Lexington, KY – August 5, 2016 – Junior rider Emma Kurtz of Hudson, Ohio won both the jumper phase and the hunter phase of the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation on Friday of the Kentucky Summer Classic Horse Show. She rode Dr. Betsee Parker’s gelding Patrick to the double win in the equitation division.
Kurtz first rode the chestnut gelding at the Maclay Finals last November and competed with him a handful of times at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, so she explained that she was still getting acclimated to his ride.
The pair had placed second in the WIHS hunter phase last week at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, and they returned this week focused on winning the blue.
“The jumper phase this morning was so fun!” Kurtz said. “I was really nervous going in because I could only watch two riders go through it.
“Patrick’s rhythm is different than other horses I typically ride, so it has taken a while for me to get used to it,” Kurtz continued. “I feel like I haven’t been really great on Patrick because he is a very different ride for me, but he is amazing! His stride is huge.”
The talented duo won the jumper phase with an impressive score of 94, which was five points ahead of the second place finisher, Casco M and Victoria Press’s score of 89.Casco M and Victoria Press. PC: Annan Hepner
“The only problem I usually have in the jumper phase is the time allowed,” Kurtz explained. “I always need to stay on my pace because I like to go slow.”
The jumper phase finished in the morning so the riders had the entire day to prepare for the WIHS hunter phase, which took place in the Alltech Arena.
“It was surprising that we had to ride in the indoor ring because we are not used to competing indoors quite yet in the season,” Kurtz said. “Patrick was holding back a bit, but he was perfect. He never does anything wrong. I could just tell a little difference in the way he went versus riding outside.
“It was great practice for us, especially since Maclay Finals happens there,” she continued. “We should all be ready!”
The hunter phase consisted of nine jumps with bending lines and a combination. Kurtz bested a field of 30 equitation riders to earn a score of 89. The top three finishers were within a point of each other with Madison Sellman and Alvarez L placing second in the hunter phase with a score of 88, and Samantha Cohen and Trump coming in third with an 87.
“My ride went well,” Kurtz said. “Patrick is so easy and sweet. Usually they have straight lines in the hunter phase, but today they made it a bit more exciting. It was fun to ride.”
Kurtz has been focusing on improving her equitation in order to stand out in a group of talented young riders. She rides often without stirrups and she laughed, “It’s not necessarily fun, but we have to do it!”
“I’ve been working a lot on my leg position because it sometimes slides back when I am in the air. Then sometimes it slides too far forward when I ride around so I’ve been focusing on keeping it more underneath me and keeping my legs where they should be.”
She plans on continuing to get to know Patrick through the summer by competing in the equitation divisions at the Blue Grass Festival Horse Show later in August before heading off to the Hampton Classic.
“He’s so sweet around the barn!” Kurtz said. “Today after our ride he got his favorite snack, a banana, as a treat!”
Feature events of the Kentucky Summer Classic Horse Show include the $50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix presented by GGT Footing and the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Horse Show series, please visit http://www.kentuckyhorseshows.com/.
WIHS Overall Results
Rider/Horse/Jumper Phase Score/Hunter Phase Score
1. Emma Kurtz/Patrick/94.000/89.000
2. Victoria Press/Casco M/89.000/85.000
3. Samantha Cohen/Trump/86.000/87.000
4. Madison Sellman/Alvarez L/84.500/88.000
5. Alexandra Beneson/Skara Glen’s Prologue/85.000/83.000
6. Rhian Murphy/Carl/80.000/86.000
8. Francesca Dildabanian/Checkland/85.500/76.000
Written by: Annan Hepner