|Christopher Payne and Colton claim Grand Hunter Championship on Day Two of the Kentucky Spring Classic|
|Written by Sarah Harper|
|Friday, 20 May 2016 00:14|
Christopher Payne and Colton a Selle Francais gelding took home the Grand Hunter Championship as well as the Green Hunter Championship at the Kentucky Spring Classic on Thursday. Payne and Colton were first in the handy class, second over fences, and third under saddle after winning both over fences classes yesterday. A new addition to the Stonelea ring courses today came in the form of a large stone wall fence that was used in last week’s $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
“I personally was a little intimidated that they had the derby jump in the hunters,” Payne said. “But both my horses handled it really well, it didn’t faze them whatsoever. I thought the handy course rode beautifully. He [Colton] was a little tired after yesterday but he rose to the occasion.”
The Stonelea Ring continued with the Conformation Hunters up next. Jeff Gogul and Cortes, a 6-year-old Westphalian gelding won the championship.
Gogul was delighted with the efforts of his young horse today. “The handy round, I was thrilled with,” Gogul said. “Today was great for him because the course was a lot of turns which he did beautifully,” Gogul continued. We’ve never had to hand gallop a jump and he was great there. He’s dead brave which I know I can always count on him jumping the jumps. You don’t want it to happen too fast for a greenie so we were thrilled with the performance today and then also to jump the wall was asking a lot of a horse with limited miles and so he was a total soldier for that so we were really happy.”
In the final championship of the day it was Hayley Barnhill and Koala, an 8-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding who brought home the top prize in the Performance Hunter division.
“Koala is kind of a new horse for us so we’re just figuring him out a little bit,” Barnhill said. “I’m very excited about him he seems to be very special. He went in and was great for the handy and he won both over fences classes yesterday and the hack today. He’s pretty simple, he’s a big horse and he’s scopey and big strided and he kind of always wants to do the right thing.”
Barnhill was full of praise for the Kentucky Spring Classic. “I’ve been showing here since I was a little kid,” Barnhill said. “Every time I drive in it kind of feels like home. It’s an amazing facility and it’s great for the hunters and the jumpers, everything its very convenient for us its only three hours from Nashville. I love it here”
Visse Wedell has been a great supporter of the Kentucky Horse Shows sponsoring grand championship prizes in multiple divisions. “I think that it’s fantastic to award the best of the best in each division,” Wedell said. She was thrilled with Christopher Payne and Colton’s win today of the Grand Hunter Championship. “Obviously that’s an adorable horse and it’s fantastic to see Chris in the ring winning as usual, again. I love seeing horses like that go in and win that obviously are sweet and love their job.”
“There are not a lot of horse shows that still do grand championships,” Wedell said. “I think that it’s nice to bring that back. You get to take something home other than a ribbon, you actually get to take something home and use it or put it somewhere. It’s a little bit of a throwback, I still have my wine coolers that I won as a short stirrup kid and I still use them. So I like to give take homes, something that you can actually use whether it’s a tray or a bowl, something you can look at and say, I remember that horse show.”
Wedell echoed Barnhill’s sentiments about the Kentucky Horse Shows. I love this place; it’s become a second home to me at this point,” she said. “I’ve got my real estate license up here with Kirkpatrick and company. I bought two properties right next to the horse show that I’m redoing and building a barn. The footing is great to show on, the jumps are beautiful, they really take their time. I’m really appreciative to the whole crowd of people that work behind the scenes and at the gates and they do a great job, they’re fantastic.”
The Kentucky Spring Classic will continue May 18–22, 2016 with the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby in the Stonelea Ring on Saturday May 21, 2016. It will also offer WIHS and NAL qualifiers plus $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Classics.
EQSportsNet will be streaming live webcasts of the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3* during the Kentucky Spring Classic on Saturday, May 21. EQSportsNet Full Access subscribers can also watch all rounds of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series on demand at www.eqsports.net.