Thursday was Championship day for the 3’/3’3″ and 3’6″/3’9″ sections of the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Hunt Tosh and Ceil Wheeler’s Twain held the lead in the 3’/3’3″ section heading into the final round of 30, and the pair would not relinquish the top spot. They won the third and final round to clinch the title, receiving an impressive score of 276—nearly seven points ahead of runners-up Scott Stewart and Ackergill (269.75). Victoria Colvin and Mastermind finished third (267).
“All three rounds, I could not ask anything else of him,” Tosh said. “Today, on day three, [course designer] Bobby Murphy told me that he built a little bit of a simpler course with less bending lines, because he did not want to throw too much at the horses when they were tired, and that worked in our favor.”
Watch >> Meet the Podium: USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship 3’/3’3″
The 3’6″/3’9″ Championship went to Christopher Payne and Stillwater Farm’s 8-year-old stallion, Reign. Competition for this height group was conducted in its entirety Thursday, with the first round leading to a second and final round of 30. Payne and Reign finished on a leading score of 272.50. Hunt Tosh rode to the reserve championship aboard Douglas Wheeler’s Salute, while Shawn Casady was third with Ashland Farms’ Cassario 8.
“He is a total hunter across the ground, with beautiful expression and very elegant, but he has a huge jump, and he is brave as can be,” Payne said of Reign. “The more impressive the course, the better he rides. He comes for the game and likes to do it.”
Watch >> Meet the Podium: USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship 3’6″/3’9″
The Green Hunter Incentive Program is open to horses eligible to compete in the Green Hunters 3’0″, 3’3″, 3’6″, and 3’9″ heights. All horses entered are able to compete in the first two rounds, where they receive numerical scores from the judges. The top 30-horses, including those tied for 30th, with the highest combined scores from the first two rounds, will advance to the third round, where they start with a clean slate.
Round 1 of the International Hunter Derby will kick off the day in Rolex Stadium at 8:15 am as part of the regularly scheduled Bluegrass Festival. Livestream links are available on https://horseandcountry.tv. Use code USHJA15 for a 15% discount on an annual membership to the streaming platform.