Lexington, Kentucky – November 7, 2012– It was a very emotional night on Saturday at Alltech National Horse Show as McLain Ward piloted his top mount Antares F to victory during the Alltech $250,000 Grand Prix, benefitting the United States Equestrian Team Foundation. The win comes just days after the passing of his father, Barney Ward, who had been Ward’s most important supporter. Ward rode through his grief to beat six others in the jump-off, as the first to compete on his speedy partner.

Christine McCrea followed in second place aboard Romantovich Take One with the only other double clear effort, while the third place award went to Candice King and Whistler with a single time fault over the speed track.

“This has been the hardest week of my life,” admitted Ward. “My dad was my world. If I was right with my father, I was right with the world. My dad certainly had some flaws in his life, but he sacrificed an unbelievable amount for my family and me to live our dreams, and this is our dream. We shared the same dream,” he said with tears welling. “I owe a career and a life to what he provided for me and taught me to do. I didn’t know we would win today, but I knew we would go on and do well, that’s what he taught us to do in life. I think everyone knows how much I loved my father, and how much I am going to miss him. I loved him very, very much. I rode with a heavy heart today, but we forge on and do his dream.”

Ward certainly made his father proud on Saturday night. Seven riders found the key to Richard Jeffery’s first round course during the World Cup Qualifying event. Ward was the first to do so with Antares F, owned by Grant Road Partners, and therefore the first to return for the short course. He was right on point with his Olympic mount, making a very sharp turn to a vertical-oxer double combination, and then opening up his gallop through the remaining obstacles. The strategy worked and they broke the beam at 48.48 seconds with all the rails in place, a score that would prove unbeatable.

Ward conluded, “To Alltech and Dr. Pearse Lyons I want to say thank you. You can sense your passion directly involved in this. The riders appreciate it, the owners appreciate it, and I want to thank you for that. This is such an incredible facility; you don’t want to see a full facility not being utilized to its fullest potential. There is a very high level of competition for the international jumpers, it has a great infrastructure, and I think this team has done a great job.”

Jacob Pope Wins 2012 ASPCA Maclay National Championship Title

It was another fairytale day for Jacob Pope of Columbia, MD, during the 2012 Maclay National Championship for the ASCPA Alfred B. Maclay Horsemanship Classes on Sunday. The Alltech National Horse Show, 129th Edition, welcomed 152 riders for the prestigious event. At the end of the day, it was 18-year-old Pope whose horsemanship outshined the rest to capture the coveted winning title after four challenging rounds of competition.

“I am still in shock that I won,” smiled Pope after the victory gallop. “It is unreal, and being on the trophy with such legends such as George Morris, and everyone else that is on the trophy. I just can’t believe it.”

For the first round, riders had to compete over a technical course designed by judges George H. Morris and Hap Hansen.  Only the best of the best were able to answer all of the course’s questions correctly and advance to the under saddle phase.  Elizabeth Benson of Whitehouse Station, NJ, was at the top of the leader board after the first round, followed by Lillie Keenan of New York, NY, and Jacob Pope. All of the riders were invited back for the second round over fences, with Lillie Keenan called back on top and Lauren Tyree in second.

For the second round, the judges asked the riders to jump the same course with the fences in the reverse order and the reverse direction. The judges then asked Keenan, Benson, Pope, and Catherine Tyree of Chicago, IL, to return to the ring for further testing in the respective order. They were asked to switch mounts, with Keenan riding Benson’s San Remo VDL, Benson riding Keenan’s Clearway, Pope riding Tyree’s Patrick, and Tyree riding Pope’s Uno. The four finalists then had to dismount, change tack, and show over the course once more aboard the new mount without any warm-up or advice from their coaches or grooms.

Returning in reverse order, Tyree led the way and had a slight bobble at the skinny across the middle, as well as tight distance to the triple bar. Overall though, their round was solid, and she eventually earned the third place honors.

Pope was next, showcasing exceptional skill through the course with an unfamiliar mount. The pair was very accurate through the gymnastic line and found a beautiful distance to the triple bar, which created a very flowing final line.

