Jaime Gibson Claims Grand Open Hunter Championship Two Weeks In a Row PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lenore Brown-Phillips   
Thursday, 03 August 2017 12:11

Jaime Gibson made the long trip up from Ocala, Florida, to the Kentucky Horse Park worth it with Debbie Smith’s 9-year-old mare Cora. After claiming the Grand Open Hunter Championship last week at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, Gibson and Cora returned to Stonelea Ring to sweep the professional divisions during the Kentucky Summer Classic to win a back-to-back grand title. In the Conformation Hunter division, the pair dominated and won blue ribbons for all the over fences, the handy and the under saddle.

The owner, Debbie Smith, purchased the jumper mare from Wendy Peralta of Seabreeze Farm, and since she is an exceptional mover decided to transition her into the hunter ring. Gibson started riding the talented mare during the winter season and the pair competed in the Ocala circuit and at Devon before heading to the summer series at the Kentucky Horse Park.


Next up, Gibson plans on showing Cora throughout the indoor circuit and has her eyes set on moving up to the 3’9” and derbies next season.


The Grand Open Hunter Championship is sponsored by Visse Wedell with Kirkpatrick & Companies. During the show, she noted, “I sponsor the Grand Hunter Champions because I feel it is important to support the hunters and I want to give something extra special to the people that exceed in their divisions whether it is the professionals or the amateurs or pony riders. I love to give a trophy because we all like to go home with something special other than a cooler or a backpack.”


Additional Grand Hunter Championships will be awarded later this week to the top Amateur-Owner, Junior and Children’s Hunters. Additional hunter highlights include the $5,000 World Equestrian Center/Kentucky Horse Shows USHJA National Hunter Derby on Saturday in the Stonelea Ring.



Jaime Gibson – Back-to-back Grand Open Hunter Champion


On winning the Grand Open Hunter Championship back-to-back:
“I was not really expecting it! I thought it would be really nice to earn it two weeks in a row, but you never know! Cora jumped great yesterday and really good today. I think she was better this week being here for the second week. Last week, she wanted to rush the trot jump a little and this week she was really good and patient. She was just more comfortable in the ring and was fantastic!”

On what makes Cora special:

“Cora is gorgeous and she knows it! She likes being the center of attention, which is nice. She is very light, has a great mouth, a good lead change, and has a great style going around. She stays on one canter and it doesn’t change. As a rider, you don’t really have to worry about anything because she takes care of it. That’s really good for when she does the adults — you can let her do her job and she takes care of the rider.”

On developing young horses:

“It’s fun to bring them along. I’m lucky enough that she does the adults with the owner so that I get to do her in the conformation. It’s nice to bring them along and have a talented one. I’ve had a lot of help along the way with her, so it’s been great.”

Kentucky Horse Park