Lexington, KY - May 10, 2012- Today marked the conclusion of the professional hunter divisions for the second day of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Riders gathered at the Stonelea to vie for the championship awards in the competitive divisions. Tammy Provost and Chris Payne proved successful in the Green Conformation Hunters and Second Year Green Working Hunters, respectively.
Jennifer Alfano rode to the top of the leaderboard with Lions Paw in the Regular Conformation Hunter division, as well as showing Jersey Boy to the championship tricolor in the High Performance Hunters. Rider Louise Serio dominated the First Year Green Working Hunters, earning the championship prize aboard Aate' and also taking home the reserve championship with Casino.
Serio, was filled with determination as she guided Aate', owned by Bright Star 158, LLC of Snyder, NY, to two blue ribbon finishes early this morning. The crisp weather had the horses feeling fresh; however, Aate' rose to the occasion, executing two beautiful rounds over fences.
"I went early, and he was so much more relaxed today. He just came form Europe last fall, so he hasn't shown in very many places; this is only his third venue," Serio explained. "You could just tell this morning when I was flatting him that he was more relaxed, happy and understood his job. I couldn't have asked him to jump any better."
The seven-year-old chestnut Warmblood began showing in the Pre-Green Hunters, but Serio shortly moved ahead into the First Year Working Hunters. Although Aate' seemed a bit overwhelmed at first, his time in Kentucky has proven that he is now ready. It is apparent that Serio and Aate' have a great partnership. She commented, "He has a great personality, and a fantastic attitude. His ears are always up, and he is always interested and happy. He is so much fun to be around."
The awards did not stop there for Serio. After putting in two strong rounds yesterday with Casino, owned by Bridget Hallman and Merrylegs South of Oyster Bay, NY, the duo was awarded with the First Year Green Working Hunter Reserve Championship.
"Casino is also new for us," Serio elaborated. "We just got him in Florida, and he has been great, he is a lovely young horse, and we are just working on putting everything together. I think these courses have been great for both of my mounts, the handy had great options, and the course was designed to allow you to have a good gallop down the lines. We had a lot of fun out there."
Although Havens Schatt and Valencia, owned by CH Farm, LLC of Delano, MN, seemed to lead the way after yesterday's rounds in the Second Year Green Working Hunters, it was Chris Payne and Holden, owned by Susan Moriconi of St. Louis, MO, who put forth their best effort today, eventually earning the championship. Together, they took two blues in the over fences, and were also awarded the third place award for their efforts in the under saddle.
"We imported him last year, and he was very successful in the First Years," Payne stated. "This is only his second time doing the Second Years, but he has such great integrity in the ring, and I think it really shows."
Payne continued, "He is definitely a character. He is all about treats in the barn, but down to business in the ring. He loves to be in the ring and show, he goes in there and he tries to be really careful and think about his job. I think it really helps when your horse is in it to win it."
Tammy Provost and Libretto, owned by Alliy Moyer of Carmel, IN, rose in the ranks this morning, too. They earned the second and third place ribbons in the over fences, and their beautiful flat eventually was awarded with the first place prize. With their combined ribbons from yesterday's classes, they were rightfully awarded the reserve championship.
Earlier in the morning, Provost also garnered the championship aboard Paul Stuart, owned by Wendy Hofmeister of Willowbrook, IL, in the Green Conformation Hunters. Yesterday, the pair wowed the judges during the first round of the over fences, and their success continued today as they snatched two first place ribbons in the over fences and the first in the under saddle, too. Hunt Tosh and Say Again, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Wheeler of Keswick, VA, took home the reserve championship for their second place in the handy round, fourth in the over fences and second in the under saddle.
"We started showing Paul Stuart here last year in the Baby Greens, and I am really proud of how far he has come," Provost described. "He is already so mature, and he came so far in Florida, and he has been super. He has a major personality, he needs a soft ride and he always puts his best foot forward."
Jennifer Alfano rounded out the day with two championship wins in her divisions. Danny Robertshaw's Lions Paw made a clean sweep of the over fences for the second day in a row. They laid down an excellent handy round, using scope and consistency to their benefit. The pair was presented with the championship award, just ahead of Chris Payne and Righteous, owned by Susan Moriconi of St. Louis, MO.
"He is such a good boy," Alfano explained. "I unfortunately was unable to see the other riders go, but the course was perfect for him. It provided excellent options, required a strong pace and allowed for him to really jump."
Alfano also piloted Jersey Boy to a second day of blue ribbons in the High Performance Hunters. Overall, Alfano earned four first place ribbons for their excellent trips, as well as the second place ribbon in the under saddle. Shawn Cassidy was awarded the reserve championship for his top ribbons aboard Conquest Z, owned by Wolfstone Stables & Sales Inc. of Wellington, FL.
"If this is a precursor to the Derby on Saturday, then I am hopeful that we will do just as well. He has already done so much during his career, he has nothing to prove, and we are just going out there and having a good time," Alfano concluded.
Tomorrow, the Junior Hunter divisions will begin, and champion and reserve championship honors will be awarded on Saturday. The week holds many highlights, including the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and the latest addition to the lineup, the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby.
For more information about the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows or to download the prize list, please go to www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
Photo Credit: Louise Serio piloted Aate' and Casino to the First Year Green Working Hunter Championship awards for the second day of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG.