Equifest II Gets Underway at the Lamplight Equestrian Center with Michael Tokaruk and Holly Shepherd in the Winner’s Circle

Michael Tokaruk and Cristiano. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.
Michael Tokaruk and Cristiano. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.

Wayne, Il. – August 1, 2017 – Equifest II kicked off at the Lamplight Equestrian Center on Tuesday, August 1. Exhibitors enjoyed clear skies and exciting competition at the start of the second week of the Chicago Festival of the Horse as classes got underway in both the hunter and jumper divisions.

Michael Tokaruk hit the ground running Tuesday morning at the Lamplight Equestrian Center to win the $5,000 Open 1.40m class. Tokaruk was aboard Cristiano, a mount owned by Mattie Hatcher, and completed a double clear round for the win. The pair finished the jump-off in 35.529 seconds.

In second place was Anna Hallene riding Wocello, owned by Glenwood Farm LLC. Hallene and Wocello also completed a double clear round, finishing their jump-off in 37.094 seconds. Third place went to Charlie Jayne and Quint, owned by Hailey Royce, after incurring 4 faults in the jump-off and finishing in 36.311 seconds.

Shannon Hicks and Adicio. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.
Shannon Hicks and Adicio. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.

In the $1,000 Open 1.30m class, it was Shannon Hicks who rode away with the blue ribbon. Hicks was aboard Ashley Shaw’s Adicio, completing their jump-off round in 34.090 seconds to best the field of riders. Coming in second place was Stephen Foran riding Nakiska, owned by Kayla Imonti-Way. The pair completed their jump-off in 37.379 seconds.

Rounding out the top-three in the 1.30m class was Stefanie Collier riding The C And C Group’s Emma-Lee. Collier and Emma-Lee had an unfortunate rail during their jump-off round, finishing up with 4 faults in 35.677 seconds to take home the third place ribbon.

Competition at the Chicago Festival of the Horse continues in the Smart Pak Grand Prix arena on Wednesday, August 2, starting at 8:00 a.m. The $25,000 Welcome Grand Prix will take place on Thursday, August 3, and this weekend spectators have both the $50,000 Grand Prix and the $20,000 Jumper Derby to look forward to.

FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Michael Tokaruk – $5,000 1.40m class winner

 

On Cristiano and his win in the 1.40m:
“[Cristiano] was awesome. I actually rode him in the 1.30m earlier and he was fresh. It’s Tuesday, we got here yesterday and he just felt quite fresh. So I wanted to do a smaller class with him. Sometimes he can be a bit green and a little unfocused still. He’s only 8 so he’s still learning his job at the upper levels. We got the freshness out in the 1.30m and he was awesome in the 1.40m class! He was really quick and careful and had his game face on which was great.”

On his first time at Lamplight:
“I’ve actually never shown here before. We usually do Kentucky or some other shows in the summer. I came up here last August while the show was going on just to shop for and try some horses, and I felt like it would be a beautiful show to come to. Great weather in August, it’s such a pretty show, a nice part of Chicago, the footing is good, the jumps are good and the prize money is good. A lot of things that you want in a horse show are all right here! We just decided to put it on the calendar for this year and so far so good here at Lamplight. We’re loving it!”

On his team:
“Cristiano is owned by Mattie Hatcher of Little Rock. She shows him in the mediums and just started moving into the highs with him. She couldn’t be here this week but she very graciously sent a couple of horses with me to show this week before she’ comes to show next week. Thank you to owner Mattie Hatcher, all my staff and sponsors. It’s a team effort for sure. We had about nine horses showing today and they all seemed to be going one after another, but everybody kept it running smoothly.”

Holly Shepherd and White Lightning Take the Lead in Performance 3’6″ Hunter Division

Holly Shepherd and White Lightning
Holly Shepherd and White Lightning

Holly Shepherd was off to a good start on the first day of Equifest II aboard White Lightning, owned by Helen Gilbert, in the main WEC hunter arena. The horse and rider combination executed smooth and handy rounds to impress the judges and earn a first place ribbon in one round with a score of 88, and second place in another round with a score of 86 points. These scores put Shepherd and White Lightning in a good position to finish out the division with great results.

Michael Tokaruk rode Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Major to a strong finish just behind Shepherd, taking second place in one round with a score of 85, and third place with a score of 85.5. The Performance Hunter 3’6″ High Performance Championship will be decided following the results of Wednesday’s classes to finish out the division in the WEC hunter arena.

Still ahead this week, Equifest II will host the USHJA Green Incentive, ASPCA Maclay and USEF Hunt Seat Medal classes. The $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby sponsored by Equo US will take place Sunday, August 6, in the Smart Pak Grand Prix Arena.

 

FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Holly Shepherd – Performance 3’6″ Hunter champion

On White Lightning:
“I’ve gotten to ride him five or six times, and we have a lot of success together. Super jumper, one of the best jumpers I’ve ever ridden.”

On her win:
“He felt great today. I was super happy with the way he went and the judges really liked him, which is good for the derby!”

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