Cassidy Zimmerman and Portafina take the NAL/WIHS Children’s Hunter Classic Championship. Print
Written by Kendall Bierer   
Monday, 14 May 2012 10:32
CassidyThe NAL/WIHS Children’s Classic welcomed the final day of the Kentucky Spring Horse show today. Although the riders were greeted with sheets of rain throughout the duration of the morning and afternoon, this did not lessen the competition as horse and rider combinations vied for the top honors in their respective divisions . It was Cassidy Zimmerman who not only picked up the reserve championship honors in the Children’s 15-17 Hunters, but also triumphed in the NAL/WIHS Children’s Classic with Portafina, riding to the overall total of 159 points.
The early afternoon promised talent for the last class of the day, the NAL/WIHS Children’s Classic, with several high scores and promising hunter rounds. The champion of the Children’s 14 and Under Hunter division, Avery Hinson of Plain City, OH, and Galiano, posted the high score of the division with their second round score of an 81 to carry over into the Classic as their first round total. The duo picked up the first and third place ribbons over fences today, and combined with their honors from yesterday, they picked up the division’s championship honors. Jane Brooks of Cincinnati, OH, and Lifeline, rode to the reserve championship title with their consistent second place ribbons throughout the over fences and under saddle.

In the Children’s 15-17 Hunter, Aleece Jarman and Vancouver, owned by Page Soper, made a clean sweep of the division earning all blues over fences, as well as the first place honors in the under saddle. “This is my first time riding Vancouver, he is a catch ride for me, and I have to say that he is a great horse. He has a really big step which makes it easier for the lines, and a really soft mouth.”

“The courses were a lot of fun, they were well set and the fences were beautifully decorated,” Jarman continued. “I come to Kentucky every year, and I love how big the show is and how much fun the classes are.”

Cassidy Zimmerman showed the five-year-old Portafina, out of Carmel, IN, to the reserve championship honors just behind Jarman. She piloted the mare to two second place ribbons in the over fences, and returned for the NAL/WIHS Children’s Classic to place a second solid round with a score of 76 points.

“This is only my third show on her,” Zimmerman explained. “She’s a little sassy, but I love her. She needs a lot of structure, but she has a really big jump, so you have to make sure that you have a big release, otherwise she hangs herself in the air.”

“We competed in the Children’s Derby last night, and I feel as though that was really good preparation for today. In a way, it made the courses seem more simple and straightforward,” Zimmerman stated. “I am really fortunate to have such a good horse, she jumps really well from a lot of distances. She is a beautiful mover and a great jump. Hopefully we will move into the Junior Hunter divisions next year, but we will see how it goes.”

Natalie Thornell scooped up the second and third place honors for the Classic. She earned an overall score of 156 points with Calentino, owned by Loveland Equine Investments of Loveland, OH, which proved good enough for the red ribbon. 

“Calentino is my baby,” Thornell described. “I have only had him for a year and he either does really well or is in the middle, but he is a really good horse. I am hoping to move into the Large Junior Hunters with him next year. I am hoping that in the long run I can do big derby eventswith him.”

Thornell continued, “I had really good preparation for these courses since we do a lot of difficult tracks when training at home. The whole atmosphere here is great, I love how big it is and that there is always an audience, even today in the rain.”

Jumping For Joy, Thornell’s second mount owned by Loveland Equine Investments of Loveland, OH, was presented with the third place award for her first round score of 78 points and second round score of 77 points to earn a total score of 155 points.

“She is my main horse, I have had her for around two years now. She is one of the most consistent horses I have ever ridden,” Thornell elaborated. “I am going to continue showing her next year when I move into the Juniors, but I know that eventually I will have to lease her out since she can’t compete at a level much higher than 3’6”. I am so happy with the way both of my horses performed today, and I am so excited to be back in Kentucky.” 

Hunter and jumper competitors can look forward to an exciting second week of the Kentucky Spring Series as the Kentucky Spring Classic commences on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at the Kentucky Horse Park. The Kentucky Spring Classic features the World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) Week that provides top hunter riders the opportunity to earn prize money and points toward year-end awards in the Pony, Junior, Amateur, Professional, Adult and Children's Hunter divisions. The highlight event of the week is the highly anticipated Hallway Feeds $5,000 National Hunter Derby, which will be held in the Stonelea Arena on Saturday, May 19, 2012.

Photo: Cassidy Zimmerman and Portafina take the NAL/WIHS Children’s Hunter Classic Championship. Photo Credit: Kendall Bierer/PMG. Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.