Lexington, Ky.—August 15, 2019—It was a day to remember as two champions were crowned in the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships. Wowing the judges with her precision and handiness, Sara Taylor and Noah, owned by Ingrid Avera, topped the 3'6"/3'9" Championship. Maintaining his week-long lead, Scott Stewart finished on top of the 3'/3'3" Championship with Sandstone, owned by Betsee Parker.
Second Annual 3'6"/3'9" Championship Featured New Handy Round
3'6"/3'9" Champions Sara Taylor and Noah, owned by Ingrid Avera. Photo: Shawn McMillen Photography
Taylor, who placed just out of the top 12 in the morning's First Round, came back for the Second Round over a Handy course to earn scores of 91, 90 and 88 to finish nearly nine points ahead of the top 30 horse-and-rider combinations. Taylor and the 10-year-old warmblood gelding, trained by Kitty Barker, earned a two-round total of $8,135.83.
“Well, I couldn’t speak for a long time I was so excited," said Taylor after her win. "He’s like a little jumping bean. He’s just always right there with me; he’s so consistent, anywhere I take him he always tries his little heart out."
New to the 3'6"/3'9" Championship this year was the addition of a Handy course as the final Championship round. The format suited the top three well, particularly Patricia Griffith and Amanda Steege, who plan to compete in the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship beginning tomorrow.
"It kind of just flowed all the way around, like he was there with me every step of the way and it was almost like he was having just as much fun as I was," said Taylor of the new Handy format.
Finishing as Reserve Champion was Griffith aboard Diamante, a 9-year-old Oldenburg stallion owned by Callie Seaman. Steege and Cheryl Olsten's Lafitte De Muze rounded out the top three.
"Both of our horses are doing Derby Finals tomorrow and it’s their first Derby Finals, so I think it was a really good preparation for us," said Steege of her and Griffith's mounts. "This was Lafitte’s [first time out] this week, so I was happy to get to practice coming out a little later in the day and going straight into the handy and all of that.”
“It for sure reinvented the hunters a little bit and it needed that," said Griffith of the USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Program. "Now there are goals; it’s not just waiting for the horse to mature enough to jump 3’6” or maybe it never gets that far. It can really excel at that height and showcase itself. It’s a great program.”
Scott Stewart Dominates 3'/3'3" Championships
3'/3'3" Champions Scott Stewart and Sandstone, owned by Betsee Parker. Photo: Shawn McMillen Photography
The 3'/3'3" Championship featured three rounds of competition over three days. Consistency was key for Stewart. who finished second with Sandstone, owned by Betsee Parker, in the first two rounds. They came back with a clean slate in the championship round to win. Stewart also finished third aboard Parker's Mayflower after taking home two blue ribbons from the first two rounds of competition.
Fellow Tier I rider Chris Payne also had a successful day, earning the 3'/3'3" Reserve Championship title aboard Solitude, a 7-year-old gelding owned by Northernside LLC and trained by David Belford.
"I thought he was really good today," said Payne after his round. "I was a little nervous because he seemed really quiet schooling, but then as he got in there it just kind of lifted him up just enough to put a nice effort into the jump but be soft around the end of the ring."
Finishing in fourth was West Coast Tier II rider Nick Haness, aboard West Coast Equine Partner's Reese's. Haness took home $6,510.69 in bonus prize money as a Tier II rider, as well as $5,241.21 in the Championship round.
"It’s exciting," said Haness. "I’m looking forward to becoming a Tier I rider in years to come, but I’m definitely grateful for the structure that it is now. It paid off for me today in a positive way."
Both Championships offered recognition and more than $50,000 in additional prize money through the Green Hunter Rider Ranking System, which categorizes riders into two tiers based upon their prior earnings within the program. Tier I riders are those who are ranked 1-30 in money won in the program over the past three years, and all other riders are considered Tier II. Tier II prize money was based on the cumulative scores from Rounds 1 and 2 for 3'/3'3" competitors and Round 1 scores for 3'6"/3'9" competitors.
More than $50,000 in prize money was paid out to the top 10 3'/3'3" Championship Tier II riders (left) and the top 10 3'6"/3'9" Championship Tier II riders (right). Photo: USHJA
Bonus awards were also presented for both the 3'0"/3'3" and 3'6"/3'9" Championships, providing special recognition and encouraging the highest standard of breeding in the United States. Special recognition and awards were given in six categories including Thoroughbreds, Mares, American-Breds, presented by Oakwell Farms and DS Holdings, LLC, and horses that are also enrolled in the Texas Green Hunter Super Series.
