Lexington, KY - November 3, 2011 - Today marked the second day of competition at the Alltech National Horse, 128th Edition, and it was the professional hunter divisions that took center stage this afternoon as they completed their under saddle and stake classes. Scott Stewart earned the highest honor of the day with his First Year Green Working Hunter mount, Dedication, owned by Fashion Farm of New York, NY. After scoring three blue ribbons, the duo took home the division's tricolor and were eventually honored with the Grand Champion Hunter Award.
The First Year Green Working Hunters were the first to complete their stake class today and wrapped up their second day of competition. Stewart and Dedication showed brilliantly over Richard Jeffery's courses to earn three first place ribbons and a second place ribbon, which included a win in the stake class with a score of 88. They picked up the championship award, while Tammy Provost and Libretto, owned by Alliy Moyer of Carmel, IN, earned the reserve championship honors. With their impressive effort in all four classes, Stewart and Dedication returned to the ring at the end of the day to receive the prestigious Grand Champion Hunter title.
"Today was the best Dedication has ever gone, he has been extremely consistent, it's the most consistent he's been," noted Stewart. "He was Grand Champion at Harrisburg and then last week he was a little greener. He has an enormous stride, which sometimes can be hard to fit in the lines, so you have to go very slow, but today it was easy enough to do. He was a little green about the edge of the ring, but he is getting better and better."
Stewart added, "After this show he is probably going to have a couple of months off, probably show at the Winter Equestrian Festival, and do a few derby classes. "
The Mr. & Mrs. Douglas Wheeler Green Conformation Hunters competed next and it was the beautiful Cold Harbor, owned by Mr. & Mrs. Douglas Wheeler of Keswick, VA, and ridden by Hunt Tosh, that claimed the championship prize. The pair won the model and under saddle phases, and also earned a second and third place ribbon over fences. After winning today's stake class with a score of 86 and yesterday's handy class, the reserve championship tricolor was presented to Scott Stewart and Touchdown, owned by Becky Gochman of New York, NY.
"Cold Harbor has been great," commented Tosh. "He was really good at Capital Challenge and then we gave him last week off. He was a little green in a couple of classes, but he got some great ribbons and won the hack and the model. He has won every model this last year, which is really nice. We're excited, and to be champion at such a great horse show is really special. This is such a great facility and then to bring a horse show here with as much history it has, is perfect."
The blue ribbon prize and score of 88 during the McNeil-Oare Second Year Green Working Hunter Stake class today went to Jennifer Alfano for her ride aboard Miss Lucy, owned by Helen Lenahan of Buffalo, NY, but it was second place finishers Holly Orlando and Sailors Valentine, owned by Westerly Farm of Unionville, PA, who claimed the division's championship honors. The pair also won yesterday's handy class to earn the tricolor prize, while Haylie Jayne and Humor Me, owned by Pony Lane Farm of Bluffdale, UT, took home the reserve championship honors with a first, second, and third place ribbon.
"This win means a lot, especially to me, it's been a long time for me since I have been champion at an indoor show," smiled Orlando. "Sailor's Valentine and I started out in Florida and began working the kinks out and finally got it together. It's so nice to end the year this way. He's a great derby horse, so we have had some luck in those classes, but for him to come here, he has just done so great. He has jumped great, the courses were beautiful, the footing was perfect, and he just loved it!"
The 14 Hands Winery Regular Conformation Hunters were next to compete in the Alltech Arena, and once again it was Scott Stewart that earned the championship honors. The talented rider piloted Becky Gochman's mount to two first place ribbons and a third place ribbon to earn the championship rosette. Picking up the reserve championship prize was Elizabeth Boyd and Casallo, owned by Erin McGuire of Cornelius, NC, after the duo won yesterday's handy class and earned two third place ribbons.
Boyd took home her own championship prize at the end of the day in the Pony Lane Farm High Performance Hunters, riding her long-time partner Brunello, owned by Boyd and Janet Peterson of Camden, SC. They won the stake class with a score 88 as well as yesterday's first over fences classes for the tricolor award. The reserve championship honors went to yesterday's handy winner, Garfield, owned by Alexandra Crown of New York, NY, and ridden by Stewart.
"I thought Brunello went great, they set the jumps up big and all the horses rose to the occasion and jumped really nicely," said trainer Jack Towell. "We couldn't be more thrilled with him, he jumped beautifully. Brunello only does the derby classes now; we haven't shown him since Devon in a regular division. He's been champion at Capital Challenge, Harrisburg, and Washington, and we've never shown him at the National, so we wanted to be champion here."
Towell added, "The show is beautiful, it's the best place you can do it and they have made it look so nice. All the press, front page of the newspaper two days in a row, the excitement is back. I'm really excited for Brunello to be champion here, but more than anything the excitement is back for the show. It's the way it should be; everything is perfect!
The Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions got underway today with their first over fences class and handy class, and will continue tomorrow with under saddle and stake class. Championship and reserve championship awards will be presented to the top horse and rider combinations as the afternoon comes to a close. Today's event benefited the Kentucky Horse Park Mustang Troop, and tomorrow's beneficiary will be the Louisville Mount Police. For more information at the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition, please visit www.nhs.org.
Photo Credit: Scott Stewart and Dedication won the Grand Champion Hunter Title at the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG.