Lexington, KY – October 31, 2012 – The Grand Champion Professional Hunter title at the Alltech National Horse Show, 129th Edition, is one of the country’s most coveted awards, and this year it went to Elizabeth Boyd aboard Casallo. The pair swept the over fences classes in the Regular Conformation Hunters for the division’s championship award, and eventually the Grand Championship. Scott Stewart claimed two championship honors and the Leading Rider Award, while Victoria Colvin and Inclusive swept the over fences classes in the Second Year Green Working Hunters.
Today’s Grand Champion Professional Hunter title was very special for Boyd, who has never earned the prestigious title. She and Casallo, owned by Erin McGuire of Cornelius, NC, have earned top honors across the country, but this years clean sweep over fences marked a new milestone at the national championship. The pair was perfect over fences in the Regular Conformation Hunters presented by Dr. Betsee Parker, and with a second place win, they sealed the championship award, while Hunt Tosh and Cold Harbor, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, earned the reserve championship. At the end of the day they returned to center ring for the Grand Championship ceremony and the Isglide Challenge Trophy.
“Casallo has all the scope in the world-He studies the jumps a little bit and he has a little bit of spook, which makes him crisp and jump really high. Erin always loved that horse, even before we bought him,” Boyd admitted. “She always knew that was the right horse for her. It was a quick trial; she just knew he was right. I have to give her a lot of credit because he’s matured a lot. She’s done a lot of handy hunters and junior hunters, and she’s been really successful and made him come along.”
“It’s really exciting to win the Grand Championship, this is my first time. It means so much. It means a lot to be champion here. It’s a top, top horse show,” Boyd exclaimed.
|With a clean sweep of the Regular Conformation Hunters over fences, Elizabeth Boyd piloted Casallo to the prestigious Professional Hunter Grand Championship.|
“I have to give Erin and her mother Jane McGuire so much credit, because they do it right. They really listen to their trainers-they trust us. They have their own barn, a beautiful facility, probably more glamorous than ours, but they understand that our program is a real show barn and they leave him there. This horse wouldn’t be who he is without the support and the program that they allow us to do.”
Jack Towell works with Casallo on an individual basis, even eating breakfast together with him every morning during the horse show. “That horse requires some individual attention-I ride him in the morning, feed him grain in the ring, and although I make time for all of the horses, we specialize on that horse. He needs his special time, but it pays off.”
Scott Stewart won two of today’s championship honors. He was aboard Enjoy, owned by Rose Hill Farm of Bridgehampton, NY, in the Goshen Hill First Year Green Working Hunters presented by Ms. Caroline Moran, with two first place ribbons yesterday, as well as a second and a third place finish today, helped win the championship award. Stewart also captured the Green Conformation Hunter Championship presented by the Wheeler Family, this time aboard Beholden, owned by Fashion Farm of New York, NY. The pair won today’s under saddle class, as well as an over fences class yesterday, showcasing their beautiful partnership in the ring.
|Scott Stewart was awarded the Leading Hunter Rider Challenge Trophy|
“I thought that the course today rode beautifully,” Stewart stated. “There seems like there are a lot of jumps out there, there is a lot of open room to gallop and the lines are set quite forward in a good way. I thought it was a great stake course.”
Stewart had purchased Enjoy when he was a two-year-old, but kept him in Germany for an expanse of time to ready him for the shows here. After showing at Capital Challenge and the Winter Equestrian Festival, Stewart has formed a terrific bond with the grey gelding. “He is so good. If you’re coming to these horse shows, Enjoy is the horse you want to ride. He’s so easy and he tries really hard. He touched the fourth jump in the stake class, but then he jumped unbelievable. He deals with the environment so nice, it is really comfortable to be riding him around,” Stewart elaborated.
Stewart continued about Beholden, “A lot of horses touched the first jump in the stake, the brown vertical, and so did he. It was a pretty good class. I was really happy with him. He has been so consistent with Capital Challenge and Washington. I am super happy with him.”
Stewart was also awarded the Leading Hunter Rider Challenge Trophy for accumulating the most points throughout the Green Working, Green Conformation, Regular Conformation and High Performance Hunters. This was his seventh time winning the coveted trophy. “I try to bring along horses that I can stay that consistent with. I try to bring some conformation horses, as well as First Year horses. It feels really good to keep working at that goal and succeeding at it,” Stewart beamed.
The reserve championship in both the First Year Green Working Hunters and the Green Conformation Hunters went to rider Chris Payne. He and Revealed, owned by Julie Holzberger of Fairfield, OH, earned three second place ribbons in the First Year division for the special honor. With Lugano, owned by Susan Moriconi of St. Louis, MO, a first place finish in the handy and a third in the stake class and under saddle class proved to be the winning ticket for the Green Conformation Reserve Championship.
In the Second Year Green Working Hunters presented by Mr. & Mrs. Ernest Oare and Ms. Patricia Adikes-Hill, it was Stewart’s protégé Victoria Colvin that earned the top call. The talented young rider swept all three over fences classes and also placed fourth in the under saddle, returning to the ring for the division’s championship award. She was followed by Havens Schatt and Macallan, owned by Tracy Scheriff-Muser of Wellington, FL, who took home the reserve championship after winning the under saddle.
|Victoria Colvin rode Inclusive to the Second Year Green Working Hunter Championship.|
Trainer Stewart commented, “It is always so great to watch her go. She and that horse have such a nice relationship, he jumps the best for her. A lot of people were having trouble in the Second Years, it was such a scopey course, but she made it look easy. She is pretty cool for being where she is in her career at such a young age-she does a great job.”
“It is amazing to win a championship in a professional division; it’s really exciting,” smiled Colvin. “I haven’t won many championships in the professional hunters, and this is Indoors so it’s very prestigious. I am still in shock. Inclusive is amazing. He doesn’t spook, so I wasn’t worried about that, and today he was quieter and jumping higher.”
The Pony Lane Farm High Performance Hunters, presented by the Thatcher Family, saw great competition, especially as the friendly foes Jennifer Alfano and Elizabeth Boyd battled for the top of the leader board. The points were tight, but Alfano’s stake win put she and Miss Lucy, owned by Helen Lenahan of Buffalo, NY, within reach of the championship tricolor. The duo posed for the presentation, and stepped off to the side as Boyd entered to claim the reserve championship with Quatrain, owned by Janet Peterson and Finally Farm of Landrum, SC. As the presentations concluded, Alfano and Boyd gave each other a hug, acknowledging the sportsmanship of the equestrian sport, as well as their friendship.
“Lucy was unbelievable today, she jumped out of her skin!” Alfano remarked. “After the first jump, I knew she was on. She has been unbelievable all through Indoors. The longer I have her she keeps getting better and better.”
Alfano explained the relationship between she and Boyd, “It’s so fun to compete with one another. We have a good time, and we are both competitors-good competitors-if we can’t win we want the other one to win. So it’s been really fun. We’re both the same we love our horses like they are our kids, it’s not just our job, they’re our life. So I think it means so much to us when they do well.”
“This is our favorite horse show out of all of them. We want to thank Mason, Leo, and the Jacobs for everything,” Towell concluded. “Especially the exhibitors lounge, that is fabulous. They make it really special. I wish every show could be like this. This is the nicest show of the year. ”
The Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions got underway today with their first over fences class and handy class, and will continue tomorrow with the under saddle and stake class. Championship and reserve championship awards will be presented to the top horse and rider combinations as the afternoon comes to a close. For more information at the Alltech National Horse Show, 129th Edition, please visit www.nhs.org .
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Photos By: Kendall Bierer/PMG