Hunter News from Week One of Kentucky Spring Horse Show

Becky Gochman and Catch Me Claim Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship

The amateur-owner divisions at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show concluded in the Stonelea Ring on Saturday with the awarding of the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship. Presented to the rider who accumulated the most points over the course of competition Friday and Saturday in applicable divisions, the award was chased by a high number of entries across various hunter divisions. After two days of consistent rounds, Becky Gochman and Catch Me couldn’t be caught, capturing all five Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter classes to earn the Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter Championship and ultimately claim the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship, generously sponsored by Visse Wedell.

Becky Gochman and Catch Me. Photo by Phelps Sports

Gochman and her own Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s Catch Me accumulated an impressive number of points Friday, topping competition with high scores of 90 and 93 in the over fences classes while also riding to the win in the under saddle. On Saturday, Gochman and Catch Me once again claimed the win in both over fences classes with high scores of 86 and 87.

The pair shares an impressive partnership that was garnered them countless championship awards, most recently earning the circuit champion title in the Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35 Champion division thanks to their consistent high scores and top placings earned over 12 weeks of competition at the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida.

In the professional divisions, the 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding also topped the High Performance Working Hunters with Scott Stewart, riding to another score of 90 to win one round over fences, in addition to besting the under saddle and the handy round.

The Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion award is presented each year by Visse Wedell. Wedell has been a continuously strong supporter of the Kentucky Horse Shows by sponsoring grand championship prizes in multiple divisions every year.

Emily White and Scandeek Seal Win in Ariat National Adult Medal

Eleven amateur athletes entered the ring with their mounts attempting to earn the highest score in the Ariat National Medal on Friday. At the end of competition, however, it was Emily White and her own Scandeek who claimed the blue ribbon.

The two phase class asked athletes to first compete over a course of nine fences. Upon completion of the course, horse-and-rider combinations were given a numerical score. The second phase of competition asked the riders with the four highest scores to return to complete a specific test. Judged on equitation, riders entered the ring prepared to jump a shortened version of the course that included a number of roll back turns, a halt, and a trot fence.

Emily White and Scandeek. Photo by Phelps Sports

White and Scandeek, a 14-year-old Danish Warmblood, scored an 81.5 in the first round of competition. Asked by the judge to return in the top four, White and her longtime partner completed the test utilizing a number of options for handy turns that stood out from her competitors. Additionally, White demonstrated a textbook halt, which was asked to be completed following the third fence on course. The pair, hailing from Goshen, Ohio, competed at the World Equestrian Center (WEC) in Wilmington, Ohio throughout the duration of the winter circuit, regularly placing in the top three.

“I’ve had him for five years now and have been showing him in the equitation since I’ve had him,” White shared. “I’m really excited to get to do the adult equitation classes now. He is really awesome to ride. He has a great canter to him and is really easy to find jumps on. He can be a little silly sometimes, but that’s one of the reasons I really like him.  He is quirky enough to keep things interesting and has allowed me to keep learning. Everyday is a new day with him.”

Second place was captured by Elise Iafrate and Corlandos, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood. The pair scored an 81 during round one, just making it above the cut-off score. Iafrate and her own Corlandos regularly compete in the Adult Amateurs hunters at WEC.

Abbygale Funk and Clear Sailing claimed third place in competition, scoring an 83 in the first round. As the last to go in the first round, their score would put them in the top position heading into the judge’s test.

Fibonacci Carries Chris Payne to Grand Hunter Champion Title at Kentucky Spring Horse Show

One of the many highlights in the Hunter ring last week was the presentation of the Grand Hunter Champion award, given to the horse and rider who accumulated the highest scores throughout professional hunter competition across Wednesday and Thursday. After competitive rides from a variety of competitors at the Kentucky Horse Park, it was Chris Payne and Fibonacci who ultimately claimed top honors and walked away with the Grand Hunter Champion prize.

Chris Payne and Fibonacci. Photo by Phelps Sports

Still Water Farm LLC’s Fibonacci garnered points with Payne throughout the High Performance Conformation Hunter division, sweeping both of Wednesday’s over fences rounds as well as the under saddle. The pair finished Thursday’s competition with an impressive score of 90 to win the handy round and a third place ribbon in the over fences to capture the High Performance Conformation Hunter award and ultimately the grand champion title.

Payne and Fibonacci boast an impressive list of accolades, most recently earning the circuit champion title in the High Performance Conformation Hunter accumulated through 12 weeks of competition at the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida.

“He’s a really funny horse,” Payne commented of his mount. “He’s great to ride and he always gives you an amazing effort, but he also has a personality where you don’t know if he’s paying attention or thinking about his job and then all of a sudden he rises to the occasion.”

Go Jumping!