Lexington, KY - This week, Lexington, Kentucky, ushers in both top racehorses for the Breeders' Cup and the nation's leading hunter and jumper horses for the prestigious CP National Horse Show. The horse show, marking the culmination of the year-long show circuit, kicked off Tuesday morning at the Kentucky Horse Park with a full day of professional and amateur hunter competition.
Competing at the CP National Horse Show in itself is an honor, as all horses and riders had to qualify for the opportunity to do so. Riding to winning honors among the best of the best on Tuesday were top professionals Jennifer Alfano, Kelley Farmer, Amanda Steege, Scott Stewart and Hunt Tosh.
Stewart kicked off his day full of victories in the Alltech Arena right from the get go with the win in the first class of the day, the Regular Conformation Model with Dr. Betsee Parker's Lucador. Stewart and Lucador also claimed both a first and a second place finish over fences with Tosh and Parker's Cold Harbor taking the first place award in the handy round.
Stewart's early domination continued into the next division of the day, the Green Conformation Hunters, where he claimed back-to-back blue ribbons over fences with First Light, owned by Stephanie Danhakl. In the First Year Green Hunters it was Catch Me's turn to top the list with Stewart.
Stewart and the 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding, owned by David Gochman, took the blue ribbon in the first over fences class and finished third in the handy round, with the blue ribbon in the handy going to Amanda Steege and Mirror Image, owned by Ellen Toon. "He's pretty green," Stewart said of Catch Me. "When he's being his normal self he's pretty easy, and it's nice to ride. He was a little bit nervous last week [at the Washington International Horse Show]. He'd never been in a small ring like that, but he felt back to normal today. He's a comfortable horse to ride. [All my horses] were good today; I had a very nice day."
Stewart is no stranger to success at the CP National Horse Show and enjoys coming to the indoor final each year. "It's supposed to be the best horse show of the year, and I think the conditions here are great. It's a nice way to end the year," Stewart concluded.
Jennifer Alfano echoed Stewart's sentiments after winning a class in both the Second Year Green Hunters and the High Performance Hunters. "They do such a great job here," Alfano said. "The ring is beautiful. The course looks beautiful. They really make it special. It's fun to come here."
Alfano's win in the Second Year Green Hunters came aboard her own Candid, while her victory in the High Performance Hunters was earned aboard Miss Lucy, owned by Helen Lenahan. "I was thrilled with both horses," Alfano said. "They were both fantastic, and I couldn't be happier."
Earning the blue ribbon in the first High Performance Hunter class was Kelley Farmer on Kensel LLC's Mindful. Farmer also took second in the same class riding Dalliance, owned by Avatar Real Estate LLC. Immediately preceding the start of the High Performance Hunters, Farmer claimed a win in the Second Year Green Hunters aboard So To Speak, owned by Larry Glefke and Kensel LLC.
The Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunters also kicked off their time at the CP National Horse Show on Tuesday. In the Amateur-Owner 3'3" 18-35 Hunters, Stephanie Danhakl dominated the day, claiming back-to-back blue ribbons aboard her own Enough Said. In the Amateur-Owner 3'3" 35 and Older Hunters it was Daryl Portela and her own Winner who also swept both of the over fences classes.
Hunter competition at the 2015 CP National Horse Show continues Tuesday in the Alltech Arena beginning at 7 a.m. with the First Year Green Working Hunter Under Saddle, followed by the conclusion of the professional hunter divisions. To learn more about the CP National Horse Show visit www.nhs.org.