Wayne, IL - July 31, 2013 - A typical Chicago overcast, misty day didn't stop the professionals from putting in round after round in the hunter ring on day one of Equifest II at Lamplight Equestrian Center. There was no need to ride around puddles since the new GGT Footing held the water perfectly, allowing the hunters to perform well despite the rain. The straightforward and simple hunter track made for an inviting first day.
Starting the day without missing a beat, trainer/rider Tina Judge of Naperville, IL, won both High Performance/First Year Green Hunter classes aboard Shannon Kelly's Trust Me. Judge has had the horse in her barn since importing him as a 4-year-old. The Dutch Warmblood is now 13 years old and has an excellent track record.
Owner Shannon Kelly shows Trust Me in the younger Amateur Owner Hunter division and has multiple championships and a trip to indoors under her belt. Judge started showing Trust Me in the hunter derbies when they first began. Judge also has a few derby wins and top derby ribbons on record with the gelding. Kelly has been showing the handsome bay in the derbies herself now.
"I've only shown him twice in the last three years - this was the second time," said Judge. "He and I have a special rapport since I've had him since he was 4. Only Shannon and I ride him." Judge has been showing at Lamplight since she was a kid and remarked at the improvements and the nice new footing. "I love the facility," said Judge.
In the 3'3" Performance Hunters, Judge again took a blue with Kesley Taylor's Quidann and also placed second, flip-flopping wins with Kathleen Caya on Susan Schmitt's Conelly, who was also first and second. Laura Trepte and Ariano, owned by Brooke Saltzman, held their ground for third in both classes. The top three will duke it out for the championship on day two.
Molly McAdow and Barina, owned by Nina Donnelly, had a super first day, making a clean sweep in the 3' Pre-Green Hunter Division. They won both over fences and the under saddle. The pair also won the USHJA National Hunter Derby last week during Equifest I. McAdow rides for Lorrie Canady and Galway Farm in Long Grove, IL.
Canady raved about Barina's owner, Nina Donnelly of Evanston, IL. "She does all the right things for the horse," said Canady. "She gets it to the shows and keeps it in a program which really makes it a winner."
"The horse is really sweet and really fun," added McAdow about the 8-year-old Hanoverian. "She does anything you want."
McAdow and Judge each took second on another of their mounts in the 3' Pre-Greens. McAdow was second on Lanie Bricker's Charlie Brown and Judge took second on Gia Gulino's Bennett. The 3'3" Pre-Greens battled it out with Tim Sullivan's Denmark winning the under saddle and placing second in both over fences with Sarah Robertson of Oakland, MI. Also in the hunt was Remy Martin with Erin McCabe riding. Remy Martin, owned by Nancy Gordon, won the first over fences, was fourth in the second class and placed second in the under saddle.
Winning the second over fences class of the division was Laura Linback of Mundelein, IL, on Woodrun's Slap-N-Tickel. The 5-year-old German Sport Horse also placed third in the under saddle and third in the first over fences class. "This is only the fourth time he's done this," commented Troy Linback. "He's unbelievably brave and willing."
Hunter riders will continue to rack up points this week to win a CWD saddle. The horse/rider combination in a single "A" rated Hunter Division with the most points will qualify to win the coveted prize.
Equifest II features a $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby and the $35,000 Grand Prix de Lamplight later in the week at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, IL.
To find out more about Lamplight Equestrian Center, go to: http://lamplightequestriancenter.com/.