Lexington, KY - May 17, 2012- The day was filled with intense competition as top riders vied for the championship awards in their divisions today at the Kentucky Spring Classic. Louise Serio led the way with Casino, dominating the First Year Greens, while Scott Stewart earned the championships in his respective divisions aboard Beholden and Dedication. Hunt Tosh guided Cold Harbor to the Regular Conformation Hunter Championship, and Rosalynn to the High Performance Hunters highest honors. The distinguished Lone Star returned to the ring for the second day of competition, earning a second day of straight 88s with Tosh in the irons, eventually taking the Performance 3'6" Hunters Championship.
Hunt Tosh and Lone Star, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, were victors at the end of the day in the Performance 3'6" Hunters, as the veteran pair began their return to the show rung. The duo earned both blue ribbons in yesterday, and picked up the second place ribbon during their first round over fences today and the third place in the under saddle. Hayley Barnhill and Lennon, owned by Reid Patton of Nashville, TN, took the reserve award.
"He went beautiful, he was great in the handy and felt great today. We are so happy that he is so consistent and so happy," Tosh described. "I think that we will be taking the step up to the four foot classes soon."
It was their handy round that truly gave the pair the extra edge. "They do great courses here, and the handy rode great. It allowed you to show off in a lot of places, and provided you with a lot of options. You could decide more or less what you needed to do. Lone Star is so scopey that you can make those tight turns, and I was also really was able to show off with his hand gallop."
Earlier in the day, Tosh also earned the High Performance Hunters championship aboard Rosalynn, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker. They were awarded with the second and first place awards over fences. Havens Schatt aboard Valencia, owned by CH Farm LLC of Delano, MN, came in right behind the team with her top scores from yesterday's rounds and her addition third and second place honors in today's division.
The winning streak continued for Parker's mounts as Cold Harbor was presented with the Regular Conformation Hunters Championship. Tosh exhibited Cold Harbor to a clean sweep of the division's over fences today. In addition to his first and second place ribbons yesterday, and their first place win in the under saddle, the pair emerged the victor. Ken Berkley and Sambalino, owned by Becky Gochman of New York, NY, took the reserve championship for their efforts over the two days.
Scott Stewart showed Dedication, owned by Fashion Farm of Philadelphia, PA, to the Second Year Green Working Hunter division championship. Fourteen-year-old Victoria Colvin navigated Inclusive, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, to the second place honors in both classes to score the reserve championship. "Dedication hasn't really shown since Wellington, so I was really pleased with the way he went. I think he jumped really great both days," Stewart stated. "I thought the handy was one of my favorite handys, without being too difficult, it posed a challenge. It was a great course. My horse is a little bit of a bigger, scopier horse, but I think maybe it was his jump that gave us that extra point."
Stewart also rode Beholden, owned by Fashion Farm, to the championship in the Green Conformation Hunters. The pair earned the first and third place ribbons over fences during yesterday's classes, and added another third place ribbon to their rounds, today. Chris Payne and Lugano, owned by Susan Moriconi of Sanbury, OH, swept the over fences portion this morning, making a comeback to rise to the reserve championship.
"Beholden has had a break, too, and yesterday he was a little fresh. Usually he is very quiet, straightforward and simple. I thought he really did great though. My horses have been excellent here, and we look forward to our next step at Devon," Stewart remarked.
Earlier in the morning, Louise Serio guided Casino, owned by Bridget Hallman and Merrylegs South of Oyster Bay, NY, in the First Year Green Working Hunters to the championship tricolor. The horse and rider combination bested a field of 16 competitors. Overall they earned two first place ribbons, the third and fourth place awards, and top honors in the under saddle. Jennifer Hannan and As Always, owned by Jennifer Smith of Wellington, FL, were awarded the reserve championship.
"Casino was really good yesterday, but today he was awesome, the handy course was really fun, it had a lot of options in it, and I think it is one of the best handy courses I have ever ridden It was a fun day, and the lines needed a lot of scope," Serio explained. "The competition was tough, he was very handy and efficient, and I was very pleased with his consistency."
Tomorrow, the Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions will begin in the Stonelea Arena, and champion and reserve championship honors will be awarded on Saturday. The week holds many highlights, including the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby to be held Saturday evening.
For more information about the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows or to download the prize list, please go to www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
Photo Credit: Hunt Tosh navigated Lone Star to his comeback, earning the Performance 3'6" Hunters Championship at the Kentucky Spring Classic. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG.