Lauren Hester Pilots Wender to the Win in the $10,000 EMO Jumper Classic Week I at the Gulf Coast Winter Classic Pensacola Circuit

Lauren Hester, Wender, 0,000 EMO Jumper Classic, Gulf Coast Winter Classic Show

Lauren Hester pilots Wender to the win in yesterday's $10,000 EMO Jumper Classic

Saturday's featured class, the $10,000 EMO Jumper Classic saw fifteen horse and rider teams tackle the course designed by Allen Rheinheimer of Zionsville, Indiana. Lauren Hester of Lexington, Kentucky and Hester Equestrian's Wender galloped off with the blue ribbon after posting a first round time in 68.966 seconds and a clean second round in a time of 40.50 well within the 48 seconds time allowed.

Hester competed five horses, all owned by Hester Equestrian, LLC. "I missed watching all the other horses go because I was jumping off and on all of mine," said Hester. "I have three people helping me here, and I'm thankful that we're stabled so close to the ring that they could bring them up as I was getting off," she added.

Hester was the first to go in the class in the irons of Hester Equestrian's Katie Riddle and the pair posted a time of 69.631 seconds with four jump faults. "I haven't had her quite that long, but she has a big stride and after I walked the course, I felt like it was geared for a more normal horse stride. Most of the lines were set really nice. The last line walked a touch long, but since it was the last line heading toward the gate, I knew it would come up short," she said. "I just rode it pretty normal and was very satisfied with how she [Katie Riddle] went and I couldn't ask more of her," she said.

Christi Israel in the irons of her ownCracky Z followed and turned in a clean first round effort in a time of 76.050, just within the time allowed of 77 seconds. Their second round resulted in four jump faults and the pair finished in seventh place overall.

Mary Lisa Leffler of Brookeville, Maryland and Rolling Acres' Bling Bling followed Israel and were the first pair to turn in double clean rounds in times of 70.460 seconds and 43.333 seconds, respectively, setting the new time to beat.

Southland Stables' Vancouver IV, piloted by Christina Jason, followed Leffler and Bling Bling, but with four jump faults in a time of 70.158 seconds, would finish in ninth place overall.

Hester returned to the arena, this time in the irons of Hester Equestrian's Lorstakov. The pair posted a first round time in 71.635 seconds with eight jump faults. "I've had him a little over a year," commented Hester. "He is just seven and has all the scope in the world but we are working on his 'rideability' because he is a little difficult," said Hester. "He jumps really well but then gets really excited and fast. I forget he is so young because he jumps so well," she continued. "Basically, he's really young and green, but I was really happy with his round," she said. The pair finished in twelfth place overall.

Francois Lamontagne of Saint-Eustache, Quebec, Canada, followed Hester in the irons of his own Chanel Du Calvaire. Four jump faults in a time of 75.649 seconds would see the pair finish in eleventh place overall.

Leffler and Bling Bling continued to hold the lead until Jason Berry and Willoughby Stable's Varios turned in double clean rounds in times of 71.893 seconds and 40.639 seconds, respectively, setting the new time to beat.

Leffler returned to the ring, this time in the irons of Rolling Acres' Carlot. Although the pair posted double clean rounds in times of 71.865 seconds and 42.298 seconds, respectively, their time was not fast enough to take the lead from Berry and the pair would settle for third place overall.

Hester and Wender followed Leffler. "He [Wender] turns really tight and smooth," commented Hester. "I don't need to gallop and I can just let him go. He knows his job and likes to win," said Hester. The pair turned in double clean rounds in time of 68.966 seconds and 40.501 seconds, respectively, grabbing the lead and setting the new time to beat.

Christi Israel of Birmingham, Alabama and her own Clouseau followed Hester and Wender, but after posting a four-fault, first round time in a time of 72.550 seconds, the pair would finish in tenth place overall.