Benson began with a solid round, but as she came across the first “S” line her mount only jumped half of the natural skinny fence, and because she did not circle to re-jump the fence she was called off course, which would cause the 2012 WIHS Equitation Champion to finish in fourth.

Keenan was the last to show over the course, and had the most pressure on her shoulders with the lead in her hand. Unfortunately, she had a tight distance the second fence, one of the Swedish oxers, causing a rail to be lowered. At the end of the day, the judges announced her as the reserve champion, having demonstrated beautiful riding throughout the four phases of competition.

The year 2012 has been a whirlwind for Pope, who began riding with Andre Dignelli this winter as a working student after winning the 2011 Emerging Athlete Program Championship. In August, Dignelli paired Pope with Uno, and the pair went on to win the 2012 USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East just a few weeks ago. Now the talented young rider can add a third championship title to his impressive resume: 2012 ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay National Champion.

Jumper Highlights: Wednesday – Saturday

The 2012 Alltech National Horse Show, 129th Edition, greeted the Open Jumper riders with an inviting $50,000 Triumph Project Welcome Stake, sponsored by The Davis McCullough Foundation, for their first day of competition. Speed was the name of the game and Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts was right on point with his new mount Cortez. The pair blazed around the track in a clear time of 61.370, which would prove unbeatable for the win. McLain Ward was close on his heels aboard Pjotter Van De Zonnehoeve, while a fault-free round while Palm Sunday helped Aaron Vale round out the top three.

Jessica Springsteen was the first on course aboard Vindicat W and managed to set the bar high enough to push the rest of the class with a clear round. She had a slower time of 69.980, which held up for ninth place. Lauren Hough and Oh La La were the first to best Springsteen, breaking the beam five seconds faster in 64.580, but even that time would prove slow and land in the sixth place position.

The next clear round came from Nicola Philippaerts, representing Belgium with his new mount Cortez, owned by his father, Ludo Philippaerts. They shaved the turns and left out strides, still clearing each obstacle easily, and they wound their way through the course. The clock stopped at 61.370, shattering Hough short-lived lead and setting an uncatchable standard.

Olympian McLain Ward went in for the win with Louisburg Farm’s Pjotter Van De Zonnehoeve, but the pair came up just shy of the lead with a time of 61.640, earning the second place honors.  Aaron Vale followed directly after Ward, but even his speedy effort would not prove to be good enough with Palm Sunday, owned by Amen Corner Farm. The pair was very quick, but not quite quick enough, tripping the timers in 62.29 seconds for the third place award. The fourth place ribbon went to Christine McCrea’s entry Zerly, who went just prior to Ward in a faultless 63.77 seconds. The remainder of the class all gave it a go to catch Philippaerts, but only four others were clear, all with a slower effort.

After spending the summer in Europe, Lauren Hough and Quick Study made a triumphant return to the United States during Thursday’s $75,000 Double H Farm International Open Jumper class. Ireland’s Richie Moloney galloped into second place position aboard Slieveanorra, while Kent Farrington and his young mount Venus left all the rails in place for the third place honors.

It looked like Ireland’s Richie Moloney was going to be the victor after he set a time of 40.66 seconds, well ahead of the other competitors with Equinimity LLC’s Slieveanorra. Just prior to Moloney, Kent Farrington had set the time to beat with Venus, owned by Raylyn Farm’s Venus at 41.39 seconds. Unfortunately, Moloney and Farrington would have to settle for second and third, respectively, after veteran duo Lauren Hough and Quick Study, owned by Laura Mateo, entered the arena.

Making his first appearance in the United States since this spring, Quick Study was right on point, easily clearing the obstacles in his path to victory. They sliced the single vertical for the combination and deftly maneuvered through the inside turns to one of the final oxers. Hough and Quick Study’s swift pace and path added up to the win as they dashed for the cash in 40.51 seconds, one tenth of a second ahead of Moloney.

