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A full day of fine horsemanship with a full international flavor launched the Alltech National Horse Show, held for the first time in its 128 years in Lexington, and earned some big money for impressive winners.
Top horses and riders from around the world competed in the Sasco Creek Farm International Open Jumpers $50,000 Welcome Stake last night. The winning honors went to Todd Minikus riding Sweetheart, owned by Candy Tribble and the Windsor Show Stables of East Windsor, CT. McLain Ward and Pjotter Van De Zonnehoeve, owned by Louisburg Farm of Boston, MA, followed in second with a clear time of 58.02 and Laura Kraut and Teirra, owned by Stars and Stripes of Middleburg, VA picked up the third place honors with a time of 60.56 seconds.
The riders raced over a technical track set by Richard Jeffery that included multiple inside options, as well as striding options and a technical oxer-vertical-oxer triple combination.
“Walking the course I actually thought it looked kind of big for a first class for the horses,” said Minikus. “It played out after watching it; the horses in general jumped around the course pretty well. It was a 1.50m speed class in the prize list, and it was worth $50,000 so we should have to jump a little for it.”
Sweetheart and Minikus were paired up by the McCrea and Tribble family this past winter, but only began showing this summer. They already kicked-off the indoor circuit with a win in the $20,000 Gambler’s Choice at the Washington International Horse Show. “He won a couple of nice grand prix classes this summer and his indoors so far have been competitive, so things are looking like he’s going to be doing pretty well.”
This is the first time that the jumper riders have competed in the Alltech Arena . “I think this a natural place for our National Horse Show to be with our USEF headquarters here, it is such a lovely facility,” said Minikus. “I was lucky enough to be coming to the Horse Park way back in the 80s and it’s quite lovely to see how the Horse Park has progressed, and certainly this is something that adds to the beauty and the overall theme of the Horse Park and probably a fantastic future for the Alltech National Horse Show here.”
The competitions earlier in the day were professional hunter divisions, and it proved to be Scott Stewart’s day as he won over half of the blue ribbons with his talented mounts.
The 14 Hands Winery Regular Conformation Hunters kicked off the day. The winner of the first class over fences was Sambalino, ridden by Scott Stewart and owned by Becky Gochman of New York, NY. Taking home the blue ribbon honors in the handy round was Elizabeth Boyd and Casallo, owned by Erin McGuire of Cornelius, NC.
“The management here did an amazing job, it feels different, and it feels like the National Horse Show,” commented Boyd. “They dressed it up and the courses are amazing. Richard Jeffery did a great job and the handy was really fun to ride. It’s exciting to have the horse show here.”
The Mr. & Mrs. Douglas Wheeler Green Conformation Hunters were next and Scott Stewart earned the top call once again. He piloted Empire to the win in the first over fences class, and followed it with third place finish in the handy class. Stewart reversed order in the handy class, claiming the blue ribbon aboard Touchdown, after placing third during the first over fences class with the talented mount. Empire and Touchdown are both owned by Gochman.
“I thought Empire and Touchdown were great as well today,” said Stewart. “The jumps are all beautiful, so even though they have done all the Indoor shows they are still crisp about the jumps because they are a little different. After doing so many weeks they get a little dull, but the environment is so beautiful I think they are a little more into it.”
“The handy course is a good one, you can make it as hard as you want or as easy as you want,” continued Stewart. “It’s nice, there are some more natural jumps at the end, which are beautiful. It’s great to have the show here, it’s been a great change.”
Stewart continued his winning ways in the First Year Green Working Hunter class. He showed Dedication, owned by Fashion Farms of New York, NY, to the first place honors during both classes, to sweep the opening day. Hunt Tosh and Triton Z, owned by Mr. & Mrs. Douglas Wheeler of Keswick, VA, claimed the red ribbon during the first class, while Tammy Provost and Libretto, owned by Alliy Moyer of Carmel, IN, placed second during the handy class.
Blue ribbon for the McNeil-Oare Second Year Green Working Hunters was presented to Haylie Jayne for her ride aboard Humor Me, owned by Pony Lane Farm of Bluffdale, UT. During the handy round, it was Holly Orlando and Sailor’s Valentine, owned by Westerly Farm of Unionville, PA. The duo also placed third during the first over fences class.
The Pony Lane Farm High Performance Working Hunters wrapped up the day’s hunter events. Elizabeth Boyd of Camden, SC, and Brunello led in the first class to earn the blue ribbon prize, but it was Stewart who ended the day in the winner’s circle. An excellent score in the handy round riding Garfield, owned by Alexandra Crown of New York, NY, earned him the top call to finish the day.
The international jumper competition continues today. Riders will have the opportunity to showcase their skills during the Sleepy P Ranch $10,000 Junior Jumpers, Chansonette Farm $10,000 Amateur-Owner Jumpers and the Double H Farm $75,000 International Open Jumpers.
Photo from Phelps Media Group by Shawn McMillen.
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