Lexington, Ky. – June 11, 2018 – The first week of the Country Heir I & II Horse Show
at the Kentucky Horse Park showcased some of the finest hunters and jumpers in North America.
$40,000 Country Heir I Grand Prix
An audience gathered to watch exciting show-jumping action in the Rolex Stadium Sunday. International course designer Steve Stephens and his team set thetrack for a lively afternoon of sport. Of the 30 entries, eight left all the rails in the cups and progressed to the jump-off round. Wilhelm Genn (GER) and Bugatti, owned by Eduardo Leon, finished nearly two seconds faster than the second-place finishers, Liza Finsness and her own Shiver. Hector Florentino (DOM) and Heliante Ter Wilgen, owned by Marion S. Head were just two-tenths of a second behind Finsness.
“There was only one big question for me on the course and that was the line to the
triple combination,” Genn said. “When I walked it, I thought I would do six strides—it was a long five. I took a shorter approach to the oxer and it set me up to do the six to the triple and he listened beautifully. In the jump-off he was his usual self. He was
Bugatti, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding (Heartbreaker x Pilot), has been a successful partner for Genn for seven years. They have at least 10 grand prix wins to their credit and recently won two FEI grand prix events, one in Mexico City during the Longines Global Champions Tour and another at San Miguel de Allende, also in Mexico.
“He’s a big goofball,” said Genn about Bugatti’s personality. “He’s like a little kid. He’s basically lazy but he’s a curious horse. He’s sweet, but he can be a little bit of a bully.”
Genn was quick to compliment the show. “I’ve known Frankie (Stark) for years and I love Julie (Agar) in the office,” he said. “It is a very nice show—very well-run.”
$30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
Havens Schatt piloted Mostly Sunny, owned by CH Farms LLC of Delano, Minnesota, over the Steve Stephens-designed course to the win of the $30,000 Hunter Derby. In an exciting match-up of 40 top-notch horses and riders, Emma Kurtz and Dedication, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, led after the first round with a huge score of 186 points but were left out of contention in the second round.
Second-place finisher Kelley Farmer and Todd Minikus’ Exceptional were in fourth place after the initial round, with 178.5 points and added 185 points to their second round. Schatt and Mostly Sunny, a striking 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding, earned 364 evenly-split points to win the event just .5 points ahead of Farmer. Caitlyn Shiels and Cassius, owned by Durpetti Equestrian LLC, were in the eleventh spot after the first round. The pair stepped up with an outstanding second round to take the third-place prize.
Schatt imported Mostly Sunny from Europe when he was 5. A football fan, Schatt gave him his barn name, Larry, in honor of the legendary Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald. As a 7-year-old, he was already competing in the High Performance Hunters and some derbies.
“He’s a very scopey and quiet horse,” Schatt said. “He was always a little inconsistent because he was still green. He had a couple of little injuries and he had to take time off. Now, he’s becoming the horse I always knew he could be.”
His owner, David Lubben (CH Farms) now rides with top hunter trainer Scott Stewart and offered Schatt the opportunity to continue to campaign him as a derby horse. She was thrilled to have him back. “He’s my favorite horse ever,” she said.
Schatt said that the first round rode very nicely but, for whatever reason, the handy round under the lights turned out to be challenging. After watching the first horse on the course, Schatt adjusted her plan. It worked out in their favor and earned them the victory gallop.
“Flowers for the champions, trees and shrubs everywhere, the VIP tent between the hunter rings—for a venue where we show at a lot, they know how to make it a special horse show,” she said about the Country Heir I & II management.
Officiating the derb were Linda Andrisani, Irving Evans, Mark Jungherr and Peter Lombardo.
$10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
In a competitive field of 55 entries, Holly Shepherd and MTM Making Waves, owned by Mary Antonini, prevailed. MTM Making Waves is 9-year-old Warmblood gelding by Coronas. Timothy Maddrix and 1039 Cypress, owned by Missy R. Nolen, secured the reserve championship.
Professional Hunter Highlights
Just Ask, owned by Roberts Stables LLC, trained by Patty Rogers and ridden by Jeff Gogul of Flagship Ltd, won the championship of both the 3’6” Green Conformation Hunter and the 3’6” Green Hunter divisions. A bay 9-year-old Warmblood gelding,
Just Ask was the 2017 3’ Green Hunter national champion and currently leads the 2018 national standings for the USHJA 3’6” Green Hunter Incentive Program.
“We bought him two years ago from Stal de Eyckenhoeve and started him in the
Baby Greens and last year,” Rogers said. “we moved him right up to the First Years, and he’s just been wonderful. Every trip in the ring he learns something.”
