Katy, Texas.—Nov. 2, 2020—The 2020 USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Central Championships concluded the year's Regional Championships at Harvest in Katy, Texas on October 29. In the event's third year as a host, Courtney Lenkart claimed the win and the reserve title in the 3'0"/3'3" section with Captain America and Side Hustle. In the 3'6"/3'9" section, DSH Absolut and Whitney LaBrie took the top spot.
Great things came in twos in the $10,000 USHJA Green Hunter 3'0"/3'3" Regional Championship. Twenty-two entries contested the two rounds, but Courtney Lenkart led from start to finish on her two mounts, Lori Mathews' Captain America and LP La Primera Hacienda's Side Hustle, to earn the top two spots. With scores of 90 and 88, Captain America's two-round total of 178 warranted the tricolor, while an 86 and 84 gave Side Hustle a total of 170 for the reserve ribbon.
"I was really proud of Captain’s rounds. He’s matured so much this year. I picked up more of a gallop on him than I would for a normal green round and he was so brave, straight, and solid and gave me his best effort at the jumps. Captain loves special classes, and he definitely came in to win," said Lenkart or her mount. "[Side Hustle] is only 5 years old and was just imported this summer. The Regional Championship was only his second time to show in a big ring or do a big class. He easily handled everything I asked of him and marched around the big course like a total pro.
I was so pleased that the Harvest Horse Show and Great Southwest Equestrian Center was willing to host these Regional Green Incentive classes for 2020," she continued. "This class was a great way to end the Green Incentive year and check the progress of the horses. It is very special to me that I got to ride in this class and the horses were so incredible."
Rounding out the top three in the 3'0"/3'3" section was Tracy Fenney on MTM Animated, owned by MTM Farm, with a final score of 169.
Whitney LaBrie's win was absolute with DS Holdings, LLC's DSH Absolut in the $5,000 USHJA Green Hunter 3'6"/3'9" Regional Championship. Earning an 84 in the first round, the duo sat in second going into the final course but edged out eventual reserve winners Jennifer Alfano and Nolan by a single point overall. LaBrie added an 87 to finish with 171, while Alfano rode Kathy Chiaf and Sharon O'Neill's Nolan to a score of 170.
"I couldn’t have asked for a better performance from [DSH Absolut.] He gave 110%," said LaBrie. "[The Green Hunter Incentive Program] truly has lifted the bar on quality horses in the hunter ring and gives these green horses a chance to earn money in divisions that usually don’t help cover the cost of an already expensive sport for the owners. These horses that are on top start to have a name for themselves versus just another nice winning hunter."
Katherine Le Blanc's two-round score of 154 with Jeanne Pitre's MTM Amour gave them third.
The USHJA extends a special thank you to the Southbound Show Management team for hosting the Championship.
"I thought the quality of horses was very good this year. We get lots of green entries at these final shows with the USHJA Championship and the SSG Texas Championships coming up in Katy, Texas. It’s great to [see] such good quality," said Patrick Rodes, owner of Southbound Show Management and show manager of three USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Regional Championships this year.
This was the fifth and final Regional Championship available to USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Program participants in 2020. USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Program participants can choose from one of five regional championships held across the country. Exhibitors may choose whichever regional championship they want but horses may only compete in one regional championship per year. Each regional championship is two rounds, and the combined total score for both rounds will determine the winner. Prize money is awarded through twelfth place, and each championship will offer a minimum of $10,000 in prize money spread across all the sections offered. Horses must be enrolled in the program to be eligible to participate.
"I love the Green Hunter Incentive Program and think it really enriches the hunter divisions. It’s so nice for owners to have an incentive to invest in quality young horses and have a chance to earn some money back for their successes. It’s very expensive to develop top quality hunters in the U.S. and this program encourages that process. As a professional rider, I also appreciate the opportunity to expose my green horses to different venues and big rings that the horses wouldn’t see otherwise. This is a great way to complete the horses’ education and prepare them for anything they might see as future junior or amateur horses," said Lenkart of the program.
Learn more about the USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Program at ushja.org/GreenIncentive.
Photos by Jerry Mohme Photography
Placing - Horse - Rider - Owner
1 - Captain America - Courtney Lenkart - Lori Mathews
2 - Side Hustle - Courtney Lenkart - LP La Primera Hacienda
3 - MTM Animated - Tracy Fenney - MTM Farm
4 - MTM Lolah LOL - Dorothy Douglas - Abigail Davenport
5 - Rhapsody - Jennifer Alfano - Sharon O'Neill
6 - Watch Hill - Scott Lenkart - Mercedes Flett
7 - MTM Entitled - Dorothy Douglas - MTM Farm
8 - Family Style - Natalee Haggan - Finally Farm, Inc.
9 - Nothing Personal - Lauren Robishaw - Lauren Robishaw
10 - Taittinger - Sarah Rice - Teriann Miller
Placing - Horse - Rider - Owner
1 - DSH Absolut - Whitney LaBrie - DS Holdings, LLC
2 - Nolan - Jennifer Alfano - Kathy Chiaf and Sharon O'Neill
3 - MTM Amour - Katherine Le Blanc - Jeanne Pitre