Lexington, KY - May 16, 2013 - The Kentucky Spring Classic features five consecutive days of top of the line hunter competition, running May 15-19. Day two of the popular spring series concluded today with the awarding of the professional hunter division championships, and it was Cookie Beck who rode away with the tricolor in the combined Second Year Green and High Performance Hunter division.
Beck finished first over both of today's Bobby Murphy designed hunter courses in the Stonelea Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park to secure title of division champion aboard Last Call, owned by Lisa Cudahy of Mequon, WI.
Beck and Last Call came into the afternoon with a second place over fences and a first place under saddle earned yesterday, and they only improved upon their performances from there.
"He tries harder and harder every day. Other horses get tired the second day, but not him. He tries harder every single class," Beck explained.
Persistent afternoon thunderstorms put the horse show on hold temporarily, but that did not deter Last Call as he returned to the ring amidst the showers.
"Since it was raining today, he just jumped higher and higher. He's perfect; he's very scopey," Beck continued. "Last Call is a winner. He wants to go in and do the very best for you every single time."
This is only Last Call's second time competing in the High Performance division, but he's shot to the top of the leader board to win division championship both times. While he's new to the division, the 12-year-old gelding is no stranger to Beck. Since being purchased four years ago by Cudahy, Beck has brought him up through the Pre-Green hunters to where he is today, and she looks forward to what the future holds for the talented horse.
Finishing in reserve in the Second Year Green/High Performance Hunter division were Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy, owned by Helen Lenahan of Buffalo, NY.
In the First Year Green Hunters it was another talented horse, Balin, who earned the division's highest honors with Havens Schatt in the saddle.
The seven-year-old, owned by Ainsley Sadlo of Atlanta, GA finished second in the first class of the morning behind one of Schatt's other mounts, Sans Souci, owned by CH Farm LLC of Delano, MN. That second place finish coupled with two blue ribbons yesterday cemented Balin's position as the division leader.
"He was a little more tired today," Schatt commented. "He was awesome yesterday. He won both classes and really jumped super. Today, I thought he was a little bit more tired, but the courses still rode great. They've been really nice this week."
Schatt continued, "He's awesome to ride. He's my most fun one. You just pick up a good gallop, and you can do pretty much anything you want out of that gallop. He's kind of a laid back dude, but when you're not riding him, it's a little different. When he came from Europe, he tried jumping out of the stall. He doesn't like being in the stall. He's always moving around, and you're worried about getting on. Then you get on him, and he's perfect. You can bring him anywhere, anytime for anybody."
Following their time in Kentucky, Schatt and Balin will travel to the Devon Horse Show where Balin will compete again with Schatt in the Green Conformation Hunters, as well as in the 3'3" Amateur-Owner Hunters with his owner, Ainsley Sadlo.
The reserve championship tri-color in the First Year Green Hunter division went to Christopher Payne and Say When, owned by Danielle Baran of London, Ontario. Payne, of New Hope Farm LLC in Cincinnati, OH, navigated Say When to a third place finish over the first course before returning to the ring to display Say When's handiness and finish first in the handy class.
Hunter competition continues tomorrow as the Amateur-Owners take to the Stonelea Ring. Among the highlight events of the week is the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, the second in the $50,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby Series, a seven event series that culminates with the $15,000 Leading Hunter Rider Awards.
For more information about the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.