Katy TX - April 10, 2011 - Today marked the conclusion for competitors at the Spring Gathering Charity Horse Show held at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center. The sun was shining this afternoon with a cool breeze during the $5,000 Junior Hunter Classic, sponsored by Eric and Nancy Littlejohn, in the Main Otto Arena. The first round scores were determined while the Junior Hunter divisions wrapped up with their remaining classes earlier in the day.
Hayley Barnhill and Alliy Moyer's Libretto earned the championship tricolor in the Large 16-17 Junior Hunters and returned to claim the winning title in the $5,000 Junior Hunter Classic. Barnhill also grabbed the third place ribbon aboard Alliy Moyer's Safari. Taylor Sutton was also successful aboard her mount MTM Braggin Rights. Sutton took home the championship honor in the Large 15 & Under Hunter Division and secured the second place ribbon in the $5,000 Junior Hunter Classic.
Hayley Barnhill and Libretto were the first of the top twelve to return for the $5,000 Junior Classic and did not disappoint. Barnhill and Libretto, owned by Alliy Moyer, entered in the lead with a first round score of 88. The pair earned an 86 after their stellar performance and held onto their lead with a total score of 174 to take home the win.
"Libretto is really nice. He is just a first year horse so he is green, but he doesn't do anything bad. He canters across the ground great so he has a really great look. He was a little tired from doing the Derby last night, but he was great," said Barnhill.
Taylor Reid was the third rider on course today entering with a score of 82 from the first round. Reid piloted Day Dream to another high score of 84, but with stiff competition they only managed to earn fifth place. Camille Alexander entered the ring just two rounds after Reid and came in with a first round score of 73. Alexander and Rio's Fiorella, trained by Michael Hall, were unable to smooth out certain areas of the course and were only able to earn another 73, which put them in sixth place. Hayley Barnhill returned on her second mount Safari, also owned by Alliy Moyer. Barnhill and Safari were the winners of last night's $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by the Carole and Jim Looke Family Fund, and continued to prevail. Barnhill and Safari earned scores of 86 and 85 for their efforts for a total score of 171, which was just half of a point away from second place, to earn the third place honors.
"Safari is spectacular. He was great today. He is the nicest horse you have ever ridden. He jumps great and is a lot of fun. I was really happy with my rides on him. I haven't shown here before and I think it is really nice and relaxing. Peter [Pletcher] does a great job and it is fun to be here," Barnhill commented.
Tammy Provost is Alliy Moyer's trainer and worked with both Libretto and Safari this weekend. "Hayley has done great on Libretto," noted Provost. "They are so smooth and nice. He has a beautiful canter across the ground and jumps beautifully. Safari was perfect as always, maybe a little tired from last night, but really great."
Provost continued, "I have been training Alliy since she started riding, probably eight years. Safari is new to us, we got him in September or October of last year. Libretto is new to us as well we just got him in January. Hayley and Alliy didn't ever really know each other, but Hayley had ridden Safari before, and if you can get Hayley Barnhill why would you get anybody else? I think she will get to do him a couple of more times when Alliy cannot be at the shows. The courses were great the footing is good. Everybody here is so nice. It was a really fun time," Provost concluded.
The next rider on course to place in the top six was Rachel Porter aboard Beyond Belief. Porter and Beyond Belief entered with an 86 from her first round, but lost a few points for their second performance. The pair earned a score of 82 and combined with their first round had a total score of 168, which earned them the fourth place ribbon. Taylor Sutton and MTM Braggin Rights were one of the last few horse and rider combinations to be judged today, and outshined the competition. Sutton entered with a first round score of 86 and received an 85.5, which totaled 171.5, earning them the second place honors.
"My horse is the best horse I could ever ask for. He is only eight and he jumps around like he is 12 and I have had him for a year now," remarked Sutton. "He was really good, he was tired because he has been here for three weeks, but he was great. He doesn't have a care in the world. I love showing here. I love the new ring and everything is so nice. The derby classes were so much fun and everyone came to watch, which was great."
Sutton also took home the championship prize in the Large 15 & Under Junior Hunter Division. Kelly Lorek and Mike McCormack train the talented duo, and they put in impressive rounds today to earn two blue ribbons. The reserve championship honors were awarded to Bethany Bolen and Most Wanted, trained by Joan Waterman.
The winner of the $5,000 Junior Hunter Classic also took home the championship honors in the Large 16-17 Junior Hunter Division. Barnhill and Libretto won four of the five division classes and accumulated 46 points. Carson Gibson and Caden, owned by Shadyside Farm, took home the reserve championship tricolor for their efforts over the weekend.
Today marked the conclusion of the 2011 Spring Gathering Charity Horse Show. This year's show was a great success and was enjoyed by many top competitors from across the country.
Photo Credit: Hayley Barnhill and Libretto win the $5,000 Junior Hunter Classic and take home the championship prize in the Large 16-17 Junior Hunters at the Spring Gathering Charity Horse Show. Photo By: Heather Bellock/PMG.