Lexington Ky. – May 14, 2016 – It was all about the stallions on a cold and blustery day Saturday at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show in the Stonelea Ring. Championships in the Amateur-Owner 18–35 and Amateur-Owner 36 and Over Hunter divisions both went to stallions.
In the younger division, Stephanie Danhakl took home the top prize on her 7-year-old Hanoverian stallion First Light. The reserve championship went to Alliy Moyer and Carlson. In the older division that followed, Becky Gochman won the championship aboard the 14-year-old Warmblood stallion Empire with the reserve going to John Ingram and Airport 48.John Ingram and Airport 48. Photo: Phelps Media Group/Sarah Harper
First Light was back in the tricolors today having won the Regular Conformation Hunter championship on day two with trainer Scott Stewart.
“First Light is definitely my greenest horse,” Danhakl explained. “He’s only 7 years old this year and he’s a stallion, so he’s a little bit trickier for me. I feel like I started to get the hang of him this year. He’s a little different ride than what I’m used to. He really requires you to direct him and be very accurate in your turns and balanced. He keeps me on my toes.”
The drastic change in the weather was certainly a factor for riders on Saturday.
“When I got on him today he was very fresh because of all the wind,” Danhakl said. “He was still a little fresh in the ring, but he gives you such a great feeling and is very well mannered. He whinnied a few times going around, but I’m sort of used to that so he really was great.”
Stephanie Danhakl and First Light. Photo: Phelps Media Group/Sarah Harper
Gochman also commented on the cooler weather Saturday.
“It was a very brisk day in Lexington, Kentucky, so I had a little bit of a different horse in Empire today,” Gochman said. “He was feeling a little frisky. Yesterday we really clicked. I feel like he’s in a really great frame of mind and he’s just such a special horse.”
Another generation of winning hunters may be on the way for Gochman as well.
“We’re excited because we recently purchased his son Evermore,” Gochman explained. “We hope he can take after his dad in his ways too.”Becky Gochman and Empire. Photo: Phelps Media Group/Sarah HarperBecky Gochman and Empire. Photo: Phelps Media Group/Sarah Harper
Danhakl and Gochman were both full of praise for the Kentucky Spring Horse Show and the city of Lexington.
“It’s a great tradition for us to come here,” Gochman said. “It breaks up the ride back home for the horses and it gives us a chance to compete somewhere where the fences are really put together in a lovely manner.”
Gochman was also enthusiastic about all that Lexington has to offer.
“We have always enjoyed the town of Lexington,” Gochman continued. “The whole Gochman family can’t get enough of it. We really enjoy the restaurants and the horse themed artwork throughout the town. It always holds a special place in our hearts, so we are always excited to come back to Kentucky.”
Danhakl was also appreciative of the environment at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show.
“It’s such a beautiful place,” said Danhakl. “I love all of the greenery, the grass, the rolling hills and the trees everywhere. I like to be able to escape the heat at this time of year in Florida. All of the horses just left and came straight here so they’ve had a nice time getting to enjoy the cooler weather.”
Sunday is “Derby Day” with the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby taking place.
EQSportsNet will be streaming live webcasts of the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3* during the Kentucky Spring Classic on Saturday, May 21. EQSportsNet Full Access subscribers can also watch all rounds of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series on demand at www.eqsports.net.
For more information on Kentucky Horse Shows LLC and the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.