Earlier this afternoon, the Junior and Amateur-Owner Jumpers got underway in the Alltech Arena. Beginning with the $10,000 Deeridge Farm Junior Jumper Welcome Stake, Kalvin Dobbs was the first rider to complete a fault-free effort over the course, and was also only the second competitor in the ring with Ultimate VDL, owned by Treesdale Farm. They set the pace at 68.120, which would be good enough for fourth place. Two trips later, Catherine Tyree and Wetter jumped to an eventual second place finish after crossing the timers in 65.083 seconds with all the rails intact. Gabrielle Bausano was close on Tyree’s heels later in the class riding her own Ubico H. Their fault free effort was good enough for third place after they broke the beam at 67.268.

Abigail McArdle and her speedy mount Cosma 20 would prove to be the best of the day. Even with adding a stride in one of the lines, their smooth turns and quick track bested the competition as they stopped the timers at 62.983 seconds, three seconds faster than Tyree. The pair returned to the ring at the end of the class to claim their blue ribbon and lead the victory gallop.

The amateur riders took their turn over the same track during the $10,000 Chansonette Farm Amateur-Owner Jumper Welcome Stake. This time 10 riders managed to leave all the rails in their cups and finish with no faults to their name. Kelsey Thatcher led the victory gallop after crossing the finish line in a blazing 61.743 seconds with Everything. They were only the second pair to enter the ring, but they were right on point at they shaved off seconds in the air and across the ground. Meagan Nusz came the closest to catching Thatcher, tripping the timers at 63.014 seconds aboard Vesuvius, owned by Amalaya Investments, for the second place honors. Alise Oken and Kaid Du Ry, owned by Hi Hopes Farm, rounded out the top three after their clear round came in at 63.662 seconds.

Great Britain’s Tim Gredley proved to be one of the world’s bravest riders Friday evening when he galloped up to a 7’6″ wall aboard his talented mount Unex Valente. The pair was already champions of the $50,000 Puissance at Alltech National Horse Show, 129th edition after being the only horse and rider combination to clear the 7″ wall. Although they were unsuccessful during their final attempt, the crowd was on their feet to cheer on the brave rider at the Alltech Arena in Lexington, KY.

Eight entries gathered for the night’s class to jump the wall built by Richard Jeffery of Bournemouth, England, the first time this show had hosted the event in 11 years. For the first round the jump was set at 5’9″, but as the height rose the number of riders left continued to dwindle. First it went up to 6’3″, then 6’6″ and finally for a brave final three, 7′.

Having successfully completed all three of the first heights, Gredley was the first to make the daunting gallop towards the in-gate with Unex Valente, owned by Unex Competition Yard. The pair made it look easy, clearing the wall with all the pieces intact.

Jessica Springsteen was next with Temmie, owned by Stone Hill Farm. They had been perfect up until 7′, but then the luck was not on their side and the blocks came tumbling down. The experienced Aaron Vale followed Springsteen aboard Wodka L, owned by Thinks Like A Horse. Unfortunately, they did find a great distance in and they also lowered the height of the wall, creating a tie for second place.

By being the only rider to clear the wall at 7′, Gredley already had the victory in hand, but Gredley did not want to stop there. They reset the wall to a daunting height of 7’6″. Gredley made a good approach and Unex Valente cleared it with his front legs, but didn’t have quiet enough jump to finish the effort and brought down a block. They were still the victors though, and the crowd went wild.

Earlier this evening, Lauren Hough used her style to score her second victory in row this week during the Chartis Insurance Company $50,000 International Open Jumper Speed. She piloted her own Ohlala to the fastest clear effort over Richard Jeffery’s faults converted track.

Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts set the time to beat as the first to traverse the course with Fanny Machiels’ Vadetta Van Het Mettenhof. They clocked in at a clear 60.53 seconds, adding no faults to their time for an eventual sixth place ribbon. Beezie Madden managed to best him as the next in the ring with Amadora, owned by Abigail Wexner, tripping the timers at 59.60 seconds, which would hold the lead for a nine rounds, but eventually fall to third.

Shane Sweetnam was the first to top Madden riding Spy Coast Farm’s Cyklon 1083. They sped across the course leaving a huge stride out to the Swedish oxer. The pair’s effort was almost good enough, breaking the beam at 59.04 seconds, for an eventual second place finish.