Top Amateur riders were recognized in each Championship with Silas Jaramillo earning the 3'6"/3'9" High Score Amateur Owner Award with Copernicus K, and Lindsay Maxwell earning the 3'/3'3" High Score Amateur Owner Award with Coronation. The Shapley's Best Turned Out Award in the 3'/3'3" Championship was awarded to Juan Robello for grooming Gratitude, and Silyvano Chavez earned the award for his grooming of Private I.
A Style of Riding Award was presented to Holly Orlando and Jeff Gogul for the 3'/3'3" and 3'6"/3'9" Championships, respectively. Presented by Tricia Booker on behalf of Bill Rube, the award recognizes the rider who best displays the American style of riding in the ring and sportsmanship outside of the competition arena.
Judging the Championships this week were Tom Brennan, Richard Fancher, Daniel Robertshaw, William Sparks, Geoff Teall and James Toon. Bobby Murphy designed the courses.
The USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Program has gained popularity since its debut in December 2012 and has garnered praise from members across the country for its encouragement of the development of young horses. The program would not have gotten off the ground without the early support of many people, including USHJA committee members and staff.
The Founding Members include: Colleen McQuay, Amanda Lyerly, Bill Ellis, Betty Oare, Diana Strumberg, Don Stewart, Emil Spadone, Geoff Teall, Jenny Karazissis, Joey Darby, Liza Boyd, Louise Serio, Peter Pletcher and Susie Schoellkopf.
The USHJA thanks Show Manager Hugh Kincannon and the entire Kentucky Horse Shows team for their assistance with the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships.
The USHJA thanks the Official Sponsors who helped to make these championships possible, including: Charles Owen, Inc., the Official Helmet of the USHJA; CWD, the Official Saddle of the USHJA; Parlanti International, the Official Riding Boot of the USHJA; Rood & Riddle, the Official Equine Hospital and Veterinary Pharmacy; Platinum Performance, title sponsor of the Green Hunter Incentive and International Hunter Derby Championships; The Clothes Horse, the Official Cooler of the Championships; EQSportsNet, the Official Host Broadcast; Hunter Championship Award Sponsors: Essex Classics, FITS Riding, and Shapley's; Supporting Sponsor Nightwatch®; Championship Welcome Reception Sponsor Kelly Sims and Windsor Stables.
For more information and online results for the 2019 Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships, visit ushja.org/GreenChampionship.
3'/3'3" Bonus Award Winners
· $2,500 High-Score American-Bred Bonus Award in remembrance of Candie Owens, presented by Oakwell Farms and DS Holdings, LLC: Someday (Spartacus—Quidam De Lugano), owned by Rachel Britchkow and ridden by Laena Romond
· High-Score 4- and 5-year-old Bonus Award: Mayflower (Last Man Standing—Romanze), owned by Betsee Parker and ridden by Scott Stewart
· $1,000 Texas Super Series Bonus Award, presented by Patrick Rodes: Captain America (Conthargos—Dulcia), owned by Lori Mathews and ridden by Courtney Lenkart
· High-Score Sallie B. Wheeler/USEF/USHJA National Hunter Breeding Championship Alumni: Jump! (C. Quinto Van Het Panishof—Fine Kiss), a 6-year-old warmblood mare owned by EMO Stables, of Warrenton, Virginia, ridden by Maria Shannon
· Thoroughbred Bonus Award: By Golly (Unbridled's Song—Valid Leader), a 7-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, owned by Barbara Baker, trained and ridden by Ashley Lovegrove
· High-Score Mare Award: Mayflower (Last Man Standing—Romanze), owned by Betsee Parker and ridden by Scott Stewart
3'6"/3'9" Bonus Award Winners
· $2,500 High-Score American-Bred Bonus Award in remembrance of Candie Owens, presented by Oakwell Farms and DS Holdings, LLC: Copernicus K (Popeye K—Allawishus), owned by Felix Jaramillo and ridden by Silas Jaramillo
· $1,000 Texas Super Series Bonus Award, presented by Patrick Rodes: Alisto (Converter—Levana), owned by Lori Mathews and ridden by Courtney Lenkart
· High-Score Mare Award: Page One (Chin Champ—Wielena E), owned and ridden by Jennifer Alfano
Updated 8/16/19: Tier II bonus prize money for Nick Haness was previously incorrect.