Bridgehampton, NY, Aug. 30, 2014 - Devin Ryan rode Eddie Blue to victory in the $20,000 SHF Enterprises YJC 5-Year-Old Final, and Cody Auer rode Imerald Van Het Voorhof to victory in the $30,000 Split Rock Farm YJC 6-Year-Old Final at the 39th Annual Hampton Classic.
The young jumpers performed two rounds in Jumper Ring II on Friday to qualify for the final round in the Grand Prix Ring first thing Saturday morning. Four 5-year-olds and five 6-year-olds with a three-round total of 0 faults then jumped off against the clock to determine the winners. These finals were the culmination of the Young Jumper Championship's 2014 season.
Ryan, 32, of Long Valley, NJ, won the 5-year-old championship in 2013 on another horse, and he was pleased with Eddie Blue's progression toward this year's final. "He didn't have a rail down all year, and he was awesome here," said Ryan.
Ryan bought Eddie Blue, who was bred in Holland, as a 4-year-old in the fall of 2013. Owner Lori Larrabee bought the horse from him in November. "He's always had a great reaction when he makes a mistake-he just tries a little bit harder. I think he's a very special horse," said Ryan. "He's really careful, he's the right type and has the right build, and he's got the right brain and the heart it takes to be a big horse," added Ryan.
Like Ryan, Cody Auer, 27, of Easton CT, specializes in finding and developing young jumpers, and she believes that Imerald Van Het Voorhof, who was bred in Holland, also has all the tools to go on. "He's definitely a grand prix horse. He's definitely the best horse I've ever ridden-the bigger the jumps, the better he jumps," she said. And she thought that the confident way Imerald handled the impressive Grand Prix Ring, now with a Jumbo-Tron looming over the east end, demonstrated his courage and ability. "You really see what kind of horse you have when you go in there!" she said. "He jumped nicely at the beginning, but the further we went, the better he jumped. By the end, he was just exploding over the jumps."
Auer said that she and owner Sarah Ryan made this final their goal shortly after purchasing him in February. "I hope it's just the first step, the first of many classes and championships he's going to win," she said.
Ryan believes that the Young Jumper Championships "is an excellent way for young horses to compete against their peers over courses purposely designed for them. And it gives owners and breeders a goalpost along the way as their horses develop," he said. "It's a good progression throughout the year, and I think the three-round format of the final helps weed out the horses who might be future international horses."
The Hampton Classic, which runs through Aug. 31, features six show rings, a Boutique Garden with more than 70 vendors, and a wide selection of dining options, on its 60-acre show grounds. The Classic's world-class equestrian competition attracts many of the nation's top professional and amateur riders including Olympic medalists.
The Classic's world-class field of Grand Prix riders competes daily in the Classic's open jumper division, which features an FEI-recognized Grand Prix on three consecutive days, Friday through Sunday, Aug. 29-31: the $50,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier, presented by Longines, on Friday, the $40,000 Longines Cup on Saturday, and Sunday's $250,000 Grand Prix and FEI World Cup™ Qualifier, presented by Land Rover, a qualifying competition for the 2015 Longines FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas next April.
The rider who accumulates the most points in the horse show's Open Jumper division wins the $30,000 Longines Rider Challenge.
For those who can't make it to the show grounds, a complimentary live webcast of all Grand Prix ring classes will air on the Hampton Classic website, produced by ShowNet and courtesy of Longines.
In addition, 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 broadcasts can also be seen on line at www.wvvh.tv. Most of the Classic's other classes will also be available on ShowNet.biz.
Further information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show is available at the Hampton Classic website at www.hamptonclassic.com or by calling 631-537-3177. Hampton Classic Horse Show, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation.