Equitation Competition Ramps Up at The Kentucky Spring Horse Show with Winners Named in the Prestigious Adult and Junior Medal Classes

Lily Walton and Callahan. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Edited Press Release

Lexington, Ky. – May 12, 2023 – The Kentucky Spring Horse Show is held in high regards for hosting top competitions in all three jumper rings; however, today’s schedule emphasized the skill and poise of the equitation discipline specifically, with multiple arenas around the Kentucky Horse Park inviting riders to challenge themselves with the technical courses.

Designed by Kevin Holowack and Jason Shelley, the courses for the NHSAA/ASPCA Maclay, the Ariat National Adult Medal, the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS)/National Horse Show (NHS) Adult Medal and the Hamel Foundation NHS 3’3” Medal featured long approaches, one-stride combinations, tight rollbacks and bending lines. From the combined total of 47 horse and rider combinations entered, it was Lily Walton, Hailey Guidry and Noah Nelson that gave the best performances in the Claiborne and Annex Rings on Friday, May 12

The equitation divertissements began bright and early with the adult riders of the Ariat National Adult Medal class, the tracks consisting of methodological questions that required planning and adjusting at different stages. This class was developed in 1995 to allow riders over the age of 17 the opportunity to show in the equitation rings against quality competition over fences above the three-foot height. Placing first in today’s Ariat Medal was Walton of Shelbyville, Ky., and her own 16-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Callahan, topping the ranks at 86 points.

Hailey Guidry and Cornet’s Sunshine. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Many of the riders in the Ariat Medal quickly returned to the Claiborne Ring to have a second chance at proving themselves in the adult equitation divisions, and the THIS/NHS Adult Medal did not allow the competitors an easier shot at earning the winning title. It was ultimately Walton again that won over the judges with her expertise and poise, making today a major feat in her equitation career.

Walton had entrusted in Callahan during her junior years, and after she took a short break to pursue the amateur jumpers, Callahan proved to her and Walton’s trainers Ken and Emily Smith of Ashland Farms that he is a veteran of the equitation ring.

Lily Walton and Callahan. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

The junior riders had a larger list of athletes to compete against, making the means of qualifying for a spot at the prestigious NHS in the fall a difficult task. According to the NHS website, the Hamel Foundation NHS 3’3” medal is to be judged on a jumping and flat phase, focusing on accurate navigation and soft, but direct, seats and hands.

Today’s Hamel Foundation Medal course featured a rollback to a two-stride combination and strategic opportunities for riders to take inside tracks. Out of the 13 pairs that tried their hands for the championship title in the Annex Ring, Guidry and Cornet’s Sunshine found their way to the top after both phases. The 13-year-old and Honor Hill Farm’s 10-year-old Westphalian gelding, a very new partnership, successfully demonstrated what it means to be a well-versed, intentional equitation rider this morning.

The technical course remained the same for the 15 entrants in the NHSAA/ASPCA Maclay.

The ASPCA Maclay Finals are often regarded as the highest honor in junior equestrian careers, as it has a deep rooted history that has crowned some of the greatest names in the equestrian sport. Today’s NHSAA/ASPCA Maclay serves as means to receive an invitation to the Maclay Regionals, which leads to the Finals at the NHS in Lexington, Ky. Working diligently to get to the podium in the Annex Ring this morning, Nelson and For Keeps were triumphant in making a name for themselves.

Nelson made the long trip from Santa Barbara, Calif., to compete this week, coming off of a recent win in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby (Hunt & Go) at the Del Mar Seaside Tour in February. His win today was coached by Smith of Ashland Farms and done in partnership with Grace Russo’s Hanoverian gelding, For Keeps.

Noah Nelson and For Keeps. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

The neighboring THIS Children’s Medals will take place Saturday, May 13 in the Claiborne Ring. Hunters and jumpers will have a spotlight day tomorrow with the adult amateur/owner hunter classics and the major $145,100 Hagyard Lexington Grand Prix CSI3*.


Ariat National Adult Medal

Place / Horse / Rider / Owner

  1. Callahan / Lily Walton / Lily Walton
  2. Encore / Emily Kowalchik / Katherine Kelly
  3. Cool 1 / Sarah Donatelli / Sarah Donatelli
  4. Jäger Bomb / Elizabeth Kneibert / Elizabeth Kneibert
  5. Svalegårds Gold Crelido / Olivia Jacob / Olivia Jacob
  6. Vapiano / Abby Pick / Pick Investments, LLC
  7. C Tenda / Mackenzie Werner / Hayden Wheeler
  8. Vuccello / Nicole Lyvere / MMK Equestrian, LLC

THIS/NHS Adult Medal

Place / Horse / Rider / Owner 

  1. Callahan / Lily Walton / Lily Walton
  2. Vapiano / Abby Pick / Pick Investments, LLC
  3. Cool 1 / Sarah Donatelli / Sarah Donatelli
  4. The Prospect / Hannah Belich / Hannah Belich
  5. Bicscoff / Nicole Lyvere / Nicole Lyvere
  6. Jäger Bomb / Elizabeth Kneibert / Elizabeth Kneibert
  7. Encore / Emily Kowalchik / Katherine Kelly
  8. HP Arondight / Larissa Hufnagel / Happy Pony, LLC

Hamel Foundation NHS 3’3” Medal

Place / Horse / Rider / Owner 

  1. Cornet’s Sunshine / Hailey Guidry / Honor Hill Farm, LLC
  2. Ari / Charlotte Harris / Ashland Farms
  3. Cantador / Lilly Herzog / Amanda Lyerly
  4. Castellan W / Hadley Hoeft / Hadley Hoeft
  5. Billy Cromwell / Luke Rinehart / Elizabeth Rinehart
  6. Wizzerd / Claire Crawford / Cate Crawford
  7. Levanto / Maddie Figgie / Wolfstone Stables & Sales Inc.
  8. My Pride Z / Emma Brosius / Melissa Hirt


Place / Horse / Rider / Owner 

  1. For Keeps / Noah Nelson / Grace Russo
  2. Ustica / Olivia Sweetnam / Sweet Oak Farm
  3. Cap Ferrat / Vivian Golden / Vivian Golden
  4. Cornet’s Sunshine / Hailey Guidry / Honor Hill Farm, LLC
  5. Chocolate Chip 12 / Abigail Roberts / Wendy Dixon
  6. Cantinero Plus SN / Tessa Downey / Ashland Farms
  7. Idalgo Van de Boslandhoeve / Reilly Gogul / Ashland Farms

Original press release from Kentucky Horse Shows.

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