Just Ask or JT, as he’s known in the barn, was the first horse Rogers imported with Niels Haesen and Maxime Tyteca from Stal de Eyckenhoeve. She sold him to the Roberts family, owners of the World Equestrian Center in Wilmington, Ohio and Ocala, Florida. Now she works with Stal de Eyckenhoeve on a regular basis. Rogers describes JT as quiet and brave and is the same horse both indoors and outside.
“He’s a pet in the barn and a barn favorite,” Rogers said. “We’re aiming him to be Sofia Robert’s Large Junior Hunter for next year.”
Gogul is also impressed with the talented young horse. The pair won five of their six 3”6” Green Conformation classes and two of their 3’6” Green Hunter classes.
“He was really terrific and consistent,” Gogul said. “He’s a horse for the future.”
Gogul complimented the management of Country Heir I & II. “They do a great job of decorating the horse park to make every ring feel important and special," he said. "Everyone has a good time here.”
The reserve championship of the 3”6” Green Conformation Hunter division went to Eastwood, owned by Stacey Robichaud and ridden by Kelley Farmer. Fibonacci, owned by Still Water Farm LLC, trained by David Belford with Chris Payne of New Hope LLC in the irons, took the reserve championship of the 3’6” Green Hunter division.
Best of Me, ridden by Chris Payne, trained by David Belford and owned by Blue Mountain LLC, earned the championship of the 3'3 Green Hunter division.
In a California split of the 3’ Green Hunter division, Meagan Murray-Tenuta and Harvard, owned by Rebecca Price were the section A champions. Christopher Payne rode Holden Out, owned by Susan Moriconi and trained by David Belford, to the Section B championship
3'6" Amateur-Owner Hunter Division
In the 3'6" Amateur-Owner Hunter 36 and over division, MTM Inside Scoop, ridden by Didi Mackenzie from Flower Mound, Texas took championship honors. Mackenzie was presented with the Leading Lady Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider award by Stuart Bassin, vice president of Frantisi Brands, and a generous prize package that included a GPA Helmet, Grand Prix show jacket, Pikeur Landy Hunter Breeches and a Grand Prix Backpack.
Mackenzie and her 12-year-old Westphalian gelding dominated the division, winning all of their classes and were third in the $1,000 Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic. The duo were champions of the division at the 2017 Country Heir I & II and, for the past two winter seasons, were circuit champions at HITS Thermal. Belucci and Lori Mathews were the reserve champions of the division.
Jeff Lauwers and Sutherland won two over-fences classes and the under-saddle class to earn the championship of the 3’6” 18-35 Amateur-Owner Hunters. Christina Fisher and Levland were the reserve champions.
$10,000 Welcome Prix
The $10,000 1.40m Welcome Prix was the feature class held in the Rolex Stadium Friday. Out of 32 horse-and-rider combinations, nine returned for the jump off. Javier Berganza Anderhub (MEX) and Indefix De Laubry owned by Keystone Stables in Sheridan, Indiana, emerged as the victors. The pair finished the second track two seconds faster than second-place finisher Liza Finsness and her own Shiver.
Click here for complete results of Country Heir Week I.
Frantisi Brands Inc. joins Country Heir I & II as a new sponsor for 2018. As part of their sponsorship, they presented the Leading Lady Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider award following the 3’3”-3’6” Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic in the Stonelea Arena. Frantisi awarded Didi Mackenzie with a prize of a head-to-toe outfit, including a GPA Helmet, Grand Prix show jacket, Pikeur Landy Hunter Breeches and a Grand Prix Backpack.
Frantisi is the distributor of North America's most popular equestrian brands: Grand Prix, Pikeur, Eskadron, The Elite, GPA, Leovet, Konigs and Acavallo.
The company was founded by the Bassin family in 1978 with the mission to bring consumers the finest in equestrian apparel and equipment while offering superior value. The launch began with the development of the Grand Prix riding jacket, then expanded into the distribution of other premium brands. Over the years, Frantisi has pioneered many successful equestrian products and continues to develop its line of premium brands by seeking out innovative new products to serve the North American equestrian market.
Frantisi is known for giving back to the sport and was named the Jump Canada Sponsor of the Year in 2009. In 2014 the Bassin family was inducted into Jump Canada Hall of Fame in 2014 in recognition of their many years of support and commitment to excellence in equestrian sport.
Country Heir Week II kicks off Tuesday, June 13, at the Kentucky Horse Park with Equitation Day. Featured classes include two Grand Prix events, including the $25,000 Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital Grand Prix and the $50,000 Country Heir II Grand Prix, the $40,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by Stal de Eyckenhoeve, and the $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.
With Thanks to our Sponsors