Lexington, KY - August 6, 2011 - A light breeze helped keep competitors cool as the sun shone brightly over the Stonelea Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park during the Kentucky Summer Classic. Today, the Amateur-Owner Hunter classes came to a close, presenting their championship and reserve championship awards after riders competed for top honors in their respective divisions.
In the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters, Pure Abundance, ridden by Wesley Newlands of Toronto, Canada, made a strong comeback and eventually took home the top honors. Yesterday, the pair won the fourth place ribbon over fences as well as the second place ribbon in the under saddle. Combined with the duo's third place ribbon in the over fences class and the first place ribbon in the handy today, the talented combination garnered enough points to bring home the championship tricolor.
Newlands has owned Pure Abundance for four years, and believes that a large part of their success is based on the fact that they are finally very solid together as a horse and rider combination. "My rounds today were very solid, and honestly, my horse couldn't have been any better," smiled Newlands as she gave her horse a pat. "I can always depend on him when I go into the ring, and he is always trying to win."
The talented rider and Pure Abundance have had a very successful season. The duo was just named champion at Devon this past year, and Newlands is hoping to continue their success during Indoors. If her rounds today were any sign, then there may not be much hoping involved. "I went for a solid round today in the handy," she described. "Most people attempted to go through the gap of the white and brown jumps, but I know my horse gets a little spooky, so I went around and it gave me a nice smooth trot jump and led to a solid finish."
Olivia Herbert of Houston, TX, aboard Capistrano took home the reserve award in the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters. Consistency was key with Capistrano, as Herbert piloted him to the first place award in the first class and the second place ribbon shortly after in the handy. Due to their two fourth place ribbons yesterday and their solid rounds today, Capistrano posed for the cameras as he was awarded the honors of reserve champion in the division.
Emily Morin of McLean, VA, aboard Ace of Spades claimed the first place ribbon and third place ribbon in the Amateur-Owner 36 & Over Hunters classes today. Even with her first place win, Ace of Spades was awarded the honors of reserve champion. It was Lori Christman of Atlanta, GA, who finished strong with Nice, bringing home two second place ribbons, and garnering the championship award. The duo swept the two over fences classes and the under saddle in the Amateur-Owner 36 & Over Hunters yesterday, and continued with their solid finish today. Their consistent stride and smooth trips earned them top honors in their division, and as for Nice, a handful of treats.
"We have a great relationship," said Christman while chuckling a bit. "That horse will do more for a peppermint, it amazes me because I wouldn't even get out of bed for a peppermint. He's all about treats, and right now the buffet is open. He'll be grazing and eating food the whole rest of the day because that is where his stomach and his heart lies."
Christman purchased Nice five years ago while competing in Kentucky. They have had great success, including competing during the Indoors circuit last year, but are planning on taking it easy this year and enjoying him. "If it weren't for Terry Brown, I don't know what I would do," admitted Christman. Since she is a lawyer during the week, or as she more fondly said, an office girl, Brown is the backbone of the pair's success. She is the one who keeps him going while Christman is working. "I think our ride is so smooth and consistent because of Terry's help and also the bond that we have created."
The final division of the day was the Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunters. Cece Williamson of Gordonsville, VA, and Northstar were the ones who had stolen the show the previous day, and their efforts did not go unwarranted. Yesterday, Northstar dominated the competition, taking home the blue ribbon prize in both over fences classes, as well as the under saddle class. However, it was Patron owned and ridden by Dawn Fogel of Louisville, KY, whose solid efforts landed the duo the championship award. Fogel took home the third place ribbon in yesterday's over fences class; however, today Patron was in the spotlight nabbing the first place ribbon and second place ribbon, eventually garnering enough points to win the reserve championship honors.
Williamson has owned Northstar for about two years. Although he is still a Pre-Green horse, Williamson explained that he is learning every step of the way. "Basically it has been a long slow process," she noted. "I just started riding with Havens Schatt and she is really helping to build him, but truth is that he's a baby and there is still a lot to learn."
"Yesterday was hard to beat considering that it couldn't get much better," Williamson described. "He's still a baby and is still learning to process, but with a confident ride and some hand-holding, he is truly fantastic!"
Williamson plans on showing Northstar at the Kentucky Horse Park for a couple more of the shows in August. "I haven't shown here in probably six years," she explained. "They have really improved the rings, built all of these new arenas and made lots of changes since I was here last, but I have to say it's nice to be here, really nice."
The Kentucky Summer Classic will continue tomorrow with the Junior Hunter and Pony Hunter divisions coming to a close, naming the top horse and rider combinations and presenting the championship awards. The 2011 USEF Pony Finals will kick-off next week, followed by the Bluegrass Festival Classic and the KHJA Horse Show.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
Photo Credit: Cece Williamson and Northstar won the Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunter Championship at the Kentucky Summer Classic. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG.