Johns Island, SC - The Charleston Summer Classics’ final week of competition at Mullet Hall Equestrian Center on Johns Island, SC found most attendees weren't so anxious to head home, but rather thinking of extending their stay at nearby Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island beach resorts.
Sunny skies and ocean breezes provided another perfect backdrop last week for not only competition in the arenas, but at area golf courses and nearby beaches as well. “We really have been fortunate with the weather here. With classes starting at 7:30 each morning many of the families have been able to hit the beaches by early afternoon and enjoy all this area offers.” Bob Bell of Classic Company said.
Tuesday morning kicked off the battle for several unique awards and titles, though perhaps none more heated than the naming of the 5th Annual Supreme Pony Kahuna Champions among the wee warriors of the riding world. The concept was designed by Bell to give pony riders a taste of what the USEF Pony Finals are like, with both Pony Model and Under Saddle being judged using the same USEF numeric system. As each day concluded the day's points and current standings were posted at the horse show office. These points moved forward to the Classics of each pony division to aid in determining the ultimate winners. Overall scores were added up as follows: points from the Pony Model classes counted as 25%, points from the Pony Under Saddle classes another 25%. These two scores were in turn added to the two Classic rounds, which will count as the remaining 50%, to decide the final total scores.
A Supreme Grand Kahuna Pony was awarded in each size of the divisions and for 2010 the winners were:
- Small Pony Kahuna-Bergen Sanderford of Atlanta, GA riding First Edition
- Medium Pony Kahuna-Nicole White of Moorestown, NJ riding Champlain Celebration
- Large Pony Kahuna-Paige Parker of Southampton, NJ riding Cherrybrook Skye Blue
- Green Pony Kahuna-Sydney Johnson riding Double Whammy
All four champions received prizes from the sponsors: a $75 gift certificate from The Farm House Tack and a custom Essex Classic shirt -just in time for Pony Finals.
Total points gathered from the Small, Medium, and Large Grand Supreme Champion divisions determined the 2010 Most Supreme Grand Kahuna Pony Rider Champion. This year’s champion is Nicole White partnered with Champlain Celebration. Nicole received a large Crystal Trophy courtesy of The Farm House Tack and a custom Essex Classic riding shirt. By the time the weekend came to a close Nicole’s accolades had stacked up with some impressive awards; The Keith R Nichols Trophy awarded to the Grand Pony Hunter and the Best Child Rider Pony title.
Also taking a bow in the spotlight on Thursday was local rider Jennifer Munday of Charleston in this week’s USHJA National Hunter Classic (sponsored by Poplar Grove Equestrian Center) with mount Samaritan, her 7 year-old Holsteiner gelding. As spectators enjoyed a shrimp reception under the hospitality tent courtesy of Poplar Grove Equestrian Center, Munday and Samaritan bested a field of 21 on a course designed by Joe Carnicom. As round one drew to a close Munday trotted out with a score of 84 plus 4 bonus points for a total of 88 from the judging panel of Scott Fitton and Patrick Rodes. Close on her hooves was Kiln, MS based professional Sean Steffee aboard the Emma Boyce owned Mouse and owner-rider Christine Davis of Jacksonville, FL with her mount Fortunate. Round two’s Handy Course challenged the lucky 12 called back, but it was still Munday and Samaritan coming out on top with a second score of 85 plus 7 bonus points added in for an overall score of 180.
Second place went to Christine Davis and Fortunate, third to Sean Steffee and Mouse, fourth to owner-rider Isobel Goldsmith and Montague, and completing the top five was local pro Charles Hairfield riding the Kiara Barnett owned Fifth Avenue.
Friday afternoon saw a repeat performance for Jennifer Ramsey and Cielo B (owned by Ronda Stavisky of Georgetown, TX) in the Bohicket Marina sponsored $7500 Open Jumper Classic. Traversing a layout by Allen Rhienheimer, Ramsey and Cielo B made short work of both rounds to clinch a second victory in Charleston. Completing the top five spots were: Katherine Roddey and mount Verrazano in 2nd place, Robert Mendoza riding Baccarat B for owner Bannockburn Farm in 3rd place, Veronica Henry partnered with Mufasa finishing 4th and Robert Hunt aboard the Lynn Seithel owned Midori in 5th.
Things were quite festive inside the Hospitality Tent; Thursday afternoon saw the return of Poplar Grove’s ice cold elixirs and a bounty of chilled shrimp. And Friday was the night all eagerly awaited- The 20th Annual Unbridled Affair, held at and hosted by the Seabrook Island Country Club on a terrace overlooking the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. Guest decked out in resort casual wear swayed to the tunes of live music while enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeures all evening long. “What a great ending to a day- big waves crashing in tune with the rhythms of the music, while watching the sunset with hundreds of your closest friends. Perfect!” a smiling Bell commented.
The Charleston Summer Classics concluded on Saturday with some pomp and circumstance in the presentation of the Grand Champions:
- The Arc de Triomphe Trophy-Grand Green Conformation Hunter-Lee Cesery & Marquis
- The Sit Down Trophy-Grand Green Hunter -Isobel Goldsmith & Montague
- The James Vaughn Trophy-Grand Hunter-Stephanie Zimmerman & Don’t Call Me Monday
- The Hummel Trophy-Grand Jr Hunter- Nicki Alexander & Calvino
- The Beverly Finkle Trophy-Grand Pre Green Hunter -Chad Watridge & Noble
- The Seabrook Trophy-Grand Amateur Hunter-Stephanie Zimmerman & Don’t Call Me Monday
- The Sweet Surprise Trophy-Grand Small Jr Hunter-Nicki Alexander & Calvino
- The Rave Trophy -Grand Large Jr Hunter-Kaitlin Porath & Palladium
- The Hillbright Farm Trophy-Grand Adult Hunter-Lauren Fellows & Well Spoken
- The Trick or Treat Trophy-Grand Children’s Hunter-Kaitlyn Friedman & Tycoon
- Best Child Rider Horse 3’6- Jennifer Delman & Cavalier Forever
- Best Child Rider Horse 3’- Kaitlyn Friedman & Tycoon
Bell said plans are already in the works next summer’s event and alluded to new additions such as a new grass ring. “I plan to continue building this event into something special for our riders. I don’t want to spoil all the surprises coming, but trainers and riders can anticipate big things in the future.” Bell said with a glint in his eyes.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Munday & Samaritan, Jennifer Ramsey & Cielo B ©Flashpoint Photography