I love when horses go on grass, especially in the hunter classes! It brings back this nostalgic kind of feeling to the class as the horses power around beautiful fences on meticulously manicured lawns. Of all of the grass fields at competitions, the Derby Field at WEF is by-far one of my favorites. Its sprawling terrain allows the horses to really open up and enjoy themselves as they execute their rounds. This weekend horse and riders gathered together on the stunning turf to compete in WEF’s $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Classic. As the class was split into two categories (pro and junior/amateur) we saw two pairs rise to the top with blue-ribbon worthy rounds.
In the junior/amateur section, it was Sofia Roberts and Small Gesture who would take the top of the podium. Despite this being the duo’s first time competing at WEF and their first time competing on grass, they delivered a jaw-dropping round that caught the judges’ eye.
Small Gesture went around the field as relaxed as he could be, his lofty canter carrying Roberts around with style and precision. They jumped each obstacle with ease as Small Gesture showed off his lovely jumping form. No blips, no bobbles, just perfection throughout the entire course. It is a no-brainer why this pair came home with top honors. I absolutely love this horse, he just looks so fun, and the pair make this course appear effortless! Watch for yourself HERE.
As for the professional division, it would be Havens Schatt and Happy Thought who would deliver the top score. From the get-go, Happy Thought appears game and ready to perform! What a lovely horse with a nice, scopey jump. They make their way around the track as if it is just a Sunday stroll in the park. I admire hunter riders who can make a course look this simple! I am drawn to Happy Thought throughout the entire trip. His turnout is impeccable, and he boasts a brilliant shine as he works his way around the field.
Schatt does an excellent job guiding him around. They come up to every distance and nail every lead change as easily as if they are taking a breath. I love their approach to the trot fence and how they canter off to the following fence with purpose. These two go like a true hunter should. As they land from their last fence, you can see the spectators in the background erupt into well-deserved applause. What a stunning trip! Take a look for yourself HERE.