Lexington, KY – May 10, 2023 – The Bluegrass state showed up for the Green Hunter Incentive Stake competitors Wednesday, May 10, boasting favorable showing conditions with blue skies and calm winds. Nine horse and rider combinations stepped up to the StoneLea Arena on the first day of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series, eager to set a precedent for the coming days. Finishing the competition after two rounds in the combined Green Hunter 3’6” and 3’9”, Havens Schatt and Julia McNerney’s Chance proved to set themselves apart from the eight other competitors in the 3’6” & 3’9” Green Hunter Incentive Stake.
Schatt has been a notable hunter rider and trainer in the industry since before she began her business Milestone Farm, LLC in 2001. She’s coming off a similar win in the 3’6”/3’9” Green Hunter Incentive at the 2023 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) Week 4, as well as a Green Hunter 3’0” Championship at WEF 10. This time around, she was aboard McNerney’s Chance, an 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding.
Taking the second place honors was Scott Stewart and Sophie Gochman’s Colter, with Stewart also snagging the third place spot with Rivers Edge’s California Love.
The Green Hunter Incentive Stake is a nationally recognized class that aims to promote the development of young hunter horses enrolled in the Green Incentive Program. With the stake classes held around the country, regional championships and the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships, horse and rider combinations are able to take advantage of this program, as well as the $320,000 plus prize money awarded, year round.
Leading up to the stake was the combination of the $2,000 Green Hunter 3’6” and 3’9”, which opened the competition to a broader range of talent at the Kentucky Horse Park. With 12 entries rounding out the combined class, judges Thomas Brennan, Kim Dorfman, Scott Fitton and Chris Wynn were compelled to make particular evaluations that set each combination apart. Stewart and California Love made that distinction early on with a score of 86 to set the tone for the coming horses and riders.
It was the effortless flow of Stewart with Gochman’s 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Colter, that ultimately won over the judges when they were named victorious in the combined 3’6” and 3’9” Green Hunter classes. With a total score of 174, the pair rode to a first and third place finish in order to secure the champion title. Stewart and Colter are coming off a strong WEF circuit in Wellington, Fla., earning a first place finish in the $1,000 Green Hunter Incentive 3’6”/3’9” during WEF 8 and a Green Hunter 3’6” Championship during WEF 2.
Green Hunter competition continues early tomorrow in the StoneLea Arena at 8 a.m. Fans that are not attending the Kentucky Spring Horse Show can follow the live results by visiting KentuckyHorseShows.com.