Lexington, Ky – May 12, 2022 – After multiple victorious rides in the StoneLea Ring, Christopher Payne and Gratitude, owned by Stillwater Farm LLC, swept the hunter competition to be named Grand Hunter Champion at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show (KSHS). Concluding two days of top-notch hunter performance in the Green 3’6’’ and 3’9’’ Hunter, Green Confirmation Hunter, High Performance Conformation Hunter and High-Performance Working Hunter, it was Payne and Gratitude to accumulate the most points to secure the win amongst the large field of elite horse-and-rider combinations.
The picture perfect day in the Bluegrass set the scene for Payne and Gratitude to wow the judges with their impressive presentation to top the leaderboard with scores of 87, 89 and 90 over fences. The pair showcased the ultimate hunter cadence to overwhelm the StoneLea Ring with stellar rounds. Payne and the seasoned Warmblood gelding jumped in flawless form in the High Performance Conformation Hunter division winning all of the over fences classes to score a total of 46 points.
Well acquainted with the KSHS, the duo tied for the Grand Hunter Champion position in 2021 with 44 points in the Green Conformation Hunter. Payne and Gratitude have been competing together since 2019 and they have developed a trusting partnership in the ring. Familiar with the spotlight, the pair has secured multiple tri-colors to add to their list of success. Together they rounded out their 2021 season at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show and the Capital Challenge Hunter Jumper Horse Show claiming the championship in Green Conformation Hunter.
Hunter competition will continue in the StoneLea Ring at 8:00 a.m. Friday morning. The Amateur-Owner 3’6’’ Hunter 18-35 will set the tone bright and early to kick off the weekend at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE:
Christopher Payne – Grand Hunter Champion
On Kentucky Horse Shows:
“It is so nice to be back in Kentucky. The show is fantastic, the weather has been great, and the jumps are amazing. The ring is beautiful and I love the way that it rides.”
On his ride with Gratitude:
“He was happy to be back. He is such a great horse and a joy to ride. He jumped every jump amazing and I was unbelievably happy with how well he rode in the StoneLea this morning.