Wellington, FL- The Adult hunters took their turn competing in the International Arena on Sunday morning at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival. Fifty-six horse and rider combinations competed in the first round of the Peggy Cone Memorial Adult Hunter Classic, with the top 12 coming back to compete in a second round. Hunter Kay earned an impressive 85.75 in the first round aboard Jill Knowles's Euro Sport Warmblood mare Temptation. He then rode beautifully in the second round, earning a high score of 87, which placed him securely in the lead with a total of 172.75.
Lynn Rogers and her own Sedgewick were close behind Kay, earning an overall score of 168.75 to come in second. Rounding out the top three was Kaile Rudy aboard her horse Coltrane, who earned an overall score of 168.
Hunter Kay, a 22-year-old recent graduate of the University of South Carolina, has been riding with Ron Danta and Danny Robertshaw for three years. A native of Charlotte, NC, Kay plans to continue riding before pursuing a master's degree. Kay has had a long partnership with Temptation. He began riding the 16-year-old mare three years ago when he started training with Danta and Robertshaw. "Danny and Ron have had her in the barn for a few years," Kay said. "She's older now so we don't show her a whole lot, but we bring her out for special occasions like WCHR week."
Kay has not been able to show the mare very often, but Kay still feels comfortable on her. "This is our first week showing her this year," Kay stated. "We actually haven't shown her since last year, but I know her pretty well because I've been riding her for three years. We don't need to do a lot with her."
Kay and Temptation have developed a strong bond over the years. "She's definitely a little opinionated; she's definitely a mare," Kay laughed. "But, she's really sweet and she wants to win, and she never lets me down."
The riders were only permitted to compete with one horse in today's classic, which left Kay with a decision to make between Temptation and his other mount. "I thought that I might have the best chance with her in the class today so we switched to me riding her," Kay remarked. "It really paid off. I went in there just to have a good time and hopefully make the top twelve. Coming back, I was thankful that I wasn't on the top, but just in the middle of the pack, because then I could just ride. It really paid off."
Kay was especially excited to win a class during WCHR week. "It's extra exciting to win this week. This is the big week for the hunters, so everybody wants to come out and do their best," Kay commented. Winning this year was a comeback of sorts for Kay, who has previously placed seventh with the same horse. "I did the class two years ago and made the top 12 with Temptation, but I finished in seventh. It was great to come back and win this year with her," he said.
Kay hopes to continue riding the mare through the WEF circuit. "She does really well here. She's the happiest in Florida," Kay explained. "If she's going well we will definitely try to show her. She loves to horse show and she loves to do well. At the same time, she owes me nothing, so I was so thankful just to get to do this class with her. Whatever she wants to do is good with me."
The Winter Equestrian Festival continues in its seventh week on February 24-28, 2016. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Final Results: $5,000 Peggy Cone Memorial Adult Hunter Classic
1 3557 TEMPTATION HUNTER KAY 85.75 87.00 172.75
2 4977 SEDGEWICK LYNN ROGERS 83.75 85.00 168.75
3 2170 COLTRANE KAILE RUDY 84.00 84.00 168.00
4 3828 SUGAR RAY BRIGITTE LEROUX 85.00 82.25 167.25
5 2108 GRAYON MIMI MOULTON 84.50 82.50 167.00
6 2279 SHOEMAKER SAMANTHA KARP 83.50 83.00 166.50
7 2584 RED CARPET CYNTHIA SULZBERGER 85.50 80.00 165.50
8 5123 GEDDAWAY SHERRI GEDDES 86.00 76.00 162.00
9 5885 QUINN CATHARINE COX 84.75 74.00 158.75
10 1492 LITTLE PRINTZ SAMANTHA KRAMIG 89.00 65.00 154.00
11 4016 MCKINLEY MARK BADGLEY 88.00 64.00 152.00
12 7124 POETIC JUSTIS BROOKE COLE 83.00 66.00 149.00