Gulfport, Miss. – Mar. 3, 2018 – Competition was tight with only three points separating the top four finishers, but it was Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, Alabama, who proved herself reigning queen of the hunter derby in the KCR Hunter Derby during Week IV of the Gulf Coast Winter Classic.
Riding Barbara Risius’ Longstreet, Shepherd navigated the classic round and the handy round – in a back-to-back format – to a combined score of 174, topping the class of 27 competitors.
Jennifer Tate, of Bourne, Massachusetts, claimed the second-place prize for her performance aboard Barbara Kravetz’ Carsten S. Tate accrued a total score of 173.
“Both courses suited my horse,” remarked Tate of the Paul Jewel designed courses. “Carsten S is lovely to ride – he’s smooth, scopey, and really tries all the time. It allows me as a rider to focus on the elements of the course.”
“And I don’t know what it is, but I swear this horse jumps better at Bob Bell horse shows,” she laughed.
This was Tate’s first time attending the Gulf Coast Winter Classic, but she said it will not be her last.
“This is the only horse show I’ve been to where people thank you for coming as you arrive,” said Tate. “Everyone is nice and professional – the exhibitors, the staff, the crowds, everyone.”
“And the footing has been great. It rained Sunday and Monday and the crew was out in the ring keeping an eye on things. But it didn’t affect the footing at all.”
Third place was awarded to Maddie Thorn of Flower Mound, Texas, who was in the irons of her own Q & A. Thorn piloted the nine-year-old to a score of 172. The pair also pocketed an additional $500 by winning the KCR Classic Derby Low Non Pro Rider Bonus.
Back in the ring, Shepherd rode Belle Rolfe’s Boure to a fourth place finish with a total score of 171, as well as claimed the fifth place ribbon with Cathy Dattel’s Lucie with their overall score of 167.5.
Lori Matthews, of Dallas, Texas, completed the class in sixth place with a combined score of 164 with October Hill Hunters and Jumpers’ Belucci. The pair also won the $500 KCR Derby High Non Pro Rider Bonus. Francesca Senior and Castlemaine LLC’s Chacco B, achieved an overall score of 163 for a seventh place ribbon.
Sarah Morris rode her own Gidget to an eighth place finish and claimed the $300 KCR High Non Pro Rider Bonus, while Callie Rheinheimer guided Wind Haven Farm’s Ollivander to a ninth place ribbon and the $300 KCR Low Non Pro Rider Bonus. Shepherd jumped her way to tenth place with Micaela Kennedy and Sabine Holtzman’s Ravello. Lindsey Weinstein’s Southern Flair, ridden by Brittany Sommer Desalvo, placed eleventh. Julie Curtin rounded out the top 12 finishers with Cheryl Rubenstein, LLC’s Capisce.
Dudley MacFarlane and Mount Fair Equine, LLC’s Roland Park secured the $200 KRC Derby Low Non Pro Rider Bonus, while Keegan Douglas-Davis won the $200 KRC Derby High Non Pro Rider Bonus with October Hill Hunters and Jumpers’ Canturo T.
Courtney Lenkart and Lightful win Sidelines Magazine 3′ Green Hunter Championship
The Sidelines 3′ Green Hunter and the Sidelines 3’3″ Green Hunter wrapped up the fourth week of the Gulf Coast Winter Classics. Ten horse and rider combinations competed for top honors in each respective division, which only costs a crisp $5 bill to enter.
Courtney Lenkart, of Bartonville, Texas, topped the entries in the Sidelines 3′ Green Hunter, aboard La Primera Hacienda, LP’s Lightful. The reserve championship went to Holly Shepherd, who was riding Ravello, co-owned by Micaela Kennedy and Sabina Holtzman.
“He [Lightful] is so simple,” Lenkart remarked after her win. “He doesn’t act like a six year old, he acts like a 12-year-old.”
“He’s literally perfect,” gushed the champion.
Lenkart was quick to praise the show organizers for putting on a great event year after year. She was particularly pleased with the Sidelines Green Hunter, with the entry fee of a cool $5. Not only is the division affordable, but she said it adds tremendous value in terms of developing young hunter prospects.
“The Sidelines Green Hunter is great for the industry,” she noted. “It gets costly to compete, so this division is an excellent opportunity to show young horses and bring them along properly. It’s beneficial for the horses, for the trainers, riders, owners – everyone involved.”
Also boasting a line-up of 10 entries, the Sidelines 3’3″ Green Hunter championship was awarded to Holly Shepherd for her ride aboard Boure. Shepherd and the nine-year-old Boure, owned by Belle Rolfe, also took this championship during Week III of the Gulf Coast Winter Classic.
Julie Curtin, of Woodstock, Georgia, was named reserve champion for her performance with Susan Ross’ Cadbury.
The winners of these divisions are climbing their way up the qualifying charts for the $30,000 Green Hunter Classic, slated for the Atlanta Fall Classics at the venue of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. There’s still plenty of time to qualify for this finals event for only $5 a division over the remaining weeks of the Gulf Coast Winter Classic. More coveted qualifying points can be earned during the forthcoming Atlanta Spring Classic, Jacksonville Spring Classic, as well as the Charleston Summer Classic.