Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 15, 2017 – Week Six of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) brought fast winds strong enough to knock over course elements, challenging the many hunter riders and horses showcasing their talents in the International Area on Wednesday. During Week Six or World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) week, hunter divisions take the spotlight as the “AA” rated hunter classes are moved from the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring to the much larger International Arena normally reserved for the higher level jumper classes.
The WCHR series is available at only a handful of shows nationwide each year. Each WCHR show gives members the opportunity to earn points toward coveted regional and national WCHR awards. At WEF, WCHR week is an event that is highly anticipated by professional, junior and amateur hunter riders, bringing their best to the ring in hopes of rising to the top of the competition.
After setting the golden standard throughout the professional hunter divisions since WEF Week One, Scott Stewart continued his winning ways on day one of WCHR week, topping both the High Performance Conformation and the High Performance Hunter divisions.
Stewart won blues in both the High Performance Conformation over fences and handy round with Dr. Betsee Parker’s Lucador, a 9-year-old Oldenburg, in addition to winning the model with prized mount Fun, a 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Gochman Sport Horses LLC. Stewart and Fun also took home second in the over fences and third in the handy.
To top off a stellar kick-off to WCHR week at WEF, Stewart and Lucador also won the prestigious style award, sponsored by Champion Equine Insurance. During each week of WEF, Laura Fetterman presents the Champion Equine Insurance Hunter Style Award to a hunter rider who has demonstrated a special presence in the show ring and exemplifies classic hunter movement with grace and ease.
“It was awesome to win two classes and the style award especially for Lucador because he hasn’t shown since the National Horse Show,” Stewart smiled. “Lucador will probably show one more week and then he will be off until Devon.”
In the High Performance Hunter division, Stewart proved to be uncatchable once again aboard Gochman Sport Horses LLC’s famous Catch Me. The duo gracefully jumped two flawless rounds over fences, pinning Wednesday’s highest scoring hunter trips by earning a 95 and a 92 in the handy round.
The pair is looking to repeat their 2016 $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular win under the lights on Saturday.
Kelley Farmer snagged a second place ribbon over fences in the High Performance Hunter division on Jane Gaston’s 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mount Because.
Farmer and Nina Moore’s notable hunter Kodachrome also earned second place in the High Performance Hunter handy round behind Stewart.
WCHR week at WEF will continue on Thursday beginning at 8 a.m. in the International Arena with the Green Hunter 3’6” and Performance Hunter 3’6” divisions.