Lexington, Ky. – Oct. 31, 2020 – Junior riders returned to the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park on Saturday morning, marking the start of the penultimate day of the 137th National Horse Show. Following the completion of the ASPCA Maclay Training Session, Junior 3’3” Hunters made their way through the National Horse Show in-gate arches for two final classes in both the 15 & Under and 16-17 sections. With the Junior Hunter 3’3” Grand Champion title up for grabs, 30 competitors put their names forward, all vying for the championship tricolors. Putting in consistent trips throughout the two days of competition, Mia Chimenti and Chase Hollow Equestrian Partners LLC’s Balito were honored by the judges as the Junior Hunter 3’3” Grand Champions of the 2020 National Horse Show.
Finishing on a total of 22 points in the Junior 3’3” Hunter 16-17 division, Chimenti and Balito were originally tied for the Grand Championship with Raina Swani and Brendan William’s Knightly in the 15 & Under division. More points over fences, however, ultimately led to Balito’s reign in the close race for the title. Chimenti and the handsome gelding kicked off their time in the Alltech Arena with a first-place finish for their initial over fences effort, followed by a third-place finish in the handy. During the second day of the division, Balito received a score of 85 in the Stake, claiming second place out of the 15-horse pack. Rounding out the division, the pair placed fourth in the competitive under saddle class to seal their fate as Grand Champions.
A new partnership, Chimenti and the 11-year-old Westphalian have found their stride together. With less than a year of competition under their belt, Chimenti and Balito have already celebrated great success in both the equitation and hunter rings, most recently finishing champion in the Junior 3’3” Hunter 16-17 division at the Old Salem Farm September show. The duo also competed in their first Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Finals at the Tryon International Equestrian Center just a few weeks ago. Chimenti was thrilled to cap off her first year with Balito on such a high note as Junior Hunter 3’3” Grand Champion at one of the most prestigious horse shows in America.
The 2020 National Horse Show will continue Saturday evening with the $25,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumper Grand Prix and the $213,300 National Horse Show Grand Prix. The 137th annual show will wrap up Sunday, November 1 with one of its feature classes, the ASPCA Maclay National Championship, presented by Chansonette Farm. A total of 263 riders will be seen over the first round course, which will kick-off promptly at 6:00 am.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Mia Chimenti – Junior Hunter 3’3” Grand Champion
“I just started my partnership with Balito this year and we were mainly showing him in the big eq and the Junior Hunters, as well, so it was really nice to be able to come here and do the Junior Hunters with him, compete in our first year together and do this well. It was a great year and I am really glad this happened!”
On her trips:
“Balito felt the best he ever has. He had a great energy, he was very excited to be here just like I was, and it made it just go so nicely. He was a great partner this weekend and I can’t thank him enough.”
On being Junior Hunter 3’3” Grand Champion:
“It is insane! It is unbelievable! I still remember when I first started riding and dreamed of coming to the National Horse Show, and I was able to, which is an amazing accomplishment on its own, but to be able to come out of it Grand Champion is a dream come true! I will never forget it for the rest of my life.”
On competing at the National Horse Show:
“This is an amazing show and I was really fortunate to be able to come last year, as well. It is amazing and they do such a great job making it a really big deal. It is a great way to show off everything you have been working hard at throughout the year.”