Lexington, KY - November 4, 2011 - The Amateur-Owner Hunters took center stage today in the Alltech Arena during the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition. Laura Sexton and her talented mount Zoom captured the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters Championship with three blue ribbons over the last two days. The duo was also awarded the Grand Champion Amateur Owner Hunter title for their excellent efforts in the ring.
The Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunters were the first to compete today, and during the final stake class Debbie Perkins of New Canaan, CT, showed Whispering to a score 83 to win the blue ribbon. Their win today and third place finish in yesterday's over fences class garnered them the division's reserve championship prize. Tracy Scheriff-Muser of Wellington, FL, and Macallan were the day's big winners, taking home the Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunter Championship. They placed first in yesterday's over fences class and also earned two second place ribbons and third place ribbons.
"Macallan is the sweetest horse I've ever had, which is really funny because he's a stallion,"" commented Scheriff-Muser after her win. "He's just been such a pleasure to own and ride. Sometimes he's too lazy, but I'll take that over crazy. He's so slow and comfortable, I get excited every time I get to show him because he's so fun."
Next to complete their stake rounds were the Amateur-Owner 36 and Over Hunters. Becky Gochman, of New York, NY, and Sambalino laid down a beautiful flowing trip, and the judges award their effort with a score 87, which would earn the top honors. Their win today was coupled with a second place ribbon and third place ribbon for the division's reserve championship honors. Katie Robinson of Bronxsville, NY, and Rock Steady proved to be the most consistent pair, winning the under saddle and handy class. Their top finishes were recognized with the tricolor for the Amateur-Owner 36 and Over Hunter Championship.
"This is a great way to finish up the year," expressed Robinson. "I love the ring, and I think Rock Steady did too. It was big, the footing was great, the jumps were really pretty, and it was so much fun to be showing of there. My plan going into the handy was to be as prompt with the turns and as lively as possible. I've ridden him for just about a year, we had a great Florida, and we really clicked from the beginning. He's my type, just keeps galloping and he's really fun."
The final division of the day was the Amateur-Owner 18 and Under Hunters. Jamie Auletto of Blackwood, NJ, and Winnetoe picked up the reserve championship honors after earning three second place ribbons, but it was Laura Sexton of Greenwich, CT, and Zoom that dominated the competition. The talented pair earned three blue ribbons, winning the first over fences class, the handy class, and the under saddle class. Sexton and Zoom were honors with the division championship, and then returned to the ring to receive the Grand Champion Amateur Owner Hunter title.
"I am beyond thrilled right now, I am very, very excited about this win," beamed Sexton after the presentation. "I have had big wins on Zoom in the past so I knew he was capable of it, but I was just thrilled to be here and have the honor of qualifying. I have never been to the Kentucky Horse Park before the Alltech National Horse Show, so it was exciting to be able to see it and to have this happen was just beyond expectations."
Sexton continued, "I was really calm going into the first class, and then after winning that I began to feel a little pressure going in to the second one, but he is so talented at handy classes, so I had quite a bit of confidence he'd be okay. Anything today was icing on the cake. He's better, the harder you make it, the more he rises to the occasion."
The Junior Hunters also competed today, showing in their first over fences class and handy class, and will continue tomorrow with under saddle and stake class. Championship and reserve championship awards will be presented to the top horse and rider combinations tomorrow in each division as the afternoon and the week's hunter competition comes to a close. Today's event benefited the Louisville Mount Police, and tomorrow's beneficiary will be the Lexington Mounted Police. For more information at the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition, please visit www.nhs.org.
Photo Credit: Laura Sexton and Zoom awarded Amateur-Owner Hunter Grand Championship at the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG.