Lexington, KY - October 29, 2014 - As the National Horse Show awarded its professional hunter championships Wednesday, there was one name repeated with almost every presentation: Dr. Betsee Parker. Parker, of Middleburg, Virginia, is the owner of Casanova, Cold Harbor, Lucador and the lessee of A Million Reasons. The four horses constituted four of the five championship winning mounts Wednesday at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Hunt Tosh kicked off the Parker-owned hot streak aboard Casanova, claiming the division championship in the First Year Green Hunters, sponsored by Goshen Hill. Finishing in reserve behind Tosh were Sloane Coles and Autumn Rhythm, owned by Nilani Trent.
Tosh's success continued in the Regular Conformation Hunters with 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding Cold Harbor. "[Cold Harbor] was great here," Tosh said. "Harrisburg was a little rusty; he didn't do Capital Challenge. He hadn't shown in a while, so he was a little rusty [at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show]. He went beautifully today. It's a good week for him."
Tosh and Cold Harbor earned the championship trophy, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Wheeler, while the reserve championship went to Kelley Farmer and Mindful.
In the Green Conformation Hunters, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth and Selma Garber, it was Scott Stewart and Lucador who claimed the championship, with a perfect, clean sweep of the division, winning all five classes.
"[Lucador]'s been great. He's actually gotten better at every show," Stewart said. "I was really happy with him. This is actually the most consistent that he's been. We usually have one class where one of us messes up. He's only 6 years old, so he's sort of green."
While Lucador seemed not to take a step wrong in the show ring, his performance in the schooling area can be a bit of a different story. "He's a little bit girthy, and if you don't give enough time he'll buck and rear and try to throw me against the wall," Stewart said. "He's a little bit cold that way. Once he's in the ring, he's easier. "
Stewart continued, "Julie Connors usually rides him for me and is always on him first and warms him up. Then I get on him, and he's okay. I think he likes her better than me. He's fine as long as she's on him."
In truth, Lucador seems more than fine with Stewart on him as well, and their winning rounds today helped Stewart clinch his eighth National Horse Show Leading Hunter Rider Challenge Trophy. Stewart previously won the award in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012 and now 2014.
Scott Stewart was name the National Horse Show Leading Hunter Rider for the eighth time.
Helping add to Stewart's point tally toward the honor were A Million Reasons and Golden Rule. A Million Reasons, a 9-year-old Holsteiner mare, claimed the blue ribbon in this morning's $7,500 Second Year Green Hunter Stake before going on to also clinch the division championship, sponsored by Ernie and Betty Oare and Patricia Adikes-Hill.
"She's the easiest horse I've ridden so far, and probably the nicest," Stewart said of A Million Reasons, whom he just started riding following the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. "I like mares, but I haven't had that much luck bringing them along. She's super. There's so much quality and scope."
Stewart and Stephanie Danahkl's Golden Rule finished out the day with the High Performance Hunter reserve championship, while the championship went to Kensel LLC's Mindful.
The opportunity to compete Parker's horses is one that neither Stewart nor Tosh take for granted.
"As a rider I think it's great," Tosh said. "Between the Wheelers and Betsee, to have owners that support us and just give us horses to ride that don't do another division and are basically just for us to do is incredible. There aren't a lot of owners out there that do that nowadays. She's wonderful to both of us."
Tosh continued, "For what she does, and as much as she puts into it, she wants to do it at the top level, so when you have a day like today it all pays off. Her plan and our plan and everything really worked out."
While Wednesday marked the conclusion of the professional hunter divisions, the hunter competition continues on Thursday with the Amateur-Owner Hunters beginning at 7 a.m.
About the National Horse Show
Founded in 1883 at the original Madison Square Garden, the National Horse Show is America's oldest indoor horse show, firmly established as a major fixture on the national and international sports and social event calendars. The National Horse Show Association's primary activity is the annual production of the National Horse Show and all ancillary events. Over the years, the National Horse Show has provided financial aid to many worthwhile charities.
With $755,000 in prize money offered, this year's National Horse Show offers an International Open Jumpers with $460,000 in prize money, while the top rated hunter sections have a total purse of $195,000. Meanwhile, $100,000 in total is offered to the Amateur-Owner and U 25 Jumper sections.
For the fourth consecutive year, The National Horse Show received a top ranking from NARG, the North American Riders Group and was named the Show Hunter Hall of Fame Horse Show of the Year in four back-to-back years.
For more information go to: www.nhs.org