Lexington, KY – July 27, 2022 – Eager equestrians were thrilled to be back in the Bluegrass state as the Kentucky Horse Show kicked off its 2022 Summer Series Wednesday, July 27, at the famed Kentucky Horse Park. The sun rose on the StoneLea Arena to set the scene for top hunter horse-and-rider combinations to try their hand at the beautifully built track. Competition was stiff for the opening day with only two points separating the podium finishers. In the end, it was Christopher Payne aboard Gratitude, owned by Stillwater Farm LLC, who took top honors in the Combined 3’6” & 3’9” Hunter Incentive Stake with an impressive score of 87.100 points.
The Green Hunter Incentive Stake is open to horses eligible to compete in the Green Hunters 3’, 3’3”, 3’6”, and 3’9”. The program is designed to encourage the development of young, green hunters. It is multi-faceted and includes the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships, regional championships, and stake classes all throughout the country, year round.
Payne and the Warmblood gelding stood out amongst the competition that saw all top nine combinations. The winning duo jumped in top form while showcasing a rhythmic cadence throughout the entirety of the course. With Payne in the irons, Gratitude most recently had multiple top placings in the High Performance division at the Split Rock Hunter Jumper Classic I. The veteran duo has developed a trusting partnership and continues to add to their long list of wins.
Turning heads on course was Jimmy Torano and Isalou, Inc.’s 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Moonlight, scoring an even 87 points. The pair is coming off multiple top placings in the USHJA International Hunter Derby, Green Incentive and High Performance from their most recent trip to I Love New York. No stranger to hunter perfection, Torano headed into the summer series with multiple impressive championships under his belt including wins in the Green Hunters and High Performance Hunters.
Also taking home the third place title was Torano and Isalou, Inc.’s Laskano. The 10-year-old Westphalian gelding was turned out in pristine condition to score an 85, helping Torano secure the third-place finish. The pair began working together in 2021and have built an impressive resume with several big wins in the Green Hunters.
Hunter competition at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show will continue in the StoneLea Ring Thursday morning with the Green Conformation kicking off at 8am.