By Kate Pettersen and Sabrina Brashares for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
The Green Hunter 3’ division, sponsored by Hygain Feeds, came to a close in FarmVet Ring 7 on Thursday morning. Sandra Ferrell, of Wellington, FL, and Stephanie Bulger’s Notorious bested a field of 27 competitive entries to earn the top prize. Ferrell and Notorious received three firsts, a second, and a fourth place ribbon for a total of 38 points in the division.
Notorious, a coming seven-year-old Westphalian mare by Ballous Bellini, began her already successful horse show career this season with Ferrell in the irons. After purchasing Notorious in December of 2019 from Gavin Moylan, Ferrell and owner Bulger decided to take their time with the mare and not rush her into the show ring, which obviously paid off.
“She had not done anything and did not have any hunter miles, so we planned on giving her most of the winter off last year and then starting her in the spring, but then everything shut down,” commented Ferrell. “We spent last summer just working with her and getting her strong and ‘hunterized.’ I think probably for a lot of horses, and her being one of them, [the COVID situation] was nice because we really got to take our time without the pressure of going to the show ring. She’s a very smart horse and really wants to please, so that makes my job easy.”
This championship marks the pair’s second tricolor in two weeks. This week, Ferrell piloted Notorious to win three over fences classes with a high score of 90 in the stake class.
“First of all, she’s beautiful; second of all, she’s a beautiful mover; third of all, she’s scopey; fourth of all, she jumps beautifully; and fifth of all, she does a perfect lead change,” explained Ferrell. “I think what is so attractive of her is how elegant she is cantering around the ring and then everything else just gets added into it. Obviously she has the ability to jump super big jumps, so we aren’t even scratching the surface of her jumping ability. I believe in the old saying that, ‘If you have a good mare, you have a great mare,’ and at this moment she has only ever shown us great things.”
Ferrell is very excited about the future with Notorious and has high hopes for the talented mare.
“We plan to take our time and do the [Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships] this year and indoors if it happens,” she said. “There’s no rush. She probably is ready to jump bigger jumps, but we are not really in any rush to worry about that. We will take our time and just have an even better horse next year.”
Scott Stewart, of Wellington, FL, and Stephanie Danhakl’s Austen took home the reserve champion ribbon in the Green Hunter 3’ division. Stewart piloted Austen to a first, three thirds, and an eighth place ribbon.