Wellington, FL – March 10, 2016 – The crowning of the Pre-Green Hunter 3 & 4 Year Old champion took place in Ring 6 early on Thursday. A beautiful sunny morning served as the backdrop for Peggy Gehman’s complete domination of the division.
She piloted Meralex Farm’s Jon Snow, a five-year-old Holsteiner gelding, to wins in all four classes on her way to the division championship. Rob Carey and First Watch settled for the reserve title, placing second, third, and fourth over fences and second in the under saddle.
Jon Snow and Peggy Gehman. Photo: Sportfot
Jon Snow, named after a famous television show character, has a personality that holds up to his namesake. “We have a bunch of horses named after the ‘Game of Thrones’ characters,” Gehman remarked.
“Jon Snow (the gelding) has got lots of personality. He’s really pesky and needy,” she laughed.
Jon Snow was imported to the United States less than a year ago. “We bought him as part of a group of young horses in Germany three years ago,” owner Bryan Baldwin explained. “We brought him along in Germany and then brought him over here last year in May.”
Since his arrival, the team at Meralex has been preparing the young horse for competition. The gelding made his horse show debut here at WEF a few weeks ago. “This is his fourth horse show ever,” Baldwin stated.
The last few weeks have been a bit of a learning experience for the young gelding, but he is starting to earn consistent results. “He’s been the champion now twice this circuit and he won a class last week,” rider Peggy Gehman explained. “The first week we were kind of green, but we are getting there!”
Jon Snow and Peggy Gehman in their championship presentation with owner Bryan Baldwin. Photo: Sportfot
“The purpose of buying these young horses is to two-fold: to enjoy bringing along the young horses and making them up yourself, but also, to look for and to find the next great one,” Baldwin remarked.
It can be difficult to find the next great hunter in the professional divisions. “To find the next great one winning in the big professional divisions, they are just so expensive,” Baldwin stated.
“If you can find a young one and bring it along, you are taking more risk, but you are also coming in at a lower price point. At worst you have a nice hunter for a junior or amateur to ride. But, what we are really looking for is the next Castle Rock,” she said.
Both Gehman and Baldwin have nothing but positive things to say about Jon Snow and his budding career. “He’s a good mover, he’s a great jumper. He’s not spooky. He’s just so nice about the jumps. He’s really a nice guy,” Gehman remarked. “He’s a very pretty type,” Baldwin added.
Gehman was thrilled with the gelding’s performance this week. “He’s finally gotten to where he is really consistent,” she said.
Gehman will continue to show Jon Snow in the Pre-Green divisions during the last few weeks of competition at WEF. “We will hopefully bring him along to do the regular 3′ Pre-Green division and the
Pre-Green Incentive classes. I think we will try for that this year,” Gehman stated about the gelding’s future.
The ninth week of competition at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival continues on Friday featuring the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic in the International Ring in the morning and the $25,000 Artisan Farms U25 Grand Prix Semi-Final, presented by Seabrook LLC, in the evening. The $5,000 “Give a Buck” Small, Medium, and Large Pony Hunter Derbies will be featured on the grass derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC throughout the day. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Lauren Fisher and Callie Seaman for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.