Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 3, 2016 – Shaw Johnson-Price shed tears of joy as she walked into the ring to accept the championship ribbon for the Amateur-Owner Over 35 Hunter division. A short while later, Price and Custom Made once again made their way center-ring to accept the prestigious Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter Ruxton and Scot To Do Challenge Trophy at the 2016 CP National Horse Show.
“This is the most amazing thing to happen,” Price said. “It is really unexpected, and I’m thrilled. I am so happy to end on a good note after the last class. We’ve had an incredible circuit. It feels like a million dollars to win grand. I am beside myself happy to have this horse and to be a part of our farm.”
The victory came as a surprise for Price, who thought the division’s tricolor was going to her barnmate Kelly Corrigan and her horse, Game Day. Both ladies train with Havens Schatt in Lexington, Kentucky. Schatt said even she was surprised when it was Price’s name who was called to accept the championship, as Jane Gaston and Because trailed by half a point to claim the reserve championship honors.
“Shaw rode cautiously yesterday, but didn’t ride badly at all,” Schatt said. “She didn’t want to make a mistake. I told her before the last class today to go in and have a good time and trust her horse. She went in there and nailed it. I didn’t think it was possible for her to be champion; it wasn’t on my radar at all.”
Despite the initial shock, Price, Schatt and Custom Made returned to the red carpet all smiles to accept the Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter Ruxton and Scot To Do Challenge Trophy. Rounding out a spectacular day, Price also accepted the In Dutch Memorial Perpetual Trophy for the highest-scoring round in the Amateur-Owner Hunter stake classes.
Price and Custom Made are no strangers to winning at this level, as the pair also claimed the Amateur-Owner Grand Championship at the Washington International and Pennsylvania National Horse Shows.
“He goes in and gives his all,” Price said. “He’s for sure my horse of a lifetime. I’m so thankful for everyone at the barn; they are here at 4 a.m. getting everything ready, it’s a whole team effort. I am so lucky for everything that has happened the past three weeks for me. It’s really special.”
In the Amateur-Owner 18–35 Hunter division, it was Laura Sexton and Set To Music, or Calvin as he’s known in the barn, who claimed the championship. The division’s reserve championship went to Stephanie Danhakl and First Light.
“It’s very exciting to win,” Sexton said. “Calvin is a younger horse, and this is my very first indoors on him. It’s a different group of horses for me but it’s an amazing experience to have it pan out this way. I couldn’t have asked for a better year!”
Sexton, who trains with the Cunniffes at Whipstick Farm in South Salem, New York, said she enjoyed wrapping up her successful year at the CP National Horse Show.
“This is such an amazing facility,” Sexton explained. “I know it’s an indoor, but it feels like you are riding outside. The show is a class act with the way they run everything, and it feels very special.”
The hunter action will continue tomorrow with the Small and Large Junior Hunter divisions.
Other highlight classes throughout the CP National Horse Show include Friday’s $35,000 Salamander Hotels and Resorts Accumulator Class, Saturday’s $250,000 Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping Lexington CSI4*-W, and Sunday’s $30,000 USEF Under 25 National Championship. The ASPCA Maclay National Championship will take place over the course of Saturday and Sunday.