Emma Kurtz, of Hudson, OH, piloted her mount A Million Reasons, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, to the top of the class in week five’s Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division. The duo claimed three blue ribbons over fences and an additional blue in the under saddle.
Having been paired with the 13-year-old Holsteiner mare for the first time at the beginning of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) this year, Kurtz expressed her admiration for her new mount.
“We were champion the first week, so I guess you could say we clicked pretty quickly,” said Kurtz. “She’s pretty easy considering how few times I have ridden her. She is a perfect lead changer, has a huge stride, and she’s not spooky.”
Kurtz, who has remained competitive in the hunter ring on multiple horses, added that week five at WEF was an especially exciting week for her, as she succeeded in tackling some of the struggles she has been focusing on correcting with the mare.
“We usually have some trouble with the handy compared to our other classes, so I was really happy with our handy round yesterday, and she was amazing today,” said Kurtz. “She’s really slow, so the hardest part for me has been adjusting her stride. It is a lot bigger, for how little she is, than I am used to. That’s [also] probably the coolest thing about her: how big her stride is and how slow you have to go.”
Coco Fath and Akinda, owned by Hillside Farm LLC, took the reserve championship win with a second in the under saddle along with a second and three thirds over fences.
The fifth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival concludes on Sunday, February 11, with the $70,000 Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m Classic and the $50,000 Equiline Grand Prix CSI 2*, as well as the UHealth Junior Hunter 3’3” 16-17 championship.