Wayne, IL - September 12, 2013 - With beautiful hunter courses and picturesque weather there was no question today as to why the regions top hunter professionals and horses are drawn to the Lamplight Equestrian Center for the popular Showplace Fall Classic Championship Horse Show. Put on by Showplace Productions, the 'A' rated horse show, running September 10-15, attracts a bevy of well-respected trainers and riders from throughout the area and from across the country.Among them are a number of today's top finishers including Russell Frey, Maggie Jayne, Tina Judge and Meagan Murray.
"It's just so enjoyable to be here," said Frey who earned the Conformation Hunter division championship aboard Ferrari. "Big kudos to the new owner, Nina [Koloseike], because she's really done a nice job with this place. You look around and it's absolutely beautiful. There's good stabling, plenty of areas to work horses, upgraded footing - Pat [Boyle] does a great job with this show."
Frey and Ferrari, owned by Alexis Cohen of Highland Park, IL, came into the day with a blue ribbon win already under their belt from yesterday's classes, and today they bested the field over both Skip Bailey designed courses to clinch the division championship. "He is fabulous. He is just such a consistent horse," Frey said of Ferrari. "He's got a heart of gold. He tries to do the right thing all the time."
The 9-year-old Ferrari made his debut in the hunter ring this spring, after competing in the 7/8 Year-Old Young Jumpers throughout last year, and he has made the transition seamlessly.
"With his jumper experience, he's phenomenal in the handy rounds. He has huge scope, a big stride and a big heart," Frey said. "He's my favorite horse that I've ridden in a long, long, long time just because he comes out every day, and he tries to give you 100 percent. I couldn't say enough good things about him. I've had other horses that were maybe better movers or the same caliber of jumpers, but very few horses have I come along in my career that have this kind of try and desire. He's something special."
Finishing behind Ferrari in the reserve position in the Conformation Hunters was Freddie Vazquez aboard Talan, owned by Meg Gehron of Chicago, IL.
In the High Performance Hunters, it was long-time Lamplight Equestrian Center and Showplace Productions competitor Tina Judge who earned the top tri-color riding Trust Me, owned by Shannon Kelly of Chicago, IL. "We've been coming here since the beginning of time," joked Judge of Judgement Farm, based in Oswego, IL. "We love it here. It's close to home so we bring a lot of horses, and the facility is always beautiful. Showplace Productions does a great job."
Judge and Trust Me earned the top call in the first High Performance over fences class of the day and took the third place award in the handy round. Their top ribbons today, coupled with two first place finishes yesterday earned them the division championship. "We imported Trust Me as 4-year-old from Holland, and we've had him for nine years now," Judge said. "I love having him in the barn; he's really the horse of a lifetime."
Finishing in reserve were Cookie Beck and Prologue, owned by Rendezvous Farm of Whitefish Bay, WI. Beck and the 8-year-old Warmblood have earned division tri-colors across the country, and they again displayed that winning style today, earning the first place spot in the handy round and the second place award in the opening round. "He is an incredible jumper. I can't say enough good things about him," Beck shared. "He's a blast to ride; he turns on a dime; he's just a really cool horse."
Rounding out the day's championship winners were Meagan Murray and Esperado in the First Year Green Hunters and Maggie Jayne and Fredrick, owned by Pony Lane Farm of Bluffdale, UT, in the Second Year Green Hunters.
Esperado, owned by Leeann Ablin of Highland Park, IL, is a new ride for Murray, but one that is already proving to be a success, as evident by their championship win this week.
"They moved him with us September 1, so he's very new to me," Murray explained. "I'm really excited about him though because we'll do him in the Second Year Green Hunters next year, and he seems like he's going to be a lot of fun. He's not spooky, and he's got a great scopey step."
An Illinois native, Murray has been coming to the Lamplight Equestrian Center for much of her life, and in addition to the beautiful showgrounds and top competition that the Showplace Fall Classic Championship offers, Murray is quick to point out another one of her favorite aspects.
"I get to sleep at home!" smiled Murray. "That's my favorite part, but I just love coming here. It's absolutely beautiful."
The hunter competition continues tomorrow at the Showplace Fall Classic Championship Horse Show with the Junior Hunter and Children's Hunter divisions. Equitation classes will also take center stage tomorrow afternoon with the ASPCA Maclay and the USEF Hunt Seat Medal. For more information on Showplace Productions and the Showplace Fall Classic Championship Horse Show visit www.showplaceproductions.com.