Hester returned to the ring again, this time in the irons of Hester Equestrian's Clueless P. After turning in a clean first round in a time of 70.708 seconds, a rail in the second round in a time of 40.745 seconds would see them receive the sixth place ribbon. "We've had Clueless for less than a year and she was third in the Atlanta Grand Prix," commented Hester. "She [Clueless] has a shorter stride which helped us in the jump off because I had to gallop her more," said Hester. "She could have beat Wender but after I got the rail, I slowed her down a bit," she added. "She's 10 year old and only 15.1 hands. People say, oh look at the pony! And I tell them not to say that because we just let her think she is a big horse," she laughed.

Gulf Coast Winter Classic Show, Janet McCarroll, 0,000 EMO Jumper Classic, Lauren Hester, Wender

Gulf Coast Winter Classic Show Coordinator, Janet McCarroll, presents the awards for the $10,000 EMO Jumper Classic to Wender and Hester

Hester also had the last ride in the class, in the irons of Hester Equestrian's Arly. Despite double clean rounds in times of 72.360 and 44.390 seconds, respectively, the pair would finish in fourth place overall. "We just bought Arly and we've had him about a year. He was kind of hanging out after recovering from an injury and I've been bringing him back slowly," commented Hester. "He is a grand prix horse and since he is on his way back, I didn't want to run him around and he just jumped it so easy," she said.

"I'm really excited how well Wender is going," said Hester. "Last year he was sick for a long time," she said. "He was found to have PSSM Type 2 which is basically an insulin resistance for horses," she said. "It's a genetic disorder and he can't have any sugar. For instance, he gets celery instead of carrots," she said. "He has just been coming back into competition again and I just started showing in November. He has been doing really well and I anticipate that he will continue to do so all winter," she added.

"This is our first time showing in Pensacola," said Hester. "We like it a lot here! It's very warm, and the people are so nice!" she said. "I couldn't believe it, that about a week and half before the show they [Classic Company staff] called me and asked for our order of shavings, feed, hay and I just couldn't believe the level of service! I never got this sort of treatment from another show," she said happily.

In addition to the win in the $10,000 EMO Jumper Classic, Lauren Hester also received the Kastel Denmark Style of Riding Award. Lauren was selected by the Classic Company staff as the rider who exhibited the best American style of riding and possessed the respectful, dignified, courteous and workmanlike manner of a true sportsman Week I of the Gulf Coast Winter Classic Pensacola Circuit.

The fifth anniversary of the Gulf Coast Classic Pensacola Circuit started Wednesday and will run through January 31st before the circuit heads to Gulfport, Mississippi for six weeks of AA world-class show jumping!

The talk of the horse show world is the $5.00 Pre-Green Division offered only at the 2016 Gulf Coast Winter Classics. This special offering is a testament to the Classic and Gulf Coast Classic Company's commitment to the development of the young horses in the United States. For only $5.00, owners and trainers can earn valuable competition mileage for their young horses. The specially priced division will be extended to all Gulf Coast Classic shows in Gulfport following the Pensacola Circuit.

For those looking to get from barn to ring to camper to office a bit faster, rent a golf cart! The Golf Cart Guy is onsite and has several golf carts available to rent while showing at the Gulf Coast Pensacola Circuit! You don't need to hoof it! Call 919.337.7456 to reserve your cart now!

Still on the fence? Come discover why the grass is greener on the Gulf Coast and join us on the Emerald Coast in Pensacola, Florida. Call the office at 228.832.2745 to reserve your stalls today and you can enter online at horseshowsonline.com. Week I concludes today so be sure to look for the weekly wrap up in your email inbox tomorrow. Besides a class for everyone in the barn, the remaining lineup for some featured events looks like this:

Week II:
$ 5,000 Horseflight Open Welcome
$25,000 Nutrena Grand Prix
$10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Apollo Jets
$ 2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Legend
1.10 m Childrens/Adult Jumper Classic sponsored by Finish Line
1.20 m Childrens/Adult Jumper Classic sponsored by Elite Equine Sports Medicine & Lameness

Week III:
$ 5,000 Horseflight Open Welcome
$25,000 eAwardz Grand Prix
$ 2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Legend
1.10 m Childrens/Adult Jumper Classic sponsored by Finish Line
1.20 m Childrens/Adult Jumper Classic sponsored by Elite Equine Sports Medicine & Lameness




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