Lauren Hough chose to do the same inside turn to the first double combination that Sweetnam did, and despite some glitches through the ring, it proved to be the fastest track. She and Ohlala were quick and clear as they dashed through the finish in 58.76 seconds, good enough for the win.

The first jumper events in the Alltech Arena Friday were the $15,000 Chansonette Farm Amateur-Owner Jumpers and the $15,000 Deeridge Farm Junior Jumpers. Alise Oken and Kaid Du Ry, owned by High Hopes Farm, had all the answers in the $15,000 Chansonette Farm Amateur-Owner Jumpers. They made a very tight turn during the short course to the final combination, shaving valuable seconds off their time of 35.610 seconds. With all the rails intact they were good enough for the win and eventually led the victory gallop.

Rachel Udelson was the first to challenge the jump-off, and she set a tough bar to beat with VDL Wardorette. The pair crossed the finish line in a clear 36.039 seconds, which would eventually place second. Lauren Ward was just a second behind the aboard Oscar 72, clocking in at 37.486 for third place. Danielle Torano had the last double clear effort with Capitano, owned by Sir Ruly, Inc, but they broke the beam at a conservative 38.754 seconds which would earn fourth.

The $15,000 Deeridge Farm Junior Jumpers were up next, and with an opportunity to watch the course during the Amateur-Owner competition 10 managed to best the track and advance to the tiebreaker. Six of those riders were perfect over the short course and had a double clear round. Lydia Ulrich was the fastest of the day. She piloted Santos Utopia, owned by Up the Creek Farm, through the timers in 35. 559 seconds for the blue ribbon prize.

Thursday’s winner was Abigail McArdle with Cosma 20, and they fought for another blue ribbon. With all the fences in place they stopped the clock at 35.572, just 2/100ths behind Ulrich, slipping into the second place position. Kilian McGrath rounded out the top three aboard Salerno, owned by Rolling Oaks Ranch, after she finished the short course in a clear 37.840 seconds.

Saturday’s star-studded line-up included the $50,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic presented by Pasmore Stables. The jump-off proved to be a nail biter as the crowd waited until the end of the 10-horse tiebreaker to see a clear round posted. As each rider added faults to their docket it began to look like Alise Oken and Kaid Du Ry, owned by High Hopes Farm, might have a win under their belt when they posted a very fast time of 32.824 seconds. Unfortunately, they got a bit tight to the final vertical and rolled the top rail out of its cups, but as the fastest four-faulter ahead of five others it was great effort, that eventually landed them in third.

The first clear performance came from Meagan Nusz aboard Vesuvius, owned by Amalaya Investments as the second to last duo in the arena. Not only were they careful over the fences, but they were also quick across the ground. The pair sped through the turns and broke the beam at 33.120 seconds to take over the lead. Unfortunately, their time at the top was short-lived when Abigail McArdle took to the track with Cosma 20.

The reigning North American Junior Jumper Gold Medalist knew exactly what it would take to win with her talented mare and they were ready to take on the task. McArdle picked up a fast gallop to the first oxer and never let up. The pair flew over every fence, clearing it easily. Smooth but fast turns proved to be the key as they clocked in at a blazing 31.573, the fastest of the class with no faults at all. Their amazing effort earned them the lion’s share of the prize money, the $1,000 SSG Bonus, and the lead position during the victory gallop.

Hunter Highlights: Tuesday – Saturday

The historic Alltech National Horse Show got underway Tuesday at the Alltech Arena, part of the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. The Regular Conformation Hunters presented by Dr. Betsee Parker and Huntland kicked things off in the morning, where Elizabeth Boyd and Casallo, owned by Erin McGuire of Cornelius, NC, proved to be a dominating force. They scored the blue ribbon in both over fences classes and placed second in the model for an early lead in the division.

Next in the ring to show was the Green Conformation Hunters presented by Mr. & Mrs. Douglas Wheeler. This time the blue ribbon in the first over fences class went to Scott Stewart aboard Beholden, owned by Fashion Farm of New York, NY. In the handy round Chris Payne and Lugano, owned by Susan Moriconi of St. Louis, MO, stepped up for the winning honors after an excellent performance in the ring.

