Bridgehampton, NY, Aug. 28, 2014-Michael Hughes of Allendale, NJ, achieved the best second-round score to defeat 36 other riders, with a two-round total of 179 points, in the Sam Edelman Equitation Championship at the Hampton Classic. Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL, finished second (177.5 points), and Kelli Cruciotti of Elizabeth, CO, finished third (171 points).
The 39th Annual Hampton Classic Horse Show runs Aug. 24-31. The Hampton Classic features world-class equestrian competition, with more than 100 classes of competition including jumper, hunter, equitation, short stirrup and leadline classes, as well as competitions for riders with disabilities.
The Sam Edelman Equitation Championship's format requires riders to negotiate two rounds, over two different courses, in the sprawling Grand Prix Ring.
"It's different from all the other equitation championships, because of the two rounds in this big ring. It takes a special horse to come in and do this class," said Hughes, 18. Hughes rode Zagreb, 9, on whom he also won the USET Medal Finals last October.
"This means a lot to me because I've been riding in it for so many years-and I finally did it," added Hughes. He said he's contested the Sam Edelman class for the last five years and gotten a ribbon every year, including a second place and a fourth place.
Hughes stood in third place after the first round, scoring an 89, just 1 point behind Colvin. Geoffrey Hesslink stood second with 89.5 points. But the judges didn't reward either Colvin's or Hesslink's performances as well in the second round, giving them scores of 87.5 and 81.
Riders started the second round in reverse order of their placing, so Hughes rode before Hesslink and Colvin. Hughes said he didn't plan to ride any differently when he entered the ring.
"I just tried to ride the exact same way as I did in the first round, and then I hoped the judges liked it as much and that the two above me would make some mistakes," said Hughes. He trains with Missy Clark, John Brennan, Julie Welles and his father, Eamonn Hughes.
Hughes added that he benefited from riding in a couple of the jumper classes held in the Grand Prix Ring over the last three days. "It definitely helped me this afternoon. This ring takes some getting used to, because there are some little hills that can influence how the lines ride," he said.
The Hampton Classic features six show rings, a Boutique Garden with more than 70 vendors, and a wide selection of dining options, on its 60-acre show grounds. The Classic's world-class equestrian competition attracts many of the nation's top professional and amateur riders including Olympic medalists.
The Classic's world-class field of Grand Prix riders competes daily in the Classic's open jumper division, which features an FEI-recognized Grand Prix on three consecutive days, Friday through Sunday, Aug. 29-31: the $50,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier, presented by Longines, on Friday, the $40,000 Longines Cup on Saturday, and Sunday's $250,000 Grand Prix and FEI World Cup™ Qualifier, presented by Land Rover, a qualifying competition for the 2015 Longines FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas next April.
The rider who accumulates the most points in the horse show's Open Jumper division wins the $30,000 Longines Rider Challenge.
For those who can't make it to the show grounds, a complimentary live webcast of all Grand Prix ring classes will air on the Hampton Classic website, produced by ShowNet and courtesy of Longines.
In addition, WVVH-TV, the official Long Island television station of the Hampton Classic, broadcasts up to five hours of competition and highlights each day during the Classic. These broadcasts can also be seen on line at www.wvvh.tv. Most of the Classic's other classes will also be available on ShowNet.biz.
Further information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show is available at the Hampton Classic website at www.hamptonclassic.com or by calling 631-537-3177. Hampton Classic Horse Show, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation.