The Rost Ring began on Thursday morning of week seven with the Pre-Green 3- and 4-Year-Old Hunter division. John French rode Babylon to the championship after winning three blue ribbons in the division.
Babylon arrived to the United States from Europe in December, and French began riding and working with the horse in January. The four-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Crumbie x Die Cera) is owned by Kent Farrington LLC. French, of San Juan Bautista, CA, has shown Babylon three times this year, and the duo has been champion every time.
“Before I started working for Kent, he called me and sent me this video and said, ‘I’m thinking of buying this horse, what do you think?’” said French. “He was just jumping around a jumper course, but you could tell how cute and flashy he was. He’s a good mover and a good jumper; he’s got everything that it takes.”
Although Babylon had been showing in the jumpers in Europe, he quickly caught on to being a hunter. The pair won both over fences classes on the first day of the division as well as the under saddle on the second day.
“He has a great expression and is so careful up front. With all of his flash the judges are just drawn to him,” French commented. “I can just tell that one day he is going to be a famous junior or amateur-owner hunter.”
French plans on continuing to show Babylon in the Pre-Green Hunter 3- and 4-Year-Old Hunter division more eventually moving up to the 3’ Pre-Green Hunters. If French has Babylon through the summer, he plans to take the gelding to the Pre-Green Incentive Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park in August.
Reserve champion of the division went to Michael Delfiandra and Hopetown, owned by Runaway Holdings, LLC. Delfiandra, of Wellington, FL, and Hopetown received a first, second, fifth, and sixth place ribbon.
Hunter competition will continue on Friday with the $10,000 United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) National Hunter Derby in Rings 11 and 12. For full results, visit www.PBIEC.com.
Photo credit: Photos © Sportfot, official photographer of the Winter Equestrian Festival.