Wayne, Ill. – July 25, 2019 –Thursday was a day full of tri-colored ribbons for hunter riders at the 2019 Chicago Festival of The Horse. Hosted at the Lamplight Equestrian Center, hunter horses wrapped up their divisions showing style and skill over flower-filled jumps, hoping to secure spots in the winner’s circle. In the USHJA 3’ Hunter division, Amanda Thomas and Fanci That finished their day as champion of the Equine Healthcare International sponsored division, while Kathleen Caya got a strong start to the day with Zorro as champion of the Green 3’9” Hunter division.
Fifteen competitors in the USHJA 3’ Hunter division, sponsored by Equine Healthcare International, returned for day two of competition, all vying for the championship title. Ultimately, it was Thomas with Fanci That that jumped to victory. Fanci That claimed three out of four over fences wins, taking second in the fourth to give her 36 points in the division. Thomas found great success on the 10-year-old Hanoverian mare back in May, taking top placings in USHJA 3’ Hunter division at Memphis in May.
Ryan Sassmannshausen and Bravo, a 15-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Delaney Hoffman, were the division reserve champions for Equifest I. The pair won the under saddle and placed third in both over fences on Wednesday. They went on to produce consistent rounds on Thursday, remaining in the top five for the last two classes, in addition to capturing another win to give them 30 total division points.
Sassmannshausen also rode to the champion honors in the final division, the Thoroughbred Hunters, winning four out of the five classes with Quiet Hunter.
In the Green 3’9” Hunter division, Caya and her 10-year-old Warmblood gelding Zorro took the championship title. Zorro’s performance on Wednesday put him in the reserve champion position after he received a first and second place over fences and second in the under saddle. Returning to the ring on Thursday to conclude the division, Caya piloted Zorro to second place in the final over fences and first place in the handy round. Their beautiful trot jump and seamless rollback secured their spot atop the leaderboard and in the winner’s circle as champion of the division.
The reserve champion award in the Green 3’9” Hunter division went to Thomas and MTM First Take, her 11-year-old Westphalian gelding. Thomas led the division after Wednesday’s competition, winning two out of three classes, including the under saddle. After capturing a win in the first over fences back on Thursday, MTM First Take was bumped out of the champion position after receiving fourth in the handy round, concluding the division as reserve champions.
Hunter competition at Equifest I will continue in the Grand Hunter Arena on Friday, July 26, at 8:00 a.m. with the highlight class of the day, the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Kathleen Caya – Green 3’9” Hunter Champion
“Zorro is my horse. He is 10 years old this year and I have had him for a few years. I started him in the pre-greens and I have been bringing him along.”
On her rounds:
“My trips have been really good. They have nice courses set, the jumps look nice and the footing feels good. It is just a beautiful day to show here, the weather is perfect.”
“We have been coming back to Equifest for a few years now. We really like the show facility, it is just pretty. The people are all really nice and a lot of my friends are here so we enjoy the environment.”