In the First Year Green Working Hunters, presented by Ms. Caroline Moran, Scott Stewart rode to the top of the placings, having two blue ribbons pinned to the bridle of Enjoy, owned by Rose Hill Farm of Bridgehampton, NY. Enjoy is a six-year-old gelding, which Stewart has been working diligently with to build experience.

It came down to Stewart’s protégé, the young Victoria Colvin in the Second Year Green Working Hunters presented by Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Oare and Ms. Patricis Adikes-Hill. Colvin has been building an extensive resume throughout her time with Stewart, earning top awards at prestigious shows in the junior and professional hunter divisions, as well as the jumpers. Tuesday, Colvin faced going into contention with Stewart as they vied for the blue ribbons.

The final division of the day involved an intricately designed handy round in the High Performance Hunters, presented by the Thatcher Family.  Each rider could choose the options that best suited their mount. Elizabeth Boyd and Quatrain, owned by Janet Peterson and Finally Farm of Landrum, SC, proved to be the best for the blue ribbon prize.

Jennifer Alfano rode to the second place award in the handy round aboard Jersey Boy, owned by SBS Farms, Inc. of Buffalo, NY, as well as picking up the third place ribbon with Miss Lucy, owned by Helen Lenahan of Buffalo, NY. Alfano also took the first place ribbon with Miss Lucy during the opening round.

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. The 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.

Scott Stewart won two of the day’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 Tuesday, as well as a second and a third place finish Wednesday, 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 Wednesday’s under saddle class, as well as an over fences class Tuesday, showcasing their beautiful partnership in the ring.

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.

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.

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.

The third day of the Alltech National Horse Show, 129th edition, commenced with the Amateur-Owner Hunters taking center stage this morning. Sarah Sturges and One Shot rode to the top of the rankings during the Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunters to capture the championship. The duo was only a half point ahead of eventual reserve champion Deborah Perkins and Whispering.

The Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunters was the only division of the day to wrap-up their division championships. Last year’s stake class winner Deborah Perkins of Wellington, FL, showed Whispering to the fourth place finish, and with an additional first and third place ribbon from Wednesday’s classes, the pair went into the under saddle with Sarah Sturges and One Shot right on their heels. Sturges rode to the second place finish in the stake, just behind Nancy Hooker and Castlewalk. Sturges also accumulated the first place finish in the handy, and went into the under saddle with a mission to edge out her competition.

It was the first day for the Amateur-Owner 35 and Older Hunter division, and Lisa Williams and Sanmorino took their turn in the limelight, winning the first over fences. Katie Robinson and Arico rode to the second place finish. During the handy, Robinson once again rode to the second place honors only being slightly edged out by Perkins and her second mount of the day, La Fayette.

In the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters, Tracy Scheriff-Muser piloted Absolut to the blue ribbon win in the first over fences of the division, also picking up the fourth place for their efforts in the handy. Caroline Donnally and Kindle followed closely, nabbing the second place award. It was Lindsay Mutschler, however, who exemplified a beautiful handy course. She navigated Fielding to the first place finish, with Nicole Lyvere and Drumline earning second.

The hunter action continued on Friday at the Alltech Arena in the picturesque Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. The Amateur-Owner divisions concluded with their championships Thursday, naming Tracy Scheriff-Muser and Absolut as the Grand Champion.

The Amateur-Owner 35 and Older Hunter Stake presented by Suzanne Thoben Marquard welcomed riders to the remaining amateur-owner divisions this morning. It was eventual champion, Lisa Williams who piloted Sanmorino to the top of the pinnings, winning the blue ribbon. Williams also earned the blue ribbon during the over fences the previous day.

Katie Robinson and Arico rode to the reserve championship with a streak of red ribbons in the over fences. The duo proved consistent throughout the show, and has been a force to be reckoned with throughout the fall circuit. Robinson also won the under saddle with Rock Steady.

During the Amateur-Owner 35 and Younger Hunter Stake, presented by R. Bruce Duchossois, Tracy Scheriff-Muser and Absolut emerged the victors. The horse and rider combination dominated the division with a first place win over fences Wednesday, as well as the fourth place ribbon in the handy. On Thursday, Scheriff-Muser guided Absolut to the first place win in the stake, and also was awarded the blue ribbon prize for their efforts in the handy.

