Lexington, KY - Another beautiful day greeted riders at the Kentucky Summer Classic, presently held at the Kentucky Horse Park. It was a very victorious day for rider Michael Murphy and mount Corrado, earning two back-to-back blue ribbons during both of today's highlight events in the equitation ring.
The Covered Arena featured the competitive Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal that attracted over 50 riders. Due to such a large entry figure the class was split into two sections (A and B). After a round over fences, the top four riders in each section were invited back into the ring to ride to complete a final test.
The top four riders eligible for the first section were Lillie Keenan on Sanderson, Maggie Boylan aboard Barcelona, Laura Baginski on Say No More, and Samantha Schaefer on her mount Pioneer. The test round instructed the four riders to canter three verticals from the line and counter-canter a combination of two fences. Next, riders had to trot the sixth fence before halting in front of the judges. Finally, they would return to the line at a sitting trot.
Lillie Keenan and Sanderson were the first riding pair to begin the test round. While she maintained a good canter through her first five jumps, she unfortunately broke from her trot into a canter stride before the sixth jump, awarding her the third place prize.
Maggie Boylan and Barcelona were next in the test round. A nice canter carried her through her first fence, but the stride was abrupt and short coming into the second fence. She also halted to get her counter-canter. Although she held a smooth canter over the combination, Boylan lost points when Barcelona refused the sixth jump twice before cantering into it as opposed to trotting. She was awarded the fourth place honors.
Laura Baginski and Say No More were third to embark on the test round. While they sailed over the first jump, Say No More unfortunately rubbed the second and third fences. Her counter-canter was successful, but she chipped the second fence of the combination. Despite an excellent trot into the sixth fence and a clean halt, Baginski received the second place ribbon.
Samantha Schaefer and Pioneer were last to complete the test, but certainly not least. Beautiful showmanship was exhibited over the first two fences. Schaefer performed an excellent counter-canter and her trot was smooth into the final fence with a precise halt. Schaefer deservingly received the first place honors after demonstrating striking horsemanship.
"Today's course walked exactly how it rode," Samantha Schaefer grinned. "I didn't have much trouble with it and my test went well. I took a chance to hold the counter lead off the jump. As long as we stayed smooth, I knew it would end well."
The top four riders to qualify for the second section's test were Alyssa Mansfield and her mount Calice de Fuyssieu, Olivia Trueb and Lolita, Emily Reynolds riding Polaris, and Michael Murphy atop Corrado.
The first competitive pair to show their stride in the test round were Alyssa Mansfield and Calice de Fuyssieu. Unfortunately, she chipped the first two fences of the test and did not counter-canter prior to the combination. Mansfield was awarded the fourth place ribbon.
Olivia Trueb and Lolita were next in line to take on the test round. While she cantered smoothly over the first fence, she regrettably chipped both the second fence in the test and the second fence of the combination. Although her counter-canter was smooth and her halt was clean, Trueb received the second place prize.
Emily Reynolds and Polaris were third to enter the test round. Though the majority of her test went smoothly with a crisp counter-canter and fine halt, they unfortunately knocked a rail down at the second fence of the combination, costing her points and awarding her the third place ribbon.
Michael Murphy and his mount Corrado were the final competitors in the second test round. He exhibited excellent horsemanship, flying over the first fences in a rolling canter before counter-cantering the combination. He successfully trotted into the final jump and performed a clean halt before the judges, winning the first place honors in the second split of the class.
"The first round went well," Michael Murphy commented brightly. "This is a young, green horse; he has such a nice stride."
Corrado, Murphy's ride, is an 8-year-old Holstein owned by Elizabeth Patz. "I got to start riding him a month ago and overall he's a really nice horse," he said. "Next week we are going to Traders Point and we'll do the Derby there."
Murphy has been at the Kentucky Horse Park for the last two weeks and has had an excellent stay. "There is such great footing here," he noted. "Hugh Kincannon is really spectator-friendly and does a great job managing these shows."
Immediately following the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal was the ASPCA Maclay. Today's track involved numerous rollback s, a bending line, a vertical to oxer double combination, and an oxer-vertical-vertical triple combination. The challenging course yielded many refusals and rails down, and the few who chose wide outside turns and wide angles came out successful.
Coming back from a first place win in the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal, Michael Murphy and Corrado had a very smooth round over fences. After the hack, it was clearly Murphy and Corrado's class to win. Just behind Murphy was Lucille Oken and Stalone VDL earning the second place ribbon, while Paulena Johnson and mount Prosecco 24 rounded out the top three.
Murphy was all smiles after his back-to-back wins, "It couldn't have gone better. There were some tough inside turns but everything went smooth. The flat went really well too. I pretty much just have to pose and let him do his thing."
Earlier today in the Stonelea Ring, the Amateur-Owner 18-34 Hunters and the Amateur-Owner 35 and Older Hunters competed for championship and reserve championship honors in their respected divisions. Taking the top prize in the Amateur-Owner 35 and Older Hunter division was Jane Gaston aboard Lumiere. Receiving the reserve championship prize was Stacey Arani and her horse Bolero. In the Amateur-Owner 18-34 Hunters the championship prize was awarded to Alise Oken and Take Away, while Arly Golombek and Ralando Z received the reserve championship tricolor.
Tomorrow is the final day of the Kentucky Summer Classic and the highlights will include the conclusion of the Small, Medium and Large Pony Hunters. Divisions will award championship and reserve championship tricolors to the top horse and rider combinations as they prepare competitors for next week's USEF Pony Finals, which will also be held at the Kentucky Horse Park.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows please visit www.KentuckyHorseShows.com.
Photo Credit: Michael Murphy and Corrado won the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Section B and the ASPCA Mclay at the Kentucky Summer Classic. Photo By: Whitney Campbell/PMG.