Lexington, KY - November 1, 2013 - Katie Robinson has won championship and reserve championship honors at just about every show where she and Rock Steady have competed. Despite standing for countless presentation pictures in the past, as she went forward to accept the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship today at the Alltech National Horse Show today, she had to choke back tears.
Throughout the past two days of competition Robinson and Rock Steady have been neck-and-neck in the division point standings with Nancy Hooker and Castlewalk, owned by Richard Prant of Flemington, NJ. So when Robinson was called into the ring as champion of the Amateur-Owner 36 and Over Hunters, she was taken by surprise.
"I thought she had it," Robinson said of Hooker. "I thought I was reserve. Since she won the two classes, I just assumed, since I wasn't really counting. It was a good surprise. I was just happy to be here."
At 14, Rock Steady is getting older, and with limited showing throughout the year, Robinson was not even sure that she would be able to compete this week at the Alltech National Horse Show. So not only competing but also walking away with the Amateur-Owner Hunter's highest honor was definitely emotional.
"I wasn't expecting this," Robinson said. "I wasn't even sure we were going to make it here. He is just a little older and a little creaky. I have to think about the horse shows and think 'where do I really want to go?' I have to count my jumps, save them, and make them matter."
Robinson continued, "This was the only indoor show we did. As far as an indoor goes, there is no other ring like this. I really wanted to come and be here. I've been loving sitting in the stands with Charlotte [Jacobs] and Joan [Jacobs], and my brother gets in tonight."
Robinson had previously been extremely successful with both Rock Steady and Arico, another Amateur-Owner mount of her own. Sadly, Arico passed away following this year's winter show season in Florida due to a degenerate bone disease, leaving Rock Steady to step up to the plate.
"It has all been on his shoulders. I am really proud of him; He is like my best friend," Robinson concluded. "Today was really great. It was a perfect ending to the year."
Hooker and Castlewalk finished the day with the reserve championship after winning today's stake class. Robinson and Rock Steady earned the blue ribbon in today's under saddle class to put them over the edge to take the championship.
Robinson rides with Andre Dignelli and Brady Mitchell of Heritage Farm, and she started off an impressive domination of the Amateur-Owner Hunters for them. In the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters, both the champion and reserve champion tricolors went to fellow Heritage Farm riders Lexi Maounis and Callie Seaman. Maounis, of Greenwich, CT, earned the championship with Sienna, while Seaman, also of Greenwich, CT, finished in reserve with Aha.
"I just wanted to do well. I mean this is an amazing outcome; I am so excited," Maounis said. "I just wanted to have good rounds, and she was amazing, so I really am so happy."
Maounis finished in the top three of all three of the over fences class over the past two days to earn 16 points in the division and ride away with the championship. Maounis' top results can be accredited partially to her hard work and dedication to riding, especially over the past few months.
"I took the semester off, and I'm starting at the University of Miami in January," Maounis explained. "I was riding fulltime this semester. I showed her at all four Indoors, and I was able to practice during the week. It's been really nice. It definitely made a difference. If I had been in school, I wouldn't have been able to practice at all. I think it bettered my riding."
Maounis continued, "This is kind of my finale of the year. It was great to ride and practice a lot, which obviously helped me throughout the season." Maounis plans to continue to ride and compete in Florida throughout college while studying advertising.
The Junior Hunters kicked off this morning and will continue Saturday morning starting at 9:50 a.m. For more information or to view the competition live please visit www.alltechnationalhorseshow.com. Coverage is provided by Shownet.biz, iHigh and HRTV.