Lindsay Mutschler and Fielding were awarded the reserve championship for their consistent placings throughout the division. With a first place finish in the handy, Mutschler also steered Fielding to the second place ribbon in the stake and the fifth place in the under saddle.

The Alltech Arena was filled with top junior talent as riders showcased their mounts during the handy and stake classes Saturday afternoon at the Alltech National Horse Show, 129th Edition. Victoria Colvin and Inclusive were awarded the Large Junior 15 and Under Championship for their efforts throughout the division. They were also presented with the Overall Junior Hunter Grand Championship for their first-rate placings over the last two days.

Inclusive with Victoria Colvin in the irons earned the top call in the $7,500 Large Junior 15 and Under Hunter Stake this afternoon. Coupled with their sweep of the over fences Thursday, they scored the division’s championship tricolor. Hannah Showell and Just Dessert, owned by Rolling Acres Farm of Brookeville, MD, rode to the reserve championship honors with their consistent ribbons.

Colvin returned to the ring for the presentation of the Large Junior Hunter Grand Championship, and the Overall Junior Hunter Grand Championship. She was also awarded the “Blue By You” Memorial Challenge Trophy for the Best of Large Junior Hunter Handy Classes.

Earlier in the day, Colvin also captured the championship title in the Small 15 and Under Junior Hunters. She was only one point ahead of Vivian Yowan and Whatever, owned by Boggs Hill of Wellington, FL, but the cards fell in her favor as she narrowly edged out the competition. Colvin took the top call in the Small 15 and Under Junior Hunter Handy and Under Saddle.

The Gochman Family Small Junior 16-17 Hunter Champion came down to Hasbrouck Donovan and Anna Cardelfe. Donovan had piloted one of the most foremost hunter horses of the last two decades, Lyle, owned by Stephanie Keen of Ocala, FL, to top ribbons throughout the division. They earned the blue ribbon in Friday’s first over fences class, as well as securing their championship ranking with the first place finish in the handy and the third place in the stake. Anna Cardelfe was dually awarded the reserve championship for the division with her own Nadia having earned the first place in the stake, the second in the handy, and the fourth place in the under saddle.

Ashley Foster and Charade posted a beautiful stake round during the Greentree South $7,5000 Large Junior 16-17 Stake, riding to the blue. They were awarded the “Whiskey Before Breakfast” Memorial Challenge Trophy for their high scoring ride. Combined with her first and fourth place ribbons, Foster took the division’s championship. David Oberkircher and Bishonen were awarded with the reserve championship.

Concluding the awards presentations, Erin McGuire led her own Casallo center ring for the Alltech National Horse Show Grand Hunter Championship. McGuire accepted the “Overdressed” Challenge Trophy as the horse that accumulated the most points in the 3’6″ and over hunter divisions.

Saddlebred Highlights: Wednesday – Saturday

The audience cheered as the first American Saddlebreds, since 1999 competed at the 129th Edition of the Alltech National Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.  The first class to kick off their return was the $1,500 Three Gaited Open Stake. Music played and vocal spectators showed their appreciation for the expressive, high-stepping horses.  But it was Misdee Wrigley Miller, from Paris, KY and her own, Grande Gil that took home the first place prize. Peter Palmer from Prospect, KY and Carl, T. Fishers’s Battlefield earned second place.

Next, the $1,000 Fine Harness Amateur Stake Class, sponsored by Cecile and Kenny Wheeler, demonstrated their flashy park trot and show trot, engaging the audience with their expressive brilliance. Again, it was Miller who earned the blue ribbon driving the beautiful chestnut, Castle Dream, owned by Hillcroft Farm in Paris, KY. Steel the Moment owned and ridden by Linda Beltz were second.

In the audience favorite, the $1,500 Five Gaited Open Stake, competitors showed at the walk, trot, slow gait, rack and canter. First place honors went to Sa Kalarama’s Ultimate, a beautiful stallion owned by Joan Hamilton of Springfield, KY and trained and ridden by Larry Hodge. Second place went to Lynn Williams owned by Golden Creek Farms, Inc and ridden by Mary Gaylord McClean of Simpsonville, KY.

