By Kate Pettersen and Sabrina Brashares for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
The Children’s Hunter Younger division concluded on Sunday in FarmVet Ring 7. Twenty-one riders contested the championship ribbon, and in the end, Madison Hart, of Greenwich, CT, and Victoria Hart’s Believe claimed the top prize. Hart rode Believe to first, second, and fourth place ribbons for a total of 18 points in the division.
This weekend marks Hart’s first time showing Believe, or “Luca,” this season, and the pair made sure to start off on a high note. The 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Stolzenberg has been part of the Hart family for several years, which makes this championship even more special.
“Luca has been in our family for the past five years,” confirmed Hart. “I didn’t start competing him until last year though. I showed him for the first time here last year around the same time. I also showed him a couple times over the summer, but this is actually my first weekend showing him this year. He is an amazing horse. My whole family loves him, and we have a really special place for him in our hearts.”
Hart, trained by Tracy Freels and Hannah Isop, navigated Luca to the blue ribbon the second day of competition, as well as a second place finish on Saturday.
“Overall he was amazing,” described Hart. “Our last round was really great, and I haven’t ridden too much this season so I’m really happy with how it went.”
Luca has made a name for himself in the USHJA International Hunter Derbies with Hannah Isop in the irons, and Hart was thrilled with the opportunity to take over the reins this week. The rider is looking forward to a successful rest of the year with her mount, both watching and showing herself.
“I want to stay consistent with him this year,” said Hart. “I’m excited to see how he goes around the [USHJA International Hunter] Derbies with Hannah. I want to have a good relationship with him and be consistent all around.”
Sydney Mohrhardt and her own Google It earned reserve champion in the Children’s Hunter Younger division. Mohrhardt, of Winnetka, IL, and Google It claimed a first, as well as fourth and sixth place ribbons.