Wellington, FL - Professional hunter championships were awarded today for the fifth week at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center for the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. This week saw increased hunter entries in the professional divisions, as competitors are making their final preparations before taking center stage in the International Arena next week during the AHJF Hunter Spectacular week.
Louise Serio piloted Bright Star 158 LLC's mount Kid Rock to the championship in the Second Year Green Working Hunter division, sponsored by Western Hay and Suncoast Bedding. The pair won both classes over fences yesterday, and took home the first and second place ribbons over fences today to secure the championship this week. The reserve championship was awarded to Valentino, owned by Margaret Shank Benjamin, and ridden by Caroline Weeden.
Serio contributed her success this week to her mount's consistency, and noted, "All of his rounds were exactly alike. He got three scores of 86 and one 85, so I think that's a really good week when you can produce that many rounds that are consistent." Serio continued to compliment her horse and said, "He's always the same horse. He tries hard, and he's really fun to ride."
Serio is looking forward to showing the seven-year-old Zangersheide gelding in the International Arena next week because "he's so brave; he has never looked at a jump. He's always looking for the next jump, which is really nice," she acknowledged.
When asked about any final preparations before the AHJF Hunter Spectacular week, Serio commented that she will not change much in her training. "I think that if you're consistent with your training and your riding in the ring, then they understand it. That makes them comfortable, and you can really get more out of them," she explained.
Serio, of Kennet Square, PA, has ridden for as long as she can remember. Her mother taught riding when she was a child. "I pretty much started as soon as they put me on a horse. We had ponies and that's what we did when we were young. We just rode all the time," Serio smiled.
Hunter competition will continue tomorrow as Amateur-Owners and Junior Hunters will be featured at the 2010 FTI WEF.
The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 13 through April 4. WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are "AA" rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $5.5 million in prize money will be awarded.
Photo Credit: Louise Serio and Kid Rock claimed the Western Hay and Suncoast Bedding Second Year Green Working Hunter Championship during week five of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. © 2010 Randi Muster/Mustphoto, Inc., Official Sport Photographer of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.