Thursday evening at the Alltech National Horse Show, American Saddlebreds showed in Three-Gaited, Park Horse and Five-Gaited classes.The $1,000 Three-Gated Amateur Stake proved lively and exciting as the engaged audience called to their favorite horse. The judge gave the nod to Heir to a Kiss, a beautiful mare ridden by Dr. Merrell Magelli. Callaway’s Another Saturday Night and Misdee Miller were second.

In the $1000 Park Horse Amateur Stake David Rudder and Phind the Treasure were the victors, performing with brilliance to the delight of the crowd. CH Kent Brockman ridden by Bridget McNeese took the second place honors.

An audience favorite, the $1,000 Five Gaited Amateur Stake went to Gabe Deknatel and his CH The Daily Lottery for their outstanding and brilliant performance in the ring. The red ribbon went to Cavalia ridden by Misdee W. Miller.

Another evening of electrifying American Saddlebred competition continued Friday at the 129th Edition of Alltech National Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexingtion, KY.  A cheering audience enjoyed the $3,000 Three Gaited Championship Stake, the $1,500 Fine Harness Open Championship the $3,000 Five Gaited Championship Stake and the very first Roadster class of the show, the $25,000 Equine Services Roadster Cup.

The Roadster classes are a throwback to the origins of the American Saddlebred breed and the $25,000 Equine Services Roadster Cup was the highlight Friday evening. Horse and driver teams have been accumulating points at shows throughout the year to qualify for this final championship class.

When the evening’s performances were judged and added to the year’s points, Raymond Shivley’s Emerson was named the winner. Judy McNeish drove The Last Call to second place honors.

In the $3,000 Three Gaited Championship Stake it was Grande Gil owned and ridden by Misdee W. Miller of who wowed the crowd and earned the blue ribbon for their refinement and brilliance at the walk, exuberant trot and rocking horse canter. Peter Palmer and Battlefield, owned by Carl T. Miller, were second.

Miller rocked it again with Castle Dream, owned by Hillcroft Farm, in the $1,500 Fine Harness Stake with an incomparable performance at the trot and park trot to take the class. In second, the pair of Merrill Murray and Cosmic Charm, owned by Cam Justice.

The $3,000 Five Gaited Championship Stake got the spectators out of their seats to root for their favorite racking superstar. Once again, it was Larry Hodge and SA Kalarama’s Ultimate Choice, the impressive stallion owned by Joan Hamilton, who took the first place prize. Lynn Williams, ridden by Mary Gaylord McClean and owned by Golden Creek Farm won the red ribbon.

Saturday night at the 129th Edition of the Alltech National Horse Show, the American Saddlebred Divisions concluded their amateur division championships of Three Gaited, Park Horse and Five Gaited. The crowd was keyed up after enjoying the extremely exciting $250,000 Alltech Grand Prix, a spectacular FEI World Cup qualifier. When the jumps were cleared and the ring was dragged the $1,500 Park Horse Amateur Championship began.

David Rudder and the phenomenal Phind the Treasure didn’t disappoint and producing a performance that wowed the crowd and earned them a blue ribbon. Rudder rode the striking mare for owner, Joan Hamilton. This was a fitting end to the season for the Reserve World Champion who holds the title for the second year in a row.

The country’s top competitors showed their elegance, refinement and power as they vied for the win in the $1,500 Three Gaited Amateur Championship. CH His Supreme Reflection, ridden by Jacqueline Manzo and owned by Kimberly M. Jones put on a show that raised the house and earned the nod of the judge for the first place ribbon. In second place, was I Spy A Firefly, owned and ridden by Candi Aversenti.

The $1,500 Five Gaited Amateur Championship got the crowd going, especially when they announcer asked the competitors to “rack on.” Once again, CH The Daily Lottery (Studly) ridden by Gabe Deknatel was unbeatable. The horse was spot on, with every request from the announcer, Deknatel and Studly obliged, performing flawlessly.

For more information about the 2012 Alltech National Horse Show, 129th Edition, please visit www.nhs.org.