Katy, Texas – Nov. 6, 2018 – At the Great Southwest Equestrian Center, in Katy, Texas, Jumpers usually dominate the schedule in the coliseum. However, this past week during Southbound Show Management’s Harvest Show, Hunters were the featured event in the large indoor arena. Amidst the beautifully decorated ring, Peter Pletcher and Didi Mackenzie rose respectively to the top of the 3’/3’3″ and 3’6/3’9″ USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Central Championships on Nov. 1.
Mackenzie rode her own MTM Do Right, nicknamed Dude, to the overall score of 165 with two consistent rounds at the 3’9″ fence height to take the win in the $5,000 USHJA Green Hunter Incentive 3’6/3’9″ Central Championship. The pair is wrapping up their green year with quite the accolades finishing third in the Texas Super Series Green Hunter 3’6″/3’9″ Championship, which is another incentive-based program for Green Hunters in Texas that was also held during the Harvest Show.
“[Winning the Championship] feels great. I’ve had a horse in one of the Incentive programs every year. I’ve always believed in these programs. You get rewarded financially, and then you get great recognition,” said Mackenzie, who is looking for her next green horse as Dude moves out of his green years. “I love [these programs]. My passion has always been green horses, so this is really rewarding.”
Mackenzie was particularly pleased with the win aboard her 10-year-old Westphalian gelding, MTM Do Right (Swarovski – Lucis), noting he’s one she plans to keep forever since buying him from Mike McCormick and Tracy Fenney of MTM Farms four years ago.
“Dude is a character,” she said laughing. “We hang a stuffed animal – a little red monkey – in his stall; he loves it. He loves treats, especially bananas, but also apples, carrots, whatever you’ve got. He’s a really sweet horse and just craves attention.”
Mackenzie competed at the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships in Lexington, Kentucky, in August, but she appreciated the opportunity closer to home.
“There are a lot of people who can’t get to Kentucky, so it’s nice that there are regional championships like this. They made it really special with all the awards. The ring was decorated beautifully, and the courses by Skip Bailey were wonderful.”
Meanwhile, in the highly competitive $10,000 3’/3’3″ USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Central Championship, Peter Pletcher took the top spot aboard Shadyside Farm’s Sincerely, as well as four other placings in the top 12. With the top three riders within 2 points of Pletcher and Sincerely, Pletcher had to not only deliver fantastic rounds with the 6-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood mare but deliver them consistently across the two-round championship.
Owner Kate Gibson of Shadyside Farm was proud of her mare’s finish, as well her 6-year-old gelding Van Morrison’s fifth-placed finish with Pletcher in the irons.
“Peter is a master with the young ones,” said Gibson. “He lets a young horse be young, and then he helps them be confident in what they do. He’s just wonderful at that.”
Gibson imported Sincerely from Europe about a year ago, and she’s been impressed with how quickly the horse has matured.
“She’s really sweet and a great mover,” continued Gibson. “We brought her over as a 5-year-old, and we usually go to [the Winter Equestrian Festival] for the winter. She was kind of skinny and a little scared when we got her there, but she went around. Then the second week she got more comfortable. She ended up champion a few times, and she was the circuit leader in the [Green Hunter 3′] when we left at Week 8. She just got bigger and prettier. I’ve done her in the Adults a few times, and she’s really straightforward and uncomplicated.”
Gibson explained that she does about 12 horse shows a year and usually gives the horses time off in the summer. Sincerely was coming off a relaxing summer, when the Championship came up at the Harvest Show.
“We ripped her out of the field, and she won the whole thing!” said Gibson with a smile.
Brian Lenehan and Lyman Whitehead judged the Central Championships, which marked the last of five regional championships available to USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Program participants for the first time this year. The USHJA introduced the opportunity as another benefit to enrolling in the Green Hunter Incentive Program, in addition to year-round stake classes and the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships.
USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Program participants may choose which regional championship they would like to attend; however, horses may only compete in one regional championship per year. Each regional championship consists of two rounds, and the combined total score for both rounds determines the winner. Prize money is awarded through 12th place, and each championship offers a minimum of $10,000 in prize money spread across all the sections offered. Horses must be enrolled in the program to be eligible to participate.
3’/3’3″ USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Central Championship
Horse / Rider / R1 / R2 | Overall
1. Sincerely / Peter Pletcher / 86 / 86.5 | 172.5
2. Alisto / Courtney Lenkart / 87 / 84 | 171
3. Just So / Peter Pletcher / 84.5 / 86 | 170.5
4. Cazador / Peter Pletcher / 86.5 / 82.5 | 169
5. Van Morrison / Peter Pletcher / 81 / 87 | 168
6. MTM Sunshine / Dorothy Douglas / 84 / 83.75 | 167.75
7. Caracalla / Jim Hensen / 84.5 / 83 | 167.5
8. S & L Lion King / Dorothy Douglas / 86.25 / 75.5 | 161.75
9. Lightful / Courtney Lenkart / 75 / 85.5 | 160.5
10. Gimondro / Peter Pletcher / 78 / 82 | 160
11. Boardwalk / Will Roberts / 80 / 79 | 159
12. Etiquette / Rachel Lindsey / 76 / 78 | 154
3’6″/3’9″ USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Central Championship
Horse / Rider / R1 / R2 | Overall
1. MTM Do Right / Didi Mackenzie / 82 / 83 | 165
2. Would You Mind / Nada Wise / 79 / 84 | 163