Lexington, KY - August 7, 2011 - The last day of the Kentucky Summer Classic began with looming clouds; however, the Kentucky Horse Park was filled with nothing but sunshine and a cool breeze as the afternoon approached. The best horse and rider combinations competed for top honors during their respective divisions in the Covered Arena and Stonelea Ring for the Small Junior 15 & Under Hunters, Small Junior 16-17 Hunters, Large 15 & Under Junior Hunters and Large 16-17 Junior Hunters.
Today, Catherine Tyree did not disappoint, as she brought home not only the championship award for the Small 16-17 Junior Hunter division, but also the reserve championship honors for the Large 16-17 Junior Hunters. Aboard Concetto, owned by First Partners Inc. of Chicago, IL, Tyree won two first place ribbons in yesterday's Small 16-17 Junior Hunter Division and the fourth place ribbon today. In the Large 16-17 Junior Hunter Division Tyree and Savant earned the third place ribbon and fourth place ribbon in yesterday's classes as well as two second place ribbons and the fourth place ribbon in the under saddle class today.
Tyree has been riding Concetto for the last four years and believes that the time they have been together has really helped them to grow with one another and move into the Junior Hunters. "Sometimes he acts a bit like a stallion in the barn and when he's schooling, but once he gets in the ring he's all work," explained Tyree. "He goes in, he knows his job, always jumps a ten, he's so fantastic."
Due to Concetto's long stride and easy-going personality, the handy round has become his forte. "He needs a very easy ride, outside you get on a nice gallop and go down, nothing bothers him and he has a huge stride. He jumps the oxers great all the time; you just have to keep his balance up a little bit. He loves to turn and gallop. He really shines in the handy."
Tyree finds herself visiting the Kentucky Horse park four or five times a year on average. "I love it here," she smiled. "The footing is great, the course designers are awesome, they really do everything they can to make sure everything is done right."
Following behind Tyree in the Small 16-17 Junior Hunter Division, Samantha Batt aboard Captain Nemo garnered enough points to take home the reserve champion award. Later in the day it was Tyree and Savant, owned by First Partners LP of Valpairso, IN, who fell in the position of reserve champion when Shawn Casady and Vida Blue took the top honors as champions of the Large 16-17 Junior Hunter division. "It's been a really great day," smiled Tyree as she collected her reserve championship award. "I am so grateful to be riding such wonderful horses, and to have done so well during the divisions on both of them."
Yesterday, Casady competed with Vida Blue in the Covered Arena. Although they did well, it was today that Casady saw real improvement in the ride. "She really likes the footing in the Stonelea," described Casady. "Even in the schooling ring, I could feel her jumping a lot better today. She jumped great down there, but she jumps amazing here with how spongey and sturdy the footing is."
Elm Rock LLC and the DeMartini family have been generous enough to let Casady continue showing Vida Blue both this year and the next until he ages out as a junior. "It's an honor and I really appreciate it," exclaimed Casady. "She goes in there and gives me 110% every round. She jumps amazing, and has a lot of heart. She has a beautiful rhythm, feels great to jump, and looks amazing doing all of it!"
Earlier in the day, out of the sun and tucked away in the Covered Arena, the Small 15 & Under Junior Hunters division got underway. It was Vivian Yowan aboard Whatever, owned by Boggs Hill of Wellington, FL, who stole the show and brought home the championship award. Although Lucille Oken piloted Cool Blue over the fences seemingly effortlessly, her three third place ribbons in today's class and fourth place ribbon in yesterday's division were not enough to catch up with Yowan, eventually earning the duo the reserve champion honors. Yowan and Whatever won both over fence classes yesterday as well as the first place ribbon in another class today. "I felt like my rounds yesterday and today were both extremely solid," said Yowan. "This is only my second show with Whatever, but I showed him last weekend and we were reserve champion in the Small Juniors. I am so happy that we won Champion this week!"
Although Whatever and Yowan have not had much time to get to know one another, they definitely have begun to feel one another out. "I have only ridden him for a short while," she admitted. "I really like how big his stride is though. He also is really easy to maneuver and gets down the lines with such ease due to his big stride. He makes the course look very smooth, which to be honest, on him it is."
Yowan rode in the Pony Finals last year, but she acknowledged, "This is my first time doing the actual show, but I really like them a lot, the venue is great and the classes are challenging and fun."
Pavarotti, piloted by Chloe Reid and owned by Terri Kessler of Armonk, NY, took home the reserve championship award during the Large Junior 15 & Under Hunter division. Yesterday, the pair earned the first place ribbon and the third place ribbon over fences. Today they followed with a solid conclusion earning them the third place ribbon and the fourth place ribbon over fences and winning the third place ribbon in the under saddle class, eventually garnering enough points to claim the reserve champion tricolor following closely behind championship duo Victoria Colvin and Knob Creek.
The talented pair only began their relationship yesterday when Colvin's trainer, Scott Stewart, informed her that she was going to ride Knob Hill. "I rode him for the first time in the warm-up on Friday," admitted Colvin. "I've never seen him before, this is his first show as well as our first time together. I definitely am proud of him though. He had strong rounds both yesterday and today."
Together, Knob Hill and Colvin earned the third place ribbon and the second place ribbon in yesterday's division. Today, they swept over fences to finish with two blue ribbons. With all points totaled, the duo earned the championship tricolor. "He's a pretty easy horse, very straightforward. He was great for all of the classes, so we had a lot of fun together."
"The Kentucky Horse Shows are always really well put together," expressed Colvin. "The courses are designed extremely well, and the grounds themselves are beautiful."
The Kentucky Summer Classic came to an end today at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park. However, the USEF Pony Finals will get underway on Tuesday as the nation's top competitors vie for the championship honors. The hunter/jumper action will get back underway the following week with the Bluegrass Festival Classic, which will be followed by the KHJA Horse Show.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
Photo Credit: Catherine Tyree and Savant won won reserve championship Award in the Lage 16-17 Junior Hunters at the Kentucky Summer Classic. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG.