Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 1, 2017 – The hunter professionals returned Wednesday to the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park to vie for championship titles at the 2017 CP National Horse Show. The morning began with the under saddle portion of competition and led into the hunter stake classes for each respective division, where champions were crowned based on combined class points from Tuesday and Wednesday.
The first to step onto the red carpet adorned with a champion ribbon was Lynn Seithel’s Walk The Moon partnered with Daniel Geitner. The pair captured the Goshen Hill Green 3’6″ Hunter division, presented by Ms. Caroline Moran, after winning the handy round on Tuesday and capturing second place in Wednesday’s stake class. Reserve champion was awarded to Dr. Betsee Parker’s Luster with Scott Stewart in the irons, upon claiming wins in the under saddle class and handy round. After Geitner slid into the champion position, ahead of Stewart by one point, Stewart stole the show claiming all remaining professional hunter championships.
Dr. Parker’s Private Life and Stewart claimed their fourth Green Conformation Hunter championship this indoor season, accumulating blue ribbon points in the model, handy and stake class to win the Muriel Klein Lens Challenge Trophy and the “Call You Raise You” Challenge Trophy. Although the Dutch Warmblood is only 6 years old, he is already proving his potential, claiming the same title with Stewart at the Washington International Horse Show, the Pennsylvania National Horse Show and Capital Challenge Horse Show. Havens Schatt and JT Farm’s Playmaker finished as the reserve champions.
Stewart kept with his winning rhythm aboard William Hill, owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC, building on Tuesday’s classic and handy win to claim the tricolor ribbon in the Oare & Adikes-Hill Green 3’9″ Hunter division, presented by Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Oare and Ms. Patricia Adikes-Hill. Schatt picked up another reserve champion ribbon with Tracy Scheriff-Muser’s Aristocrat.
Most impressive was Stewart’s championship ride aboard Dr. Parker’s Lucador as the pair won four out of the division’s five classes to earn the championship title for the High Performance Conformation Hunter division, sponsored and presented by the Wheeler family, ultimately earning the Grand Champion Professional Hunter title and the “Isgilde” Challenge Trophy for the third time. The trophy has now been retired after it was also earned by Stewart and “Luke” in 2014 and 2015. In addition, the duo was awarded the Cold Harbor Dr. Betsee Parker Perpetual Cup, the German Challenge Trophy and the Ken Berkley Perpetual Cup. Reserve champions Outshine and Kathryn Haley were the only pair to steal a class away from Lucador, winning Tuesday’s classic over fences round.
Stewart wrapped up the professional hunter championships with Catch Me, owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC, claiming the Judith Murch High Performance Hunter division championship, presented by the Corrigan family and Winners Circle Trailer Sales. The 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding received the win in the handy round with Stewart as well as the under saddle class with Amanda Derbyshire, earning the “A Million Reasons” Perpetual Bowl. Olympic Fire and Jennifer Hannan claimed the day’s stake class and reserve championship.
Upon winning four out of five professional hunter division championships, Stewart was awarded the title of Leading Hunter Rider for the 11th time at the National Horse Show, earning the Sherri Crawford Leading Hunter Rider Award and Leading Hunter Rider Challenge Trophy.
The amateur-owner divisions followed with Copper Fox LLC’s Moonwalk and Kendall Meijer capturing the stake class of the Woodland Way, Inc. Amateur-Owner 18–35 3’3″ Hunter division, presented by Ms. Margaret O’Meara, to claim the division championship. Stephanie Danhakl and her own Enough Said finished with the reserve championship.
Virginia Fout rode her own Carma to the top spot in both the stake class and under saddle to finish as the Meralex Farm and Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Over 35 3’3″ Hunter division champion, while Seithel rode her own Walk The Line to the reserve championship.
Catch Me kept in winning fashion for owner Becky Gochman, earning blue ribbons in the over fences and under saddle classes of the Amateur Owner Over 35 Hunter division ahead of the division’s championship on Thursday. In the Suzanne Thoben Marquard Amateur-Owner Under 35 over fences competition, Technicolor and Lindsay Maxwell rode to the win, while Kelly Tropin and Chablis claimed the under saddle class.
On Thursday, hunter competition will continue with the amateur-owner and junior hunter divisions beginning at 7 a.m.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Daniel Geitner – Goshen Hill Green 3’6″ Hunter division champion
On Walk The Moon’s progression:
“He was champion in the Pre-Green division at Harrisburg last year. He has been fantastic and continues to jump better and better. He really shined here with the bright jumps and the footing. The course here has also allowed him to really show himself off with a lot of galloping, long runs to the two strides and oxers. That all enabled me to let him really jump! He did the amateur-owners yesterday with Lynn [Seithel] and will do the same today. That is what is so nice about him, he is easy on himself and you don’t ever have to worry about him.”
On the hunt for the division championship:
“It was a really close race. There were four or five of us at the end that easily could have stepped up and been champion, which keeps it exciting.”
Lynn Seithel – Walk The Moon’s owner
On when she bought him:
“I purchased [Walk The Moon] in August 2015 as a 5-year-old. He started with the Pre-Greens in December 2015 and began competing in the 3’3″ with Daniel [Geitner] shortly after that. We were able to show him in the amateur-owners at his second show because he is super easy!”
On having him live at home:
“I ride him five times a week at home because he lives with me. I just try and keep him fit enough for Daniel. He is used to being ridden late in the evening when I get home from work and I enjoy taking long hacks around my farm with him on Sundays. I live on Wadmalaw Island, just outside of Charleston, South Carolina, so we have great scenery and it is a great place for him to relax.”
On competing at the National Horse Show:
“I won twice on Tuesday in the amateur-owners on Walk The Line so it is great to be able to ride here and see my horses compete here.”
Scott Stewart – Grand Champion Professional Hunter and Leading Hunter Rider
On Private Life:
“He was champion at Devon, Capital Challenge, Harrisburg and Washington this year. He’s been very consistent and just great. Ken [Berkley] and I owned him and Betsee [Parker] bought him after his Pre-Green year right before WEF last year. He’s one of the easiest ones to ride. The others have a little bit of quirks, but he really doesn’t have any quirks about him. He’s very straightforward.”
On William Hill:
“I show him sporadically throughout the year. He mostly does the amateurs with Becky [Gochman]. He was champion at Capital Challenge as well. He’s a very easy horse to ride.”
“He’s fresh on the first day every year here pretty much. That’s a little bit just his character. We call him “Luke” in the barn.”
On Catch Me:
“He was awesome. I’ve only shown him throughout the year a little bit, mostly in Florida. He did Capital Challenge and he was good and Becky [Gochman] was champion, but he hasn’t shown since then. This is the biggest High Performance division he’s done all year. He was really great.”
On winning the Leading Hunter Rider Challenge Trophy for the 11th time:
“It’s awesome. It feels great, obviously. I just want to try to keep doing it. I’m lucky enough to have such nice horses and owners. We already have some more horses ready for next year.”
Goshen Hill Green 3’6″ Hunter Champion:
Walk the Moon, ridden by Daniel Geitner and owned by Lynn Seithel
Green Conformation Hunter Champion:
Private Life, ridden by Scott Stewart and owned by Dr. Betsee Parker
The Oare & Adikes-Hill Green 3’9″ Hunter Champion:
William Hill, ridden by Scott Stewart and owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC
The Wheeler Family High Performance Conformation Hunter Champion:
Lucador, ridden by Scott Stewart and owned by Dr. Betsee Parker
Judith Murch High Performance Conformation Champion:
Catch Me, ridden by Scott Stewart and owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC
Woodland Way, Inc. Amateur Owner 18-35 3’3” Champion:
Moonwalk, ridden by Kendall Meijer and owned by Copper Fox LLC
Meralex Farm and Hunt Ltd. Amateur Owner over 35 3’3” Champion:
Carma, owned and ridden by Virginia Fout