Sarah Sturges and One Shot won the Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunter Championship at the Alltech National Horse Show.
Lexington, KY – November 1, 2012 – 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 yesterday’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.
“He’s the most simple horse I’ve ever had. Every day he comes out of the stall and is straightforward. He’s so simple,” Sturges laughed. “He’s so easy. He’s just the best guy. He always comes to play and is perfect.”
Sarah Sturges and One Shot
Sturges and Perkins were neck to neck for the final championship honors. Being separated by only a half point had the spectators and fellow exhibitors on the edge of their seats. It was Sturges and One Shot who took home the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter Championship tricolor.
“I’m really excited,” Sturges remarked. “I was a little nervous coming here because the olders and youngers are combined, and there were some great horses and riders. I was chasing Debbie the whole time! She was amazing and she’s the nicest lady, I would have been happy for her to win.”
Sarah Sturges and One Shot
Sturges attends the University of Cincinnati as a finance major, and has continued to ride with New Hope Farm even with her rigorous studies. “They’re just so detail-oriented and I think their program really gets it right,” Sturges explained of trainers Christopher Payne and David Belford. “Every time a horse walks out of the stall, it’s a winner. I think that’s important. They’ve given me a lot of opportunities and they’re the best.”
“She is a great kid, she works hard, gets a 4.0 GPA in college. There is not a person that works harder or deserves this more than she does—she lives, eats and breathes it,” trainer Belford explained. “I had brought One Shot to the barn with no intent for Sarah, but she rode him the first day and then it was a match. It has been fantastic. This horse is named One Shot because we were going to give him one shot and not harbor on it, but they have been fantastic. He is always game about the jumps, he loves to turn and jump.”
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.
Katie Robinson and Arico
Debbie Perkins and La Fayette
Perkins laid down a beautiful flowing trip, taking a sharp inside turn that no other riders attempted after landing from the trot jump. “His forte is the handy. He loves doing that, and he is brave. I originally was going to go around for the turn, but I knew he could make it. He is like a little sports car.”
Perkins continued, “He has such a big heart and is such a trier. He is very brave; he is kind of a little guy though and needs a bit of a confident ride. He gets a little worried sometimes about doing it right. He wants to do it right, and that is very admirable of him. He never has an attitude, he is such a gentleman.”
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.
Tracy Scheriff-Muser and Absolut
Nicole Lyvere and Drumline
“He definitely needs a supportive ride,” Mutschler commented. “He loves the handy courses. The turns allow him to navigate out there; he is always looking for the next thing. It was a ton of fun, and I like it when they let you have different options. “
Mutschler elaborated, “I bought him as a dressage horse and turned him into a hunter. My trainers went out to a dressage farm and saw him out there—he was a stallion at the time, but when they saw him go they told me I had to see him. I knew from day one that he was mine.”
Lindsay Mutschler and Fielding
Mutschler concluded, “We have done all indoors, it is nice to end like this. He has been doing this for about three years, and he has been so consistent. This is my first time being here at the Alltech National Horse Show. I love Lexington, and this facility is amazing. The jumps and the courses are beautiful, it is really special.”
The Junior Hunters will begin competition tomorrow with the first of their over fences classes and handy rounds. Championship and reserve championship awards will be presented to the top horse and rider combinations tomorrow in each Amateur-Owner Hunter division with the conclusion of the stake classes. For more information at the Alltech National Horse Show, 129th Edition, please visit www.nhs.org