he walked toward his next afternoon event.
Thursday the Professional Hunter divisions will complete their second day of competition. Points will be totaled and the top and horse and rider combinations will score championship and reserve championship honors. On Friday, the first round of the $100,000 USHJA Hunter Derby Finals will get underway.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Series or to download the prize list, please go to http://www.kentuckyhorseshows.com