Sarah Sturges and One Shot rode to the top of the rankings during the Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunters to capture the Alltech National Horse Show Amateur-Owner Hunter championship. The duo was only a half point ahead of eventual reserve champion Deborah Perkins and Whispering.
|Sarah Sturges and One Shot (Kendall Bierer/PMG photo)|
The Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunters sponsored by Jennifer Burger and Meredith Lipke was the only division of the day to wrap-up their division championships. Last year’s stake class winner Deborah Perkins of Wellington, FL, showed Whispering to the fourth place finish, and with an additional first and third place ribbon from yesterday’s classes, the pair went into the under saddle with Sarah Sturges and One Shot right on their heels. Sturges rode to the second place finish in the stake, just behind Nancy Hooker and Castlewalk. Sturges also accumulated the first place finish in the handy, and went into the under saddle with a mission to edge out her competition.
“He’s the most simple horse I’ve ever had. Every day he comes out of the stall and is straightforward. He’s so simple,” Sturges laughed. “He’s so easy. He’s just the best guy. He always comes to play and is perfect.”
Sturges and Perkins were neck to neck for the final championship honors. Being separated by only a half point had the spectators and fellow exhibitors on the edge of their seats. It was Sturges and One Shot who took home the Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunter Championship tricolor.
“I’m really excited,” Sturges remarked. “I was a little nervous coming here because the olders and youngers are combined, and there were some great horses and riders. I was chasing Debbie the whole time! She was amazing and she’s the nicest lady, I would have been happy for her to win.”
It was the first day for the Suzanne Thoben Marquard Amateur-Owner 35 and Older Hunter division, and Lisa Williams and Sanmorino took their turn in the limelight, winning the first over fences. Katie Robinson and Arico rode to the second place finish. During the handy, Robinson once again rode to the second place honors only being slightly edged out by Perkins and her second mount of the day, La Fayette.
Perkins laid down a beautiful flowing trip, taking a sharp inside turn that no other riders attempted after landing from the trot jump. “His forte is the handy. He loves doing that, and he is brave. I originally was going to go around for the turn, but I knew he could make it. He is like a little sports car.”
In the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters, presented by R. Bruce Duchossois, Tracy Scheriff-Muser piloted Absolut to the blue ribbon win in the first over fences of the division, also picking up the fourth place for their efforts in the handy. Caroline Donnally and Kindle followed closely, nabbing the second place award. It was Lindsay Mutschler, however, who exemplified a beautiful handy course. She navigated Fielding to the first place finish, with Nicole Lyvere and Drumline earning second.
“He definitely needs a supportive ride,” Mutschler commented. “He loves the handy courses. The turns allow him to navigate out there; he is always looking for the next thing. It was a ton of fun, and I like it when they let you have different options. “
For more information at the Alltech National Horse Show, 129th Edition, please visit http://www.nhs.org