Bridgehampton, NY - Scott Stewart has ridden many horses to hunter championships at the Hampton Classic, and this year he added two more titles, riding Everly to the High Performance Hunter Championship and Showman to the Regular Conformation Hunter Championship.
Everly also took the reserve championship in the Regular Conformation Hunter division.
The courses are always so great here, and it's really a 'show' atmosphere. It's definitely a special occasion, and we always look forward to coming here," said Stewart, 49, of Wellington, Fla.
He said that his horses usually perform well in the Hampton Classic hunter rings, partly because he aims them specifically for it. "We try to peak for this show, for sure," he said.
And some, like Everly, really respond to the show's charged atmosphere and to the grass footing in the Anne Aspinall Hunter Ring. "I think horses jump well on this field. They like jumping on the grass," he said.
Everly is new to the hunter ring, but she's not new to the show ring. The 9-year-old warmblood mare was showing in the jumper ring until a month ago, owned by Spy Coast Farm and ridden by Shane Sweetnam. Stewart advised Dr. Betsee Parker to buy her to be a high performance hunter.
"She goes in perfect style for a hunter. But she likes to go with her nose out, which didn't really suit her as a jumper," said Stewart. "But she's a beautiful horse and a beautiful mover, and I may do the hunter derbies with her in the future."
Peter Pletcher, of Magnolia, Texas, also guided horses he trains to two hunter championships. He won the First Year Green Hunter Championship on Kingpin and the Second Year Green Hunter Championship on Romance. David and Becky Gochman own both champions.
Pletcher, 53, said that he hopes both horses will be future mounts for the two Gochman daughters, Mimi and Sophie, who are 9 and 10 years old. In the meantime, he'll show them in the open divisions and Becky will show them in the amateur divisions.
Romance is 8 years old, and Pletcher said that his greatest strength is that "he's a very steady kind of guy. He really focuses on his jumps, but he doesn't worry much about the environment."
Romance won both of his division's classes on Tuesday but was third in both classes on Wednesday. Kingpin earned a third-placed ribbon on Tuesday but won both classes on Wednesday. Pletcher said he wasn't surprised that Kingpin, 6, performed better on the second day.
"He went in the ring [on the first day] and went, 'Wow!' But today he was right on and jumped beautifully. We're excited about the future for both of them," said Pletcher.
The 38th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show runs through Sunday, September 1 and features world-class show jumping competition, as well as magnificent shopping and a variety of entertainment attractions. The Classic features six show rings with more than 100 classes of competition for horses and riders of all ages. A wide range of jumper, hunter, equitation, short stirrup and leadline classes are all part of the Classic's schedule, as well as competitions for riders with disabilities.
The Classic features an FEI-recognized Grand Prix on three consecutive days - the $50,000 Spy Coast Farm/Young Horse Show Series Grand Prix Qualifier Presented by Longines on Friday, the $40,000 Longines Cup on Saturday, and the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup™ Qualifier on Sunday. The world-class field of riders will also be looking to win the new Longines Rider Challenge that awards $30,000 to the rider who accumulates the most points in the horse show's Open Jumper division.
The FTI Grand Prix is part of the Taylor Harris Triple Crown Challenge which awards a $200,000 bonus should the same horse-and-rider combination win the $100,000 Wells Fargo Grand Prix of Devon, $250,000 FTI Grand Prix at the Hampton Classic, and $250,000 Alltech Grand Prix at the Alltech National Horse Show. McLain Ward won the Wells Fargo Grand Prix of Devon on Rothchild in May and now stands to win the $200,000 bonus should he ride Rothchild to wins in the remaining two events in the Taylor Harris Triple Crown Challenge.
For those who can't make it to the show grounds, 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 telecasts can also be seen online at www.WVVH.com.
Free live webcasts of all Grand Prix Ring competition will be available, courtesy of ShowNet, at www.HamptonClassic.com. Competition in other rings will be available on a pay-per-view basis at www.shownet.biz.
Further information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show, please visit the Hampton Classic website at www.hamptonclassic.com or call (631) 537-3177. Hampton Classic Horse Show, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation.