Lexington, KY - August 16, 2012 - It was perfect weather at the Stonelea Arena for greeting champions into the winner's circle today at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park. The Professional Hunters Divisions wrapped up the two-day competition with one name resounding above others. While, Hunt Tosh and Rosalynn earned an honorary moment of pinning in the High Performance Hunter division, it was Scott Stewart who brought an A-team of mounts who gave top-notch performances, all worthy of the championship tricolors in three of today's five hunter events.
Aligned in an original pattern, today's hunt course designed by Patrick Rodes, posed an intricate track for riders to navigate. The first over fences class used only eight of the eleven obstacles, while the handy class used nine of the eleven, with fence two consisting of two options, creating different lines to fence three, the narrow trot-jump. Both courses' lines closed with the vertical-oxer outside line, finishing on the near side of ring.
The first of the elite team to make their mark was in the Green Working Hunter Conformation division, the second event to be seen in the Stonelea Arena. Scott Stewart rode Beholden, a dark brown gelding, owned by Fashion Farm of Philadelphia, PA, to a back-to-back class win in the over fences and handy class, as well as a second place in the under saddle class. The duo was awarded the championship honors, while Chris Payne and Lugano owned by Susan Moriconi of St. Louis, MO, also ranked high and took the reserve championship.
"We got off to a rough start yesterday," Stewart recalled about their efforts. "I was a little late with a lead change in the first class, but today he was great. He jumped great and he was great in both classes and great in the hack. He was back on track today, and really rode to the top."
The Second Year Green Working Hunters saw a clear leader emerge as Stewart and Dedication, owned by Fashions Farm of Philadelphia, PA, swept the first day of competition. Without any reservations, Dedication, the bay gelding, again stole the show with a hat-trick performance across all classes, shutting out all competition and taking the division championship title. Valencia with Havens Schatt in the irons emerged victorious for their showmanship, receiving the reserve honors.
"Dedication was flawless. Every round was great with him. I hope that carries over into tomorrow when I ride him in the derby. We showed him here this week to get him ready for that," Stewart gleamed about the horse he's ridden the longest out of the three.
In the fourth division of the day, the Regular Conformation Hunters, Stewart and steed Showman, a bay gelding with a star marking his forehead, owned by Alexa and Krista Weisman of Sherborn, MA, worked their way to the top of the ranks. Receiving a first and fourth in the over fences classes yesterday, the pair took first place in the over fences and handy class, to outshine Cookie Beck and Last Call's finely tuned collaboration. Stewart and Showman stayed true to form, earning their ride to the center of the ring to be pinned with the Championship ribbon, concluding Stewart's triumphant rein of the divisions. Beck and Last Call were presented with the reserve championship award.
"This is the first time I've shown Showman," Stewart explained about his newest companion. "I don't really have a Regular Conformation horse all the time, so this is my first time doing this with him. I was really happy with him. The others I'm used to showing. All of these horses are great hunters and ideal. They are all structurally correct-great jumpers and movers. We're lucky to have them."
The next division welcomed another foreseen champion. Hunt Tosh and Rosalynn, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, were entitled to their ranks after a double blue ribbon effort in yesterday's classes. One of the few mares competing at the professional level, Tosh displayed Rosalynn's graceful ride through the traditional over fences, handy and under saddle classes, where they accumulated top scores and added the division's championship to their already numerous accolades.
"She's always been a try-er," Dr. Parker shared about her beloved champion. "She has a feminine softness that is appealing, and isn't in all mares-when they are good they are made of gold and she's one of those. She has made such a comeback and is very dear to all of us."
Also notable across divisions was Kelly Farmer riding Mythical, owned by Larry Glefke and Dr. Kenneth Garber, Keswich, VA, to the commendable championship ribbon for the First Year Green Working Hunters. Louise Serio aboard Casino, owned by Bridget Hallman and Merrylegs South of Oyster Bay, NY, also tallied high marks, taking the reserve championship award for the division.
The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show will continue through Sunday, August 19, 2012, featuring the highest levels of competition for both hunter and jumper riders. Taking place tomorrow will be the First Round of the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, beginning at 8 a.m. in the Rolex Stadium. The weeklong competition will conclude with the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix on Sunday.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Series or to download the prize list, please go to www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
Photo Credit: Scott Stewart won the Regular Conformation Championship with recently acquired mount Showman at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.Photo By: Ashley N. Williams/PMG.