By Kate Pettersen and Sabrina Brashares for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
The Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” 36 and Over division had 18 riders competing for the tricolor ribbon in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. After two days of competition, it was Tina Allen and her own Galaxy who earned the championship honors with three second place ribbons and one third.
After taking a break from the show ring due to COVID-19, Allen, of New Canaan, CT, and Galaxy are making a strong comeback. The pair, trained by Brooke Baldwin-De Grazia, were also reserve champion during WEF Premiere Week.
“I’ve had him since he was five and I’ve been doing this division on him for several years now, so I know him quite well,” said Allen of the 15-year-old Holsteiner gelding. “He is just such a lovely horse and so fun to ride. I’m so pleased with how he went today!”
Allen and Galaxy remained consistent and near the top of the class throughout both days of the division. The duo’s strong partnership showed when they earned scores of 89 and 90 on the second day of competition.
“I thought he was really rideable this week, and he felt great,” explained Allen. “He knows the program and knows his job, so we just try to keep him happy at home. We can trust that he’s all business when we go in the show ring.”
Since Galaxy is getting older, Allen plans to take it easy on the gelding this season. Allen is mainly just excited and thankful to be back showing at WEF.
“I love coming here. The competition is the best of the best,” commented Allen, “so to come here and be able to do well is really special. We are just so happy to be able to show again safely.”
Reserve champion for the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” 36 and Over division went to Becky Gochman aboard Gochman Sport Horses LLC’s Last Man Darling. Wellington, FL, resident Gochman and Last Man Darling earned two firsts and a fourth place ribbon.
Sunday will be the final day of competition for the fourth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival. Both the $50,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Grand Prix CSI2* and the $214,000 Marshall & Sterling/Great American Grand Prix CSI4* will take place on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village. The Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” 18-35 division sponsored by Adequan® will wrap up with the naming of the champion in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring.