Two champions were named in the 3’6” Green Hunter division, presented by Equine Tack & Nutritionals, during opening week of WEF. Section A champion was awarded to Christopher Payne of Cincinnati, OH, riding Solitude with champion honors for section B going to Kate Conover of Ocala, FL, on Heaven’s Dream.
Payne and Solitude, a 7-year-old gelding owned by Northernside LLC, earned three first-place ribbons to secure the championship. “He’s such a natural athlete,” commented Payne. “You get him in striking range of the jump and he gives you such a beautiful effort every time.”
Christoper Payne and Solitude. Photo © Sportfot
Payne is currently showing the gelding, who was imported in the spring of 2019, to get him ready for owner, Beth Bidgood, to ride in amateur-owner hunter competition at WEF. “She’s being nice and letting me do him for the first few weeks to get him settled in at the new height and have some fun.”
Conover and Heaven’s Dream also proved to be consistent against tough competition, earning two first-place ribbons and a fifth.
Conover was especially pleased with the gelding’s performance earlier in the week, as well as their win in the hack, saying, “This was a really competitive division, but we were able to get a piece of everything.”
This was a special ride for Conover, who originally imported Heaven’s Dream, and was able to catch ride the horse for owner Isabella Griffin. “It’s really cool to see horses show here [at WEF] that you found in Europe and put with good customers,” said Conover. “But it’s also really exciting that I get to ride them as well!”
Kate Conover and Heaven’s Dream. Photo © Sportfot
Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, MD, piloted Trademark, owned by Take 3 LLC, to reserve champion of section A with first, second, and fourth-place performances. Reserve champion of section B was awarded to Maria Rasmussen of Milwaukee, WI, riding Business Time for owner Maya Grove. This pair earned a first, second, and seventh-place ribbon.