Lexington, Ky. – August 16, 2022 – The brisk Kentucky morning welcomed equestrians back to the Kentucky Horse Park for the 2022 Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. Hunter action kicked off in the picturesque Walnut arena Tuesday morning with the first of three rounds in the Platinum Performance USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship. The Nation’s top green hunter horse and athlete combinations jumped in top form in hopes of winning round one and setting them up for success in the following two days of competition and overall standings. Upon completion of 133 rounds, it was Circa piloted by Nick Haness who took home the blue ribbon, Advent and John French with the red, and Kingston and Christopher Payne to round out the top three.
The Green Hunter Incentive Program is open to horses eligible to compete in the Green Hunters 3’0″, 3’3″, 3’6″, and 3’9″ divisions. The program is designed to encourage the development of green horses and is multifaceted to include the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships, regional championships, and stake classes throughout the year and across the country.
The Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship brings forth some of the top hunter athletes across the country who compete over three days at their respective height. All horses compete in the first two rounds, in which they receive numerical scores. The top 30 horses, including those tied for 30th, with the highest combined scores from the first two rounds, advance to the third round, where they start with a clean slate.
Nick Haness piloted Circa, owned by Glade Run Farm, LLC, to a textbook hunter round allowing the 6-year-old Holsteiner Mare to jump with great style and expression. The pair earned two 90’s and a 92 for a combined total of 272 points. Following top placings this summer at The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival [Traverse City, MI], Upperville Colt and Horse Show, and Loudoun Benefit Horse Show [Upperville, VA] the stunning grey mare is one to watch.
No stranger to the winner’s circle in the hunter ring, French piloted the 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Marta Rocha to scores of 91, 87.50, 87.50, for an overall score of 266 points. Coming off of a successful summer season on the west coast, Advent has accumulated miles in not only the Green Hunter divisions but the Junior Hunters as well.
Only one point behind French and Advent, Payne and New Hope LLC’s Kingston, earned a total of 265 points with scores from the judges of 90, 87, and 88. The 7-year-old KWPN gelding has been thriving with Payne in the irons after taking top ribbons in the Bluegrass State this summer at the Kentucky Spring Classic, Split Rock Jumping Tour, and most recently taking the championship honors in the Green Hunter 3’ division at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show.
Green Hunter Incentive competition will continue Wednesday at 8:45 am in the Walnut arena with the second round of the Platinum Performance USHJA Green Hunter Championship. The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show will see its first jumper athletes as they take the Rolex Stadium Wednesday morning at 8am with the 6-year-old 1.30m jumpers.
Platinum Performance USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Round One
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Score
Circa / Nick Haness / Glade Run Farm LLC / 272
Advent / John French / Marta Rocha / 266
Kingston / Christopher Payne / New Hope LLC / 265
Luxor / John French / Robinson Ridge, LLC / 262
Twain / Hunt Tosh / Ceil Wheeler / 261.5
Mr. Special / Abbygale Funk / MMK Equestrian LLC / 260.5
Austen / Scott Stewart / Stephanie Danhakl / 260.5
Dianistria Blue / Havens Schatt / Julia McNerney / 260.5
Montecito / Nick Haness / Cherie Callander / 260
Wyatt / John French / Susan Moriconi / 259.5