Edited Press Release
Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 18, 2022 – The Walnut Ring welcomed back the most established, professional hunter riders on Thursday morning to vie for the win in the Platinum Performance USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship 3’0” to 3’3” and 3’6” to 3’9” sections. The Green Hunter 3’0” and 3’3” came back for round three to ride for the tri-color, while the 3’6” and 3’9” horse-and-athlete combinations entered for their first round of competition. Bobby Murphy (USA) set a course that allowed the riders to accentuate their horse’s style and scope to impress the panel of three judges.
John French and Wyatt succeeded with great mastery to earn the first tri-color of the week in the Platinum Performance USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship 3’0” and 3’3” section while Daniel Geitner and Mr. Manhattan took home the blue in the first round of the 3’6” and 3’9” section. The day concluded with Scott Stewart and Nottingham taking home championship honors in the Platinum Performance USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship 3’6” and 3’9” sections to wrap up Green Hunter Incentive competition.
Starting the morning off, Daniel Geitner and Martin Schlaeppi’s Mr. Manhattan won the judges over, jumping in top form to earn scores of 89 and two 90’s to total 269.00 points. “I wouldn’t choose any other horse than the one I’m sitting on,” comments Geitner on the 8-year old German Sporthorse gelding. “He was bred here in the US by Emil Spadone and Redfield Farm. He’s green, but he really is a special horse.” Click here to meet American bred Mr. Manhtaan.
Green Hunters from the 3’0” and 3’3” section were welcomed back into the Walnut Arena one final time to ride for championship honors. After combining their scores from the last two days of competition, the top 30 horse-and-athlete combinations entered their final round on a clean slate. Second in the order to contest for championship honors was Hunt Tosh aboard Ceil Wheeler’s 7-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Twain. Champions of this class in 2021, the polished pair were the ones to watch. Jumping to scores of 88 points, 85 points, and 87 points, they held the top of the leaderboard for 15 rides.
French piloted Susan Moriconi’s, Wyatt, the 7-year-old warmblood gelding, to scores of 86 points, 88 points, and 91 points to total 265 points, overtaking Tosh’s high score and granting them an early lead in the class by a margin of 5 points. Tim Gougen and Endeavor, the 7-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Belhaven Stables LLC, entered the ring 25th in the order, ready to overtake both French and Tosh’s high scores. Murphy’s traditional hunter course allowed the pair to float effortlessly around the arena to impressive scores of 87 points, 84.50 points, and 88.50 points respectively to tie with Tosh for reserve championship honors.
The sun dimmed on the Walnut Arena, but the final section of Green Hunter Incentive athletes shined in their second round of the day for the 3’6” and 3’9” division. Third to contest in the championship round was Jimmy Torano aboard Isalou, Inc.’s 10-year-old Westphalian gelding, Laskano. After taking the fourth award in the first round this morning, the long-time pair were top contenders. Landing from the final jump with a large round of applause, and scores announced of 92 points, 91 points, and 86.5 points for a total of 269.50 points, the pair took an early lead of the class.
Although they were feeling the pressure, Stewart and the 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, showed they were more than worthy of championship honors. Jumping to new high scores of 93 points, 90 points and 92 points, for a total of 275 points, Stewart and the eye-catching grey took command of the top leaderboard spot leaving Torano and Laskano to settle for reserve champion honors. “I was lucky enough that Jimmy [Torano] went before me and had a really good round so I knew I really had to go all out,” explained Stewart. “If I hadn’t seen him go before me I would have been a bit more conservative, but my horse [Nottingham] was fabulous, so it was great.”
From The Winner’s Circle
John French – Green Hunter Incentive Champion 3’0”/3’3”
On being back for the Green Incentive:
“It is great to be back. It is a great class to have 100 + horses and young horses where everyone is aspiring to have as their next superstar. It is really nice to see the quality of the horses here.”
“The first day he was a bit tense and then he was fourth. I knew he had it in him. Today I took him out in the field because I didn’t want him to be too bored doing it three days in a row and I think it definitely paid off. His owner, Susan Moriconi, moved to me at the beginning of Florida this year. He had been recently imported so I started him in the first year. He was a bit green to put straight in the first year even though I knew he had the jump and the scope. He needed to be hunterized a little bit so I backed him down before I did too many shows. I thought that this would be my goal, to get him ready for this class.”
On the Green Incentive and prize money:
“It is nice to see some money going to the hunters since it always goes to the jumpers with all of the grand prixs. To see it put into the hunters helps to get owners interested in buying them and really bringing them along. To have this class makes people want to buy them young and bring them along. If we didn’t have this by the time they got to bigger classes they would already have so much money in them.”
Scott Stewart – Green Hunter Incentive Champion 3’6”/3’9”
On the strategy going into this year’s Green Incentive:
“My horses have not shown since Upperville [Upperville Colt & Horse Show]. I was really happy with how this group went. I was lucky enough that Jimmy [Torano] went before me and had a really good round so I knew I really had to go all out. If I hadn’t seen him go before me I would have been a bit more conservative but my horse [Nottingham] was fabulous so it was great.”
On working at home with his horses:
“I have been home for the past couple of weeks. I ride them everyday and I have a little pony course where I jump 3 or 4 times a week. I don’t jump higher than that really at home and try to simulate this kind of course so we are comfortable. I am fine not showing that much but it took me a couple of days to settle.”
On his plan going in:
“Well Jimmy [Torano] did exactly what you would want to do in the ring so it didn’t leave me an option. Nottingham is really great at that and he has a really big stride. He is really great and he is really brave and he never gets quick. He is really adjustable so he is the perfect horse for this course, it suited him.”